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Will Modern Games Stand the Test of Time?

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the attack-of-the-paradigms dept.

Classic Games (Games) 210

The Multiplayer blog spoke with Tadashi Iguchi, one of the developers for the recent Pac-man and Galaga remakes, about the decision to bring new life to old classics and whether today's games will receive similar treatment twenty years down the road. "'I think more than half of the games you see today with huge budgets and such a "realistic" focus will be either stale or forgotten in 20 years,' he said. 'On the other hand, the masterpieces of the '80s will definitely be enjoyed far into the future. The reason for this is simple — many of these classic titles have unique and fascinating mechanics that can't be diminished by the advancement of technology.'"

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What's the bench mark for "the test of time"? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971689)

If it's chess, I'd guess "no".

Re:What's the bench mark for "the test of time"? (5, Insightful)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972211)

I would say that standard chess has actually become a much less interesting game in the past few decades. It may have been a rewarding field of study once, but these days, whoever has spent the most time studying what is already known about optimal strategies in the first 10-15 moves will have the upper hand. Competitive chess is a contest of memorisation, utterly dominated by machines.

true for almost any game (4, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972833)

Professional golfers repeat the same swing time after time. Baseball players try to perfect their swings. A bowler strives for perfect repetition.

Back to the subject at hand... old video games were more like chess than newer games. They could be mastered with study and repetition. Today's games more and more rely on simulating the real world, meaning that each new game renders the last one obsolete as the simulations improve. I believe that the move from 2d to 3d represented a fundamental shift in gaming, away from the abstract toward the concrete.

The old games, lacking the realism, had to rely on the challenge. Today we're more concerned with reflections, textures and socializing. PacMan would have been very different if other humans controlled the ghosts.

Re:true for almost any game (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973459)

Older games continue to thrive because it always was and always will be about the game play. The older games defined and created each of the different styles of game play and became memorable for them. As they are updated with the latest graphics etc. but retained the original game play the are revisited by players who remember the original games and are often still playing them.

Level and campaign design are critical to a good game and crapping out on those can kill a game of regardless of it's history ala doom or game play.

The reality for modern game designs to be able to stand the test of time, is far more about whether that particular game studio or game publisher is be able to stand the test of time or whether they fail after a string of poor decisions and take their game library into obscurity with them.

What about today's classics (5, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971697)

There are classics out there today as well. Consider star craft. The gameplay mechanics are pretty good. In fact, what i'm hearing about star craft 2 is that its a remake of the old game with a little more colour.

Not unlike old movies (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971837)

Not a lot of money went into special effect, so the concentration was on the story(gameplay), and it yielded excellent results. Of course there are some duds from long ago.

We will continue to see great games, and those will continue to have as an absolute requirement excellent gameplay, fun, replayability, and involvement.

Special effects, realism, etc are nice to have, but can not be the focus. Again chess is the example.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972133)

Ya kidding right?

Starcraft suffers from the classic "tank rush" problem that the turn-based strategy predecessors said that all real-time strategy games would suffer from.

They were wrong, it is possible to balance an RTS to not suffer from tank rush, but Starcraft wasn't.

Re:What about today's classics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972401)

I'd really like to hear how you plan to tank rush a zerg doing a standard muta-ling build. There's a reason people mostly go medic/marine/vessel nowadays... Tanks are extremely important in TvP and TvT, but they still die horribly if not guarded adequately (Zealot bombs, dt, zealot rush, and storm for Protoss, which need turrets or goliaths, scan, and vultures with mines for Protoss, and other terrans will use mostly Goliath drops or wraiths. However, tanks are not the be-all and end-all that they are in so many other games, they're instead a valuable and useful weapon that must be carefully preserved and used effectively but has intense rewards if used well.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972425)

Oh dear. "tank rush" has nothing to do with tanks. It's a historical term for building faster than your opponent.

Kids these days.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

miscz (888242) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972977)

It is most commonly used for describing producing tons of tanks in Command & Conquer series. I don't get how do you see tank rushing (as you have described it) a problem in Starcraft.

I will have to agree with GGGP post, this game is really balanced. Blizzard worked on Starcraft for years after it came out and it shows. I'm still playing it sometimes with my friends - it never gets old.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973061)

Well it really doesn't matter what your opinion is. The fact is that a large part of playing Starcraft is rushing. That's the problem. It's universally acknowledged - he who builds fastest wins. As such, the whole "strategy" part of the game is lost.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973733)

Remind me which RTS or turn based game rewarded you for diddle-assing around more than your opponent?

You have to build faster than the other guy in every strategy game, the only difference here is the timeline. In Starcraft it is shorter than what you're used to.

Another example: Quake 3 vs. Halo. They're both FPSes, they have similar weapons, etc. However, Q3's gameplay is about a million times quicker than Halo. All of the 1337 Halo players would get destroyed on about any Q3 server. It's all relative.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973791)

Both DR and TA had turrets that you could use to build kill zones. No matter how many troops rush into the kill zone they won't make it out. Setting up kill zones to trap your opponent and driving them into them is strategy and it balances the tank rush "strategy". Fanbois of Starcraft are unaware of all this as all they've ever done is play the same game over and over in the same way: the tank rush.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973037)

Oh dear, I think the point rushed over the top of your head....

So you are for Multiple building select or do you think we should also get rid of multiple unit select?

Re:What about today's classics (3, Interesting)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973423)

The ability to think quickly, manage a complex and changing battlefield environment, and not only defend the infrastructure to manufacture a large army but also maintain the flow of resources in order to feed that (hungry) tank machine - all add to the appeal of RTS games - and I'm a veteran of both turn-based and RTS wargames.

