Jun 14 2010
By: Moose-Steak Wastelander 876 posts

Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

13 replies 676 views Edited Jun 14, 2010

Remember when you were a little kid and video games were totally awesome? Why don't they make them like that anymore?


On pretty much any given forum, you'll find a thread or two asking this very question or one of its many variations. People often believe modern games are losing some important aspect from the past and they want to know if others feel the same way.


I have to tread carefully when responding to such topics, because I'm afraid my responses would all boil down to the same thing: That's just the nostalgia talking.


Not long ago, I watched an episode of Penn & Teller's TV show in which they broke down why nostalgia is BS. It got me to thinking about how I and other gamers view video games, constantly comparing them to our treasured favorites of yesteryear. The problem is: Judging modern games against hazy memories and anecdotal experiences can create a breeding ground for dissatisfaction.


Nostalgia, by definition, takes us back to times with very happy associations. Assuming you had a happy childhood, that's an obvious nostalgia destination, a time when you may have had few problems and endless fun. With gamers, nostalgia takes us back to the games of those periods as well, when we could gleefully invest ourselves in front of the console or computer from dawn 'til dusk on a rainy summer's day.


Growing up in the 1980s, my fond memories come from the Atari 2600 and the Commodore 64. I still hold onto my floppy disc copy of the original Zork and, while playing Red Dead Redemption, recall my other favorite western: Outlaw. Of course, I've taken the time to go back and replay many games from that era over the years. Some held up very well, others not so much.


While I do have fondly remembered favorites and do indulge in retro gaming from time to time, I also do my best not to dwell too much on the past while playing modern games. I want to enjoy the meal before me rather than feeling bitter by comparing it to the one time I ate at that five-star restaurant. And for the most part, I'm in love with the current state of gaming.


Surely there are plenty of fair comparisons between modern video games and those of the past, though. After all, the industry as it stands today is built on the backs of what came before, and it's important to understand what worked well in the past, as well as what gamers loved about those experiences. Some of those longings expressed by gamers may indeed be valid.


At the very least, the game industry seems aware of gamers' nostalgic desires and is catering to those. On top of re-releases of classics (such as PS1 games on the PSN), some new games have decidedly old-school influences. Some take a very direct approach, such as 3D Dot Game Heroes. Others are subtler, such as Demon's Souls. We've even seen updates of classics, such as Space Invaders Extreme, and I think its inevitable that games will eventually go the way of Hollywood with more and more remakes and reboots.


My advice to those burdened with the nostalgia bug would be, as it is in many cases, to seek a sense of balance. Indulge that itch if you absolutely must; opportunities are out there to do so. But don't get so wrapped up in the past that you're unable to enjoy more modern experiences. Open up your inner child to current offerings.


After all, today's video games will someday be the nostalgic favorites of the millions of kids happily whiling away this summer vacation season with controllers in their hands and smiles on their faces.



A few discussion questions:

Have you ever wished modern games were more like those of the past?

How much do you think developers should cater to that sense of nostalgia?

Have you ever played a beloved retro game only to find yourself disappointed?

The horse says: DOCTORATE DENIED!
Message 1 of 14 (676 Views)
Fender Bender
Registered: 07/30/2007
3979 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 14, 2010

  That's a really good question.  I myself went through a heavy nostalgic phase in the last couple years, and am only now getting in the right lane so I can take the next exit.  I'm only 22, and I've been told many times that I look young for my age, whether it's finding out that someone thought I was still in high school, or getting IDed at any pub or casino I go to(the legal age in Canada is 19).  Yet that just serves to highlight what I was thinking all along as I went through that nostalgic phase, that I was way too young to do so.  I decided to go ahead with it anyways though.  I wanted to revisit the past, so I did, and not just with gaming, but I'll keep things gaming related.  Given my age, it may not be surprising that the most nostalgic era in gaming for me, is the ps1 era, and the re-release of ps1 classics on psn allowed me to return to that period with some of my favourite games(though I know some can't be brought back).


  Anyways, my findings in general, including gaming, are that some things are in fact as great as I remembered them, or sometimes even better, and that I had fond memories of them for a good reason.  The first Spyro game is a good example.  I also downloaded the sequel, because one of my friends said it was one of his favourite games from the past, and I found that it was even better.  Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey is about as good as I remember it, and Abe's Exodus is everything I would have wanted in a sequel, and more, and I wish I had it back in the day too.  The same is true with Spyro 2.  But I also found that I'm just not as into some things anymore, whether they just don't hold up against newer games, or just that I'm older now and may not have the same appreciation for it.  This is true of the old school Crash games.  I had fond memories of them, but I think I've moved on since then.  I want to give them another chance though, considering they do have their place in my childhood.


