1980'sI believe games only existed due to the unique mechanics they offered. With memory limitations the focus was more so on the game play. Plenty of reading instead of voice actors. Sound effects were not jumping out in three dimensions. Games like Excite Bike did not have any story that I can recall. Paper Boy was also another title that you pressed start and played, no 5 minute cut scene showing what the delivery boy had for breakfasts. This may have been crude times in graphics but a beautiful time when things were much simpler.
My Golden Era of video gaming. I think the stories Rpgs told during this era were some of the better writings. I saw more risks being taken in this era. Projects that you could tell were the creators brain child. These times we saw a lot of art. Games like Earth Worm Jim, Neverhood, Shenmue to name just a few. Some titles may have failed but the developers still push forth to make things better. I saw more innovation from the titles and game play seem much more varied from game to game.
This time ushered in a new user base the "randy" crowd. With online gaming thriving you are now placed in rooms with complete strangers. Complete strangers that ruin the game play Because now games are made to please a larger crowd, bridge skill gaps, and appease the many with short attention spans. With the introduction of so called "HD" graphics. It seems like more time is spent in the department of making a game look pretty rather than story lines. Especially with the boom of re-hashing and annual sequels. The game mechanics are set in stone, and the story is a formula concocted in a focus test Q and A. To me AAA titles are more hit and miss in these times. Compared to the past AAA titles of the Nintendo 64, PlayStation and Sega Genesis days. The days of the balanced trinity are behind us. The new age of how pretty can it look are taking over. Bragging of beating a game on highest difficultly, gone. Meeting people who are the so called best in the game they play are here.
Bottom Line: I wish new Intellectual Properties were more frequent and when companies made big gains they rewarded gamers with a risky new I.P. instead of the annual sequel.