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Don't Go Down Memory Lane?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the rose-colored-hindsight dept.

316

fieldsofclover writes "Gamers With Jobs is running a piece today about the darker side of gaming nostalgia. From the article: 'Here's an example. Konami's Castlevania had interesting monsters, catchy music, and a great gimmick: a guy with a whip. But if you went back and played it today, chances are you wouldn't bother playing past the second level. Why are the newest games in the series so drastically different from the original? The answer is because gamers demand more from their hobby now, and there's just not a lot of meat on those old bones. But when the fully 3D, story-driven sequel fails, they point at the original on its lofty pedestal and demand an experience that lives up to their memories. It's a double standard that's next to impossible to satisfy.' Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by staying obsessed with the old classics?"

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It just goes to show (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847803)

You can lead a gift horse to water, but you can't shoot it in the foot.

Darker? (5, Interesting)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847805)

That's a tad melodramatic don't you think?

Re:Darker? (1)

Roody Blashes (975889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847872)

YHBT
HAND

Nothing beats today's games (5, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847806)

....where everything is a hi-res shade of brown, and the boss is always a giant bug.

Oregon Trail (5, Funny)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848166)

If they made a 3D version of Oregon Trail using the Doom or Quake engine and the old storyline, I would buy it. I would expect significantly improved hunting. The ability to shoot in towns wouldn't hurt either.


Of course, I would not want interactive 3D dysentary.

Re:Oregon Trail (5, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848212)

"If they made a 3D version of Oregon Trail using the Doom or Quake engine and the old storyline, I would buy it. I would expect significantly improved hunting. The ability to shoot in towns wouldn't hurt either."

And, along the way, you pick up enough shoot 'n' strafe kills to be able to kill the giant bug boss you find at the end in the Portland level.

Super Mario Bros (5, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847813)

Super Mario Bros is still lots of fun, I don't care what you say.

Re:Super Mario Bros (5, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847854)

not to mention the sequels are pretty well true to the spirit of the original game

Re:Super Mario Bros (1)

myincubus3 (993067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848168)

agreed!

Developers not Consumers (4, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847830)

It's time we put away the Conkers and Contras and Castlevanias of our past and focus on the games we have yet to dream of

This message should be for video game developers, not video game consumers. Developers definitely need to get their heads out of their @sses and start dreaming up new, creative ideas instead of just taking the easy way out with throwbacks. Consumers on the other hand have little impact on what games are being developed, and therefore consumers can do whatever they want. If they want throwbacks or if they want brand new fresh ideas, no biggy. But the writer of this article needs to direct his ranting towards the appropriate people.

Re:Developers not Consumers (1)

the jerk store (960388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847951)

...Consumers on the other hand have little impact on what games are being developed...
I don't think that's true at all. Demand for a certain type of game will definitely spark development of similar games(think GTA series and the amount of crappy knockoffs it spawned). I do agree that developers need to be more creative(or convince the suits in charge that remaking an old game with better graphics is just lame)

"We'll take the same game we made last year, add a number to the end, add a couple trivial features and slightly update the graphics. There's no way it won't be a hit!"

Re:Developers not Consumers (0, Flamebait)

Valthan (977851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847954)

Yes, I agree, but Devs continue to make "throwback" games and sequels because that is what all gets bought mostly, nothing new ever goes anywhere anymore becasue the gaming demographic has aged and all you old fuckers hate change. Don't deny it old guys (and gals) you will just be lieing to us an yourselves. (And if you don't believe me, how many SF games have come out over the years? yes thats right, to fucking many)

Re:Developers not Consumers (5, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848137)

Devs continue to make "throwback" games and sequels because that is what all gets bought mostly, nothing new ever goes anywhere anymore becasue the gaming demographic has aged and all you old fuckers hate change.
Hogwash! It's all you young whippersnappers that have ruined gaming with your short attention spans and aversion to thinking. When's the last time we had a decent turn-based strategy game? Nowadays all this "Rea-Time Strategy" crap is the rage. Real-time my ass! Did General Patton have only a fraction of a second to select and click a company of troops and send them in the right direction before they got clobbered by the krauts? What kind of stupid game requires lightining fast reflexes to execute strategy? C&C, I am looking in your direction! But no, you kids with your Mario-tuned twitchy monkey brains need that or you will get bored.

Don't even get me started on the watering-down of "puzzles" in modern games. The modern idea of a difficult puzzle is one that requires you to find eight levers (hidden beyond reflex-based "jumping puzzlre" obstacles) and push them all up (changing a red light to green) to open a door somewhere. You punks would WET YOUR PANTS if you saw the kind of monstrously devious crap we had to solve in our day. Plover's egg emeralds hidden beyond a crack your lamp doesn't fit through? Try THAT on for size!

Re:Developers not Consumers (3, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848328)

Maybe the problem is the specific RTS games you're playing (e.g., C&C rather than TA). :-)

A decent RTS isn't a clickfest, but rather a strategic conflict over resources. Let the units do the work, and make the high-level decisions.

Re:Developers not Consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848437)

I know you're being sarcastic, but this is too far.

"When's the last time we had a decent turn-based strategy game?"
Oh, how about this week. Sword of the Stars just came out.
Civilisation 4, Field Commander (PSP) and Advance Wars DS are all pretty recent.

Nintendo (Advance Wars, Fire Emblem) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848530)

When's the last time we had a decent turn-based strategy game?

Nintendo's Advance Wars and Fire Emblem series-- available for the GBA, Nintendo DS, Gamecube, and soon the Wii-- are fantastic turn-based strategy games.

Re:Developers not Consumers (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848553)

Heh. Best post I've seen in days, both serious and sarcastic.

I agree. Solving the babelfish puzzle on my own was a landmark of my childhood. Now there's nothing to compare.

Developers not Consumers-Cart before horse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847974)

"This message should be for video game developers, not video game consumers. Developers definitely need to get their heads out of their @sses and start dreaming up new, creative ideas instead of just taking the easy way out with throwbacks."

Yeah! Like ubisoft did with Beyond good and evil. What were they a throwback to again, Mr insightful?

Re:Developers not Consumers (1)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847989)

You should check out the article linked a few days ago from Slashdot:
http://www.next-gen.biz/page1.html [next-gen.biz]
Ignore the hyperbolic title. The listing is in terms of money made. Look at how many sequels and tie-in games there are. Look how much money they make. Tie-in games (especially movie tie-in games) are the first thing I ignore since they are routinely crap, but they seem to make someone a lot of money. Publishers will likewise keep making franchise games because they produce the big bucks. They aren't great games, but the business isn't about making great games.

