Gamers have a tendency to look at the early years of gaming through rose-colored glasses. Not everything about those days was as great as you may remember; we recently ran through several ways that playing games used to suck. However, not everything about those days was worse. In this list, we reminisce about the many ways being a gamer in simpler times was superior.

Public conventions like BlizzCon, QuakeCon, and PAX let gamers come together, but events like that only happen a few times a year. Finding a gathering of gamers used to be no harder than going to the arcade at your local mall. These dim, cacophonous caves were the proving grounds for people eager to demonstrate their skill. Arcades also provided a forum for gamers to get together and trade strategies and secrets.

Games Worked At Launch
Whether it means dealing with day-one patches or pervasive network errors, “launch week” is an odious phrase in today’s landscape. Some games are pushed out the door in an unpolished state, with the idea that they can be repaired through post-launch updates. That garbage did not happen in the old days. Sure, bad games still came out, but releasing unfinished games was not a common practice.

Multiplayer: Free and Functional
Teaming up with your friends used to be hassle-free: You just plugged in some extra controllers. Not only did that give you actual human interaction, but it also didn’t require you to purchase an annual subscription to a separate service. Today, most titles opt for online over local multiplayer, forcing console gamers to buy in to Xbox Live or PS+, putting them at the mercy of the servers and introducing a host of complications.

When you spend hundreds of dollars on a new console these days, you aren’t just buying a way to play games; you’re also buying a new vehicle for advertisements. You turn on your console and you see the latest promoted content. Back in the day, a video game console was just for playing games, not for leveraging a user base to drive partnerships with huge corporations (unless you bought games like Yo! Noid or M.C. Kids).

No Hand-Holding
Starting a new game didn’t always mean blocking out an hour or two at the beginning for tutorials about movement, basic combat, and crafting. Once upon a time, you could just start playing and experience the joy of discovery. Games let you gradually discover their depth rather than beating you over the head with it.

Next: Even more ways gaming was great back in the day.