Turn-based strategy games are intellectually stimulating. It requires deep strategizing and planning, and can result in a good game that lasts days. They are also, regrettably, a bit boring. They lack the same shifting-puzzle nature that makes Chess a classic for the ages. There is a reason why the RTS market completely dominated the TBS market as soon as it became viable.

RTS games are a totally different animal. It's not as dry as a TBS game - the speed and constant activity give you a much more solid connection to the mind you are trying to defeat. Every moment of attention spent in one place is a gamble. There is no boredom - you never have to wait for a slow player. Additionally, it rewards quick thinking and resiliency in ways that TBS just can't compete with. I never broke a sweat during a TBS game, but there is no gaming experience like the nervous tension (often filled with chainsmoking) you experience when you have an entire army poised on the tip of an all-or-nothing assault.

Also, psychology is difficult to employ, and impossible to deploy well, in all but the very best TBS games. On the other hand, even the most poorly-designed RTS game allows for misdirection, confusion, and outright misleading your enemy.

The average RTS games, in my opinion, have generally been superior (in terms of entertainment) to all of the best TBS games I have played (and I have fond memories of Axis and Allies, Risk (if that counts), and of course a blast from the past - Ogre). Risk remains popular largely due to it's simplicity - more complex versions of it have been made for a very long time, but never stand the test of time.

I don't think many individual RTS games will last for long, largely because they are all based on a specific gimmick, story, or appearance. As a format, I think RTS will remain a major theme in games for the foreseeable future. TBS has already fallen by the wayside, no matter how much a few segments of the populations love them. The only way a specific RTS would last is if it were more generic - if it had fewer associations, and fell into the format of "army vs army" with less emphasis on story.

Also, I happen to be a tank rush aficionado. A great many have fallen, sobbing, before the unholy might of my inhuman efficiency.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973477)

Reading comprehension fail.

I wasn't advocating TBS over RTS. I was just saying that Starcraft was one of the RTS games that failed balance the game to prevent tank rushes. Dark Reign, Total Annihilation, and plenty other games didn't fall into the same trap. The tank rush is not some basic necessity of the RTS experience, it's a bug that must be avoided.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973147)

One of the beauties of Star Craft is that the game can be over in 4 minutes. Your adrenaline starts pumping from the time the first probe hits the mineral line.

You've got to be prepared for the rush. If you leave yourself open to it then you have no one but yourself to blame.

If you're good enough, you can stop it and still have a better economy than your opponent who had to sacrifice his own economy to get early units.

I can understand if that style of game doesn't appeal to you, but I've always found it to be a very enjoyable part of the core mechanic of StarCraft. Rushing loses to standard openings, standard openings lose to economic powering, and economic powering loses to rushing. This rock, paper, scissors element shows up in the game over and over again.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973345)

hehe, "it's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Re:What about today's classics (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973181)

In fact, what i'm hearing about star craft 2 is that its a remake of the old game with a little more colour.

Nah, Starcraft had plenty of color. You're thinking of Diablo 3. Starcraft 2 is just going to have better resolution.

Re:What about today's classics (1)

HolyCause (936755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973573)

Your argument is a bit flawed in that StarCraft 2 is being made by the same makers as the first StarCraft, whereas a lot of the clones of the "classic games" are made by a wider scope of developers.

Yes StarCraft's mechanics are significantly more advanced than Pac-Man, but that doesn't really matter. Arguably, a lot of games nowadays are based heavily on StarCraft's format... but how many do you see that copy the formula exactly like many Pac-Man clones or remakes?

Most of the old games were crap too (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971703)

Grab yourself a full set of MAME ROMs off a torrent, the signal to noise ratio is pretty low. Most of the classic arcade games have been forgotten, and rightfully so. Same thing here.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too - nostaglia (2, Insightful)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971745)

Rose tinted glasses, my good fellow.

Nostalgia has this way of making anything in the past seem wonderful.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for some Pacman on the Atari.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too - nostaglia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972139)

I still have fun playing Pong on the Atari. It's DANG fun - whammies and such.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too - nostaglia (2, Insightful)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972227)

Whoosh... You're agreeing with the parent article you're supposedly disagreeing with.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24971971)

I don't think it's that bad. The height of arcade games was between 1980 and 1982 (possibly as far as 1984; only 2 to 5 years). In that short time frame I can think of dozens of classic games.

Now if we look at the period between say, 1990 and now (a whopping 18 years) and you would be hard pressed to pick ten classic games out of that comparatively huge time frame.

Personally I'm sick of the "realistic" trend. It's getting so boring. But maybe that's just the kind of gamer I am, I would prefer a game of Quake3 over some realistic boring war simulation.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972617)

Now if we look at the period between say, 1990 and now (a whopping 18 years) and you would be hard pressed to pick ten classic games out of that comparatively huge time frame.

Oh lets see here...

Super Mario World, Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy (VI and IV), Super Mario RPG, Shining Force, Super Mario Bros 3 (released in 1990 in the US), Chrono Trigger, Street Fighter, Super Metroid, Super Mario Kart, etc.

Nope, none of them are classics. Nope no one ever spends $8 to replay them on the Wii.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (3, Informative)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972885)

Not to mention Civilization, Doom, Dune II, The Secret of Monkey Island, Prince of Persia (89 is close enough). There are tons of games from that era that I will go back and play on occasion.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (4, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972939)

And those are just a couple of consoles. How about Civilization, Doom, The Sims, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Grand Theft Auto III, Baldur's Gate, Diablo (1 and 2), Psychonauts, Beyond Good & Evil, Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandago, Tie Fighter...oops, went to 12.

