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Gaming Now and 20 Years Ago 433

Posted by samzenpus
from the night-and-day dept.
Anonymous Coward writes "A cool comparison of video games from the same genre, the only difference is about 20 years of technical development. The Bard's tale vs World of Warcraft is really funny."
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Gaming Now and 20 Years Ago

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  • rogue (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jetson (176002) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:10AM (#14979232) Homepage
    It's amazing how time flies. In 1986 I thought rogue was a huge improvement over hack....
  • Re:rogue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:21AM (#14979268)
    In some ways, the older games are more entertaining because they leave more to the imagination. Our imaginations can be more entertaining than any kind of advanced graphics, despite how advanced they are; and even on a subconscious level. That's why games like Mario and similar side-scrollers will never get old, even when compared with modern games with graphical marvels.
  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:26AM (#14979277) Homepage
    Not mentionning all the 20years old games are displayed with screenshots vs the newer games where prerendered 'commercial' pictures are displayed...

    How can this be called a 'comparison' ? They are comparing apples with oranges on a superficial level only... Good job at screwing up!
    --
    XviD review [palmdrive.net]
  • by Beolach (518512) <(beolach) (at) (juno.com)> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:28AM (#14979284) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: "write this short article"... that little snippet is about 20% of the entire article text (yeah, bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point). At least he did call it short.

    I was kinda hoping for an interesting in-depth article, rather than just a few side-by-side screenies. Graphics is probably the biggest, and definitely the most visible (pun intended) differance, but it's by no means the only change that's happened in games. The side-by-sides are kinda fun & interesting, but glancing at them really doesn't give any insight into much of anything. Sure, the graphics are better now. Does that make the games more fun? Well, yeah, all other things being equal, better graphics == better overall game, but is everything else really equal? I'd find an article making deep & broad comparisons between games today & 20 years ago very interesting to read. Little disappointed this wasn't that.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:29AM (#14979286) Homepage Journal
    I have seen many space based adventure games come and go but none blew me away as much as Starflight did. I even have an old Tandy TX and SX just so I can still play the game!

    For a game that only required two 360k floppies it was amazing in depth. The story was great and the detail was good as well. There was even lots of humor involved, some required you to be a real fan of the genre.

    Wiki reference : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starflight [wikipedia.org]

    Graphics can enhance a game but they never make a game.
  • by starwed (735423) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:38AM (#14979311)

    I have a pretty large compilation of old NES ROMS on my computer. And I can tell you that almost all of them suck. Many of them really, really suck.

    There are also plenty of good games mixed among them, but Sturgeon's law holds true for video games. Both "back in the day" and now.

  • by hyfe (641811) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:43AM (#14979329)
    ... which versions were more fun?
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:46AM (#14979339) Journal
    Still, these are cutscene shots, not actual gameplay. They could just as well put box art comparison (these old games had some pretty amazing box art at times).

    Or would you like to play Gotham Racing with camera view stuck in direction of your front bumper? Or to see the face of the basketball player instead of the basket?
    The problem with many new games is that they often concentrate on different 'cinematic' angles to show off the game art and disrupting the player's concentration. One moment you look how your car beautifully jumps from a ramp and the moment you see it composed into a lamppost. Or you frantically try to turn around to get the camera to show the opponent because the engine decided to focus on your face and the opponent is 'somewhere' in front of you but you have no idea where. That's actually where the old games had it right.
  • Age of Sequels. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vo0k (760020) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:50AM (#14979350) Journal
    And where are NEW games?

    Double Dribble vs. NBA Live'06

    Karate Champ vs. DOA 4

    Tennis vs. Top Spin 2

    Bard's Tale vs. WOW (there were quite a few warcrafts/starcrafts/etc before)

    Rad Racer vs. PGR 3

    Ice Hockey vs NHL 2006

    10 yard fight vs Madden NFL 06

    Punch Out vs Fight Night round 3

  • I agree, but Nintendo didn't really hit their stride until the SNES. That's where the games are that I still load once in a while.
  • by Xiph (723935) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:52AM (#14979357)
    Memory.
    For you old farts(i'm 26) who seem to think old games were better than new games remember the following: point Your memeory doesn't serve you well (neither does my spelling)
    you don't remember the bad things, and you will make the good things seem even better than they were. When you remember that really good game that you spend hours playing when you were younger,
    you forget about both the bad sides of the game and the other bad games. All the good games, i've gone back and revisited, have been good for the first 10 minutes, but few of them i've kept playing for more.
    They're fun, but the fun part lies mainly in my memory and in the storytelling, and with the really good lines, i remember the story. A few of them i manage to keep playing (like the original master of orion), a few have better gameplay than current day; I still think Dune 2 is superior in game play to many modern rts' unfortunately the interface is horrid and the bugs are weird.