  Another thing I noticed was that my memory of certain things became distorted over time, and sometimes made them better, when in actuality, the source material a given memory came from was in fact exaggerated, due to the fact that I didn't revisit it for years.  I can't think of anything gaming wise that falls into that category, but when I revisited certain things, I just found that they weren't nearly as great to begin with, and I may have appreciated them for what they actually were, as a child, but nowadays, I just don't feel the same way about them. 


  My conclusion from all of this is that we should ask ourselves some questions.  We may have fond memories of the past, but how much of it is clouded by rose coloured glasses?  Do modern games really lack what made past gaming so great, or are we just judging them unfairly, because they have changed with the times?  How much of the past should be revisited, and how much of it should stay in the past?  I think anyone who has the means to, should revisit some of their past favourites.  Keep in mind though, that there's a risk associated.  That an ideal image of the past may in fact make something that much better, and that image can shatter if the game itself doesn't live up to the status it has been elevated to.  In which case, it's probably better to hold onto that image. 


  But some games are just as great now as they were back then, and it's difficult to tell them apart from the other classics that aren't without revisiting them.  And of course, like with anything, opinions of older games are subjective, and some people may still love certain games they enjoyed back in the day, while others may not.  The truth is, time moves forward, but that's not to say we can't figuratively travel back in time.  Never forget that the past happened, but always remember that the present is what's happening now, so I think there's a balance between living in the past, and enjoying what the present has to offer. 

Message 2 of 14 (676 Views)
Last Guardian
Registered: 09/03/2006
11832 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 14, 2010

Have you ever wished modern games were more like those of the past?


Not really. While I like to think back to what I used to play, I like to live in the present. After all, if I'm too busy looking back, I'll miss what's going on now. I already had great fun with past games, I want to give the new ones a chance at offering me the same level of fun.


Plus, with this generation, it's sometimes not an option to look back. We're a gaming community that has a lot of technology that we didn't have back then. Things like user-created levels and the ability to share them among friends have only recently been experimented with and their integration will be looked back upon only after more consoles have released.


Having said that, one thing that I wish developers today would change is how hard games are. From what I remember, games as a whole were much more challenging. I realize that there's almost always a hard mode to choose from, thereby increasing the difficulty of the game, but I feel like the medium difficulty should be a little more like medium and less like medium-easy.


Maybe I've just gotten better at games since I usually play through the hardest difficulty available, but again, it would be nice to not just waltz through everything. This increase of difficulty would be nice especially for games that don't offer difficulty options. For example, I'm tired of playing a game like GTA IV and dieing from a driving error or a silly grenade instead of intelligent AI.


How much do you think developers should cater to that sense of nostalgia?


I feel like if the game is an extension of a series, the developer should look toward the past and therefore nostalgia. For example, the Ratchet and Clank series. It's nice that Insomniac keeps the experience fresh by introducing new characters, weapons, and gameplay mechanics, but it's also nice that they keep the humor, crazy sense of firepower, and overall atmosphere that made the first game great. It keeps the series familiar to old fans while also keeping things fresh. Plus, these new additions may attract gamers to the series that hadn't previously been interested. Then again, it could go the opposite way and scare away old-time fans. However, I think it's worth the risk.


Again, though, if developers focus too closely on the past, they'll lose focus on what people currently want and what's popular. I think it's good to get a little of both worlds. Looking too far back isn't good as well as looking too far forward.


Have you ever played a beloved retro game only to find yourself disappointed?


Honestly, as of now, I haven't really had the time to go back to revisit my old favorites. Getting ready for college and taking my summer class is eating a lot of my time and so are my new games. Perhaps I'm a little too confident in my thinking, but I feel like if I went back to them, I wouldn't be disappointed at all. I guess I'll find out in the near future; I'm looking to play a few this summer.



This thread actually heavily reminded me of my recent experience with Final Fantasy XIII. I tried to give the game a chance, looking at what I had in front of me and not what I had beforehand, but I just couldn't get over how "bleh"/dull/bland the experience felt. I kept on returning back to the fun I had with FFX, FVII, and memories of my friend playing FFVIII.


