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What Gaming was Before Gaming

Credit: Nintendo

I still miss Blockbuster…

If you grew up in the late 80s and 90s playing Nintendo and Sega, you know how real the struggle was compared to what gamers deal with today. Don’t get me wrong, though, it was a ton of fun and began this revolutionary period that millions of people enjoy today. Let’s look back at some of the things gamers in the past had to do to play that today’s generation does not have to worry about.

Renting Games

Christmas Day was always one of the most exciting days because the game that you hoped would be wrapped under the tree was going to make or break your holiday. Most of the time, though, buying new games was out of the question. Instead, we had to rent games that we could play for a few days at a time. There was no guarantee that the game you really wanted to play would even be there. Nowadays, you just have to wait it out a little bit and the game you have been wanting to play drops in price to $20.

Multiple Discs

That’s right, we had to change out discs during gameplay. FMVs started taking up so much space that many games required more than one disc. You couldn’t play the game without all of the discs. While to a drastically reduced extent, this is actually still seen today on occasion, at least with really big releases like Red Dead Redemption II.


Just Google any tricks and tips that you want for today’s games and you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of information. Back in the day, gamers had to call tip lines to find out how they can advance out of a tricky level. Experts of the games were hired by companies who would answer questions from frustrated callers for a low price of $2 a minute. You know those old commercials that say “ask parents’ permission before calling?” That was why.

Memory Cards

There was no cloud or hard drive to save your game to whenever you wanted. In the 90s, gamers were expected to purchase memory cards to store their data on. The cards did not always hold the largest amount of data either. If you played a lot of games, you would expect to purchase several memory cards to keep your data safely stored.

Blowing in the Cartridge

Probably the most enjoyable throwback on the list, when console games were not working properly, one of the first strategies to correct the problem was to blow into the cartridge to intent to clean out any debris and dust. It was probably entertaining to watch someone do this, but it was only damaging the game later down the road. The struggle was real!