Every so often, I think back to how it was in pre-Internet days. How peaceful things were in gaming.

There wasn’t much hype. Almost all the information on games came from the magazines, and there’s only so much space in print for any product. Of course, there were previews, but most of the mags covered current games more than anything else.

You could learn about a new game without knowing everything. Unlike today, when PR starts two years or more ahead of time, and reaches fever pitch just before release.

Fallout 3 is the current example, and Blizzard is doing plenty with Diablo 3, although that one is at least a year away. You can’t visit a major website without seeing “interview this”, “preview that”, “screenshots here”, “trailers there”. As I said here somewhere before, you hardly need to play the game you know so much about it.

I doubt that it’s all really necessary. As I pointed out long ago in On Reviewing, most gamers don’t wait for a review; they’re going to buy as soon as the product shows up in the store. And that was long before today’s “hype machine” started up.

People weren’t so crazed about games, either. You know what I mean: the fanboys. Just mention on a forum you thought “game X” was terrible, and they’re all over you.

They don’t merely disagree, they post vituperative comments of a highly-personal nature. They may even send nasty emails. Fanboys just can’t seem to separate themselves from the games they like; every negative remark about the game becomes a personal insult.

It wasn’t like that back in the time when I ran gaming areas on proprietary networks. Sure, occasionally tempers might flare, but those were rare incidents, and usually passed quickly (I ensured they did ;).

And there wasn’t a lot of controversy back then, either. The mainstream press, thankfully, pretty much ignored games. Shucks, we didn’t even have a ratings board.

Yeah, the peaceful time. Before the hype, the fanboys, the ratings controversies, and yes, the lawsuits that have become so common. How I miss it. And how sad gaming is what it has become now.