    The first mistake lies in comparing the great old games to the games that disappointed us, if you wanna compare bards tale, do it to something like the elder scrolls series instead of a game we'll all happily forget next year. The second mistake is forgetting all about the disappointing games in the past or all the horrid pacman clones that were sold to diehard fans, all the pong alike games or the front/side -scroller inferno with thousands of ever more similar games. Anyway if you want a good game, without paying for hyped graphics, indie games have a lot to offer.

    The reason that the past always appear more glorious than the present,
    is that we're repeating the past and this time we have the experience to see the flaws and are too stubborn to revise the past.
  • by vistic (556838) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:59AM (#14979371)
    Seeing that shot of Ice Hockey made me want to take out my NES now and play it. I actually haven't really played many post-N64 video games, so I don't even know how the controls would work in the newer games. If the game played exactly the same as Ice Hockey, wasn't unnecessarily more complicated for "realism's" sake... but just LOOKED better and that's it... I'd be willing to play it.

    The problem is I don't think it's just the look of the games that's changed fundamentally over the years, it's the actual dynamics of the gameplay. Ice Hockey aimed at being fun and amusing... I have a feeling this new NHL game aims at being intense and real.

    I think the old games were just more fun. Nintendo has been keeping the spirit of being "fun" alive through to the Nintendo64, but after that I felt Nintendo tried to become aimed at an even younger audience. And the Playstation and it's style and mindset just was never me. I hated the look of all those games.

    I'm 24 years old, and me and some other computer science students recently got together and took out the old NES and SNES... and I think we had a LOT more fun playing those games than we would on any new system.

    (My favorite system I own is still the Genesis/32X/Sega CD... 3 power plugs, yeah!)
  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:14AM (#14979406) Homepage Journal

    Good point -- I remember burning a lot of hours (and quarters! Remember arcades?) on some pretty basic games, including Pong.

    But one thing I notice is that while the graphics and sound have leapt forward, the improvements in game play itself hasn't kept up. It's as if the core is still based on the same old ideas, prettied up and repackaged.

    Comparing a massively multiplayer game like WOW to a single-player adventure game is a fair comparison because it shows a genre that has made changes and adapted well to newer technology.

  • by ClamIAm (926466) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:17AM (#14979416)
    And yet, people still read Shakespeare.
  • Re:rogue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:25AM (#14979433)
    Alternate spin: older games seem more entertaining because we remember them as more fun than they actually were. If you think those games left a lot of room for imagination, then not having played them for 20 years you could do some serious dreaming.
  • by should_be_linear (779431) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:29AM (#14979443)
    Main difference: Today's gaming _industry_ is based on marketing and technical qualities (graphics, music). In old days, it was gameplay. If Elite is released today, noone would notice, because it had crapy graphics and no music (On my ZX). Yet quite few peole spent _years_ playing it. My take is that industry killed gameplay. 2 programmers + 3 Artists good, 20 programmers + 30 artists + whole lot of other people involved, bad.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:00AM (#14979501)
    Sure, as my old German teacher once said "Memory is a very kind and gentle judge". Sure, we remember the gems, the Railroad Tycoon, the Civilisation, the M.U.L.E, the Starflight and of course the ELITE, and forget about the bombs that we wasted money (or at least Disks) on, the crappy rip-offs made after some movie hits. Sure, they existed as well. The games that weren't even good for an hour of entertainment.

    But the other ones existed too. Games that kept you up at night, games that made you lose sleep over, games that swallowed away half a year of your life by simply being SO good that you cannot get away from them.

    And, to be honest, I miss those kind of games. I haven't met a game in the last 10 years that had the capability of sucking me in as badly as Starflight or Elite did. Sure, graphics are stunning today, but it's still the same games that I played already. Did we reach the level where there's no longer anything new to come? Where we've seen it all?

    Appearantly, there's only a market for shooters and realtime strategy games and nothing else. And appearantly there's a market for a billion of either. Personally, I can't even see them anymore. What happened to space sims? Economy sims? Adventures? Flight sims?

    No longer viable? Take too long to make for little return?

    I don't know how to say it, but today's games lack the power to keep me going for months. Few games interest me for longer than a few days, even though I got far less time to play today than I did 20 years ago. Am I getting old? Or are games getting worse, gameplay-wise? Considering that I don't care about graphics at all, could it be the effect of feeling that I already played it (in another incarnation, so to speak) and dumping it because of that?