I do hope that an aging gamer demographic will help counter these trends. I feel like lots of tie-in games move because parents buy them for the kids, but the parent-for-kids market is shrinking against the adult-for-self market.

Re:Developers not Consumers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848076)

I'm a professional game developer and have been for nine years, my entire post-collegiate life. As you might expect, I'm also a dedicated gamer and on the one hand, I really agree with what you're saying. We rely too much on rehashed ideas, license tie-ins, clones, knockoffs and sequels. I'm sick of it, and I just don't buy those games anymore. So I can sympathize and agree with where you're coming from.

That said, your comment is awfully naive. It's really, really easy to sit outside the industry (or pretty much any creative-based industry) and complain about the lack of originality. Big-picture creative ideas for games are cheap; practically worthless. Just about every single person I've worked with, every kid I meet that finds out I make games, my friends, etc. has ideas for some weird, creative, potentially fun game. But the vast, vast majority of those ideas would collapse under the crushing weight of the reality of game development. Got an idea for a game? Great. Now, is it going to make money? (The large majority of games don't justify their existence, financially speaking). Is it technically feasible? Is it appealing to a wide audience? Will it sell overseas? Can you get capital to finance its development? If so, can you get it without giving up the rights to your idea? Not likely. Can you find money and people to actually build the game? How are you going to market it? Who pays for marketing? Who's competing with you? Is your idea fun to play for 10 minutes? 10 hours?

It's not as simple as pulling your head out of your ass, and presto, crazy new creative games start showing up on shelves. Like everything, money speaks loudest.

Re:Developers not Consumers (1)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848345)

You make good points. Maybe the solution is to decrease the cost of developing and releasing a game. That way new ideas could be made into small, cheap games for a small audience without being a loss. It sounds like XBox Live Arcade has already done this. I remember hearing about at least one original new puzzle game for XBLA. Nintendo has also expressed interest in this market for their Virtual Console on the Wii. Maybe in the future, new gameplay concept will get a "testing" phase on a disc-less distribution system and then be picked up by a bigger developer/producer for a larger game and full-scale distribution if it turns out to be a good/popular idea.

Publishers not Developers (2, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848173)

Most developers would love to do something creative with the paltry time and money their publishers give them.

But the publishers see only one thing: the bottom line. They are firmly convinced that making a guaranteed mediocre profit is better than taking a risk and possibly hitting the big time with a new, creative, fun idea.

Re:Developers not Consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848202)

No, that message is for the consumers. Devs take chances all the time, and they don't sell. Beyond Good & Evil, Breakdown, and Psychonauts are all recent examples of fantastic, no sequel games with original storys and gameplay that were quite inventive, and didn't sell well. Can you blame publishers/developers for making sequels? If you've ever passed over something new in favor of a sequel, YOU are to blame. Devs take chances, and the market almost never rewards them for it.

Who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847839)

Folks say that programmers need to get a life, LOL @ gamers!

yeah, right... (0, Troll)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847842)

Most games today suck. I would much rather play Final Fantasy 1 over 7-10. I still enjoy Castlevania 3. It isn't just a lofty memory, I still play those game because I still have the cartridges and re-releases (although the NES FF1 was much better than the GBA DoS).

If you want us to quit judging, make new characters. That's all you really need to do.

Re:yeah, right... (2, Insightful)

Walker_Boh_Druid (864617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847914)

Haha. It bugs me when people talk like you do. Surely you don't really believe that every new game is utter crap, or indeed that every older game is fantastic? There were just as many absolutely terrible games back then as there are now. You've just conveniently forgotten about them.

Re:yeah, right... (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848144)

Granted that every game has its chance, but the final fantasy series went from storybook to boring movie and I get bored with the new castlevania games.

One new game I did happen to like was Meteos. Another was Eternal Darkness (when it was new). You're right, most games are crap. I just happen to be selective when it comes to sequels.

Re:yeah, right... (1)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848452)

Not every game that comes out now is crap - but great modern games are the exception, not the rule. I too hate the Final Fantasy series. I loved the first one, but every one after that got less "game" and more "movie". I can handle playing up to 6, I can't stomach FF-VII.

Sure, there were terrible games 15 years ago, but the shear number of bad games today is the difference.

But it's important to note that the introduction of 3D graphics isn't completely to blame for this. While it did start a major trend in game development ("hey, let's make that same game again, but with more triangles!") the idea that games should have good graphics isn't new. Even the NES games we judged on their visuals - some were better than others, some weren't up to the standard at the time. The difference between then and now is that the visual aspect has almost completely taken over as the major mechanic of new games.

Thankfully, there are more games coming out now that extend game mechanics (like the portals in Portal, and Prey) and extend how the narrative is told (Half Life, and Heavy Rain use very different methods of story progression than the pre-rendered video of FF-VII).

Re:yeah, right... (4, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848538)

Sure, there were terrible games 15 years ago, but the shear number of bad games today is the difference.

I disagree - I think it's all perspective. 90% of everything is crap, consistently. It was then, and it is now. But with older games, you're comparing the 10% of non-crap over a long period of time - because that's all you really remember - to the entire volume of current crap/noncrap that you notice on a daily basis. So it seems like there were more good games back then.

Re:yeah, right... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848043)

I didn't bother with the GBA FF1. When I saw my friend playing it and saw they switched to using MP instead of the original spell level system, it was removed from my to-buy list.

Re:yeah, right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848133)

I played both. The remake was actually fairly good. They basically brought the game up to FF5 level of play.

Still need to find some time to finish that. Blasted gf!!!, and my gil is quicly aproching 0.

I remember too much. (0)

imbroken3a (862091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847846)

It's because I have played the old games so much there is no surprise anymore. I can point out every event, every location and every item in Final Fantasy. I played it so much then, there is noting new in it to discover.

Re:I remember too much. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848134)

I can point out every event, every location and every item in Final Fantasy. I played it so much then, there is noting new in it to discover.
That's what player-created mods [zophar.net] are for. Get a decent patch, load up the old game, and revisit the games you love with whatever new twists ROM hackers brought forth from their addled minds. Sure, lots of them suck, but there are some real gems to be found, and all for the low low price of free.

I remember too much-Old friends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848201)

"I played it so much then, there is noting new in it to discover."

Sounds like an old guy describing mastrubation.

Light at the end of my Tunnel Vision (3, Insightful)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847865)

My gaming experience maybe jaded by my memories (I can't enjoy half-life 1 quite the same way anymore) and tunnel vision might obstruct my modern game view (New Super Mario Bros. was good, but It could have been so much more,)but they haven't discouraged my number one reason for buying the Wii...Fun new games with their classic predicessors all in one system.

