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What the Gameboy Advance can teach us today

I picked up a cute pink GPA SP this weekend at a retrogaming swap meet. Its in great condition, works perfectly and I spent my downtime Saturday and Sunday playing Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. Theres a lot here, so lets unpack what I just said.

There were a lot of people at a small retrogaming swap meet in a civic center in Arlington. A lot. Some people drove across the state to be there. Why is retrogaming so popular nowadays? Haven't modern games surpased the crude atempts from 20+ years ago? Well, no. A theme that keeps coming up when I look my past compared to now is that limitation spurred creativity. Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog are still fun today. They represent an aesthetic that modern indie games try to replicate. They have had long lasting impact on many generations of people, even after they stopped making the cartridges. Will the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield do this?

Or can they even do this? I said I got a GBA SP and games and have been playing them. I didn't have to go online to register the console, download updates, confirm my identity, install game patches, buy anything from an online store. I picked it up, charged it, and played. I'm frankly not sure the iPad app (textastic) I'm writing this on will be around in 5 years, or installable. I paid money for it, and I'm not sure that purchase will be honored in 5 years time. I want to insist that my purchases result in something that I own, even if its a file, but I'm loosing that choice in a lot of places. Nintendo shut down the Wii store, so if you bought anything on there and your Wii dies, tough. Anything you spent money on is gone forever. Soon the same may happen for the PS3 and the Vita. And the Wii U. It almost feels like theft, you paid the money but through no action of your own have lost the thing you purchased. Its legal since you OKd the EULA though. If this sounds anti-capitalist, well the shoe certianly fits.

Theres nothing I can do as an individual to fix this. I could go running off to my old computers but it wouldn't change much. I don't want to ostracise myself from the world just because I insist I not be stolen from. I spent a lot of time Sunday thinking about this, and in the end had to put my technology away for the day just to get some distance from how angry it made me feel. We MUST have regulation of the tech industry, and not some weak tea attempt. Puchases of digital goods must be treated with the same gravitas as a physical good. The money that goes in is certianly the same. Anything less than regulation will be worked around by companies who sole and only goal is the acquistion of more profit, at any expense.

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Copyright 2019 Danielle Jackson