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1. Couch Co-Op
There’s nothing quite like plopping down on the couch with a buddy or roommate and losing a few hours to something like Streets of Rage or Halo.
Now, though, it’s tough to find a good “couch co-op” game unless you’re playing on a Switch.
2. Deluxe Game Packaging
Instructions aren’t the only bit of retro packaging that went away. We miss the days of deluxe game packaging that might include things like maps, posters, and even the interactive letter in StarTropics.
Limited Run Games is bringing some of this glory back, but we’d love to see more publishers going all out in the game packaging.
3. Shorter Games
Many modern games make it a point of pride that it will take you dozens (if not hundreds) of hours to fully play the title.
But it can be tough to find enough time to play such a long game. We’d love a return to the days of tight, five-hour games that are so addictive you come back again and again.
4. Light Gun Games
From Duck Hunt to Time Crisis, light gun games were a staple of vintage gaming at home and in the arcades.
But as we moved away from CRTs, light guns really died out, and we’d love to see these games get the comeback they deserve.
While edutainment games are pretty bad, some of them (like the Carmen San Diego games) end up defining a genre.
As kids increasingly flock to learning apps on their smartphones, we think it’s time for game consoles and PCs to return to quality edutainment.
6. Password Save Systems
Password saves were in vogue for a long time, but things like auto-saving made them largely redundant.
However, these saves were also a handy way for you to skip around your favorite games, and we’d like to see this system make a return.
7. Handheld Competition
The Nintendo Switch is great. It’s designed well and comes with many great titles. But we’d love a return to a time when Nintendo had some genuine handheld competition.
This is especially true because the last real competition (the PlayStation Vita) was so damned good.
8. Weird Mascots
Sure, mascots like Mario and Sonic are here to stay. But video games used to have many strange mascots like Bubsy the bobcat and Gex the gecko.
While some mascots were better than others, we’d love to see the mascot trend (complete with fun new platforming games) makes its way to the next generation of gaming.
9. Space Combat Simulation
Star Wars Squadrons takes the arcade space combat of Battlefront II and makes it more complex.
But what we really long for are true space simulators like the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter games. And before you say it, the massive scam that is Star Citizen doesn’t count.
10. Punishing Difficulty
Any old school gamer can tell you that games have gotten easier over the years.
The actual game design is more generous than the days of “Nintendo hard” titles, and features like auto-saves make things even easier.
But as games like Cuphead and Dark Souls help illustrate, modern gamers are ready for punishing difficulty once again.
11. Full-Motion Video
Full-motion video in games was once a sign of the future. It was proof that video games had evolved beyond cartridge limitations.
Sadly, many FMV games featured poor quality video and bad acting. But there are diamonds in the rough out there, and modern titles like Her Story have shown the additional potential of this format.
12. Four Players, Same Screen
Arguably, the foundation of the Nintendo 64’s success was simple: four controller ports and some of the best multiplayer gaming on the same screen.
Four players vying against each other in games like Goldeneye redefined fun, and we want to get that same energy back for future games.
13. The Virtual Console
It may not feel that old, but the original Wii and its virtual console debuted back in 2006.
That virtual console is gone now, making it harder than ever for gamers to play classic titles on new systems. Shut up and take our money, Nintendo.
14. Physical Instruction Manuals
As great as the internet has been for gaming, it also largely removed the need for video game instruction manuals.
These manuals gradually faded away, but we miss the feeling of learning all about the game and its characters before you even hit the power button.
15. High Scores Everywhere
Going back to Space Invaders, the first real video game competition came in the form of high scores.
Players could compete and beat their friends, but this was mostly a staple of arcade and offline games.
Modern games have largely ditched high scores, but we’d love if things like local and global leaderboards became the standard.