Anyone who claims that game design somehow peaked in the 1980s is locked in a nostalgic haze.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972969)

PS- I should note that I'm 36 years old and I owned the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 in their heydays and, obviously, at ages where I was most impressionable. One would think that if anyone was going to be stupidly nostalgic, it would be me. :)

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973343)

There are also the games that got popular past their prime. These are pretty rare, but Freespace 2 [] and The Longest Journey [] both immediately come to mind as being among the best ever in their respective genres, despite lackluster sales upon their release.

It's a shame that The Underdogs [] has gone semi-defunct. They were pretty good at picking out the forgotten gems.

Also, the games that got incrementally better with each sequal (eg. SimCity, Unreal Torunament, C&C) will likely be remembered pretty easily. These sort of games also have terrific "replay value." It takes a good while for SimCity to get old.

Of course, I'm not a hardcore gamer, so what do I know......

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24973579)

LOL, those all are shit.

The Sims? LOL... I hope you're female.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24973725)

Sarcasm aside, you're right, those aren't classics.

Judging by your UID you grew up with those games so feel a certain nostalgia for them. Don't get me wrong, they weren't bad games, but a classic has to stand the test of time. Arguably a couple of games on your list do, but most of them... don't. To put it another way, they aren't "good games" they are "good games for their time". Their biggest draw isn't their innovative gameplay, but their nostalgia.

Yep (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972113)

People tend to look at the past through rose coloured glasses. They remember the good things, not the bad ones. In the case of games it is no surprise. You find a game you love, you play that thing to death. Thus it stands strongly in your memory. You find one that sucks, it quickly gets set aside and thus more easily forgotten.

There was a lot of pure crap released in the past. You just don't remember it because you didn't spend much time on it.

Re:Yep (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972291)

If you do not believe the parent, just check this site out. []

It's a satirical show about shitty games from the past atari/NES/SNES/PS1/etc.
Looking at several episodes of it I can conclude one thing, there were some very good games but some games simply SUCKED MONKEY BALLS.

Fortunately, we humans can easily repress those feelings. Just don't make me play Deadly Towers again.

Re:Yep (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973689)

Come on. Deadly Towers was hard (probably the 2nd hardest-without-being-stupidly-frustrating game on the NES) but it was a good game.

Battletoads, OTOH...

Re:Yep (1)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973823)

Don't remind me. If you didn't want to break something after the speeder bike stage of Battletoads, there is something wrong with you.

Re:Yep (1)

Zeussy (868062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973097)

People seem to forget or not realise that there were hundreds and hundreds of games for the NES/SNES/Master System/Mega Drive, almost every film, TV series, comic book seemed to have some cheap tacky game tie in, even more so than today. Just look at this list List of NES Games [] , but then back in those days the Nintendo Seal of Quality actually meant something, there were very few truly bad games, but really only a small fraction of those games are really remembered as great games as the parents have said.

A good measure for this is take a look at Nintendo's virtual console on the Wii, all of the really popular old titles got released first and the list has slowly extended and almost everything on the list could be seen as a classic.

There are plenty of titles from the later 90's and the 00's that will be fondly remembered into the future, I'm a main fps gamer so things like Doom, Quakes, Half-lifes, Team Fortresses, Counter Strike, UT, Deus Ex 1. A lot of them won't get played as much as the older 80's and early 90's stuff, as they are not pick up'n'play like Pac-Man or Mario, and as Windows marches on and the 'legacy' support fails it becomes more of a pain to install them, but that doesn't mean they will be forgotten. A good game you have invested/lost a lot of time to, had some laughs and other memorable moments. Games are like films you will always remember the good ones, the bad ones forgotten into the $1 discount bin. If games were just discarded aside as the new games come out, then why is backwards compatibility for consoles held in such high regard? Even the XBox 360 now has the XBox classics you can download and play.

Though there are a few shining counter examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24973445)

Like E.T.

Re:Most of the old games were crap too (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972361)

There are a LOT of games in MAME that are utterly terrible. I don't consider the "signal-to-noise" ratio any better on arcade games than any other platform.

My opinion has always been this: If you take a random game from any system in history chances are it sucks. Most games, let's face it, aren't very good. And the gems that there are, whether they be recent or past, will be remembered, probably through more of those rose-colored glasses people have been going on about.

It'll be the same as before.. (3, Insightful)

EvolutionsPeak (913411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971721)

Great games will be remembered and the rest will be forgotten. There was nothing special about the 80's in that regard. There were just as many crappy games (ratio wise at least), we have just forgotten those.

Re:It'll be the same as before.. (2, Informative)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971961)

It's also telling that it seems to be the guys who made the "classic games" in the 80s that are praising remakes of their games and saying things like

I think more than half of the games you see today with huge budgets and such a ârealisticâ(TM) focus will be either stale or forgotten in 20 years...On the other hand, the masterpieces of the 80â(TM)s will definitely be enjoyed far into the future. The reason for this is simple â" many of these classic titles have unique and fascinating mechanics that canâ(TM)t be diminished by the advancement of technology.

Yes, just like how those earliest black and white silent movies, with simple concepts like going to the moon on a zepplin, are still being remade wheras more modern movies like "Jurrasic Park," with huge budgets and "realism" are forgotten in a week.