I thought that maybe with my older age, I wasn't as captivated by everything simply because I had matured. As I said, I have my class, homework, decisions to make, etc. But then I thought, wait a minute, what about RDR, inFAMOUS, Joe Danger? I'm having an absolute blast with these titles and I still have the same stuff on my plate. It just came down to the fact that FFXIII for me just kind of sucks, for lack of a better term.


My friend came over recently and I let him do something that I've never left anyone do before: I gave him my controller while my file was being played. For those who know me personally, I'm one of those people that isn't a fan of people touching my games or playing my games, but when it came to my friend wanting to upgrade my weapons in FFXIII, I really couldn't care less. It not only cemented my general dislike for the game, it also brought up the fact that the upgrading system is flawed, in my opinion at least. There I was, 52 hours into the game, at the final boss, and I had upgraded only one weapon one time. I thought that if I had neglected this aspect of the game this long, I might as well give the controller to someone who actually cares.


This moment again took me back to much better times. The upgrading reminded me of the item/weapon customization in FFX. Riku may have not been a character I heavily utilized, but the customization she brought to the game was something I used quite often. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I remember many more moments in FFX than I do in FFXIII, and I played the former 6 years ago.

Message 3 of 14 (676 Views)
Gaming Beast
Registered: 03/11/2007
2050 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 14, 2010
This is actually interesting, as it's something I brought up in my reply (somewhere in that mess, anyways) to the thread "Good Character Development - More difficult with better graphics?" over in RPG general, which asked if the greater technology of today has seen a decrease in strong narrative/characters when compared to past games.

It's definitely true that we look back to our past gaming experiences often with blinders on, which is a legitimate rebuttal to the "Games aren't as good as they used to be" complaint. I mean, we all thought Robocop was cool back in the day, too (might've just been all the violence and robotic law enforcement), but, looking back, it truly is a stupid movie. I certainly can't stand to watch it anymore, even with the help of the cheeseball and nostalgia factor (about a year or two ago caught it on TV, turned it off rather quickly after initially being excited to see that little blast from the past).

In regards to the video game industry, we also have to remember that it is still, for all intent and purposes, a relatively new industry. There has been tons of trail and error in the past, fads, etc. A lot of stuff once found interesting, mainly for its novelty at the time, doesn't hold up well. Anyone try to revisit Goldeneye lately? "THE first-person shooter? Last time I did was about five years ago, and it didn't hold up all that well (despite the awesomeness of playing as Oddjob and racking up hat kills).

I remember playing a PS2 game back towards the beginnings of the console's cycle called Orphen - anyone remember that one? I played it at a friends and thought it was totally awesome...but I didn't really think it was that awesome, it just looked interesting and was decently "fresh" playing it for 20 minutes one day long ago, so I've always remembered it as "totally awesome". Looking back at the game years later when trying to track a copy down, reviews and all other information points to the game sucking. Hard. And it probably did. I just briefly saw some cool stuff and remembered the game kindly.

What about Max Payne? That game was great, right? A new benchmark for videogame storytelling and awesome gameplay mechanics? Well, I never played Max Payne in its heyday - but I did pick it up at Gamestop...probably sometime last year, and eventually got around to playing it earlier this year. I tried to put up with it because I like the crime noir genre, but the gameplay mechanics didn't hold up well at all. It was a pain to play - downright frustrating at multiple occasions, including one of the dream sequences that ultimately led to me giving up on the game, because you had to walk on a maze of narrow, almost invisible lines of blood in an all black environment - aside from not knowing where to go and not being able to see, the controls are so damn clunky I feel off and died...35 times? Plus, aside from the gameplay mechanics being less than stellar...story wasn't some "gritty, epic crime noir". It's told in a poor comic book fashion with a bad voiceover and wasn't particularly enthralling at all. Needless to say, I was beyond disappointed. (And need Deus Ex: Human Revolution or Rockstar's Agent to be released!).

Of course, I don't think this is true for all games, either. I talked about Goldeneye not living up to nostalgia, but its spiritual successor, (and in my mind, a superior game), Perfect Dark did hold up quite nicely times i played it years after its release (though admittedly still, it's been a while). And of all the fondly remembered games, I'll be honest - I think more are in fact good than bad (and, if anything, just maybe not as good as we remember them).

