5 Ways Retro Games Gave More For Less

Browse By

You’re probably a gamer in the new era. The knifed cake era. Modern games sure are impressive graphically, and some are even really, really big in size, if nothing else. With maps getting huge, yet actual content becoming more sparse, one can’t help but look back on the days of old, when games would be shipped completely finished. Welcome to one of That One Guy’s articles, I’m LifeIsMash, and here are 5 ways retro games gave you more bang for less buck.

5: No downloadable content.

You see, back in the day, expansions did exist. Capcom was infamous for releasing the same game with a few bells and whistles tacked on, specially for a different platform and the like, but overall, this wasn’t a common practice. Games would ship completely developed, with the whole story finished, unless it was coming in a future sequel. In either case, you got the whole story, start to finish. It might not always be a great, memorable story, but it’s all there. None of that pay 10 extra bucks to get to see Fallout 3’s true ending where your created MC doesn’t actually die. To be frank, that was just cruel.


You don’t even have to go mad retro to find a problem. 2009 is retro now, right?

4: No super duper deluxe editions.

Collector’s edition WITH NO GAME. It’s become kind of a meme lately, but you know companies are gonna keep pushing for this, since it makes them a tidy profit and the backlash isn’t large enough to care for. Games were sixty bucks then. They’ll keep pushing that they still are now, but that’s a filthy lie. You want all the characters, you’ll fork over eighty, matey. You want the missions we’ve cut out? Pay up, please. At most, you could maybe get a fun T-shirt with the console logo or a character from the game. Maybe. And they were ten bucks. Or for free!

Goodies and feelies are nothing new. Games used to come packed with ‘em. I think they can be cool, extra cool if they were free, but I honestly doubt they warrant these pricetags.


Shiny, shiny goodies! Notice the *GAME NOT INCLUDED. Well, nice. I’m just the type of guy that buys food exclusively for the packaging, I’d say this is perfect for me.

3: Games were released as they would be for a long time.

Without patches readily available, bugs, quirks on the AI, infinite combos and the like sometimes made a cameo and sometimes plagued the product. The common way to sort these out was to re-release the game, like Rival Schools did. Other games, though, stayed broken forever. Xmen Vs Street Fighter is played to this day on Fightcade, and still mostly revolves around insanely broken infinites that almost every character has. Any knowledge you acquired on any of these games would be permanent. Once you knew how to play, you knew how to play. No nerfs would murder your character, at least until the next release of the game. In today’s culture, there is SOME skill transfer for some gamers, particularly the FIFA and COD crowds, but latching onto a particular MOBA character is definitely no guarantee that he’ll still be strong a month down the line. Meanwhile, on PSX, Storm has been the same for all this time. And you probably thought knowing her infinite would be useless 20 years down the line!


Patches can improve a shirt’s look. But throw too many in, and your shirt just becomes unrecognisable. The same applies to games at times.

2: Filler content was far less omnipresent, and FAR less malicious.

We’ve all seen this. We’re playing an RPG, sprinting for the finish line. Everything is almost finished. We are so close to slaying the dragon, saving the princess, finishing this whole thing. Then the local priest asks us to bring him twenty bear asses so he can be warm during the final confrontation with the snow zombies. Motherfffff…

If you thought that was bad, today’s version is MUCH worse. Overpriced stuff on games that you can, TECHNICALLY, achieve only through in-game means, but you all know what they want from you. Give up and open your wallet. The monotonous grind gets thrown on your lap purely to psychologically pummel you into purchasing timesavers, overpowered crap and the like. Usually, on singleplayer games with no online component, so you wouldn’t even be beating some poor dude with your mom’s credit card, taking most of the fun out.  You’d think the inventors of the system would know the basics of Pay To Win: You need to be BEATING someone with your overpowered crap. Beating a computer just feels hollow at best.

These high-level enemies seem really tough. There’s a micropayment shop available that sells overpowered stuff I could trounce them with. But you’d have to be really jaded to make a connection there… Right? It’s just player choice, is all!

1: And most importantly, you could try it before you bought it!

Demos and shareware were all the rage back then. Companies would pack demos on their newest product, so you could sample their other newest product while you were at it. You got to play a full level, sometimes two, and shareware just took it further. Entire halves of games were being given away, for free, so the consumer would then choose whether he could fork over 20 bucks for the whole experience. Nowadays, it’s the opposite. Augment your preorder and blindly part with your monies, so the company can show that to the shareholders and keep everyone happy. The hype machine is a little out of control. Back then, it was fueled on gameplay and cool stuff that you could really get hyped for. Now? It basically runs on dreams, hopes and the occasional fat lie. And pre-rendered trailers that tell you nothing about the game.


The one, the only, the legendary demo 1. Nowadays, they’d charge you for the cardboard case. And *Game not included.

Thanks to LifeIsMash for writing this article!

Please check out his awesome content here. 

If you wish to work with me to make content similar to this, feel free to contact me here.

– That One Guy

Leave a Reply