In honesty, Galaga and Pacman I find quite boring. It's ludicrous to imply that high budgets and production values prevent good concepts from seeing the market, only an arrogant old man out of touch with current videogames would suggest that. There are plenty of good simple mechanics that also utilize more modern machinery and higher quality graphics, just as there are movies that are good movies and also have decent special effects. It's a mistake to see that many of the high-budget films made are crap, and look at a filtered library of "classics" distilled from the last 50 years of film and suggest that you can't make a good high budget movie.

The media has really evolved since the 80s as well. The story in pac man is what? Fruit good ghosts bad? If there is a story, it was told in the game packaging, not through the game itself. I would suggest that games are still evolving, the basic mechanisms of gameplay and storytelling are being fleshed out, and those 80s stars are actually dinosaurs who can't recognize that the type of videogames they made are largely obsolete.

Nope. (1)

urIkon (1073202) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971729)

Technology IS what makes modern games "good" (most of the time don't shoot me please see top 10 best selling games lists). There may be a few gems few and far between, but for the most part I would wager the only test of time a modern game will stand anymore will be a continuation of the franchise, the beating of long dead horses.


tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972053)

but for the most part I would wager the only test of time a modern game will stand anymore will be a continuation of the franchise, the beating of long dead horses.

Unless the franchise is Tetris, invented in Soviet Russia, where dead horse beats YOU! But seriously, The Tetris Company has been running its own franchise into the ground, adding new official rules [] such as infinite spin [] , counter-intuitive rewards for counter-intuitive moves [] , and a randomizer that makes it easy for even a dead horse to play forever [] .

If good gfx is all you have to offer (2, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971737)

Your game's reputation will suffer in the long run because gfx will improve with time. If you focus on the total picture of gfx/gameplay/tilt/sound/etc. and do it properly your game will have a much better chance of keeping it's rep high.

But that's an easy made analysis.

Re:If good gfx is all you have to offer (4, Insightful)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971897)

I think that even if you have a great game, the mere fact that it has "representational" graphics is going to hurt it in the long run. Pac Man has essentially no graphics--it was abstract in 1980, it's still abstract in 2008, and it'll be abstract in 2080. But in 20 years GTA 3 will look like a poor representation of reality, rather tahn not looking like any reality.

It's almost like the Uncanny Valley--graphics that don't try to look real can't take you out of the game, whereas graphics that are more realistic *will* take you out of the game once those graphics are out-of-date.

Re:If good gfx is all you have to offer (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972011)

True, but games that people have thoroughly enjoyed by most people will still be fun if you play it again. Example: Zelda Ocarina of Time. Sure, the gfx are old but I still enjoy playing it because it's such a kick-ass game.

I fear for Crysis though, gfx quality will catch up on them and then *poof*. You have a standard shooter with lame gfx.

Re:If good gfx is all you have to offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24973929)

I agree for the most part, but wanted to put in my two cents. The reason I still enjoy playing OoT is because I played it as a kid and enjoying it immensely then. Friends have forced me to play nostalgic games from their younger years, many of which released to high critical acclaim (Starfox is one), but I just couldn't get into them. Likewise, I'm happy to play games that weren't well-received simply because I grew up playing them with my friends.

Long story short, our present likes and dislikes are forged by our past experiences, and reliving those happy memories we create as children brings us pleasure. It makes us happy again. Not because of the gfx, not because of the storyline, not even because it's a "kick-ass game" - though that may have some effect ;)

As far as I can tell, the only games that have stood the test of time thus far are those originals that are still universally recognized - pong, pacman, tetris. It's impossible to know what games will have joined this category in 100 years, but judging by how big a part of adolescent life games are these days, I'm sure some will survive.

Re:If good gfx is all you have to offer (4, Interesting)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972421)

never have mod points when you need them. I was scanning through this thread to figure out where to post exactly what you just said. I will add though, that early video games had simple gameplay mechanics that couldn't really be improved upon without making it a completely different game. Games today will see and endless amount of minor enhancements, improvements and spinoffs over the next many years. When most people look back at games from today, they will be weak early versions of current games. Games from the 80's will never have modern equivalents. That being said, it's not really a knock on today's games, they're still good, just someone else will make the same game but better sometime in the near future.

Re:If good gfx is all you have to offer (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973217)

I agree about graphics but not gameplay. It's just that people have stopped trying to advance the simple concepts.

On the graphics front you have a game like Team Fortress 2. Which with very little work will look great in 100 years.

On the gameplay front you have games like Braid which is essentially Mario + a horde of other 80s games + New time manipulation widget.

Even Duke Nukem for Xbox now is going to get "rewind" instead of save. Also the flash version of Portal is freakin' brilliant. As good if not better puzzling.

What makes a 3D game great is the immersion. Someone could make a top down TF2 clone very quickly. What I think should happen is a move to prototyping your game concepts in 2D and then the 3D transition should be relatively simple. If you have a 10 million dollar budget put 100,000 into prototyping a complete 2D working version to play until you've gotten the game you really want then spend the effort better directed at creating an immersive experience to make it *sizzle* and *pop*.

Re:If good gfx is all you have to offer (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973195)

Yes, but we're fast approaching photo-realism with our current technology. The difference between the generations of consoles will be less dramatic with each iteration (or, the lifetimes will simply extend further). Honestly, I don't think some of the better-looking Xbox 360 or PS3 games will look horribly dated in 20 years (not compared to the difference between modern games and '80s arcade games). After all, both high-def TVs (which will hopefully not become obsolete for a while) and our eyes have a maximum resolution.

At the point where game developer can display just about any scene they wish to, the differences in game will come down to technique, innovation in gameplay, sheer scope of the virtual world, advances in AI, and the like.

