If you’re anything like me, you can bench press 350 pounds with one hand and you’re hung like a bear. Even if you’re not, there’s still plenty of things we might have in common, like being tired of the brewing next-gen console war. Maybe you’re tired of watching Microsoft shoot themselves in the face, or you don’t have $400 to spend on a PS4 when it comes out this holiday season; maybe you just want to remember the good old days of your misspent youth where you whiled away the hours in your parents’ basement playing Dragon Warrior until it was time for bed. Whatever your reasons, it’s time to rebuild your classic gaming collection.
“But why the hell should I buy old games?” you might say. “I can get everything for free from the Internet, and there are plenty of emulation software solutions out there that work just fine.” Well yes, you can go ahead and emulate old classic games very easily and for free, but emulation isn’t the same as actually playing the game on the hardware it was intended to be run upon. No emulator is perfect, and there can be serious timing and speed issues even while playing a game that seems to be running just fine – an imperceptible lag or over-sensitivity can and will translate to poor gameplay. Just try to escape Mother Brain’s lair in an emulated version of Metroid: Zero Mission and you’ll see what I mean: you’ll be lucky to get out before the timer runs down.
“All right, I see your point,” you could reply. “I don’t like the idea of pirating software anyway as it’s technically illegal. But I can get around that by buying classic games on PSN or XBLA or whatever the Nintendo online marketplace is called, and they’ve been tuned to run properly on a modern console.” Sure, you can do that, but you’re still not getting the authentic hipster-riffic experience. Haven’t you ever cut your palms on an NES controller’s hard corners? You can easily find a working classic console of your choice on eBay or Craigslist, complete with connectors and at least one controller. If you’re especially lucky, there’s a flea market or farmer’s market near you as these places are amazing sources of classic consoles and games from the PS1 era and earlier, up to and including the Atari 2600 and its competitors like the IntelliVision.
Finally you might throw up your hands and say, “but maintenance on old console games is terrible!” Well, don’t be such a big baby. If you’ve got a cartridge-based system you can easily clean off the corroded contacts on an old cart by very carefully rubbing them with a clean cloth soaked with a bit of rubbing alcohol. Not only that, but you don’t even need to know how to solder to replace a worn-out battery on a cartridge, either. Check it out:
So there you have it: there’s really no excuse for not rebuilding and maintaining a classic console game collection, short of laziness or possibly lack of space. You really don’t need all those photo albums of your wedding though; just chuck ’em and use the room you reclaim to set up your old SNES and get to re-playing ActRaiser or something. I mean, come on, are you some sort of filthy casual?