You know, some of us still play these games (4, Insightful)

terrisus (108956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847878)

For some of us, gaming past isn't "looking back on things and remembering them."

While it's true some people do just look back on it and remember things as better than they were, and that's their issue, it's not the case for everyone.
Some of us still play those games you know.

Re:You know, some of us still play these games (1)

Kardall (886095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848592)

Every now and then I pull out my Atari for a round of Defender and my NES for a game of Mario. Yes we do play them still, though it's harder to find working parts when it breaks :)

"Old Bones" (4, Insightful)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847884)

Why are the newest games in the series so drastically different from the original? The answer is because gamers demand more from their hobby now, and there's just not a lot of meat on those old bones.


Those "old bones" have a tendency to still have similarly excellent gameplay as the newer generation (and are usually far more challenging to boot!). When will we realize that gameplay isn't all bells and whistles?

I call BS (-1, Flamebait)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847888)

"Here's an example. Konami's Castlevania had interesting monsters, catchy music, and a great gimmick: a guy with a whip. But if you went back and played it today, chances are you wouldn't bother playing past the second level."

Is this guy brain dead? Does he think that the millions of people running ROMS or buying re-releases of old games are doing it for a quick nostalgia trip and then tossing them right back into the back of the closet after fifteen minutes? Gaming nostalgia just keeps getting while new games just keep getting worse, and it isn't because gamers want a quick trip down memory lane - it's because we don't like today's games, they aren't as much fun as they were in the 1980s and 1990s, and we're happy to just go play the old stuff again and blow off an industry that's obsessed with lame ideas. This is why some many people are so excited about Nintendo's Wii - Nintendo has made it clear that, just like with the Game Boy and DS systems, the focus should be on fun games - not ultra-violent games, not pornographic games, not ultra-hard games, and so on.

Re:I call BS (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847947)

Ditto. I don't regularly play these games, the challenge factor isn't there as much, but every so often I'll fire up the ol' emulator and break out the classics... Mega Man series (esp. 2), SMB3, dragon warrior 1-4, contra, zelda...

Sorry, they're still fun for me. Maybe Conker just sucks as a game? Haven't played it myself, but I don't see many people pining over the days of Conker... On the other hand, Zelda, FF series... those always have replay value.

Re:I call BS (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848095)

Maybe Conker just sucks as a game? Haven't played it myself, but I don't see many people pining over the days of Conker...

Conker's Bad Fur Day was a late release in the Nintendo 64's lifespan. Many of the gamers of that time were either losing interest in games entirely, or moving on to newer consoles like the Dreamcast.

I have to assume there was at least SOME nostalgia for it, though, or Rare wouldn't have bothered giving it a makeover and releasing it as an online-enabled Xbox title.

Re:I call BS (1)

darrenf (746898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848525)

Gah, I already moderated a bunch of posts but I just have to respond to this. A lot of people missed Conker's Bad Fur Day as it was one of the last few titles to be released for the N64... But! it was also one of the best, definitely in the top 5 for me.
Rare perfected and expanded upon their platformer formula which had already provided some great games for the system (Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie), throwing in a good helping of brilliant (and very adult at times) humor. Also, probably the best ending to a video game ever. I won't spoil anything, but if anyone reading this was a fan of the N64 and did not play this game (through to the end), you really owe it to yourself to check it out.

P.S. TFA is load of shit-- just my opinion ;)

Re:I call BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847970)

Ah ok, so that's why "Konami Retread #35" is on the top of the charts? Thanks, I was wondering at all about that.

Seriously, if there were really millions of people buying re-releases, wouldn't that be, like, obvious? I'm the first one to reminisce about the good old days, but if you can't find a good game in todays vast market, I just don't think you're looking very hard. You mention Nintendo - well there you go. Those are the games you like...

EA Strikes again (5, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847890)

Why put out new stuff when you make extremely minor changes and call it a new game? EA proved that business model to be a successful one, and everyone else has followed.

From a business standpoint, it makes sense -- why take a risk when you don't have to?

From a consumer standpoint, it sucks. Eventually enough consumers will quit buying SUPER-COOL-GAME-2,3,4....x and force a shift in the market. Until that happens, enjoy Madden 2007, 2008, 2009, etc and FinalFantasy-WHATEVER because its not going to change.

Re:EA Strikes again (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848495)

Ironically, "Final Fantasy"'s system changes almost every game. The only real similarity they have are a few cameo characters and the title.

Probably wouldn't Play past the 2nd level? (1)

j37hr0 (904581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847897)

Maybe I am the exception. One of my favorite apps is MAME. Do I enjoy new games? You bet, and I don't think playing my old favorites on emulators has diminished that in the least. What the article is really trying to say is sequels suck, and that's been said for years in video games. The only games that should have more than 2 sequels are sports titles for roster updates, rule changes improvements. After two sequels to Grand Theft Auto, or Final Fantasy, or Legend of Zelda the developers should try something new and original.

Re:Probably wouldn't Play past the 2nd level? (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848329)

I think Zelda is a rare exception, for the simple reason that they wait so long between games, and make each game unique in its own right. I could deal with a GTA release every 3 or 4 years as well - long enough for the older version to be completely obsolete, so the developers have to go back and look at it with a fresh mind.

Re:Probably wouldn't Play past the 2nd level? (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848373)

Apparently, you have never played any Ultima [wikipedia.org] game.

Shooting ourselves in the foot (3, Insightful)

the_crowing (992960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847920)

Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by staying obsessed with the old classics?
Yes. I think people have too much of a tendency to look back at a game as being better than it really was and better as it gets older. When they hear of a new sequel in the works for an old series they're in love with, they expect it to be as much (if not more) fun than previous games, however, they expect the gameplay, setting, and monsters to be the same as the old game while, at the same time, they expect the new version to be fantastically different, addictive, and genre-breaking.

Truth is, newer installments of classic games can be as good as ever, but they will never live up to the memories that gamers have developped for their classic, personal favorites.

Some games withstand the test of time. (3, Interesting)

Maul (83993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847933)

Many of the great Super NES and Genesis games still have excellent replay value. Some of the fad titles and the crap shooter/fighter clones don't withstand the test of time when replayed. However, the true classics like Super Metroid, Yoshi's Island, Final Fantasy 4-6, Phantasy Star 2 & 4, the Sonic games, etc. are still as fun to play as they were back in the day.

Re:Some games withstand the test of time. (2, Insightful)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848466)

Indeed, I think the article is totally off. I've been playing Earthbound obsessively for the past few weeks. It's fantastic. Mario RPG, Yoshi's Island, and Donkey Kong Country 1+2 are next. Then again, I'm not really your typical XBox gamer (my last console was an N64. My next will be a Wii), so maybe this only holds true for people like me.