At least, that's what I'm hoping...

Re:If good gfx is all you have to offer (1)

trip1ex (1350523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973209)

Yeah and because the graphics were abstract they really had to concentrate on unique and fundamental gameplay mechanics. Today's games get by much more on realistic graphics.

Classic Sierra Titles (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971785)

Many classic Sierra titles have been remade by fans, even after they received official updates into the VGA world.

Ultima VII is still played via Exult, and is being remade by fans at the same time.

Some games are considered classic, and are revisited. Most won't.

I wouldn't be shocked to see Half Life 1 get ported to Valve's next engine.

Re:Classic Sierra Titles (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971933)

I wouldn't be shocked to see Half Life 1 get ported to Valve's next engine.

But would that indicate that Half-Life is a classic and timeless game, or that it's got a pretty good story that, when some modern graphics are applied becomes playable again?

If one of greatest games of our time needs to constantly be upgraded to latest graphics to keep people's interest it would indicate that, no, in fact today's games don't stand the test of time.

Re:Classic Sierra Titles (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971995)

The two statements aren't exclusive.

It many get updated, but the updated graphics aren't necessarily needed to keep the gameplay enjoyable.

However it is an axiom none the less that it is MUCH easier to sell someone initially on a title based upon graphics. Many people have zero interest in playing something with antiquated graphics unless they've already played it before, and know it to be fun.

Re:Classic Sierra Titles (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972013)

Does West Side Story indicate that Shakespeare's stuff hasn't stood the test of time?

Re:Classic Sierra Titles (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972883)

No, it's neutral. Many less-than-stellar works are re-interpreted with varying degrees of success all the time, they don't necessarily reflect on the quality of the original.

An indicator that Shakespeare's work stands the test of time is that people still perform Romeo and Juliet.

And, as an aside, did anyone ever see that terrible show Kindred: The Embraced?

There was a preview for an episode with the most unintentionally hilarious script I've ever seen, it said "They're like Romeo and Juliet - Except their families are AT WAR!".

Re:Classic Sierra Titles (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973737)

My favourite line from that show for unintended humour was the new Brujah Primogen declaring as he took power that he would be around for a long time.... the last episode before it was cancelled. Oops.

Re:Classic Sierra Titles (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972497)

You reminded me to go check on HL: Black Mesa. Still not done. :\

Re:Classic Sierra Titles (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972797)

Didn't that project basically change directions a few years in, from recreating the HL1 campaign, to only recreating multiplayer maps?

"Classic" games were the first... (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971805)

Remember that gaming in general is only about 30 or 40 years old. We'll see if ANY games can withstand the "test of time"

Classics like Mario and Pong will always be around because they were some of the first things to come out of a completely new media. Nowadays every other game is an unmemorable FPS. Games will become classics when they are experienced positively by a huge number of people.

Elder Scrolls (1, Offtopic)

Deorus (811828) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971807)

A series that I'll never forget.

Nostalgia rules all (5, Interesting)

Kelz (611260) | more than 6 years ago | (#24971873)

I call BS on the "unique and fascinating mechanics". The real reason games from the 80's will be "enjoyed" far into the future is that the generation that grew up with or played it will get nostalgic and run back to it every once in a while.

Games that I think might be hailed as "classics" in 20 years:
Most Mario games (they're still reselling all the old ones on handhelds, I doubt this'll stop in 20 years).
Counterstrike - Immensely popular in the day, it'll certainly be a fun fallback in the future.

Pussy Nazi Sez (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24971917)

No pussy for YOU!

Portal will, but a lot of others won't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972019)

Portal is the sort of game that becomes as a classic. It's different, it's memorable, and it is almost certain it will influence other games.

All? no. Some? yes. (1)

Scorpinox (479613) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972031)

There are incredibly good 3d games around that stand the test of time. Personally I've recently been going back and playing some games considered "ugly" by today's graphics standards, and they're still amazing.

Examples like Psychonauts, Shadow of the Collossus, Mario 64, Half-Life, Fahrenheit. These are more "modern" games that don't look very pretty anymore, and yet I've been having a great time playing them and I don't see how even more time past will change that. I suspect some games like Call of Duty 4, Bioshock, Portal, etc. will also stand up later on, not for their graphics, but for the unique elements they bring.

Amen to that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972355)

I own Psychonauts and ICO and Shadow of the Colossus and Okami, and they are four games I will still be happy to play 20 years from now.

As for Farenheit, well, I just played it for the first time last week (the North American version actually!) and its a great game which I will probably want to play about once a year for the next 10 years!

Just like I still play Super Mario Kart regularly, and play Super Metroid about once a year, and play through about one or two of the early Zelda games per year, and so on.

Four Words (1, Funny)

Tau Neutrino (76206) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972047)





Re:Four Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972327)

Forever is one word.

Re:Four Words (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973233)

Yep. It's just as awesome today as it was ten years ago.

If that isn't withstanding the test of time, I don't know what is.

Faulty comparison (5, Insightful)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972071)

"'I think more than half of the games you see today with huge budgets and such a "realistic" focus will be either stale or forgotten in 20 years,' he said. 'On the other hand, the masterpieces of the 80's will definitely be enjoyed far into the future.'"

Well, they weren't all masterpieces back then, now were they? I don't know about anyone else, but I can certainly remember some stinkers from that era. Pitting the average game of today against stuff that has obviously stood the test of time seems a bit disingenuous.

