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Five That Fell

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the insert-quarter dept.

114

Ground Glass writes "The games industry is as cutthroat as any in entertainment or tech, and it so happens that many loved, respected, and influential companies nevertheless get crushed in the waves of hardware transitions or left behind by market forces. Given that one of those shifts is rapidly approaching, now is as good a time as any to look at five such companies that are no longer with us, but are still remembered and revered by their fans."

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5 THAT FELLATED ME:TACO,CLIFF, ZONK,MICHAEL,GOATSE (1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667737)


div

Ugh (0, Offtopic)

utopianfiat (774016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667749)

Hate the article format hit "Print Preview".
First Post, also.

Re:Ugh (2, Informative)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667782)

If you hadn't tried to get First Post (and by the way, you failed) you would have had time to make a link. [next-gen.biz]

Other ones I miss: (3, Informative)

Rocky (56404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667763)

Infocom

Sir-Tech

Guess I'm a bit old school :)

Infocom (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668083)

Man, I miss those. Or almost, I still haven't solved "Trinity" or "Bueracracy", even though I bought them in 1989 on my way to University with my PCjr... :) Best way to improve performance: copy the whole game to a RAM disk so that the interpreter didn't have to constantly read from the floppy drive.

Bureaucracy... (1)

Rocky (56404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668481)

...was painful until you figured out how to get money (negative deposits, anyone?)

My particular bete noire was Spellbreaker. Oy, the cubes!

Re:Infocom (1)

Spit (23158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675358)

Yeah Trinity is pretty hard, the last few puzzles are pretty unfair but the overall game is awesome. I played it on a c128 with REU RAM expansion, the parser would load the data to ram and made it much faster.

This industry is missing Infocom (2, Interesting)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668755)

Infocom did more with text inside of five years than the entire first person shooter genre has done in its lifetime.

My personal favorite was "Suspended." [csd.uwo.ca] You were in a cryogenic state, only able to interact with remote robots to bring a group of out-of-whack computers into working shape again. Each robot had its own abilities and senses -- they rolled or walked, one could smell, and so on. The puzzles made you work at them, and this was one game where the packaging and manual and so on really helped and were necessary. I remember the laminated map vividly. It was the complete package.

The gaming industry should be looking to people like those Infocom writers and Dani Bunten as its prophets. Instead we get John Carmack opinion in nauseating detail about the latest graphic cards.

(Dang kids! Get off my lawn!)

Re:This industry is missing Infocom (1)

Number14 (168707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669095)

Suspended. I managed to win suspended, but I've never managed to get a better score than "burned in effigy." Man that was a hard game.

Another Old School - SSI (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669560)

How about we go with _the_ strategy/RPG games which includes ALL of the AD&D gold box stuff:

SSI - Strategic Simulations, Inc. [wikipedia.org]

Simply a must have on a gamer's list. /salute

here (5, Informative)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667768)

Atari
origin
serria on line
black isle
looking glass

there I just saved you from having to trudge through a horribly formated article. (ad impressions ftw). We really should be linking to the multi-page spanning articles. Link to the printer friendly or not at all.

Re:here (1)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667789)

*should not* (no preview ftw).

Re:here (5, Informative)

roger6106 (847020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667814)

Print version [next-gen.biz]

Re:here (1)

Medgur (172679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668744)

They left out 3dfx.

Seems a little glaring, given the effect they had.

Re:here (1)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668819)

Nivida ate 3dfx, which is quite evident if you see the huge and hot cards that nivida has made since.

Re:here (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669806)

They left out 3dfx.

One of these things is not like the other...

Re:here (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668830)

They forgot Sega? Technically they are still around but it is not the same company it once was.

The Dreamcast was a great system too, and could more than hold its own against the PS2 and Xbox graphically, however it just didn't catch on outside of gaming critics. I blame poor marketing, as the DC had more memorable games in its short lifetime than the PS2 or Xbox have been able to muster thus far. They may have been doomed since the Saturn though, which truly was a subpar console.

Re:here (1)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668973)

Sega is still around. They just gave up, and did their own thing. In essence, they are the Al Gore of videogame companies.

Working Designs. Now, there's a company that fell and will be missed.

Re:here (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15670338)

"Sega is still around. They just gave up, and did their own thing. In essence, they are the Al Gore of videogame companies."