I still play the old games (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847934)

I'm actually going back now and replaying quite a few of my older games, just because they're more entertaining than a lot of the current games. Castlevania? Played through it completely again a few months ago. Right now, I'm working on the first Might and Magic, and about to start on some of the Ultima games.

Re:I still play the old games (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847971)

Don't forget to throw some of the SSI gold box D&D games in there while you're at it.

Re:I still play the old games (1)

Lord of Hyphens (975895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848117)

Oh, God. I bought the set that Interplay had released, years ago.
Basically all of their 2nd Ed Forgotten Realms games from Pool of Radiance (damn trolls!) up to just before Baldur's Gate. A couple days ago, I started playing Tales of Phantasia remake for the GBA, and it's great.

No. (2, Insightful)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847949)

sure the old games have been done to death by now, but for the most part the good games from back in the day were pioneering things. Though, it should be said that for the most parts the major driving force behind the remake is the nostalgia factor. I mean, look at NARC. The remake was absolutely horrible because they spent more time saying "Remember how you liked play NARC back in the day? Guess what, It's back! and SHINEY TOO!!!" when they should have been making a game where blast druggies with missiles.
It's not that we crap on game remakes because they don't take us back to 1989, we crap on them because they are absolute garbage that try to change too many things from the gameplay that made it classic in the first place. I mean, my brother just picked up a copy of "Space Raiders" for the gamecube for $10, it hardly changes the gameplay of the original space invaders, and then updates the graphics, but the core game mech stays exactly the same.
If you try to change too much, you alienate the memories we had of the original. If you change too little, you get the same game over again, which may or may not be what the consumers want. I don't know about anyone else, but my fond memories of Ninja Gaiden were rekindled when the new one came out. It gave shiney graphics, slick controls, was still hard as granite, but it didn't alienate the gamers. I think you can mainly credit this to the fact that tecmo actually tried to make a new game out, not just advertise the hell out of a poorly designed potential cashcow.

Except... (2, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847959)

Haven't emulators exploded in popularity (not to mention promised classic gaming on newer consoles) because people DO want to re-play these games? There are also new gamers that want to go back and play earlier games in series that they like. Portable versions of games also often remain in 2D and exhibit the same gameplay as their classic counterparts. People do like these games. Recently expressed by Nintendo and others, gamers may even want shorter games with more intense gameplay that they can pick up and play for 15 minutes, and older games (aside from lack of save features, but remedied witih savestates) are perfect for this type of play.

On top of it all, New Super Mario Bros. just got released and is doing quite well. This is a perfect example of classic gameplay in a successful contemporary game. Maybe developers just shouldn't waste so much time on production values, but should just concentrate on gameplay and level variety.

Re:Except... (1)

sudnshok (136477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848061)

I still love the old 2D scrolling games, and wish new ones were still made (for regular consoles - not just the handhelds). I'd love a new 2D scrolling Zelda, SMB or Castlevania. I'm sure many others would too. Just because you CAN do 3D doesn't mean you have to.

Re:Except... (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848393)

I'd love a new 2D scrolling Zelda, SMB or Castlevania.


You've seen "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night", right? It's not exactly new anymore, I guess, but it was a great Castlevania sidescroller on the Playstation.

*ahem* .iso images of the disc work flawlessly with a Playstation emulator, too, if you don't have a PS or PS2. I'm sure you can find them somewhere *cough*bittorrent*cough*

Don't ever try to go back. (5, Interesting)

shoolz (752000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847964)

The first RPG I ever played was simply called "Dungeon", this was the Commodore game that got my entire family hooked on video games for the rest of our lives.

We would sit around the supper table, each trading stories about our experience in this expansive and immersive alternate reality. I would inform everyone about the secret passage I found, where I found a secret spell called Temporal Fugue; my brother would update us as to how much money he had stolen from the bank that day; my father would describe his run-in with "The Devourer".

This game held a special place in all of our hearts and often we would fondly discuss how great the game was... until last year... when I found an emulator and ROM and decided to relive all my old memories. The lush and vibrant full-color dungeon memories that I had in my mind was immediately shattered by a crude 4 color, blocky rendition of what vaguely looked like walls and doors. My memories of thrilling game-play in a true-to-life virtual world were replaced by agonizing and seemingly endless boring hall-walking.

I showed my father. All he did was scream "NO! THERE IS NO WAY THAT THAT'S HOW BAD IT LOOKED! CHRIS YOU MUST HAVE MADE A MISTAKE. THIS CAN'T BE DUNGEON!!"

While my father is STILL in denial, I have accepted the truth. My fond memories of that game are gone forever.

Re:Don't ever try to go back. (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848034)

You had 4 colors? You lucky, jabby bastard...

All nostalgia seems like this. Either we look fondly back on our past we would never willingly revisit, or we do revisit the past and it's not at all the way we remembered it. It's kind of like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of the human memory.

Re:Don't ever try to go back. (2, Insightful)

MatrixManiac (448609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848125)

Maybe what is really missing is your imagination??

Re:Don't ever try to go back. (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848436)

Maybe? Maybe not. New console launches typically remind me of how much more vivid human memories are then the real experience. I was a huge fan of Dead or Alive 2 on the Dreamcast. I played it quite frequently, but as time went on I started playing other games. Months later a friend of mine got a newly released Xbox 1 and had Dead or Alive 3. I went to see it and wasn't impressed at all. To me it looked graphically the same as Dead or Alive 2, it didn't even look more shiny. That night I went and fired up DOA2 and to my surpirse it looked like total crap compaired to the DOA3 I had played earlier. My memory of the game was just more vivid then the actual game.

It's not limited to games either: Watch some movie where they do a "good" remake of a classic news broadcast. I've seen several where I look at it and think "wow that's EXACTLY how I remember it" then go and dig up the ACTUAL archived footage and it's all wrong, the camera angle isn't as dramatic the wording sounds funny, maybe you even walk away with a different interpretation. The film director was good at captureing the feeling most people walked away with... but it wasn't the same as how the same old footage would be interperted in today's light.

Re:Don't ever try to go back. (4, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848156)

You should have played text-based games instead.

I was addicted to Legend of the Red Dragon in high school. A friend of a friend got a copy of LoGreenD running on his server last year, and I had a blast on it until Katrina took his computer away. It looked just as good as ever!

Throw bird. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848369)

It just doesn't get any better than that.

Okay, maybe a well-timed L2000,M1,M1. Or actually being able to type BAGN^H^H^H^HBANG the first time. :-)

sort of self-involved (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847967)

" But when the fully 3D, story-driven sequel fails, they point at the original on its lofty pedestal and demand an experience that lives up to their memories. "

First, I can't imagine that the amount of people buying game X who have some kind of deep emotional ties to the original Sega Saturn version really count for anything in the grand scheme of things.