Re:Faulty comparison (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973275)

Games in the 80's were unique. No one wanted to play a cheap rip-off. Especially if we are talking arcade games. If you walk into an arcade today (providing you can find one), they are fighting games, driving games, or light-gun games. All so similar. All so mediocre.

Re:Faulty comparison (3, Insightful)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973785)

Games in the 80's were unique. No one wanted to play a cheap rip-off.

I'll have to disagree here... There were a LOT of ripoffs, and they got played... for what choice did you have? What your local arcade had was what they had.

nah, it never lasts (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972119)

Kind of hard to compare. The equivalent of games 20 years ago are the cheapie games you download over the console's net store. Zumies is the kind of thing that will be around for ages.

Something like a Half-Life will maybe end up feeling old, ucky, and unfun to play but it will eventually be superseded by another well-done shooter. Same play mechanics, better graphics, different storyline, you know the drill. The next best racing game? Well, the big one from 1995 will feel skunky by this point in time but the latest one on current gen consoles feels great. The good points will be taken from it and other contemporary games and be reworked into various new racing games and fifteen years down the line we'll look back at 2008 and say "wow, just look at how far we've come."

I agree with what the poster said above, grab the old ROM's and see how poorly the games stack up to your own memories. I love shooters but Doom feels awful and clunky now. I say this as a person who played the shit out of that game and was disdainful towards every shooter that came after it until Half-Life.

Re:nah, it never lasts (2, Interesting)

WDot (1286728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972607)

I don't think graphics are a problem. Yes, I know the graphics in Quake I, Diablo I, Red Alert I, and Half-Life I are "bad." But I love them nonetheless. Also, I have played NONE of those games before I was 17. I'm 19 now, so I haven't had too much time to get nostalgic over them.

The problem with really old games is CLUNKINESS. You know, how in the original Metroid Samus's beam gun only shoots two inches before the shot disappears? Or how Link's shield in the original Zelda only works against projectiles, and it's fickle at that? How about leaving games on all night because otherwise you need to start from the beginning?

I think everyone has a certain level of "clunk" that they are willing to tolerate. The things I listed above may be fine for others. Someone may get frustrated at my childhood favorites like Kirby Superstar, Sonic 2, or Civ II, for whatever reason.

I don't think there are really that many graphics whores out there. I do, however, think that there are people who are used to modern saving systems, matchmaking systems, control systems, etc. that make modern games feel more refined than their "classic" counterparts. Who knows, maybe in the future people won't understand why our online shooters had hitboxes, or why our online fighters lagged so much. Maybe it will seem weird that MMO's of today took cuts in detail to render large open spaces. Hell, maybe they will think it odd that we stored our games on discs instead of hard drives. As new generations come and go, the average level of tolerable clunkiness will move forward. Maybe someday Call of Duty 4 or World of Warcraft will be as old as some people would be willing to go.

And then old people will reminisce about the days when 360 and PS3 graphics were "next-gen."

Re:nah, it never lasts (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972677)

How about leaving games on all night because otherwise you need to start from the beginning?

Just about every emulator can do that via savestates. Heck, the Wii has a suspend play feature that allows you to do just that. Most older games will be played on emulators in the future because of the radical changes in OS/hardware design 10-20 years into the future.

Re:nah, it never lasts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972999)

The problem with really old games is CLUNKINESS. You know, how in the original Metroid Samus's beam gun only shoots two inches before the shot disappears? Or how Link's shield in the original Zelda only works against projectiles, and it's fickle at that? How about leaving games on all night because otherwise you need to start from the beginning?

Woah, and you give me the impression you've only played these games for 10 minutes before giving up. I see you never got the Long Beam in Metroid (the first power-up after missiles you collect), and the shield is meant to work like that in the classic Zelda games.

Re:nah, it never lasts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24972627)

> The equivalent of games 20 years ago are the cheapie games you download over the console's net store

I don't know... Let's see. Dungeon master: [] . 21 years old now. Still more fun than 95% of the RPGs made today. Beats the ever loving crap out of Oblivion, for instance, even though Oblivion looks 10000x better.

It's all about the gameplay.

Of course, I also believe that since the bad games from yesterday are forgotten, there *was* a lot of crap around then. But the gems from 20 years ago have stood the test of time and are still as fun as anything made today, except perhaps to the people who've grown up thinking a game can't be any good unless it has cutting edge graphics.

Many will be unplayable (2, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972145)

It doesn't really matter that much whether or not modern games are good enough to withstand the test of time. Many are so reliant on developer servers being up that eventually they will become unplayable after the game isn't popular/profitable enough to justify further server uptime.

Re:Many will be unplayable (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973293)

Wait. Are you actually saying that games don't exist outside of a mmorpg?

Re:Many will be unplayable (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973639)

No, I'm saying that stuff that has DRM on it that depends on a central server will cease to be (legally) playable after the server is shut down. But yes, MMOs of all kinds will suffer the most from this.

There are modern day classics... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972259)

God of War is one of them of this I am certain. It got everything right -- graphics, atmosphere, audio, animation, gameplay mechanics.

It was like a symphony of gaming, everything about the game cohered together well.

Some unsung classics (i.e. underground/cult following)

Xenosaga episodes 1-3 had a great and interesting story and some very good graphics and concepts but the interest was lacking from the masses and the execution of the gameplay was standard JRPG stuff (not very well designed). The gameplay was a bit stale, but the art, story, etc, was very fascinating in and of itself. It's too bad too because it would make for a great remake IMHO, it could have been a total classic, it's more of tarnished "could have been one of the greats".

Re:There are modern day classics... (1)

trip1ex (1350523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973111)

GoW is not a classic. It won't survive.