I think the real test is the way I did with ones like Max Payne - give them to an uninitiated player years later and see how they fare. Then you can have a better indication of what's what. Play some of those games people are always raving about that you may have missed and see for yourself if they're good - chances are, they are, and if not, nothing much is lost.

This is really coming across from me playing some of Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection, too. There's a title, Comix Zone, that I had never even heard of, but it's actually a damn good game, even (almost) 20 years later (frustratingly hard, too, but great art, interesting ideas/presentation, tight gameplay). Heck, I played some of the original Prince of Persia about a year ago on some website, and that game (which was advanced for its time) still played well, too. Same goes with a lot of older RPGs, I think, though I did give the genre some flack in the aforementioned post, simply because I don't think those narratives were always as good as people remembered them. But the fact that someone can still load up any past Final Fantasy and still have a blast speaks to a quality that surpasses the nostalgia factor.

And, at the same time, let's not knock the nostalgia factor, either, because it can be paramount to personal enjoyment, which is what really counts when you're playing games, right? I fondly remember a Ducktales game way back in the day to be a legitimately good, very fun game - others do, too, apparently. And if I were to get a hold of it somehow and play it with someone who'd never even heard of it, maybe they don't like it, or find it to be fun, or what have you...but maybe I still do, unlike when trying to re-watch Robocop. Sure, the nostalgia factor can be blinding at times (which can rightfully annoy others in conversation) when we sit on our porches, yelling at youths to keep off of the grass and raving on and on about "Back in my day, we had to walk 30 miles through the snow to get to a video game - and they were actually worth it back then!", but, at the same time, if the nostalgia factor, even in one instance can actually keep the experience fun for me when I would've otherwise not gotten any enjoyment out of a title, who am I to complain, right? (That other person who didn't like Ducktales can stuff it!)

Spoony Bard

Message 4 of 14 (676 Views)
MVP Support
Registered: 12/29/2003
12353 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 15, 2010

Video games are still “totally awesome” to me. Are they not supposed to be? Did they lose their "awesomeness" a few years ago? What I think is “totally awesome” now certainly isn’t what I thought was “totally awesome” back when I was a little kid but I have no problems accepting the fact that my video game preferences have changed and will continue to change (hopefully for the better)...


I try not to compare modern video games to my “treasured favorites of yesteryear” even if I have just played through some of them. If individuals do that then of course they are setting themselves up for disappointment or dissatisfaction in some manner. If I miss something from way back when then the reason for this is usually because developers have forgotten about what certain video game genres are supposed to feel like and have lost sight of the kinds of elements that video games from these genres are supposed to contain. When is the last time you played through a traditional survival horror video game? I think there are a total of two survival horror video games for the PlayStation 3 that are actually traditional survival horror video games. So many individuals are trying to pump action/adventure and shooter elements into the “survival horror” video games that they develop in this day and age that it is actually having a negative impact on the survival horror genre. If developers forget about all of the elements that made a video game genre enjoyable in the first place then of course I am going to be less than pleased with their endeavors...


With that being said, I see nothing wrong with playing older video games. I’m more worried about individuals becoming so wrapped up in the present that they cannot enjoy video games from the past than about individuals becoming so wrapped up in the past that they cannot enjoy video games from the present. As far as I’m concerned, becoming wrapped up in the past isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While it is true that there are some great modern video games out there I think it is important to acknowledge that there are also some great classic video games out there (many individuals unfortunately seem to forget about that). It cannot always be assumed that there is enough of a variety out here in the 7th video game generation with respect to video games to keep every type of video gamer satisfied. It took me years to embrace the 7th video game generation and at the end of the day I think I was only able to do so because I fell back on my old action/adventure video game preferences (lucky for me I have a handful of video game preferences). My absolute favorite video game subgenres are the psychological horror subgenre and the turn-based Japanese role-playing game subgenre. If you can list me a bunch of video games from the 7th video game generation that are suited to these preferences then I would be more than happy to look into them...


Have you ever wished modern games were more like those of the past?

Every time I go to sleep at night...

How much do you think developers should cater to that sense of nostalgia?

They shouldn’t cater to nostalgia so much as they should actually look at what was good about video games from the past and keep incorporating enjoyable elements into the video games that are being developed in this day and age. Always moving forward and never looking back is not always the best approach to take. After all, forgetting about a tried and true formula and/or discarding an enjoyable element in the name of innovation is what can destroy a video game franchise for many individuals...

Have you ever played a beloved retro game only to find yourself disappointed?

