9 game references that show your age

Where you stand on the generation gap may be more obvious than you think

Above: Here%26rsquo;s a freebie: %26ldquo;The last game I played was Pac-Man!%26rdquo;

Don%26rsquo;t believe us? Then think about the last time you talked about a%26hellip;

%26ldquo;Shooter%26rdquo; seems like it should be a catch-all term, doesn%26rsquo;t it? Something that should encapsulate all games that revolve around shooting something %26ndash; which, let%26rsquo;s face it, would be an awful lot of games. But %26ldquo;shooter,%26rdquo; used by itself, tends to have a very specific meaning that differs from generation to generation. Back in the %26lsquo;80s, for example, if you were talking about a shooter, you were probably talking about a game like Gradius, R-Type, Xevious or Time Pilot. Something side-scrolling or top-down, usually with a spaceship that shot at things.


These have since been renamed %26ldquo;shoot %26lsquo;em-ups,%26rdquo; or %26ldquo;SHMUPs,%26rdquo; but when they were actually popular, the term was practically unheard of. And it%26rsquo;s not uncommon for seriously old-school fans to still refer to SHMUPs simply as shooters, because that%26rsquo;s what they are, goddammit.

It wasn%26rsquo;t until the likes of Wolfenstein and Doom came along that first-person shooters co-opted the term and eventually became synonymous with it, giving an entire generation of Japanese-RPG fans license to complain about how everything%26rsquo;s %26ldquo;a shooter%26rdquo; these days.

Above: We can probably blame Halo specifically for every game being a shooter, seeing as it%26rsquo;s the most popular and therefore the worst

It%26rsquo;s pretty common to assume that the word %26ldquo;64%26rdquo; tacked onto a game%26rsquo;s title means it%26rsquo;s a Nintendo 64 game. It was a popular convention back in the day, after all, and became so prevalent that certain N64 games that never had a number in their title have since become popularly known as, say, %26ldquo;Superman 64%26rdquo; or %26ldquo;Castlevania 64.%26rdquo;

Above: You see a %26ldquo;64%26rdquo; anywhere on this box? Or even a title, for that matter?

Above: There, see? If a publisher tacked a 64 onto a title, they wanted you to know it

If you%26rsquo;re one of the many who think along these lines, then odds are you%26rsquo;re relatively young. However, it%26rsquo;s possible %26ndash; if unlikely %26ndash; that seeing the number in a game%26rsquo;s title triggers a totally different association. It wasn%26rsquo;t quite as widespread as it was among N64 games, but slapping a %26ldquo;64%26rdquo; on a game box was fairly common during the Commodore 64 era, too.

Above: Back then, most games were only 50-60 percent machine code. Munch Man 64 changed all that

So if you%26rsquo;ve ever caught yourself wondering why all these snarky internet kids keep bringing up ancient %26lsquo;80s computer games, congratulations: you%26rsquo;re old. And more than a little out of touch.


After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.


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