People are saying a lot of good stuff here (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972343)

I don't feel the need to echo others. I'll just give points people haven't brought up. Warning:I'm going to get a bit abstract.

If you're 30+, you lived through it all. 2d games are great because there are only so many situations you can put someone through in 2d without tacking on a big storyline. 3d games opened up a whole new realm of possibilities, but opened up even more challenges. How do you control the camera? How do you move around? If you mess up some basic things making a 3d game, you can't build a fun game on top of it. It is more challenging, but it can be more rewarding too.

I mean games are getting better especially with hardware progressing so far, but there is a lot of garbage being made. I think there is 2 main reasons for garbage games. 1) Indie developers don't have the funds to make the basics 2) Corporations do not have the inspiration to try new things and get off tried and true formulas.

The control system on NES is cerebral in that it doesn't have a lot of bu which forced game designers to be tighter in their game play. The reason I dislike playing many 3d games so much is that game designers feel that because the joystick has 8 buttons and 6 axis of control that they have to use them all... This leads to sloppy games where one button is overpowered for example.

There is a lot of good games in the past. If you go back too much earlier than the NES or c64, the hardware restrictions are such that in all likely hood a better game has been made in its genre. Too bad video games don't have a 20 year copyright on them such that any video game from 20 years ago or before is public domain. If this was the case, computers could be sold with a library of video games installed on them, and then reviews could be made that explained what video games were the best. Also, if a video game from 20+ years ago is too good, modern publishers wouldn't be trying to remake it unless they knew they could do better.

Replayability (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972359)

There really havn't been a lot of games of late that have had me diving back in for a 2nd go after finishing them.

The only ones that have stood out in that respect in the past few years have been:

Half-life 2 and the Episodes because HL2 always feels like a grand masterpiece to me, and the episodes are bite size enough to be tackled in an evening.
Portal because it's short and makes me laugh every time.
Call of Duty 4 because its one of the most intense gaming experiences ever created, also it's quite short.
Devil May Cry 4 because it just feels fun to play.
Quake 3 Because it's perfectly balanced online play is timeless.

I was going to list Final Fantasy 7, but after having played through it twice I really couldn't face the prospect of another 60-80 hours.

From that list COD4 and DMC4 are the only games that I've started again on a harder difficulty imediately after finishing them.

Re:Replayability (1)

travbrad (622986) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973137)

I think it's funny how 4 of the 5 games you listed are sequels, just goes to show how few truly original games there are. For me HL2 isn't quite as good as the original, despite the improved graphics/physics/etc. It's an awesome game (one of the best in recent years) but it's really just a tweaked version of the original. I think when I look back I will remember Half-Life more than Half-Life 2, Metal Gear Solid more than Metal Gear Solid 2/3/4, etc, etc. I question whether those 80s games have really "stood the test of time" though. It's only been like 20-30 years, and hardly anyone still plays those games. Yes everyone remembers them fondly, but there's still a lot more people playing World of Warcraft than Pacman. I should note that I play through Mario 3 a few times a year, but I still spend more time playing newer games, and Mario 3 is basically the only "old" game I still play.

Warcraft II (5, Insightful)

Paeva (1176857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972553)

To me, in middle school when it came out, Warcraft II was absolutely amazing and revolutionary. From the beautiful opening cutscene, to the pre-rendered musical score, to the beautifully-done graphics and interesting gameplay that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Then, a few weeks ago, I started it back up, and was shocked by how klunky the interface was. It was hard to select things, hard to manage the economy, hard to figure out what buildings I had to build to get certain improvements. Peons would stop working when their resource depleted (and they wouldn't even tell me!). You couldn't save and recall groups of units. Worst of all, the beautifully-balanced gameplay seemed to have been almost a figment of my imagination.

The truth is: Warcraft II (Command & Conquer which came out around the same time, also upped the bar) broke a lot of new ground in RTS design. And while newer games can often go astray, nobody will say that they haven't also improved on the genre. Warcraft II was great because it *first* exposed us to many of those great designs, but games that came out afterward often improved on that.

The same could be said of the Civilization series... CivII will always have a fond place in my heart, but whenever I go back to playing that, I really miss the innovations that have been made in the series since then. (I never played CivI, sorry!)

Re:Warcraft II (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972681)

To me, in middle school when it came out, Warcraft II was absolutely amazing and revolutionary

Thank you for making me feel ancient.

Re:Warcraft II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24973575)

I have to disagree with the topic. There are several games which hold special places in my heart. From Jezz Ball on Atari to FF7. They were games that I spent days playing, but when I go back to them now, they can hardly hold my interest. It is really nostalgia. There are games like World of Warcraft that will probably be remembered forever, but one day there will be a game to come out to really best it. There are masterpieces from every generation, they are few and far between.

I may be a bad judge of games though considering that I played Red Neck Rampage with a friend over a direct modem connection for hours a day.

To the poster above, the Civ games are good but nothing will compare to Alpha Centauri the game played like reading a novel.

Re:Warcraft II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24973657)

You couldn't save and recall groups of units.

You certainly could. It was even listed in the manual.

Sure it's not as advanced as today's RTS (or even Starcraft).

Total Annihilation's unit orders system was a great idea for its time. The ability to set a path for your repair bots to patrol around your base with "standing repair" orders was interesting. If the repair bots patrolled past a damaged building or unit, they would repair it, then move on. It became easy to repair units, all you had to do was send them back to the repair bots and they would auto-repair.

Re:Warcraft II (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973767)

Civilisation (I) + ResEdit = Win once upon a time on a Mac LCII. :) Good Times.