Coming soon from Sega: The Adventures of ManBearPig

Re:here (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15672450)

Thanks. I was just going to scan for Troika [wikipedia.org] , anyway.

Manic....the person I missed (2, Interesting)

Elik (12920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667794)

I missed playing the Wing Commander series, especially dealing with Manic, who came in it own as our own hated Biff from Back to Future Series in the 3rd series. Gotta love watching the videos of watching him getting slapped.

Re:Manic....the person I missed (2, Insightful)

Robaato (958471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668300)

That'd be Maniac, if I recall correctly.

Also, I recall dealing with being forced to have Maniac as my wingman in the earlier games by shooting him down myself, and just flying the rest of that branch of the story without a wingman. Plus I got to say some moving words at his funeral!

Re:Manic....the person I missed (1)

Elik (12920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15673614)

True. Sorry for misspelling. Chalk it up to lack of sleep from 36 hours at the datacenter dealing with several diasters.

And a moment of Silence for... (5, Insightful)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667812)

All those companies lost to EAssimilation:

Maxis...
Westwood Studios...
Mythic Entertainment...
ect...

*cries*

Re:And a moment of Silence for... (1)

Clazzy (958719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667937)

Maxis is actually still going. Don't forget Bullfrog, though. They made the original God game, were a key player in the Sim game field and always had an air of wit around them that made all of their games comedy gold, as well as good fun.

Re:And a moment of Silence for... (2, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669870)

Don't forget Bullfrog, though. They made the original God game, were a key player in the Sim game field and always had an air of wit around them that made all of their games comedy gold, as well as good fun.

They made Syndicate!! While Populous was cool, nothing compared to Syndicate at the time. They could recreate it today and it would probably still be regarded as a fantastic game.

Re:And a moment of Silence for... (2, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668289)

Don't forget Origin, the geniuses who brought us Wing Commander.

And Bullfrog, who made my two favorite games when I was a kid: Theme Park, and later, Theme Hospital. RIP Bullfrog :(

The Five (0, Redundant)

Evro (18923) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667824)

Atari
Origin
Sierra
Black Isle
Looking Glass Studios

Lode Runner: The Legend Returns (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667848)

This game [wikipedia.org] was my favorite Sierra title, although they merely published it.

OT: noisy banners!? (3, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667876)

You want to know a great way to get me to stop reading your article right away?

Include a banner ad that makes a lot of annoying noises that appear without warning and are deafeningly loud, especially through headphones. Of course, simply causing physical pain for your readers is never a good stopping point, so why not add insult to injury by giving no way to turn the damn ad off?

And then all the bad formatting. . . great job, guys.

Re:OT: noisy banners!? (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667996)

My personal favorite was the color cycling add, from black to white through the spectrum & back.
Hmm, wait, maybey it was the jittery add I couldn't read when I tried to figure out how to shut it down.

Re:OT: noisy banners!? (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668081)

http://getfirefox.com/ [getfirefox.com]

Re:OT: noisy banners!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15668266)

http://getbent.com/ [getbent.com]

Block the ads! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669681)

Use a software to block the ads. I had no problems with Adblock [mozdev.org] with FilterSet.G [pierceive.com] in Mozilla v1.7.13 in Windows and Linux. :)

Re:Block the ads! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15670266)

Before you listen to any more drivel by 'AntDude [slashdot.org] ', take a look at who you're dealing with: http://pbx.mine.nu/antdude.jpg [pbx.mine.nu] . The abortion in the center is 'AntDude'. I won't even get into discussion about him listing his 'sex' as 'female' on his SHITTY 'blog' (aqfl.net [aqfl.net] ). This faggot has nothing better to do than sit on the internet and spew worthless garbage. He's the new LostCluster [slashdot.org] when it comes to posting utterly worthless tripe. Not to mention his submitted stories! Every single one of his last 10 or so submissions have been tagged as 'lame' or 'slownewsday'. Why does taco even bother posting his shit. Maybe he gets some tiny deformed chinese cock up his taco ass in exchange for some linkspam with google ads? Do the world a favor and never reply to comments from ANTDUDE and mark him as a FOE [slashdot.org] .

Re:Block the ads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15671098)

Theres something wrong with your server.
its asking to accept a certificate for ross154.net

Re:Block the ads! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671567)

Yes, that is because the administrator screwed up and has been busy to fix it. I can't complain because the host and service are free. See Mousey's post [aqfl.net] about it.