    I don't know. All I know is that I miss the originality in games. Todays games are bland, in my opinion. They lack depth, they lack challenges, all that's left is better graphics, better sound and needing more horsepower in your computer. And, honestly, I'd love to play my old games again. But my 486 recently died, so they don't run anymore. :(
  • by albino eatpod (242140) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:03AM (#14979506) Homepage
    You're suffering from a lack of knowledge of the game. PGR3 has a rather neat in-game photo system that allows you take a photo from any angle, whilst also changing things like aperture, shutter speed, etc. The shot is taken using the game engine. The Microsoft logo is on there probably because it was taken from the Microsoft site, or was one of the shots in the press packs.
  • T.B.H. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by berenixium (920883) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:06AM (#14979515) Journal
    I think that games today are a stinking pile of highway banditry, and are leaning towards fleecing hard earned dollars constantly from consumers. The owners of WoW can hang up their oven-gloves and spend the rest of their lives doing the gardening since they've turned a significant amount of the worlds population into financial slaves. (I wonder where they got that methodology (M$) from?)
    At least with The Bards Tale on my trusty ol' Atari ST, I could spend hours beneath Skara Brae without having to worry about my bank account being emptyied by Interplay.
    My message to the current generation of hardcore-games players is: Free yourselves, and run! Stick to the single players while you still can avoid being sucked into a dominance that you might find one day hard to abandon.
    More on topic, computer graphics back then were, well, what graphics were supposed to look like. Today they might as well be digitised photo's. The art of the bitmapped pixel was never really understood by the management of the games companies, and were chucked from the mainstream way too soon in my opinion (bring back Outrun-like graphics, Sony!).

    They were simple yet not stupid (i.e. Bards Tale). That's why those games worked. Games today are complicated to look at, but stupid, requiring little brainpower (although RTS is an exception to that opinion), and like I said earlier, present day computer leisure-time is being designed to drain your coffers and turn people into currency slaves. (but what's new?)
    Bah, it almost sounds like a conspiracy!
  • by random_amber (957056) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:13AM (#14979531)
    ...about REALLY old computer games was that they used to be entirely the product of *one person's vision*, like the old Infocom games and the first few Ultimas. I mean one or two guys used to code/write entire games! Now I don't think anyone of those games listed has less than what? 50 people in the credits?

    Not that I'm pining away for times of old particularly...I love new games as well...too much. I'm a recovered EQ addict who avoids anything WoW like the plague for fear it will suck away my life as well.

    Random_Amber
  • Shmeh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by melonqueen (963023) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:20AM (#14979547)
    I'm 18 (born 1987) and have been gaming since I was a little tyke. I don't remember any of those games mentioned in that article... But the only game I do play from the current ones is WOW, and usually then its just the Frozen Throne expansion at LANs. But we were actually discussing this at school today (I'm a first year programming student) and we all agree that some of the best games we played were from when we were younger. Games that got mentioned were like Frogger, Tetris, the original Alex Kidd, Sonic 2, Pac-Man, Space Invaders... We all had fond memories of earlier consoles like Atari, Sega Master Sytem and MegaDrive, original GameBoy, and Super Nintendo. A lot of games these days, while flashy, don't seem to have the same substance. Fair enough, they still keep us occupied for hours... But if you gave me the choice right now of pulling out my old Atari or giving me an Xbox 360, I'd take the Atari.

    The comparisons are unfair. People will look at the graphics and go "Woah! Glad I live in this age!" But all it's show is how technology has advanced to give us flashier graphics and therefore creates a gimmicky feel. Not to say I hate todays games =0) But this is such an apples and oranges comparison... And not really all that informative anyway!
  • Re:Age of Sequels. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:27AM (#14979569) Journal
    And the older games were not copies of other games? "And where are NEW games?
    Double Dribble vs. NBA Live'06
    Basketball
    Karate Champ vs. DOA 4

    Martial Arts competitions
    Tennis vs. Top Spin 2
    Uhhh... tennis, like on a clay court
    Bard's Tale vs. WOW (there were quite a few warcrafts/starcrafts/etc before)
    Dungeons and Dragons
    Rad Racer vs. PGR 3

    NASCAR, F1, etc.
    Ice Hockey vs NHL 2006

    Real Ice Hockey
    10 yard fight vs Madden NFL 06

    NFL/USFL football
    Punch Out vs Fight Night round 3

    Boxing

    I think in your eagerness to point out how unoriginal games are today, you missed the observation that all of the older games listed are just videogame versions of other games. There is no originality there.
  • by donscarletti (569232) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:36AM (#14979591)
    Companies are relying more and more on awesome graphics to make up for a lack of innovative and fun gameplay. Most games 20yrs ago were more fun than new games today.

    That is such an old bunch of trotted out cliched tripe. Twenty years ago games were not as fun as they are today. Twenty years ago you didn't have MMORPG junkies that derive their entire existance from games. Twenty years ago you couldn't make your own fun in computer games like you can in HL2 by painting zombies and walls with the grav gun, or in BF1942 where you can forgo the game for acrobatics like detpack jeep boosting and wing to wing transfers. Twenty years ago you couldn't be in a situation where you have a whole city or world to explore with no rules like you do in many of todays games like the GTA franchise. Generally speaking games 20 years ago were twiddle tests where only ones reflexes are ever challenged. Games today embody strategy, tactics and sometimes even empathy, things that could never by fortold 20 years ago.

