History Lessons

History Lessons

If you thought that Asteroids was just a simple space shooter, think again.

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This just blew my mind...

I think I'm going to demand a proper backstory and canon for Peggle now.

...

Like you Andy, I remember being there at the birth of such games and I NEVER remember hearing about such stories. (In fact the first one I can remember was The Dark Wheel which came with Elite, and I still read it from time to time)

Thinking back further, I can just remember 3D Ant Attack and Maziacs having a story back on the Speccy, but as my good friend of the time had a VCS (and another richer friend had an 800), the stories are still lost to me, so this generation can't have a clue of knowing.

Wow, now that's a bit of lost video games history there. Video game history is still truly mysterious.

Interesting.

I'd like to see that Asteroids bit turned into an action-packed thrill ride, directed by none other than Michael Bay.

Or Uwe Boll, for shits and giggles.

Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

That's quite interesting, I'd like to have been able to have the imagination to have all those supplemental materials, and then go play the game and have my mind blown. In today's gaming age where all games have stories of at least some sort, the very idea of gameplay being a totally separate entity from the story itself is ridiculous

I would have never thought that Asteroids, and especially Breakout, had a plot. I bet the movie is going to have nothing to do with it. Also may I ask what "Party favours" are? Is it some form of euphamism?

scifidownbeat:
I'd like to see that Asteroids bit turned into an action-packed thrill ride, directed by none other than Michael Bay.

It's called Armageddon with Bruce Willis. They save the Earth by blowing a large asteroid into two smaller ones.

Now that I think of it, the Gameboy Colour version of Asteroids had a similar story to this.
It all began to get a bit weird when you started to shoot down flying saucers and what looked like a variety of..things endowed with flagella during the later levels. I'm sure there's a plausible explanation, though.

That was a good game...

Generic_Dave:
Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

Because I only rented the cartridges back then, the rental stores never provided manuals. I've only started giving them a read a couple of years ago when I found some sites specialized in collecting them.

They are interesting, and arguably necessary asset given the limited memory of games and all. But I always felt that whatever there was to be told, should be told in the game itself.

And I'm not talking about cutscenes, god forbid. I mean actually knowing what was going by taking part in it, not just passively watching it.

But it's pretty interesting to read manuals of games I've played back in the day. Curious to say the least.

But anyway.... so Asteroid has a backstory, huh? Uncanny.

Generic_Dave:
Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

Not at all. I can't speak to the "just getting old" part but I have no doubt that as games have matured, they've surrendered a certain sort of sophistication. These days we're lucky if we get a decent owner's manual. And as digital distribution becomes increasingly prevalent, you can expect that trend to continue.

Wow, even history is better when video games are applied. I might watch the movie. Might.

Nice bit of history lesson here. I must say I'm surprised to learn Asteroids, of all games, had a plot behind it. I think it's a good thing that as gaming matures these peripherals get incorporated into the actual game, to varying degrees.

On the note of the film. I've said this about every game-based movie I have heard of to date: if this does not end up as a bad movie, I will eat my own hat. So far, my hat remains uneaten.

Malygris:

Generic_Dave:
Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

Not at all. I can't speak to the "just getting old" part but I have no doubt that as games have matured, they've surrendered a certain sort of sophistication. These days we're lucky if we get a decent owner's manual. And as digital distribution becomes increasingly prevalent, you can expect that trend to continue.

Is that such a bad thing? Games are trying to become more accessible and convey information through the game itself. Even the game enthusiast that I am prefers to jump straight into the experience and learn through the game while playing, rather than go through manuals and texts. I don't see it as a surrender of sophistication - to be more accurate, that's not what I think is the sign that gaming as a whole has surrendered it.

I guess it depends on the kind of experience you're after. I love the extras, everything from owners manuals to whatever other "supplementary material" the publisher decides to include, and I'm always a bit disappointed when I crack open a new game and find nothing but a disc and a folded, two-page "manual" inside. Maybe the market has changed and gamers no longer want or care about that kind of stuff, but I still see it as something of a step backwards.

Malygris:

Generic_Dave:
Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

Not at all. I can't speak to the "just getting old" part but I have no doubt that as games have matured, they've surrendered a certain sort of sophistication. These days we're lucky if we get a decent owner's manual. And as digital distribution becomes increasingly prevalent, you can expect that trend to continue.