Just me? (1)

spykemail (983593) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667878)

Am I the only one was does not immediately recognize 3/5s of these companies?

Yes (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668009)

All these are classic companies. HOWEVER apart from offcourse atari they are primarly PC game companies. Perhaps even only PC companies. Seirra is so old that the PC is a new fangled invention, bioware and origin and looking glass did all their major titles on the PC but perhaps some games have been ported.

If you have not heard of them you are either very young, not a pc gamer or a filthy console user. Frankly there is no excuse for any of this and you should kill yourselve to atone for your sins.

To be fair, I just started to realise how fucking old you have to be to actually have played Sierra games when Sierra was still going strong. You may be shocked to have never heard of them, I am in shock because I played each and every game mentioned. I am feeling my age.

And as for them being mostly PC companies, well this is payback for the countless articles we get about top ten greatest games ever that forget to mention "consoles only".

Oh well, Looking Glass you will be missed, I bought your games, pity nobody else did.

Re:Yes (1)

jkmullins (643492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668111)

Showing my age now, but Sierra made some of the greatest games ever. I genuinely miss the heyday of the adventure game. Granted, recent years have seen some of the best RPG's to ever be produced, but in general, the current style of gaming just can't match the late-80's to early-90's. I would love to see what the great storytellers of that era could do with the current technology.

Re:Yes (1)

Darkmane (767114) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668401)

I believe one of the things that gave birth to such great games was actually hardware limitation. Before, you had to have great creativity in order to pull off such amibitious goals like free-roaming worlds, nowadays you just have to code a lot real fast.

Re:Yes (1)

jkmullins (643492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668526)

I do agree, with a qualification: you don't even see adventure games anymore. Everyone is all about instant gratification, and no one is willing to spend a week trying to figure out a single puzzle. The kinds of things that made those games good are no longer "acceptable" because no one appreciates the effort, only the reward. I'm not completely sure at what point it became a cardinal sin for a game to force you to think, but it happened sometime in the last 10-15 years, and has transformed games, with very few exceptions, into twitch fests. I enjoy a good FPS as much as the next guy, but I like to be mentally challeged sometimes as well.

Re:Yes (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668697)

Personally, I've always preferred the LucasFilms/LucasArts adventure games to the Sierra ones. Maybe because reloading for the 20th time after the robot/troll/whatever kills you got a bit old.

UW (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668281)

Still my favorite game ever. Damn that was fun.

No one bothers with a good plot anymore or much with internal consistency, it's all graphics and 'kill the evil' type stuff.

Re:Yes (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671405)

Hey! You don't have to be THAT old to have played a Sierra-Online game! They had plenty of titles in the late '80's, early '90 which is only, umm, 15 years ago.

Damn You kids! Get off my Lawn!

Re:Yes (1)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15673792)

Oh well, Looking Glass you will be missed, I bought your games, pity nobody else did.

I bought three copies of Ultima Underworld, two copies of Ultima Underworld II, four copies of System Shock, one copy of Terra Nova, one copy of Thief, two copies of Thief Gold, and one copy of Thief II.

Yes, they went down, but I did my part to prevent it.

They left out (4, Insightful)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667885)

Infocom. The flag-bearer of text-adventure gaming. Brought us dozens of hits like the Zork trilogy, Enchanter trilogy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, etc, etc. You didn't need the latest and the greatest GPU to play those games. There are still indie text-adventures but the genre practically died with the company. Oh I just miss those days. Reading "You are likely to be eaten by a grue" sent more chills up my spine than seeing the most grotesque creature from (insert latest FPS using latest cutting edge 3D engine here) at maximum settings.

Five Things That are Going to Fall Eventually (1, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667897)

  1. Vista
  2. PS3
  3. San Fransisco
  4. Gas Prices
  5. Hillary

Re:Five Things That are Going to Fall Eventually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15668169)

5. Hillary

Hey, what do you have against Sir Edmund anyhow??

Re:Five Things That are Going to Fall Eventually (1)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669005)

Dont't forget...

6. Republican control of the White House and Congress.

Re:Five Things That are Going to Fall Eventually (1)

Don853 (978535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669255)

!4. Hope you didn't buy an SUV in '04.

One Thing You Forgot (1)

BancBoy (578080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671752)

San Fransisco

Spelling.
San Francisco BTW.