Second, if a game fails, you can't blame it on those people. If your game fails, chances are far greater that it sucked rather than that there exist large numbers of people who had unrealistic expectations of it.

Old games have advantages (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847973)

With limited things that could occur technically, games of yesteryear seem to be a lot simpler. That simplicity means that things had darn well better be fun, or your player won't plunk down money to stare at a "blob" and hit a single button over and over. Nowadays, there's a lot more development which goes into a game, which means that gameplay isn't as big a focus, generally.

Also, old games were generally reliant on the ability to just pick up and go and be beaten in one sitting, as opposed to having games which take nigh on 40 hours now. Focusing on a tight experience leads to a lot less mediocrity than "hmm, what can we do for the next 3 hours of the game before they get to hour 30 when the real story starts."

Re:Old games have advantages (3, Interesting)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848102)

as opposed to having games which take nigh on 40 hours now.
If Valve isn't just blowing steam(pun semi-intended), we might be going full-circle there.

The old games were fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847993)

We remember the old games as great because they were fun when we played them. Many new games are not enjoyable. They are justly dismissed and it doesn't matter that we compare them to the good times we had with the best of the best from the past: If a game can't deliver an entertaining experience then that game is a failure. If a game wasn't entertaining back then it was a failure too. Sure, the technical standards have skyrocketed, and there are some games which fail because they don't meet the expectations graphics-wise, but in the end more games fail due to just being plain boring or aggravating. Good graphics and sound will never work as a substitute for fun.

Exactly. (4, Insightful)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848000)

Just look at Metroid, Mario, Metal Gear, Castlevania (SotN and gameboy), Zelda, Prince of Persia, Final Fantasy... Fans and newcomers alike hated the more recent installments, right? Right?

No, it's not hard to involve the themes, maybe part of the storyline, and the major gameplay elements from the original game into an entirely new engine. But it does make a convenient scapegoat if you're a developer whose games are failing or a pundit firing off the first story idea that came to his mind.

That's one doomed space marine (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848007)

In my first runthrough of Doom 3 I was rather disappointed. Not only were my memories of the previous games absolutely stellar, but thanks to id's open sourced engines there were graphically superior iterations that played every bit as smoothly as the DOS originals. Beating that is a tall order, even for id.

Inexplicably I got a hankering for Doom 3 again several months later. I installed a mod that gave me all the door codes (you need a pen and paper otherwise) and suddenly I had a really great time! Door codes aside, I think I had pooped on my own party by equating Doom 3 with its predecessors.

Re:That's one doomed space marine (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848146)

If you want to play Classic Doom in the glory of Doom 3 check out http://cdoom.d3files.com/ [d3files.com] It is a Doom 3 total conversion to allow you to play all of episode 1 from the original Doom in the Doom 3 engine. Updated graphics, textures, models, music, everything.

[Bias note: I host the musician's web set at http://sonicclang.ringdev.com/ [ringdev.com] ]

-Rick

Re:That's one doomed space marine (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848259)

DUDE!!!

I've been looking for that Doom 3 TC for AGES! It's one of those topics that's tough to describe in a Google query. Thank you SO MUCH for that URL! I'm going to reinstall it tonight to check it out!

I'll check out the musician you host as well. He's got a tough act to follow since Doom 1 and 2 have some of my favourite soundtracks of all time, but if a certain John (Romero?) gave his thumbs up I'll definitely give it a listen.

Re:That's one doomed space marine (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848583)

Why exactly was it hard to search for this in google?

I searched the first thing that came to mind for this "doom 3" original mod and what you were looking for was the 4th link.

Old-school replayability (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848024)

There are a hand ful of old games that I will pull out and play through all the way.

1 - Monkey Island. Straight up one of the best humorous adventures out there, even in 16 colors!
2 - Quest for Glory 1. After the VGA remake, the 256 color imagry interesting story line, and great game play make it worth running through over and over.
3 - Quest for Glory 2. The old CGA version still keeps me entertained. The type-action interface requires actual thought. Instead of clicking on someone for a dialog option, you actually have to type "ask about sword", or "climb rope". No glowing outlines on interactive objects.

What I'm waiting for is a first/third person pov world, with much less combat and much more throught than most of the current FPSs these days and a healthy dose of social humour. Tomb Raider meets Myst with Leisure Suit Larry cameos.

-Rick

Re:Old-school replayability (1)

red_flea (589243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848299)

The old type-command interface limited the marketability of the product to a single language and to those of literate and correctly-spelling age. One could argue that such demands are educational. I didn't know what a prophylactic was (or their many varieties) until Liesure Suit Larry. I didn't know what a uvula was until I was stuck for days in a whale's mouth in King's Quest 4.

I liked it better too, including the frustration of Police Quest III, where you had to type "look behind bench" to find some item with no clues, no sparkles, no sound or anything. It's strange that the frustration is what you remember so fondly; dying with different epitaphs and pictures in Space Quest III was probably not as fun or funny as I remember it.

Pushing the edge... (2, Insightful)

BytePusher (209961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848028)

I think the thing that was most enjoyable about the 'old' games, was that they always pushed the edge. One of my favorites was Ultima 7. The game play was very simple and consistent, but provided a ton of freedom. Once I beat the game, I spent a long time playing with the editor(cheat) mode, building castles out of gold bricks, making Lord british join my party and such. Wolfenstien, DOOM and Quake were much the same game, but all of them made huge leaps in gameplay. Then you had merging between MUDs, FPSs and Strategy(Ultima Online, Starcraft, etc...). The mixing of genres in a simple consistent way pushed the edge again. After that I started to grow up and found myself more interested in being social, so I'm not really up to date on how more modern games push the edge. However, I wonder what ideas slashdotters have for pushing the edge of gameplay.

Differentiation of nostalgia and greatness (1)

quarterbrain (958359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848040)

There are a lot of games that I look back on playing fondly as a child. My friends and I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing some of them - to us at that time, there were great. Inevitably we would beat them, and then we would move on to other games that we loved for a time. I've discovered after breaking them out later, that many of these games were great because I was 12 - or because I was hopped up on mike and ikes and generic cola with my friends. Those are pretty easy to spot now - and honestly, all the castlevanias fell into that category.

There are however games that are timeless and still surpise, challenge, or entertain to this day. I think you'll find that those games are the ones we still come back to years after their release. Those are the games that game designers should be looking at.