I have never been disappointed with a beloved retro video game...

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Message 5 of 14 (676 Views)
Uncharted Territory
Registered: 07/25/2008
1352 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 16, 2010

It's a tough question to ask, which leads to an even tougher question to answer. It all truly depends on the people playing the games, and their definition of "better". What qualifies a game as being "better" than another? Is it the graphics? The gameplay? The OST? Is it all those things combined!? Who knows....


It all comes to a personal factor - and I say yes, past games WERE better, by a longshot. They just had this ring to them, something that made them the classics they are today. It's like eating two identical meals, but one was made by your mother and one was made by a random stranger on the street. The meal your mother made will taste that better, because she made it, with love.


Smiley Tongue


Really though - it truly feels to me like every game nowadays isn't made the same way. As if the developers of the past were working hard to make a form of art. Trying to express their ideas onto a small compact disc, and share those ideas with the world. They did it, because they had fun, and loved sharing their ideas. Now, it's like the developers make games only partly to share their ideas, and mostly to make money. Now, their is nothing wrong with making money, it is what people have jobs for, but they are missing the ingredient, of love!


Enough about that though, let us now move on to the comparing.


What do these new games have that the old ones didn't? For one, they have fantastic gameplay, and amazing graphics that we would have never seen in the days of the Playstation and Playstation 2. Not only that, but the gameplay is great as well - many developers have played hundreds of other games, they take what is best of each game, and combine those aspects to make an even superior game. At one point, game will need a new scoring system, because when each surpasses the next, '10 out of 10' will not be enough to describe how incredible the games today are.


Another aspect of game's today that no one can say doesn't make a difference in the people's view of games are the online functionalities. This enhances the experience even further, allowing players from all over the world to work for a common goal, or defeat each other in a combat of some sort. This adds so much to games today, giving players a HUGE amount of replay value, and allowing them to really get their money's worth.


It was those things that I mentioned that allowed me to put so much time into Warhawk. Over 800 or so hours into that game, because it had so many things that made it so much fun, and I always had myself returning to it, because I simply could NOT get enough. I would have never been able to put over 800 hours into games such as Crash Bandicoot,or Spyro the Dragon. Those were fun games, but they did not have me coming back for more over and over again.


Now, had those games had updated graphics, better gameplay, and online capabilities, would I have played them more, and gotten a better experience out of my money's worth?




That is not what made those games. The past games, who honestly cared about graphics? And who even thought of the idea of playing people online? In those past days, two things were important:


1. Gameplay


Was the game fun? Did people enjoy playing it? The first and foremost thing that was necessary when making a game. It is easily what led most people to buying games. If it was/looked fun, people would dish out their hard earned cash, and but some games, because the purpose of games was to have fun. Obviously, this remains true in the games of today. As I mentioned, over 800 hours or so in Warhawk, because it was so much fun. The only other game I had ever put so much play time in was Star Wars; Battlefront II (mostly playing against AI, since I didn't discover the internet till a later time). The reason I put so much time into the games was because of the solid gameplay, which brought great fun.


2. Story


Back then, no matter the genre, nearly every game had a story line, a single player campaign in which players would be immersed in an alternate reality, be told a story, and take control of the main protagonist. Weather they were comical, serious, or relaxing, they all had some sort of story. They would suck you in, you would get attached to the characters, you would feel a part of their universe. Even the comical stories, such as the story of Ape Escape had a much better storyline then many of the games today. Original characters, interesting story line, fantastic settings, these all contributed to the making of a great story. These games felt like true games.


Nowadays, with all the focus on graphics and online capabilities, we hardly every get a good stroyline. When we do, it just feels to cinematic if you ask me. Way to cinematic. When I was playing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, I was thinking to myself "wow, this is actually a pretty good storyline". It was much better than the first, and I may even have gotten a bit attached (a bit) to some (some) of the characters. But overall, it felt like Naughty Dog was trying to much to make a movie with some gameplay - and they succeeded. If you ask me, it was more like they were trying to give an homage to great movies as opposed to great games. To me Uncharted 2: Among Thieves felt more like a movie to me than a game. The only reason it's considered a game is because of the gameplay.


Older games felt like games to me. I don't know if that makes sense, it is a bit hard to explain, but really, most games today go for a cinematic feel more than anything. Don't show me a cliche movie storyline, show me a cliche video game storyline! ARGH!!!