Don't forget LucasArts (1)

DeAxes (522822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667903)

My favorite games were the SCUMM games from LucasArts. Now all they make are StarWars games, nothing original like Sam and Max, Full Throttle or any of my other faviorate games.

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (2, Informative)

jkmullins (643492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668157)

I agree with the sentiment, even if it doesn't apply to the article. LucasFilm Games (anyone else remember when they were called that?) made some outstanding adventures. I recently paid $70 for a copy of Monkey Island 1&2, and didn't feel ripped off in the least.

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668600)

I was going to make the same suggestion. I don't think even today companies are capable of making adventure games as polished as LucasFilms games were 15 years ago ...

Now all they do is make star wars games ... they should change their name to the "star wars company" ... I think "LucasArts" is a bit overreaching for what they're doing.

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669022)

Hmmm, I see 5 upcomming game released from LA. 1 is an Expansion (for Empires at War), the other Star Wars game, is a sequel. That leaves 3 games that are not Star Wars based. 2 of which, are new properties, as far as I can tell. LA does a lot of games. Not just Star Wars. They rarely need to patch their games, either.

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671923)

I don't think even today companies are capable of making adventure games as polished as LucasFilms games were 15 years ago ...

Not just adventure games. In the action games they came out with in the 80s it still boggles my mind what they managed to accomplish, in 3D no less, on such limited hardware. Purely in terms of graphics, to my mind Rescue on Fractalus has the look of a game 10 years more recent. Plus they were enormous fun! Ballblazer was horribly addictive. (Koronis Rift was a rotten game, though.)

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (1)

SimDarth (975287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668861)

Day of the Tentacle ftw!

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (1)

NotQuiteInsane (981960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669302)

The first adventure game I ever played was Day of the Tentacle. Then it was Sam and Max Hit The Road and Full Throttle... In my opinion, the LucasArts games were some of the best adventure games ever written. I can't be the only person with that opinion - just look how popular ScummVM [scummvm.org] is. Over 60,000 downloads of the latest release, and that's just for the Windows port.

But one my all time favourite adventure games is Beneath A Steel Sky. Props to Revolution for releasing it as freeware, and giving the ScummVM team the source code and documentation that enabled them to support it in ScummVM. It's on the ScummVM download page, and is well worth playing if you're into adventure games.

Telltale Games [telltalegames.com] are apparently releasing the new Sam and Max game this autumn. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (2, Interesting)

actor_au (562694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668714)

Lucas didn't think that people would want to buy Star Wars games as much after the movies were finished so he intentionally set up LucasArts to publish and make non-star wars games so that when one source of revenue died up(Star Wars) another would be available to him.
Also I think he didn't want to put all his eggs in one basket.
Once the earlier Star Wars games began to greatly outsell the rest LucasArts began to withdraw from that area.
Oddly enough the non-star wars game Armed and Dangerous was published by LucasArts a few years back and it was brilliant.

Re:Don't forget LucasArts (1)

graymocker (753063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675384)

Yea, "putting all your eggs in one basket" turns out to be a pretty good strategy when your basket is $#@*%@ STAR WARS. Stupid Star Wars fans are an easily pleased and apparently boundless demographic that makes investing development funds in anything else a pretty silly idea business-wise. Philistines.
(I currently have 4 different Star Wars games installed on my computer.)

Next Generation (1)

glen (19095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15667945)

Link is to page 1 of 7?

"Next Generation" is a good name for the site anyway.

AtAri Is NoT DeAd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15667984)

AtAri iS Not Dead

In Fact ThEy Are Very MuCh ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It May Be ownE by DiffEreNt PeoPle bUt iSnt EVery compaNy Whose 30 yeArs Old Owned By DiffErNEt PeopLE tHen 30 Years Ago

--kAoS

The market condenses (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668015)

Like every market where money is to be made, it condenses down to a few global players.

Time warp back to the 80s. The game market was fractured, many, many small companies puttering along, some creating great games, some creating mediocre games, and even the odd gem surfacing every now and then made by a handful of freaks. The market was small, there wasn't a lot of money in it, and thus everyone took the share they could. There were EA (yeah, they already existed. But back then they actually even made games), Accolade, Bullfrog, all of them were more or less "small" businesses.

Snap back to today. The game market exploded, literally. Games ain't anymore something for the geeks in an age range of about 12 to about 18, it's gone mainstream. It's become everyone's pastime, age independent. As soon as a market appears to actually generate revenue, money is being pumped in. As soon as money is blown into a market, small companies are hoovered up in the process by the companies that let the money flood in.