STFU... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848051)

and go get laid already. stop obsessing on games, just have some fun and move on.

nostaglia is always overrated (1)

Astarica (986098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848053)

But there is something unique about older games: they are shorter. At some point the video game industry becomes a place where the value of a game is not judged by some enjoyable-ness factor of the game, but how many hours you get out of it. That is not to say older games have to be superior, but they don't go out of their way to add extra playing time for the sake of putting 'X00 hours of gameplay' on the box. Indeed given the storage concerns of the past, you can't even cram in extra stuff just for the sake of doing that, because you would run out of storage room first.

Also, I'd argue the ability to save/load anywhere on an emulator enhances people's perception of older games. There are plenty of RPGs in the past that are mega maze crawls with no save points in between. If you actually have to play such a game it'd be quite a painful experience because you literally cannot leave in under X hours. Emulators essentially enhance the gaming experience by allowing you to break down an otherwise painful long stretch of boredom (and if you enjoy these things, you could just not use these features, so it's the best of both worlds). The Turbo feature found on most emulators also greatly enhances the value of a RPG by shortening the otherwise boring random battles (and if you find them fun, you can always do it at the regular speed).

I look at older games as enjoyable not because of how everything back in the good old days was better, but rather now I have the tools to make older games more enjoyable. If I can make my PS2 run 5 times faster at the switch of a button, an otherwise boring game could be tolerable, but this technology only exists with older games via emulator. Given the choice of 2 equally boring game, I might as well pick the one that I can speed up 5 times and not waste as much time.

Um, no. Pac-man, Galaga, Gauntlet, Spy Hunter... (1)

eison (56778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848055)

I _know_! I mean, just yesterday when I was playing Ms. Pac-Man in a bar, I was pining away for the clean simple fun gameplay of the latest Primal Fury Wrath Fighter Clone Thing. Oh, wait, no I wasn't, because Ms. Pac-Man still kicks butt.

Unfair comparison (1)

Thad Boyd (880932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848062)

"Should we make more games like the original Castlevania, or more like the recent 3D ones?" is an absurd and inappropriate comparison. It's a false choice. "Should we make more games like the recent 3D Castlevanias, or more like the recent 2D Castlevanias?" is a perfectly valid one. It's completely possible to combine oldschool elements of games with new technology, while not bowing to 8-bit throwbacks like awkward controls and artificial difficulty (eg having to memorize where every Medusa head is going to be before you can successfully make a jump). Recent 2D Castlevanias, as well as New Super Mario Bros., do a great job of mixing classic and modern gaming sensibilities.

Re:Unfair comparison (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848136)

not bowing to 8-bit throwbacks like awkward controls

Maybe it's just me, but I've always felt that the 2D Castlevania games had much less awkward controls than the 3D games. Sure, it was a little tricky to have 'B' as the whip, and 'up+B' as the special item sometimes, but compared to Castlevania 64's array of buttons for ducking and whipping and swording and dashing... it's like they felt obligated to find a use for every button on the N64 controller.

and artificial difficulty (eg having to memorize where every Medusa head is going to be before you can successfully make a jump).

Oh come on, they were just simple sinusoid movements. Not that hard to predict.

Nostalga (2, Insightful)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848075)

There were some games we played because we had nothing better.

Then there were games we played because they were fucking awesome.

I play Asteroids, Puzzle Bobble, and Galaga regularly. I will fire up an NES for Punch-Out, Duck Hunt, or Mario. I doubt anyone in their right mind would slight Street Fighter II or Metal Slug.

Games like Castlevania, Resident Evil, and even Zelda were more promise than game in their first iteration. They were landmark games for their time, but if you were honest with yourself when you first played them, you knew that those games needed more power. The developers were making do with what they had, but they were coding for future systems. Those type of games don't age well.

Oh, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848085)

The answer is because gamers demand more from their hobby now, and there's just not a lot of meat on those old bones.

Where "meat" means elaborate but generic 3D models, horrible screechy voice acting, and gigantic fully-interactive worlds which are in fact only "interactive" in the sense that every single NPC in the game is capable of giving you a different generic fetch quest.

You might not ever get past the second level of Halo 2 either, but that's okay, because these days everything has an online deathmatch mode where you play the same 4 or 5 levels over and over and over again, and that's an acceptable stand-in for gameplay. Decades-old Castlevania, on the other hand, if a blogger gets bored after replaying the first level, well, that's bad.

I'd take people more seriously extolling the potential of all this fancy gee-whiz-bang technology if anything was actually being done with it. You say the retro craze is stupid because new games have more "meat"? No, no, you've confused, the retro craze started because people started to feel like modern games don't have any meat.

You want to focus on "the games we've yet to dream of"? The thing is, the people right now who are doing the most to actually do that are the ones who are least following this guy's advice-- Nintendo, who are saying "shove it" to the entire big flashy world of 3D "meat" this guy wants, and making simple but compelling games which embrace the idioms of older games while coincidentally taking advantage of the technology and production values of today's games. The idea the blogger guy here is setting up, that you either have to go retro or go forward, is a false choice; Nintendo's been doing great lately going forward by going retro. In doing this they can avoid the creativity pratfalls of modern dreck without suffering the low-tech conveniences of old classics, and make games which are deep and rich and fun. For example, sure, nobody likes the big ugh 3D castlevanias, but everyone who's played it that I've talked to loved the new 2D castlevania for the DS.

Bad classics are ignored (1)

the_crowing (992960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848096)

When people talk how much better older games are to new ones, they tend to only pick out the best games from a previous generation, and the average to worser games of the current generation. Obviously, there are a lot of games out there today that can't live up to great classics(personally I don't think any new mario game can live up to Super Mario World), but when you look the average platformer game back in ,say, the NES days (average meaning anything thats not the Mario Bros. series) they're not as good as the average platformer would be today. I wish I could remember what some of these older games were called, but I distictly remember them being incredibly slow, unintuitive, and lacked a sense of momentum. Something that the average platformer today would have. And taking a look at the racing genre, I think its safe to say that GT4 is better than Rad Racer.

It's not the games.. (1)

MobiusRenoire (931476) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848098)

It's not the games that have changed while they've sat in our parents' basements (next to our beds). Moreso, we have changed and the way in which we approach the games. It struck a chord in me when he mentioned going to great and illegal lengths to play Super Metroid. I was similarly inspired and was willing to drive 2 miles and pay $12 for the chance to play it again on my SNES. I wasn't disappointed in the game at all as I approached the game like almost any other; I play the hero and save the galaxy. If I had picked up inflated expectations of what the game was like when I was a kid, I probably would have been sorely disappointed. It's kind of like going back to the old tire swing 20 years later, remembering how high you used to swing only to find an old worn-out tire hanging knee high from a branch you could now reach up and touch with your hand.

