I think one of the primary purposes of those collections of old video games is to remind us not to take what we have today for granted and that once upon a time our heroes had to go to the dungeon in 2 feet of snow(y tv static) uphill both ways.
I always hear stories about how the ET game was so bad that it caused the home game market to crash. Or the same with the Atari Pac-man (which, in fairness, was a really crappy port of an otherwise great game). But what about all of the other god-awful terrible, near unplayable, games that DIDN’T cause the market to crash?** 17 games in one! and they’re all terrible :D
Still, there was a focus on heads-up multiplayer gaming that’s really lacking today everywhere except for fighting games. I bet I can land my sky-diving stick figure on the narrow colored line better and more times than you can!
One thing that I find most interesting about old games are their cartridge art and the manuals. Art ranged from outlandish to beautiful realism, fueling the imagination to visualize these worlds of digital impressionism.
This isn’t to say that there weren’t some great old games. It’s just that the difference between Atari 2600 and NES are like a watershed. Especially looking at some of the mid to late 80s Atari home games, I just kind of feel sad for everyone… Developers, players, me…
*:The only games from this Gen I’m old enough to have fond memories of are the older arcade games still in operation in places like Chuck’e Cheeses (then Showbiz Pizza) from the days before they became shady kiddy-casinos with nothing but dull games of chance.
**: Really, most of the arcade games still hold up, especially Red Baron and Crystal Castles. It’s just the home-ports and home games that are awful.