That's pretty much what happened.

Re:The market condenses (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668539)

Actually, there are probably more game companies and more new games being made than ever before.

The difference is, a game that was made by a handful of people and sold 10,000 copies was considered a "sucess" back in the day, where as a game created by a handful of people that sells 10,000 copies is considered a "hobby" nowadays.

But in terms of making a game and selling comparible to old school game sales, that has never been easier than today, and there has never been so many small independent little game companies producing games. We are really seeing the golden age of the small independent developer.

The big budget AAA title console games and blockbuster PC games are dominated by a handful of large companies, but then again the big budget AAA titles didn't exist back in the way as they do now.

So the market hasn't been condensing at all.

Re:The market condenses (1)

cain (14472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669166)

The game market exploded, literally.

Holy crap! Literally exploded? How many died? Was it a car bomb?

Re:The market condenses (1)

Rosebud128 (930419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669296)

Why the above post, stuffed with a cliche, is labeled 'informative' I will never understand. But I do know the parent poster is incorrect.

Gaming is not and has never been mainstream (especially when you account for population growth). In North America, the console penetration has never exceeded 33% (which was achieved during the NES days). Most of the growth coming into the industry has been from multiple console ownership. Many gamers just got more 'hardcore'. And the best selling video game is still Super Mario Brothers 3.

Actually, the game industry is currently very sick. While it is true that in the 1980s, there were many smaller game companies. But what the parent poster does not say is that the industry was designer based. When production values skyrocketed (thanks Wing Commander), the industry shifted to a publisher based format. Now, developers work FOR the publishers, not for gamers. The ever increasing costs are why design oriented companies such as Origin had to be bought by Electronic Arts. These costs were already bad last generation and will just get worse now. There is a very large talent vacuum that is waiting to be filled. But with publishers controlling the industry, this is unlikely to change.

People believe the myth that gaming is now 'mainstream' mostly because the marketing budgets have EXPLODED. These marketers also want you to believe that gaming is 'mainstream' and that nerds are actually 'hardcore' gamers (notice the labels?). Do you think they want to tell you the truth that you are a bunch of nerds in an industry no one takes seriously? Of course not. With Sony moving into the industry as well as Microsoft, their vast influence has created the perception that 'gaming is now mainstream'. Even games such as GoldenEye 007 on the N64 sold more than the much vaunted Halo 2 ever did for the Xbox. But don't expect Microsoft to be honest with the numbers. Their marketing wouldn't allow it. For an example of such marketing, the Xbox sold only around 20 million consoles, most regionally. It is marketed as 'a wild success'. Many people are stunned when I show them the sales numbers. "What? Super Mario Sunshine outsold Halo?" Yep. My point here is to show how influential marketing has been on creating the perception that gaming and certain games (such as Halo) are more popular than they actually are.

This doesn't mean gaming has to stay niche. There are big moves to make gaming truly mainstream. The Sims is the best selling PC video game ever made (this isn't including expansions). World of Warcraft has expanded the MMORPG market to casual players. Nintendo's Nintendogs and Brain Age has pushed gaming more into untraditional demographics such as girls and, curiously, the elderly (who everyone said were impossible to reach).

The article does point out an important lesson between Ultima Underworld and the FPS: the simple, easy to learn game wins. The complicated hardcore game loses. Nolan Bushnell discovered this when Computer Space flopped and Pong became a huge success. In the same way, this is why games like World of Warcraft succeeded was by eliminating many of the 'hardcore' elements that kept away casuals from MMORPG games. The touch-screen of the DS broke down the interface wall between gamer and non-gamer to allow many people to play Brain Age or Nintendogs who wouldn't normally get into a game. The Wii resembling a TV remote control will be a step as a bridge in that direction.

But no, gaming is no where close to being mainstream. Stop believing the marketers and face the truth: you are a nerd.

Where's Microprose? (4, Insightful)

GutSh0t (91783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668148)

Article seems to focus on companies that were players in late 90s on. Microprose made many classics: Xcom series, Master of Magic, Master of Orion, Railroad tycoon, and many others.

Re:Where's Microprose? (1)

Remillard (67835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668326)

Agreed. Microprose was a player in the late 80's even, so it would have been appropriate for the author to at least mention in his "I-also-considered-writing-about..." section. Their jet fighter simulations were great at the time.