Atari Anniversary Advance... (4, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848101)

I noticed this problem when I was the lead tester for Atari Anniversary Advance [gamespot.com] for the GameBoy Advance. This title had the original ROMs of Asteriod, Battlezone, Centipede, Missile Command, and Tempest being emulated on the GBA. When I first got the title, I thought these were awesome games because I played them when they first came out. (I also played Pong when it first came out as well.) But, with the critical eye of a professional tester, I found out that there were sure buggy as heck. Mostly due to the limitation of the hardware during the early 1980's. The gameplay is still awesome and I still suck 20 years later. :P

If you're nostalgic, then *go back and play it* (4, Insightful)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848119)

What's the point of hypothesizing about "if", when emulators are cheap and plentiful? If you think that Castlevania 1 was better than it's latest sequel, go play it. Nobody's going to pick on you for not keeping up with the times.

Sometimes I find out that I just had low expectations when I was young. (e.g. Dragon Warrior 1, Final Fantasy 1, Paperboy)

Sometimes I find out that games which were good have nevertheless been surpassed by better alternatives or sequels. (e.g. Zelda 1, Mario Kart 1, Duke Nukem 3D).

And sometimes, the old games are fondly remembered because they were really, really good. Star Control 2, Deus Ex 1, and the Baldur's Gate series are each 5 or 10 years old, but (despite playing Starcon 3, Deus Ex 2, Neverwinter Nights, and lots of similar games from the same genres) I still haven't found any similar-but-better games to replace any of them. Judging by sales, there are a lot of people that feel the same way about Starcraft and Half Life 1. We don't all have some retro-gaming fetish, we just know what we like and know how rare it can be.

Take Metroid as an perfect example (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848152)

Metroid on the NES was good, within the limits of the hardware.
Metroid on the SNES was good, within the limits of the hardware.
Metroid on the Gamecube was good, within the limits of the hardware.
Metroid on the Wii looks like it's gonna be good, within the limits of the hardware.

So, sequels don't necessarily suck (even Metroid Prime 2 looked much better than the first).
Amazing hardware doesn't necessarily equal "better game" either.

Get creative: make games, not hardware demos. After all, you're supposed to be game companies, not demo groups like Triton, Future Crew, etc.

Re:Take Metroid as an perfect example (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848317)

Super Metroid on the SNES was a good game, outside of the limits of the hardware. That game still stands as the pinacle of 2d sidescrolling, alongside Castlevania: SotN. Nostalgia or not, that games influence can still be seen in games to date. But, point taken, Metroid is a game that's stayed consistantly good and pushed it's hardware in interesting, innovative ways.

Monkey Island! (1)

Rev. DeFiLEZ (203323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848153)

I just finished Monkey Island 2 last night, and Monkey Island 1 last week, and will start MI3 tonight, and I have to say, they are every bit as good as they were brand new.

Nothing but Whining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15848171)

This isn't really anything different than what goes on elsewhere in other industries.

Was the reissue of Star Wars better because of the updated effects? Should we "let go" of the original?
How about Casablanca, should someone make "Casablanca II: Rick and Ilsa Go Wild In Ibiza", does that mean we should "progress" and not watch the original?

All those pre-digital-age bands; should we not buy the records because the masters were recorded in analog, mono, etc.?

Preferences are what they are; so when you ask "Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by staying obsessed with the old classics?", it really makes no sense and amounts to whining.

This Can Be True (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848224)

This can be true. I'm a big music game fan and I've recently gotten my hands on a copy of PaRappa the Rapper (one of my favorites). Now lately I've been playing tons of Guitar Hero (awesome game). So then I go back to PaRappa for a little bit. Now the graphics look really blocky (it was PS1 after all), but that's not a problem. However, compared to Frequency/Amplitude/Guitar Hero/Donkey Konga it is REALLY HARD to get the timings right. I don't know what the issue is, but it seems to be much less forgiving (either that, or the indicator at the top of the screen is inaccurate). It's still fun, but that was a surprise to me when I started playing again. If the game came out today, I think it would have a hard time because of that.

Then there is also just the fun factor. I got a copy of Donkey Konga 2 a few months ago. After playing Guitar Hero it just wasn't very fun. The music in it was terrible (worse the the first by far) and it just wasn't as fun. You didn't get the connection to the music like you do with GH. Then just for comparison I put in my copy of Donkey Konga, and it was the same. I really liked that game, but now it just wasn't as fun.

Guitar Hero has REALLY raised the bar, it seems. Some games hold up very well (Frequency and Amplitude are still fun to play), others don't.

This happens in all genres. If a game is good enough (Super Mario World, Mario 64) then it will stand above it's peers for years to come. But if a game was just good when it came out, it may not stand the test of time. That's what we're seeing in some of these things.

I played through Kid Icarus about two months ago for the first time ever. I've got to say, that game was HARD. If I didn't know better I'd think it was an arcade (that you'd have to pump full of quarters). You can really see how games have changed. Most games that hard would never survive today. There is nothing wrong with a strong challenge, but that game just beats you over the head with it. I know tons of people think that is one of the best games ever, but I just can't see it from my (obviously quite different) perspective.

Some nostalgia is good. Some games really deserve it (Super Mario World, Mario 64, Yoshi's Island). But many games are remembered fondly and while they were important, they don't stand up to recent games.

final fantasy countdown (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848297)

The same kind of experience went for me when I tried to introduce my family to the Final Fantasy series. First was FF9 since it was out at the time. They liked it mostly for the music, as well as the pile of little sidegames that FF has long included.

Then I showed them FF8 and I have to say, even if the characters weren't four heads high semi-chibi style (a major complaint of FF9), they weren't more compelling either.

I got an old copy of FF7, arguably the best-loved of the "modern" FF series, and the low resolution graphics was positively oppressive. It had more edge, the translation not shying away from mild but persistent profanity. I flipped through some mame roms for earlier FF games and each trip backwards showed less game, less character, less world, and yet, maintained a few elements that bind all FF concepts.

Then we played FFX and FFX2, and were quite pleased with the artwork, storylines and world scopes (though FF games are still way too linear in my opinion). The smoother, easy-on-the-eyes antialiased graphics and more fluid animation style didn't hurt either. The voiceovers are controversial but we didn't really mind them. It's still not what you'd call state of the art in ANY direction technically, but it's an impressive tour de force when taken all together. Some still fondly think back to FF7 or FF3 or whatever, but give me more YRP. And if my family is to judge, the newer games in the series are just more fun than the old ones.

aka "The Episode One Effect" (3, Insightful)

xdroop (4039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848352)

This is precisely the same problem with Star Wars: Episode One. It is impossible to live up to the memory of seeing Star Wars for the first time, especially when the first time you saw it you were seven.

