From Trackballs To Memory Cards, Here’s 10 Extinct Gaming Hassles From The 90s

If you were born in the 90’s, you are blessed for having known the joys of emerging games and the overall transformation of the industry. Of course, you also had to contend with shit like dial-up. *tfw when ur mom kicks u off the computer so she can use the home phone* Thankfully, with the coming and going of the years, most of these thankfully afflict gamers no longer. Of course, there’s always the possibility that they’ll invent the holodeck in like, 2063 and VR goggles will be thrown in the trash en masse…

10. Trackballs

You think your fancy-ass macro-equipped wireless mouse running out of battery is annoying? Try playing an FPS with an effing trackball! Guaranteed to get all jammed up and fizz out or your money back!

9. No saving

Most NES-era games were designed to be played in one go due to hardware limitations. Of course, you couldn’t just slap a few sprites and some stock music you found on a shady Russian website and call it a game, and so developers created levels that were engaging. Of course, if you died, it was back to square one for you! Some developers tried to get around this by creating unique hashes for each stage of progress that would be outputted as passwords. Of course, if you lost it, well… fuck!


8. Blowing into cartridges

The NES-era equivalent of hitting your remote control ’til it works again, cartridges often get dust inside that could mess up the optical readers. Sou you just blew into one and hope the dust would clear! Thankfully, we have HDDs and blu-rays now.

7. Game guides

Before the advent of the Internet, where else was there to go for cheats, walkthroughs and sundry? The game guides! Sort of like gaming bibles, these tasty morsels of information were unfortunately rendered out of date when the series of tubes came along. Now you can just google stuff.

6. CD-based and other crazy DRM

Way before Steam bursted onto the market, games were released on CDs. And boy, did they sell. But obviously developers had to devise some way to foil pirates, right? And so every installation of a game was locked to a CD. No CD? No game for you! An even more extreme version entailed “feelies”, a term for paraphernalia that came with the game you had to rifle through to and find some key piece of the plot just to prove you owned a copy. Infocom is particularly notorious in this regard. (Ugh, Bureaucracy


5. Wired controllers

Apparently, wired controllers are like Spiderman, and the cords his webbing, as your console is guaranteed to be knocked down if someone trips on one. This results in major emotional and financial distress (especially if your console’s not level on the ground!)

4. The PS2’s red screen of death

As a little girl this screen would scare the heck outta me, even though it’s just a notif the disc you inserted is corrupted. Playing under cover of my sheets at midnight while my parents were asleep, it was like the console dropped me off in a hellish landscape and the bouncer from the Salty Spittoon walked up to me and screeched “WELCOME TO HELL, HOW TOUGH ARE YA!?”

3. Manual patching

The scourge of many a gamer before automatic update managers went mainstream, every time a developer released a patch, you’d have to download and install it yourself. And the worst part? You had to install every patch in order! One, two, skip a few? Your game makes like morning dew!

2. No reviews

Another before-the-Internet entry, it was a hit-or-miss with games of the past because you usually only had the cover art and description at your disposal. Sure, there were reviews, but they were few and far in between (unless you were subscribed to a gaming enthusiast’s magazine). Today, we have Metacritic and sundry, enabling us to skip over crappy titles altogether!

1. Lost/broken memory cards

Yeah, this one’s self-explanatory.

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