Although documented heavily in other locales, I would have appreciated a serious mention of Infocom. And for mid-90's companies, I would have liked to have seen mention of the original Bungee. Marathon was a comrade of the first System Shock, and Myth: The Fallen Lords is one of my favorite games ever for online pick-up games. Even though the sequel was much more hackable and extendable, it never quite got the mix just right like the first Myth.

Re:Where's Microprose? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668519)

aye, i want another microprose game :(

Even you picked up a bit late with the list ;)

Try f-19 stealth fighter(my 1st retail game i think, PCmoria and chess came with computer) and M-1 tank platoon, just incredible for the time (and considering i had a monochrome setup) and with more info in manual than you could ever digest :)

Re:Where's Microprose? (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 8 years ago | (#15674801)

F-19 - this being before the F-117A was even publically announced, which is why the name is wrong. What fun probing into Soviet Russia (ha-ha) with your stealth fighter!

I had EGA so i had a slight advantage. Running on an XT...

Re:Where's Microprose? (1)

fwwr5007 (977554) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668811)

Microprose freakin' owned my gaming library in the early to mid '90's -- Railroad Tycoon, Red Storm Rising, F117A Nighthawk, F15 Strike Eagle, and of course the original CIV!

Re:Where's Microprose? (1)

SimDarth (975287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668828)

Microprose got bought by Infogrames(?) and then Sid Meier left and formed Firaxis if I remember right.

Re:Where's Microprose? (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675651)

Master of Magic was so under-rated and under-supported.

Definitely one of the best turn based games ever, IMHO.

It was the only thing that pulled me away from long, long Civ stints.

I still have it, I load it occasionally and I play it from time to time. There was rumor of a MoM:2, but it never happened probably because of one of these buyout, shutdown, assimilation things.

As a longtime mac user... (2, Interesting)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668342)

Bungie.

I'm still pissed at microsoft for having the insight/monopolistic impulse to buy them. They put out some great titles, Pathways into Darkness, Marathon, and of course Halo, originally demoed in the late 90s on a powermac.

Don't forget the Myths (1)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668788)

Soulblighter is still extremely fun, still playable and respectable after all these years.

I remember the press releases when Bungie sold out. Eck.

Orphan Code? (1)

Geccie (730389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668451)

So what happened to the game code? Was the code bought by other companies or did it simply become orphan code?

Has anyone ever attempted to get some of these games publicly released so they could be ported to current systems?

If the code is gone, what a f*ucking waste!

Duh... they couldn't make money any more. (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668544)

If you put untold developer hours into a game to make it The Awesomest Game Ever, you're going to fall into a lot of traps, but the biggest trap of all is the cost of all of those developer hours; unless your game is an unmitigated hit, you're never going to make that money back.

Remember Novalogic? They haven't had an honest-to-goodness hit since that voxel helicopter game back in the early 90's. And they're still around because they understand this basic principle: Ship the game when you know that it's good enough to generate enough sales to cover your costs, and not one day later. As long as your staff is marginally competent and decently paid, you can always meet that goal.

Origin never saw a deadline they couldn't miss. They, Sierra and Black Isle were increasing their budgets, only to essentially remake the same games that people had played a decade before. Atari failed because most of their games were crap, and the bad games typically had as big or bigger budgets than the good ones. (Remember the horrible Indiana Jones and Return of the Jedi games?)

The only real tragedy in this list is Looking Glass, who was killed off because Eidos would rather divert funds to help Daikatana limp along -- Eidos failing to recognize the common sense of NovaLogic. (In the end, John Romero really did make us his bitch, by denying us more great Thief games.) But at least there's BioShock [sshock2.com] to look forward to, so this story is not yet over.

But in the end, your game's budget should be less than your expected revenue for said game. If you don't expect the game to sell more than 20,000 full-price copies, you should plan the project -- marketing, development, everything -- starting from that point.

Huh? (1)

Subacultcha (921910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671443)

Remember Novalogic? They haven't had an honest-to-goodness hit since that voxel helicopter game back in the early 90's. And they're still around because they understand this basic principle: Ship the game when you know that it's good enough to generate enough sales to cover your costs, and not one day later. As long as your staff is marginally competent and decently paid, you can always meet that goal.


