The “next generation” of video game consoles has begun now that the Xbox One and Playstation 4 have arrived (in many countries). Which makes them the current generation. Of course, what we recently called “current gen” is now old.
As a life-long console gamer, this is a very exciting time for me. After 7-8 years I get to make a leap forward in gaming technology. Yes, I know the new consoles are only relatively close to the high-end gaming PCs available today but the consoles don’t cost nearly as much. Again, as a console person, I am very happy to have shiny new consoles available with shiny new games to play.
It’s about time, right? All of the old consoles suck now. Right?… Right?! Absolutely not.
Console gaming is one of the few things that seem to represent moving on and leaving something behind. Your Xbox One can’t play Xbox 360 games, PS3 played PS2 games for a while but then that feature was eventually removed, the Super NES could not play NES games, etc. As a kid, my father told me I could get the newest (or a different) console whenever I wanted, as long as I sold the one I had first. That was my reality: Getting the new thing meant getting rid of the old thing. Forever. Now I see things differently. I’m limited by money, time, TV connections, and storage space so I still make choices, regardless of how much I wish I owned every console ever made, but I’ve learned that just because there is something new it does not mean I’ll never enjoy the old again.
New vs. Old
One way in which new things are better than the old is in the case of multi-platform releases or having the option between a DVD or Blu-ray. Out of the multiple versions, one looks better, sounds better, and may have additional features. Even then, the content is mostly the same so it should still be enjoyable even if not experienced at its full potential or how the creators intended.
Just because there is something new, this does not invalidate or devalue something old. Does my PS4 make my PS3 a worse system? Not really. We may argue that one thing is better than the other but it’s not always the new that’s better than the old.
Old But Not Forgotten
So my PS3 is still hooked up to my TV and I’ve used it many times since I placed a PS4 next to it. I will definitely play games on it for the next few months and I’ll possibly keep coming back in future years. Especially because I know I did not experience everything it has to offer. Even if I end up getting rid of it at some point, I may want to revisit the console again somehow in the future. Also, we live in a world where people can continue to support systems long after they are no longer manufactured so the old consoles are never really gone.
Is this applicable to other things in life? Can we still enjoy old things after we’ve moved on to new things?
Retro. Vintage. Classic. Re-release. Remake. Doctor Who. The world is full of examples of old things not only being cool again (or never stopping) but sometimes they keep giving. Also, let’s not forget that if you never saw it when it was new, it’s new to you.
My grandfather died last year and during the days after the funeral I learned a lot about him that I never knew before. It was as if I found a lost chapter or a deleted scene to his life story. I’ll forever remember my grandfather as someone who always had a joke to tell. As he got older he started repeating jokes so I thought I had heard them all. After the funeral I stayed up all night telling my grandfather’s jokes with my uncles and we all heard new jokes we’d never heard before. Even after he died my grandfather was still giving us reasons to laugh.
New is More, Not Less
I always get caught up thinking that because I have something new I can no longer look back or that I’ll never enjoy the thing old again. I’ll never enjoy PS3 again because I have a PS4. I’ll never enjoy the old Doctor Who because I have the new Doctor Who.
Actually, let’s talk about Doctor Who for a second. When the Doctor regenerates, do we forget about the previous incarnations? Do we no longer have 50 years of content to enjoy? Can the old Doctors never return?
Whether I am discovering things about the Doctor’s past (Classic, War Doctor, and Big Finish Productions) or going on adventures with the latest regeneration, playing games I never got around to on PS3 like Uncharted 3 or new games like GT6, or whether my grandfather continues to make me laugh when I remember his old jokes or I learn brand new ones, there are many ways for me to look back and enjoy the old.
So instead of looking forward and never looking back, I’ve learned to appreciate simply that old = old and new = new but more importantly, old + new (or new + old) = more. And who doesn’t like more?