I truly do wish modern games were more like older games. They had 100% better storylines. They were original, fun, and interesting. And don't go telling me "Everything has been done before, it is impossible to be original" because it is not. If you want originality, you need creativity, and if developers keep making the same stuff over and over again, then obviously they lack creativity. That is it right there, that is the secret ingredient to the older games - creativity. And I'm not talking about "OH, now you can play with 1000 people online at once!", no, I'm talking about creativity in story and gameplay. Give me something completely new, completely original.


For example, Ape Escape. Now that game was original. Saving the world from evil monkey's that use machine guns and rocket launchers with a slingshot, a net, and a RC car? Creative and original. Compared to today's originality: "Uh, the aliens have 6 eyes now, and instead of using a machine gun to kill them, you're going to use...TWO MACHINE GUNS!". No.


Most developers seem to not care at all about nostalgia. Nostalgia is the past, developers want the present, because that is what will give them sales and money. If they decided to make a game while focusing more on the elements of the past, although the game would more than likely be better than most games made today, they would not get the sales made by a game focusing on the elements of the present.


And it's funny you ask that last question. I'm planning on getting Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots soon, and to prepare, I thought I'd play through some of the first MGS games. I just beat Metal Gear Solid for the Playstation yesterday. What a game. I was far from disappointed. I had a great time re-playing the game, a much better time then I had playing Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and inFamous for the first time. Metal Gear Solid blows those games out of the water. That is a true game. It's original, creative and fun. A great storyline, and quite nostalgic.


Yes, past games were really, really, better.


R.I.P. Paul Harvey (Sept. 4, 1918 - Feb. 28, 2009)

Operation Dentiform Alignment Initiated on Wednesday September 3, 2008
Heavy Enforcers Added on Tuesday October 8, 2008

Message 6 of 14 (676 Views)
Uncharted Territory
Registered: 02/21/2008
1978 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 19, 2010

Have you ever wished modern games were more like those of the past?

Most games are really just variations on older games anyways. It's actually pretty interesting to sit there playing a PS3 game and think that certain parts of these games reminded me of "X" game 10 years ago. It's really not all that farfetched when you consider story-wise games haven't really done much other then slightly alter the same old save the world, get the girl, and/or beat up that big ole bad boss at the end mantra.


How much do you think developers should cater to that sense of nostalgia?

I would like to see developers continue to do what they do best. Think up the next best game, not live in the past. That's what i kept all my old games for. Now for games that we can't get our hands on, like Star Castles....I'm glad that a developer has picked up on a game with this theme.


Have you ever played a beloved retro game only to find yourself disappointed?

How could i dare do that to my poor Luna? Seriously, i can't say i wouldn't be disappointed to go back and try to play a PS1 game. That's why i have a specific list of games that are worth replaying.


In hindsight, i would say that there are some games from every generation that have the same draw to want to replay them. I have replayed Lunar 1+2 multiple times, yet the same can be said for Fallout 3 and Ar tonelico 1+2. They have a charm to them that makes you want to come back for one reason or another.

Message 7 of 14 (676 Views)
Treasure Hunter
Registered: 09/13/2005
5526 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 19, 2010

SPOILER ALERT!!!!  (If you still haven't played FF7  Smiley Tongue  )


I grew up in the early '90's, so I'm pretty much just a kid.  However, here's a little experience I had with some older games.


I didn't really get into gaming until about 2002 with the Star Wars, Jedi Knight series.  From that time, I never played any older games; I only bought the newest game to come out.  In the beginning of '09, I decided I wanted to start playing old games, so I went out and bought a copy of Final Fantasy 7, and the original Rainbow 6.


I bought FF7 because I had never played it before, and I bought Rainbow 6 because I remember playing about 10 minutes of it a while back.


I decided to play Rainbow 6 first.

Here's a little side note:  Everyone likes to boast that their newest game is the most realistic one yet, and it's what the gamer wants... realism.

I was shocked at the level of realism in Rainbow 6.  You actually have to use flashbangs or you'll be shot before you go in the door.  It was an awesome game.  Granted, the plot was so/so, but hey... it was a shooter.  I was mainly just surprised that such an old game would make the newer games of the same title look like Halo or Ray-Man in their degree of realism.


Now, on to Final Fantasy 7... all I can say is, "Why didn't I get this game when it was new?"  The game made me laugh, feel sorry for the characters, and get angry.  I have never bonded with a character like I have in Final Fantasy 7, and I loved it.  Why don't newer games do this anymore?


