The Internet isn’t to blame (for once)

The whole week I’ve been reading, and writing, about clashes of gameplay style – zergers vs story-lovers, power levelers vs ‘enjoy-the-journey’ types. Reading some of the many Neverwinter forum threads about these topics I saw several similar exclamations along the lines of:

“Welcome to the Internet!” or “welcome to gaming 2013!”.

Tir na nOg cheatcodes: courtesy of Gamespot

Tir na nOg cheatcodes: courtesy of Gamespot

Then it hit me, “stop right there, pal!”, that’s probably a load of rubbish.

I can remember the 8-bit gaming days on ZX Spectrum or Toshiba MSX personal computers. The gaming magazines for these computers had sections dedicated to walkthroughs, cheats and spoilers! Games, even back then, had cheat modes for example to make you invincible or give you endless resources. So the desire to skip the ‘boring bits’ of a game is nothing new.

Fast forward a few years into the 16-bit era of the Atari ST and Amiga and I can recall that at school friends were sharing games and spoilers on how to beat this boss fight or that platform level. Magazines were again a major force in disseminating this.


When the Internet came around in the late 90s (depending more on when you could afford access than when it was ‘invented’!) bulletin boards were a rich source of text heavy walkthroughs for games and of course cheat codes (who could forget ‘god-mode’ in Doom?) Less drastic, but still technically cheating, was the use of lavishly printed guide books (like those for WoW’s different expansions) which gave a ton of tips and maps to easily find quests and resources.

Perhaps the use of cheat codes or god-mode in games isn’t directly comparable to wanting to skip leveling in an MMO, but I can see parallels. So this debate over cheating in games or skipping content isn’t that new or restricted to MMORPGs; isn’t it rather as old as the computer gaming hobby itself?

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