I do miss manuals. I always read the entire manual before playing a game. Me and a few friends were working on making a nice, old-looking, spiral-bound book to act as a manual and documentation for Silent Hunter IV.

Generic_Dave:
Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

I don't think you're missing it due to age. I'm 15, and I miss those huge manuals too. I remember getting Warcraft 3 when I was 10 and seeing that big manual. The history of the races in that game was more engrossing and provided entertainment for me than some actual books.

I had no idea. Just wow. I guess that means I gots me some reading to do...

I remember getting an Atari Force comic book in my copy of Galaxian for the 2600...maybe there was some backstory there? I can hardly remember now.

My favorite old game backstory is Chelnov! Atomic Runner. When one stormy {night}. A soviet coal miner get caught in a nuclear powerplant explosion and is transformed into the Chelnov! The atomic runner. He is also unable to take Dastarian evil solicitizations or something along those lines, the translation is awful. Music was kickarse though.

WickedArtist:
Is that such a bad thing? Games are trying to become more accessible and convey information through the game itself. Even the game enthusiast that I am prefers to jump straight into the experience and learn through the game while playing, rather than go through manuals and texts. I don't see it as a surrender of sophistication - to be more accurate, that's not what I think is the sign that gaming as a whole has surrendered it.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but when I play a game like Mass Effect (to pull a name off the top of my head) where they have screens and screens and screens of written data, but I gave up reading it about 4/5 hours after I started playing (not long when you consider how long it takes to get started with a custom character the first time), because well Hi-Def is great an all, but the format, on the screen, I just found it hard to get through, whereas had it been in a booklet format, I could have picked it up or put it down. Brought it on the bus, or toilet or whatever. Can't to that with my 360 to be sure.

Some kinda of back-story just lend themselves to the written word, if you have a page and a half of story sure, you can cram it into a couple of cinematics or whatnot, but if you have a really convoluted backstory / plot with lots of detail you can't put it all in, either you end up with MGS4's terrible ratio of playtime to cut scene or Mass Effect's volumes of in-game text.

And gods-dammnit I'm old and like things the way they used to be!!! Where are my slippers? Martha? Where's my pipe... ;-)

this fascinating i always love reading extra content about my games and the motvations of its characters

Malygris:
I guess it depends on the kind of experience you're after. I love the extras, everything from owners manuals to whatever other "supplementary material" the publisher decides to include, and I'm always a bit disappointed when I crack open a new game and find nothing but a disc and a folded, two-page "manual" inside. Maybe the market has changed and gamers no longer want or care about that kind of stuff, but I still see it as something of a step backwards.

A two page manual???? How is that supposed to hold the new game smell with only two pages!! The manual is the best part too!

Oh the horrors!

PS. Epic win for you if you get the reference.
PPS. I do in fact miss those days where games had loads of extra's and proper back stories and whatnot. its too bad they seem to be a dying breed.

Not bad for its time...I still prefer Nylund, personally.

WHAT?
When did this happen?
I will not watch a movie based on Asteroids.
I was bad at that game.
I also don't like the "story".
But at least they've got one *looks at 'splosion man*

Generic_Dave:
Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

I hear you... A couple games have embraced the love of manuals such as Shadow of the Colossus and Katamari Damacy, but for the most part they have eliminated them. I remember when I'd come home with the newest Mega Man, the first thing I'd do is open up the manual and read all about the new robots and their stories and details. While one could say these were all just little extras, it always felt like that made the story a bit more... I don't know, real. It's there in print, you can read it over at your leisure, not just on the screen, you know it's true because it's written down!

OK, maybe I'm going a little over the top there. But yeah. I'm with you.

coldfrog:

Generic_Dave:
Am I the only one who misses such things? Long manuals with pages of back story and characterisation? I think we've lost something here...things like this can add depth to a game, in a way cinematics and cut sceens don't give...I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old...but I miss this shit.

I hear you... A couple games have embraced the love of manuals such as Shadow of the Colossus and Katamari Damacy, but for the most part they have eliminated them. I remember when I'd come home with the newest Mega Man, the first thing I'd do is open up the manual and read all about the new robots and their stories and details. While one could say these were all just little extras, it always felt like that made the story a bit more... I don't know, real. It's there in print, you can read it over at your leisure, not just on the screen, you know it's true because it's written down!

OK, maybe I'm going a little over the top there. But yeah. I'm with you.

Nope, not even a bit over the top. I'm right there with you, screaming into the abyss.

 

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