No. Please. I'm not threatening you. Well, not yet. It's just something I realised upon looking at some videos of old Sierra point-and-click adventures.
I loved those games, see. Getting a new Sierra game was a genuinely exciting thing for me. The packaging, the ritual of installing it and loading it up, the loading screen, the music... It was magical. It sort of didn't matter that I was rubbish at them, because puzzles; I just liked being part of those worlds. It was hair-raising, palpable... it felt like a privilege.
And I'll never again have that thrill. I've tried over the years to replicate it. I play the old games. I try to tell myself I'm as excited about new games as I always was... but the truth is that they don't have that buzz anymore for me. I wonder if they do for those who are just now coming to games for the first time.
I'm guessing that the demographic of Digitiser2000 isn't teens and whippersnappers. And if you're reading this and you are under 25... well... get away from my bins, you little shit. But for most of us here I'm going to assume that games are not a new thing; we are, generalising wildly, the generation that experienced the dawn of video games. We were pioneers, in a way. Our impact might've been tangential, but together we helped to build the modern games industry.
I don't know whether that means we had a vastly different experience of games to those who came after us, or whether contemporary kids have the same reaction to games that we might've done. I don't know if having had the opportunity to experience that has coloured - or, rather, stripped the colour - from everything which followed.
But I'm going to speculate that, yes, a combination of our formative ages and the newness of video games means that we got to have an experience with them that no other generation ever will.
And that is both sad and excellent.
I mean, I've always loved my movies and TV shows... but I don't remember ever having that same tangible excitement about them that I did for games - well, except maybe for Star Wars. There was something uniquely special about anticipating that very first moment of a new game.
Growing up, I think I knew in some way that every new game offered something which had never been seen before. That the people making the games were exploring the medium as much as the rest of us. We were together on a shared voyage of discovery. Everybody was finding their way.
When I was eight years old I was arrested for breaking into an old vicarage over the road from my home. Yes: when I was eight. Aside from the utter terror and shame of being grabbed by a bunch of cops and bundled into a police car, the thrill of exploring that forbidden place (matron) is something I can only liken to the same feeling I got playing a game back then.
It was a place that - at least since the family who lived there had left - I knew we were the first to set foot in. The empty rooms, with a handful of relics left by its former inhabitants (I remember finding a shove ha'penny board in the kitchen, of all things), was pure video game adventuring made real.
It's a feeling I rarely get these days, given that my criminal days are long behind me. When I was lucky enough to go on an expedition with the Centre for Fortean Zoology some years back, I had it again.
We went full Indiana Jones at points - exploring caves and sites that, we were told, no Westerner had ever seen before. Aside from the constant hunger and exhaustion and having to poo outside and being bitten by loads of tiny little fish, it was living in a Sierra adventure game, with the invisible walls delineated only by my own stamina.
Of course, I get that I'm older now. I know that as you get older less stuff is new. The world isn't as magical; the curtain has been ripped down to reveal the ordinary pleb behind the wizard.
I'm curious to know if that's why there's such a desire for open world games. When I played those old Sierra adventures, there would be distant peaks or alleyways which I would never get to explore. Places only hinted at.
Now, thanks to where we're at with technology, you can see distant place from a mountaintop and walk or glide to it. Nowhere is closed off. Are modern developers somehow, on some level, chasing that same feeling I used to get - trying to recreate the buzz we all used to get?
Ironically, for me anyway, by making the entirety of a game world accessible it somehow dilutes the mystery which drove that feeling games used to give me. Perhaps it was because I knew those places were off-limits to everyone; player and creator alike. It gave the games a certain sense of a life beyond, like we were all just visitors, and the game was letting us all play in a tiny corner of its world.
Of course, I know intellectually that wasn't the case - that the walls and limits were a result of the technology - but that was how it felt to me. I didn't need a massive open world when I was younger; I just needed it to be hinted at, for my imagination to do the rest of the work.
Somehow it made games more personal, because that world was the product of my own mind. Now I rarely get that luxury, and it has contributed - along with games not being new, and all the games being the same, and me being old - to the loss of something that was for a long time one of the key motivators to why I played games...
Knowing I was one of the pioneers. Knowing that this was all as new to me as it was to everyone else. We were blessed in that respect, the fortunate ones. No gamer will ever get to have that again... but at least they don't know what they missed out on.