Sure, Oblivion was a great game.  I loved the plot, the gameplay... pretty much everything.  But at the end of the day, I didn't care what happened to any of the characters but myself.  In FF7, I actually felt sorry when Aeris died.


After playing FF7, I picked up FF7:CC for the PSP.  If you read reviews for games, you'll see that no one liked Crisis Core.  I, however, loved it.  The plot was the best one I have ever seen for a modern game.  You get the same level of connection that you get with the original FF7.  I remember tearing up at the end of Crisis Core.  It was a truly remarkable game in terms of plot and character developement.


For me, the games of the past didn't have the level of graphics or gameplay that exists today, so they had to make do with plot structure.  That's why the older games are actually more fun to play for me.

Rest In Peace, BoW.
Message 8 of 14 (676 Views)
Treasure Hunter
Registered: 11/30/2005
7744 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 20, 2010

To tell you the truth, anyone that says old games were better, that's just nostalgia talking to you.

Of course, the only thing I hate about moderm gaming is that 99% of all games that come out now are all shooters or just focus on online now, which I hate since I'm kind of a gamer that likes to be left alone, and not to mention the three main reasons I play games is for the story, gameplay and music, which seem to be lacking in todays game, or just plain hard to find all three in the same game.


One good company worth debating is Square-Enix, now I don't want to talk a whole lot on this right now, but I'll just post my view on it.

I seriously don't see a difference after or before the merge of Squaresoft(-Enix), all their games are still as fun to play as they were 10 years ago, I swear after like one or two well known devs leave that company the super hardcore fanboys go in a rage and say all their games will be **bleep**ty from now on, god man that just irritates me.

"Can you see your end? Then death be yours!" ~ Brahms
Message 9 of 14 (676 Views)
Treasure Hunter
Registered: 07/14/2005
5586 posts

Re: Nostalgia: Were past games really better?

Jun 20, 2010

Great question. I ask myself this all the time.


When I was a kid, I would take anything I could get. Virtually anything could please me. Like most people around here, I would mainly play platformers. You know, Spyro, Crash, etc. Still, to this day I'm a relatively easy person to please in terms of games and game mechanics.  I do think things were a lot simpler back then. Then again, I didn't know too much about how games were made and what went into them. I would just know that every few years a new title would come out and I'd convince my dad to spend his hard earned paycheck on some game or other. I even vividly remember when Crash Bandicoot Warped came out. It seemed as if every time I turned around there was a commericial for it, or there was a promotion for it. It made me want to have it more and I eventually I got it (along with a brand new Memory Card!).


Still, that is the nostalgia making me think that the simplicity of the games made the times better. I do think that there is some degree of excess when it comes to modern gaming. It seems as if there's an extreme emphasis on the trivial stuff. MOAR GRAPHICS! MOAR ACTION! MOAR BLOOD! Rawr, rawr, rawr, rawr, rawr. This seems to plague shooters more than anything else. A shooter is not considered a commercial success unless it includes all of these things. Infact, I was looking on Insomniac Games' website and they did a case study on graphics and frames per second. Insomniac came back with data that stated the games that had better looking graphics typically did very well with review scores compared to ones that did not. Developers are always trying to make things more hard-edged than they should be, eventually sucking out all of the lightheartedness from the games. One good example is Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The first Bad Company was a T rated game. It was very humorous, had a very light spin on war, I enjoyed it a lot for it's quirky nature. Then the second one becomes an M Rated game. Blood is added, the game becomes darker and grittier, etc in an obvious competition with Modern Warfare 2. Bad Company 2 ended up being a commercial success with over 5 million copies sold. This over the top competition with other games needs to stop if games want to retain their true identity. Modern games are great, especially with al of the technology they have, but it seems more about sales figures now and making history more than anything else. That's one stark contrast to the games of now and the games of yesteryear.


Have you ever wished modern games were more like those of the past?


Not really, we need to go forward and make games that reflect our current technology, but I do wish there was a less sense of urgency.


How much do you think developers should cater to that sense of nostalgia?


I think they already do, to an extent. There's numerous old school games on various consoles and especially the internet, so some developers do.


Have you ever played a beloved retro game only to find yourself disappointed?


I know what to expect most times, but there are some times where I'm like "did I really play this as a kid? How could I have?" 


Great topic.

I've done the math and discovered I was never part of the equation.
Message 10 of 14 (676 Views)