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The Good Old Days Of Video Game Outrage

“Psychologists’ offices might get more crowded this holiday season, just in time for Christmas.” No, this isn’t about violence in video games.

“Have things gone a bit too far?”

“Where should the anger be directed? Not at the parents, but at the what? The manufacturers.”

“Psychologists’ offices might get more crowded this holiday season, just in time for Christmas.”

“I feel…maybe exploited.”

These read like quotes from a sensational report on violence in video games. But this early instance of video game outrage from 1991, which I came across while putting together another post, is about something else entirely: the fact that Nintendo dared to produce a new console, the Super Nintendo, which the report claimed cost “twice as much as the old system, and you can’t mix and match.”

This was a year before the first popular first-person shooter — Wolfenstein 3D — and Mortal Kombat, when the violence in video games debate was barely a twinkle in the eye of an earnest, concerned broadcast anchor, gravely citing the various ways you could dismember an opponent as Johnny Cage. So the only popular discontent to be mined by the media was squarely consumerist.

Of course, the way the mainstream media talked about video games back then was hilarious — “for the money, the company promises better pictures, sound, and adventures” — but it’s also a picture of a time before yearly updates to gadgets were anywhere close to normal. Could you imagine the discomfort if Apple took two years to release a new iPhone or iPad? The parents in this video are fuming that Nintendo released a new console after six years.

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