The only real tragedy in this list is Looking Glass, who was killed off because Eidos would rather divert funds to help Daikatana limp along -- Eidos failing to recognize the common sense of NovaLogic. (In the end, John Romero really did make us his bitch, by denying us more great Thief games.)


Now wait a minute. You were just saying that game companies should keep sinking money into a project until it's good and now you're complaining about a company that followed that logic. You aren't making sense. Really what it boils down to is you liked Looking Glass, but you hate John Romero and Eidos because they didn't support Looking Glass when their games weren't selling.

Maybe it was Looking Glass that needed to learn a lesson from Novalogic. Maybe Looking Glass spent too much money on games that only appealed to a niche audience.

Re:Huh? (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15672309)

"You were just saying that game companies should keep sinking money into a project..."

No, I was saying the exact opposite with my example of NovaLogic.

I was saying they should STOP putting any money into a project at the moment it hits the point of diminishing returns..."Not one day later." That is what has kept NovaLogic in business where other companies have failed: They have the business sense and the discipline to say, "If we spend another year on this, it could be a great game instead of merely mediocre, but we'd never make the money back on it, so just ship it as it is."

There are a lot of ways to do this, too. Blizzard's secret, in addition to addictive gameplay, has been to make their target market as huge as possible by making the games look great on lowest-common-denominator hardware. Their art direction is first-rate, and they went with 2D graphics long after other companies had attached themselves to 3D simply because the 3D graphics wouldn't look as good as what they could do in 2D. And WoW would run adequately on my old G3 iBook... before it broke.

Re:Duh... they couldn't make money any more. (1)

VGR (467274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671713)

Atari failed because most of their games were crap, and the bad games typically had as big or bigger budgets than the good ones. (Remember the horrible Indiana Jones and Return of the Jedi games?)

You must be joking.

Those two games were constantly being played everywhere I went. They were only "crap" in a relative sense: they weren't masterpieces like other Atari Games offerings.

Gauntlet, 720, Marble Madness, Paperboy, Tetris, KLAX, STUN Runner, Space Lords, Primal Rage, Area 51... I'm sure there were some bad games, but I can't imagine what perceptual universe you're in that you would claim "most of their games" were crap. If anything, the quality and careful gameplay design that went into their games was evident from the moment you looked at them and from the moment you started playing.

Especially Tetris. Their Tetris was light-years ahead of all other versions, in that they gave it colors and levels and intermissions and variation beyond just a gradual speedup. Ask any NES collector which is better, Tengen's Tetris or Nintendo's.

Re:Duh... they couldn't make money any more. (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15672334)

No, I'm not joking. Those games were horrible. People only played 'em because of the license.

Re:Duh... they couldn't make money any more. (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15672176)

"The only real tragedy in this list is Looking Glass, who was killed off because Eidos would rather divert funds to help Daikatana limp along"

Sure, but it's probably more the fact that while they made great games and we all love them in retrospect, at the time no one bought them. How many people have originals of Thief, System Shock and Terra Nova? Even my copy of TN was an Ebay purchase so I can't get all high and mighty. And my Thief is Thief Gold, so I didn't even get the original. But I did buy the original SS on floppies, one of which failed which I then got sent back to the distributor who was nice enough to send me the CD version back. Even my copy of Car & Driver is a budget copy.

If people had have jumped on their games when they came out, then maybe we wouldn't be talking about them like this. It pains me to think how many people go OMG I LOVE LOOKING GLASS when they probably either have the Red Ant budget versions of their games they paid $5 for 6 months ago, or Kodak CDs with 'THIEF' and 'SYSTEM SHOCK' written on them in texta.

Just stick with Irrational anyway and you won't go far wrong. Warren Spector talks big but then LCD/console fucks his games so he is clearly all about the money regardless of what he says. But Irrational Games did System Shock 2, Tribes Vengenance (...) and SWAT4, which is fucking awesome. And Freedom Force, if that's your sort of thing. Other than the stupid forced single player arena levels in Tribes : V, they really haven't had a miss yet.

For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15668790)

Warren and Seamus left Looking Glass long before it shut down. Doug was still there though, although I seem to recall he was already part-time on Deus Ex down in Austin.

And Eidos didn't shut down Looking Glass. They were a publisher that happened to publish the Thief series. Debt shut down LG.

Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15668952)

Lets see:
Dynamix
Papyrus
Epyx (If you are old-school, you will recognize that one)

Black Isle is a bummer. As is Origin. I remember a few years ago, there was a GLUT of space flight sims, trying to take the throne from Wing Commander... and since then, there has not been one that has done it right. I wish that we could get a good sequel to Wing Commander. Better yet, a good sequel to Wing Commander: Privateer.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669047)

You know, I noticed someone mentioned Bullfrog. Jeeze, I would LOVE to see a sequel to Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15670236)

You mean a sequel to Dungeon Keeper 2, right?

Jaysyn

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671477)

err... yea. :-)

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

wuie (884711) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669116)

IIRC, Dynamix and Papyrus became part of the Sierra Family rather early on, 1990 and 1995 respectively. When Sierra became nothing more than a publishing company (and a former shell of its once adventure game dynasty), these two faded away as well.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15669807)

Actually, Papyrus got rolled under Dynamix. And Dynamix was still its own entity (i.e. seperate offices down in Eugene) until after Tribes 2 shipped. It was more recent that Vivendi and Sierra completely gutted the talent, and destroyed the once-great studios.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671233)

Epyx rocked... I loved their stuff on the C64, and still play Impossible Mission from time to time. From the same era was Ozark Softscape. They only put out 6 or so games, but I played the hell out of MULE, Robot Rascals, and Seven Cities of Gold.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671934)

I don't play Impossible Mission any more, but Jumpman still pwns me. And I still haven't managed to finish Jumpman Junior.

While I'm commenting, I might as well add a vote of support for those who named Infocom.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671430)

> there was a GLUT of space flight sims, trying to take the throne from Wing Commander... and since then, there has not been one that has done it right.

FreeSpace and FreeSpace 2. The production didn't have as much FMV as WC4 (or that quirky movie called Privateer 2), but what was there was incredible. I still remember the end of FS2, going back to save one of the fleeing ships that was straggling, then going whiteknuckle with shields and weapons down diverted to thrust, going balls-to-the-wall on full burners to try to make it back to the gate. After a while, I knew I wasn't going to make it, so I just powered down and watched the show. Wow.

Interesting thing about FS2 that no one noticed: the shrink-wrap EULA let you give away as many copies as you wanted.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15671462)

Oh yea, I totally forgot about Freespace/Freespace 2. I guess I kind of forgot about Xwing, Tie Figther, and the 3rd one in that line, too. Great space flight/combat games. I have some hope for Darkstar one... but, after playing the demo, it isn't quite in the same league.

I also really enjoyed Microsoft's Alliegence, but I think they screwed that one up too badly... making it pay to play.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15672478)

I really looked forward to FreeSpace 2, however one thing that really sucked was the controls. Why did they swap the roll/yaw controls to be the opposite from every other flight sim (space or not), and then not allow them to be changed back? After several hours of trying to pilot the ships I gave up. It may be a small detail, but it made the game unplayable for me.

Shame really, 'cos it looked pretty good.

Re:Hmmm... they should have enlarged that list. (1)

Locke03 (915242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15673113)

Do yourself a favor. Reinstall it, change the controls to your liking and take a weekend off from everything. The Freespace series is simply a must play for anyone who likes good games, especially fans of the space-sim genre.

As a developer I'm appalled. (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15670013)

As a developer I'm appalled.

After Midway retreated from the arcades in 2001, Atari Games found itself focusing exclusively on home releases. Apparently those didn't sell well enough, as on one cold day in February 2003, all of the studio's employees were, without warning, led off premises as the building was locked behind them - much to their collective confusion and dismay. It was not until later that employees were allowed to return for their personal effects. Thus ended the 31-year history of Atari - save the endless Midway compilations that place Atari Games productions front and center, as the shining gems of Midway's history.

They never let me go back and collect my personal belongings after escorting me out.

Seriously though, very sad. My 800XL still isn't the same since I told it it's parents had died.

Least they got in on a UT title.

Next Month: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15670872)

Six that Sucked

This is sad (1)

Naginata (634929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15673894)

I loved Kings Quest, Heroes Quest, and Space Quest. I loved (to this day I can play any of these with my eyes closed) the Wing Commander series, Privateer!! I love Fallout 1&2 I must be getting old, as this list of people actually made me feel a bit sad. Sigh.

Working Designs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15674225)

Another one that closed up shop recently was Working Designs. They made some gems from Cadash, Parasol Stars, and Vasteel on the tg16 all the way up to Growlanser Generations on the ps2. The best game they ever did was Lunar.
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