Castlevania no more fun today? I beg to differ... (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848432)

But if you went back and played it today, chances are you wouldn't bother playing past the second level.

Well, I did bother to play it for the first time ever a few month ago and had plenty of fun with it. After I was through with Castlevania1 I continued with Castlevania3 and yet again had plenty of fun with it. There was absolutly no nostalgia involved, since I never happen to play those games before, I only ever played Castlevania Adventures on Gameboy and hated that pretty much back then (just way to slow). Similar things have happened with Metroid and plenty of other games. Those old games are still good to this day. Only real exceptions are games that were all about GFX, which often simply can't stand the test of time, especially 3d gfx of yesterday can sometimes look incredible ugly today, but thats a different story.

The thing one has to remember is that you can't get the experience of the past days back exactly the way it was. You won't talk with your friends for weeks and month about an up coming NES game, you won't talk about puzzles and impossible to fight bosses, secrets and stuff, since cheats and walkthroughs are easily available today, every question you might have about a game is solved in a minute of googling, while in the old days some questions could stay mistery for years or decades. Instead if you today play a game released 10-20 years ago its just you and the game, no media buzz, no friends playing through the same game at the same time, etc. If you can accept that the experience of consuming a old game today will be different then it was back in the day due to all the surrounding factors, you however will still get a very good experience, not a 20h gameplay one, since most old games can be finished in an hour or two, but still a very satisfing one.

That said, I have nothing against todays games, there are quite a lot that I love (Katamary, SotC, PoP:Sands of Time, Tomb Raider Legend, Dreamfall, ...), however I am still quite a bit angry at the game industry, not because it delivers bad games (well, sometimes it does), but because it doesn't deliver the games I would have hoped for. Where is my current day X-Wing-like game or Strike Commander? Better graphics, more realism and simply overall improved? Not available, instead of that the "soft" flight-sim genre has died out almost completly, we are stuck with some arcadey shoot'em ups (all most all not even featuring a cockpit perspective) and Microsoft Flightsimulator, everything inbetween simply faded away. Same with games like MechWarrior. The adventure genre also disappear, it didn't really die out completly, but what game in the last year is up to the quality of what LucasArts released back in the day? And heck, where have my videos with real actors gone? I know, sometimes a CGI character can do a better job, but I still miss Wing Commander and friends. Last not least there are also many concept that never really have been realized, in old flightsims or racing games you very often had a lot of surrounding 'simulated', if you ejected over enemy territory you got caputured, if you crashed hard into a wall you got brought into a hospital by an ambulance and stuff, all this was just a static picture with little or no gameplay relvance, but it gave those games personality which is often completly lacking in todays games. In flight games you can't even eject, neither start or land manually today and in racing games you end up driving a nobody, have often no remotly real damage model (200mph against brick wall != scratch in the paint) and there simply isn't any surrounding simulated at all.

I don't know, maybe its just me, but I do miss Origin, Bullfrog, Micropose and the LucasArts of the old days, a lot. Their games where awesome and provided an experince which little of today comes close to, not so much because todays games are worse, but simply because they are quite different.

I'll take "Missing the point" for $200 (1, Insightful)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848479)

What a horrible article. A roommate comes back with a Conker title which he probably only really enjoyed because of the crude humor (which he has since grown out of) and suddenly all nostalgia gaming is doomed.

Go back to the true classics and then tell me that I shouldn't be nostalgic. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Mario Brothers, Pengo, Bump-n-Jump... All fantastic games which are still fun to play today.

It's the gameplay, stupid.

Oh, please (0, Flamebait)

DoktorSeven (628331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848543)

"The answer is because gamers demand more from their hobby now, and there's just not a lot of meat on those old bones."

Bullshit. I play more old games than new, and not for their "nostalgia" value. They are great games. People who "demand more" are graphics whores who like to look at pretty graphics, and are not real gamers.

"But when the fully 3D, story-driven sequel fails"

Which is 99% of the time because not only are the new so-called "gamers" graphics whores, so are the developers. They spend 90% of development time making a game look 5% better than the last shiny, graphically overdone game, then throw in gameplay, control, story, and fun (or lack of same) as an afterthought.

By the way, 74% of the statistics in this post were made up. 87% of you probably already knew that.

Because developers believe Graphics Story (2, Insightful)

garylian (870843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848558)

Back when the graphics were cheesy 3D lines (Wizardry) and 2D pictures (Bard's Tale), the top down looks (Ultima), or the top down look of Might & Magic, the the companies couldn't rely on "wickedly cool graphics" or "scantily clad heroine" to make a game work. They had to rely on the story in the game to keep you coming back.

The original Wizardry made it feel like you were playing a bit of DnD on your computer, right down to the dungeon crawl. The story wasn't that great, but the gameplay was different from a lot of other games.

Ultima gave us a fantastic story, coupled with 2D first person (and later, 4 person group) graphics to give you a sense of size to the world. You felt like you were going somewhere as the story plot carried you along.

The Bard's Tale was just flat out brilliant. The graphics were cheesy, but the story was strong, and you felt yourself moving around the city advancing the story.

And Might & Magic truly had a lengthy story line, filled with interesting puzzles that kept you going for months.

All of these games went beyond graphics to make you feel immersed. They had original thoughts and ideas, and were successful because of it. Then, the sequels started, and many of them stunk. But the name recogniztion alone made sales happen, and the bottom line is always the almight dollar.

Nowadays, with as much time as people have to put into the graphics, for a one time shot type game with limited extra revenue potential, they skimp on the story, and try to wow you with graphics. Even some MMOs are falling into this model, and don't last long.

I couldn't disagree more. (3, Interesting)

Captain Rotundo (165816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15848590)

I completely disagree with almost all the comments in this article and made in response. I've dug out old systems, and downloaded emulators and while on a few occassions the games were much easier due to their play-style (The Orig. Super Mario Bros, I could never beat it as a kid, now I pull it out for my kid and its super easy for me) but by and large they are very similar to how I remember them, and they are still fun to boot! - I find the early 3D games a little tough on the eyes, but I imagine they were just as nausia inducing back then, we just tolerated it more.

To this day I have never played a game as fun and well designed as the original Legend of Zelda, and I have played it many times on emulators, on original hardware, and on the gamecube release. It is still great. Sure it has no story, and no dialogue, but I find I play games for the play not for the story line anyway. I can always watch a movie for the story. Which brings up the problem with this piece, how can you hope to ever have games be considered art if you constantly rant about how dispossable they are? I'd like to see a film reviewer rant about given up on watching old movies because modern film techniques and special effects are so much better.
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