So by way of Kotaku I saw this video (see below) about how a kid was asked to play a retro game and evaluate it. The game of choice was Contra for the NES. Among the questions asked were the difficulty of the game, the graphics, the music, and the willingness to try to beat such a difficult game. The outcome? The kid didn’t really like it. I didn’t find it surprising, but it seems like geeks were in an outcry all over Twitter. Notably, some friends of mine as well. I am having a hard time grasping why people are outraged at one kid.
I think the interview/evaluation with the kid was flawed. The kid didn’t strike me as an avid gamer. He listed three games that he plays: Halo 3, Call of Duty : World at War, and NHL. Some first person shooters and a sports game. When we were kids we had friends like this – the friends that only played NBA Jam, or Mortal Kombat. Fighting and sports. But some of us played all kinds of games and subjected ourselves to such masochist games like Contra. All of this is anecdotal evidence. I personally overheard two kids at Red Lobster talking about Super Mario World for the SNES and how much fun they were having. This study also doesn’t include Erica’s cousin who plays Contra 4 for DS (not exactly the same, but the music, graphics, and difficulty are not much different from the original) and loves the game.
The point I want to convey is we shouldn’t make assumptions based on the opinion of this one kid. If someone were to provide me a valid poll with a proper sample size (1000 kids of varying demographics) then we could worry about kids and video gaming. There is a plethora of good video games today, and several opportunities for kids to play classics by way of DLC. The biggest problem is exposure to such games. Kids aren’t rocking out to Mega Man 2 or Tetris like we did. They aren’t advertised and aren’t sold on store shelves.
Two last things. I didn’t like Contra when I was a kid. The difficulty was too high for me. I didn’t appreciate the game until college. Also I know people that haven’t played half of this awesome list of 16 bit classics (the best generation in my opinion).