    I buy a game today and generally I am far more satisfied than I ever was in the past, I like nice graphics and I like added realism but I also like gameplay and I don't see any reason I'm getting less of that now than I ever was. We all see the past as a rosy time but really, games wern't that great back then either. The franchise has always been a part of games, we all remember the crap that was River Raid 2; plajorism has always been there, how many space shooters did you play in the old days; bad movie tieins have always existed, remeber ET?

    Don't kid yourself, the game industry would have to be REALLY bad if things were going downhill.

    By the way, does it occur to anyone else that when people ask for "innovation" they tend to really be asking for abstract games? Does anyone else just plain enjoy games better if they can immerse themselves in a model of the real world and get down to some good old fasioned violence? The best times I ever had was commanding my huge army in Rome: Total War and thinking about how cool I am, that wouldn't be possible with brightly coloured squiggles and dots.

  • Re:rogue (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jrest (539296) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:45AM (#14979611)
    You should not compare the experience that YOU had twenty years ago to the experience YOU have now playing computer games. That is not fair. You changed too much during those twenty years.
    • You probably had a richer imagination back then
    • Playing a computer game -any game- was relatively newer to you back then, than it is now.
    You should probably try to find a way to compare the experience that a kid today, new to computers, would have with a particular game-genre, with the experience you had, twenty years ago, with a game of that genre.
  • by EvilNecro (839456) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:47AM (#14979614)
    blah blah blah.... M.U.L.E., Archon, Seven Cities of Gold
  • by jbarr (2233) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:52AM (#14979626) Homepage
    Today's games, while they look amazingly realistic, remove one element that has made older games and toys so enjoyable: Imagination. Of course, games like Bard's Tale, Defender, Battle Zone, and Pong had low quality graphics, but the fun (at least for me and my friends) was that the vivid memories and excitement about playing these games was that you had to imagine a lot to "fill in the holes" that the "lesser" technology left out.

    It reminds me of the scenario where kids were given a large, boxed-up toy to play with. When the parents returned a while later, they found that the toy was thrown in the corner, and kids were having fun playing with their new box "fort".

    Imagination is what really makes playing fun. Technology that removes the need for imagination really takes the fun out of it...
  • Re:rogue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wideBlueSkies (618979) * on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:55AM (#14979902) Journal
    No, you do need imagination when you "use" porn....

    You have to imagine that she's naked for, and wanting you.
  • Re:rogue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AviLazar (741826) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:42AM (#14980149) Journal
    picture of an anatomically improbable young woman

    I have to disagree on this one point. Too many models with those kinds of proportions...and too many girls that I see with those kinds of proportions tomake the above statement true. Is it the majority of women, no (what a shame), but there are plenty of women who fit this body mold. Nothing is wrong with it. It has always been the case - a minority of the population have a certain look that everyone drools over, and others in the population want to degrade that because they do not have it.
  • Re:rogue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AviLazar (741826) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:45AM (#14980167) Journal
    I agree 100%....I fondly, very fondly, remember the original Transformers series. I loved it and for years I thought it was better then all the modern cartoons...then I found some episodes and I was like "ugh, there goes my childhood memories". We do think those older games were the best because we were younger and more easily impressed...now a days we are so critical. We look at the game and think "Oh man, the anti-aliasing on this game sucks, why did they do this...oh god they made a typo, oh that doesn't make sense...and dammit why is it I need 1 gig of RAM to play WoW correctly."
  • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @12:14PM (#14980871) Homepage
    Some games need stories, others do not... some music needs to speak to you, other music just needs a catchy beat. ITS CALLED VARIETY. My point was that on a whole those games with stories today typically have better stories then those games with stories way back when.

    Some of my favorite games today are games like Burnout, and Call of Duty 2. Neither of those have stories and they're both fantastic games. Burnout flat out doesn't have any rime or reason for the things you do, you're in a car and you crash into stuff, thats it. COD2, while based on WWII doesn't really have a story, you're in some town and you need to kill all the enemy troops in the buildings in front of you, again THATS IT.

    And while Tetris Worlds might have a story, most puzzle games today don't. Hexic, Bejeweled, Zuma, etc.. none of them have stories, or need them.

    Other Games need a good story backbone. Games like Final Fantasy, or Condemned would be total garbage if it wasn't for their fantastic story. They don't offer any compelling gameplay but they encourage you to explore and experience their worlds, and they challenge your mind to figure out what's going to happen next and discover and peace together all the parts of the story.

    Saying that all games should be one way and that's the only way is just ridiculous.

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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