Civ II came with it's own cheat menu for when you felt like messing around.

Skipped Civ III

Trying to decide if I can afford the time sink to go buy Civ IV.

Try playing some "classics" now (1)

martinde (137088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972803)

Try playing the following classics from the Atari 2600:
- Pitfall
- River Raid
- Adventure
- Yars Revenge

As a 10 year old, all of those games rocked. Play them now - no, they didn't hold up. I give them credit for their place in history, but would I play them for hours on end now? Nope.

Re:Try playing some "classics" now (1)

acvh (120205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972901)

when I played Pitfall for hours on end I was using my imagination to fill in the blanks. It was more engaging in that regard because my own fantasies were part of the game. Turok, to pick a game with an arguably similar concept, doesn't have blanks for me to fill in, I have to play in the developer's fantasy. and yes, my ringtone is the swinging on a vine sound from Pitfall.

No (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 6 years ago | (#24972845)

because they take too long, they aren't memorable enough, are full of soul-sucking DRM, the hardware isn't stable enough and online features won't be online long enough to truly re-create the experience. Unless you're talking about fan mods and third party servers, which don't really count.

graphics ? gameplay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24973023)

one of teh longest running, most sucessful games of all time is the championshipmanager/football manager series. (SI games) mammonth following. It;s a soccer (footabll) management simulation. Currently the game simulation engines shows dots (thats right dots) moving around the 2d field. Other games in the genre have full 3d sophisticated game engines (ala fifa soccer) but ChampionshipManager/FootballManager OWNS this genre.

Many people prefer some of the older versions of the game (2000/2001 version very popular still)

The Games Industry is Hollywood. Very slick technical skills, but story?gameplay? The first person shooter is just like action films. There is always a lot of crud games being made.

Graphical engines can be cool, but a cool interface dont make a game.

Warcraft, Starcraft, CS .. you miss the point. (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973099)

People are listing their favourite games, be it WarcraftII, Starcraft, Counterstrike, whatever ... but I think you miss the point.

The 80s games that are considered classics are generally not the "best" version, but the "first successfull" one.

Take Pacman : A classic 80s game if there ever was one. When you think of pacman, you think of a yellow mouthy thing, a blueish maze on a black background and the ghosts. What people forget, is that there were hundreds of pacman clones and sequels [] , some of which were actually better than the original. Nevertheless, the classic game is still Pacman, and not Ladybug, or Mousetrap, or whatever, because it was THE game that made maze-munching monster games popular.

In the same vein, the classic FPS is still Doom.
Who, of you who are too young to have played it when it came out, ever played Quake 1?
Now, how many played Doom? (yes, I'm actually aware that Wolfenstein came first)

I'm pretty sure most will have played Doom, but only a few ever played Quake1

So, will Warcraft or Starcraft ever make it as classics? Perhaps, but probably only one of them. The rest will fall under the "oh .. And there was that one too" category

Incidentally, many of the 90s games that became classics came from the Looking Glass Studio (System Shock2 and the Thief Serie anyone?), Bullfrog (Populous series, Syndicate, Magic Carpet), and other now-dead companies ...
There's probably a morale to that ... something about gold sinking and some other material floating up :/

Civ (1)

Repton (60818) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973197)

Civilization will be 20 years old in a few years (released 1991). I wouldn't be surprised if I'm playing Civ5 by that stage -- either that, or I'll occasionally pull out Civ4 to relive the experience.

Re:Civ (2, Interesting)

WDot (1286728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973385)

I recently decided to reinstall Civ IV just to play a quick game. I came home from classes early in the afternoon, and the next thing I knew it was dark out. Every Civilization game since the first one I played (II) has been able to do this to me. It's crazy. No matter how much Sid Meier tinkers with the Civ formula, the result is always the same: once I click the icon, I kiss the rest of my day goodbye.

Bait and switch! (1)

NathanRF (1060272) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973317)

This article consists of two elements:

1) Interesting title
2) 14-paragraph advertisement for freaking Galaga.


popular and enduring games will pass for sure... (1)

houbou (1097327) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973669)

The 80s started the game industry (arcades) and with projects like MAME and other console emulators out there, those games will definitively survive for years to come.

But like anything else for example: movies, music, etc... video games which peaked for years in popularity, will go through phases of "revamping" and I think that as long as the "new improved" version builds upon and somehow is as cool if not more than the original, this will keep the franchise alive.

Unlike movies or music, a newer version of a game can actually be a welcomed addition, more so than revamping a classic movie or song.

In the end, it's all about sales.

Games like Wolfenstein and Doom for example can fall into that category of truly hardcore dedicated fans.

People just love continuity. There is an emotional investment in playing games, the same way one would readia book or watch a tv show serial, when it's really good, you just can't wait for that next installement... you are hooked!

The future is never new and it's never old either (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 6 years ago | (#24973915)

The basic notion that a "classic" can exist in today's society neglects to acknowledge that reuse of content has been a basic formula in "classic" art for centuries. Shakespeare's and Marlowe's plays took well-known stories and reinvented them for the "modern" (Victorian) audience. Everyone who wrote a book in the past millennium took a lot from Beowulf. Everyone who wrote an epic in the past 3 millennia or so took a lot from the storytellers collectively known as "Homer". Read Homer's originals versus Ovid's distillations versus any number of playwrights' comic and tragic riffs.

Of course, in the current copywrong environment, it's going to be impossible to preserve truly great artistic achievements in a living framework of re-imagination. That's what the whole fight is about, n'est-ce pas?
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