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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)
    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.
      • Re:rogue (Score:5, Funny)

        by DrSkwid (118965) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:44AM (#14979333) Homepage Journal
        Imagination rules, that's why no-one uses porn
        • Re:rogue (Score:5, Funny)

          by hey! (33014) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:32AM (#14979581) Homepage Journal
          Imagination rules, that's why no-one uses porn

          You know that theory that says people have a "set point" for fat? I think there's a set point for titillation.

          A Victorian pervert probably got all kinds of sticky enjoyment out of pictures of ladies in their underwear, even if the ladies were rather, uh, plain and middle aged, and the undewear looks like a cotton interpretation of a teutonic knight's jousting armor. You on the other hand can glance at a picture of an anatomically improbable young woman engaged in some equally bizarre sex act, then pass without missing a beat in your search for a blonde Japanese teenaged acrobat with large natural breasts and a knife fetish.

          If you had anything close to the erotic imagination of your 19th century precedecessor, you'd have died from an aneurism the day you got broadband.
          • Re:rogue (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AviLazar (741826)
            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
          • Re:rogue (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            If you had anything close to the erotic imagination of your 19th century precedecessor, you'd have died from an aneurism the day you got broadband

            I'll put that one down under "list of funny things to do when I invent a time machine"

        • Re:rogue (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wideBlueSkies (618979) *
          No, you do need imagination when you "use" porn....

          You have to imagine that she's naked for, and wanting you.
      • 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 x2A (858210)
          Somewhat with you on that one. If you took a modern game (and of cause, the hardware required to play it) back in time to when you were so entertained with these old games, and gave it to yourself to play, I think it'd be a different story.

          'Of cause it seemed more exciting 20yrs ago, I was just a kid! Everything was more exciting!'

        • Re:rogue (Score:4, Informative)

          by gfxguy (98788) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:35AM (#14979791)
          I use gametap, and can say this is definately true in about 90% of the cases. Pac Mac is still fun an entertaining, as is Tetris and a few other ones, but by and large, those older games are not nearly as entertaining.

          There is proof in there that good graphics doesn't make a good game - Pac Man and Tetris are pretty minimalist compared to todays graphics, but still entertaining. There's definately proof that a good game concept and gameplay are more important... just like todays movies that are all flash and no substance, the same applies to video games.
        • 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."
      • Re:rogue (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jrest (539296)
        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

      • Exactly... they are just comparing graphics. The real advantage to todays games is the depth of the environment, a game like Grand Theft Auto would have blown my mind more then a "pretty game". Games these days sure look pretty, but the old games had much longer playability. Heck, I STILL play Dr. Mario. Of course sometimes that had to do with the fact that you had to play through an entire game in an afternoon since "save points" didn't exist in many of them.

        There are of course some very good games the
      • Another good example of that is The Oregon Trail. Text only.. althought I think there was a map of some sort showing your group's progress... I always got my ass kicked, but the game forced me to imagine the covered wagons kicking up a plume of dust as they plodded across some sandy plains states somewhere (with someone dieing from an infection). Most games are so visual now that you r imagination can't compete.
    • Re:rogue (Score:3, Informative)

      by jeremyp (130771)
      Rogue came first.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:10AM (#14979233) Homepage Journal
    Oh boy. Twenty years ago, I was 19. And that's probably around that time that I bought my Amiga (a short while after I bought an Atari ST). And, yes, I played the Bard's Tale on it. *sigh*

    I am just an old fart. There, I said it. Thanks for listening.

    • > Oh boy. Twenty years ago, I was 19. And that's probably around that time that I bought my Amiga (a short while after I bought an Atari ST). And, yes, I played the Bard's Tale on it. *sigh*

      I was an Apple ][ Wizardry [wikipedia.org] addict, back when they rendered perspective line drawings to show you what you saw of the dungeon.

      I'm still afraid of running into a maelific somewhere...
    • Tell me about it, even just the mention of The Bards Tale makes me go dewey-eyed as I fondly recall reams of squared paper so as to map every location. What a wonderful wonderful game that was. I still play many older games, even now; especially Monkey Island, Waxworks and the like.
    • by Bagheera (71311)
      And here I was so proud of myself for finally completing Adventure on the PDP11.

      Kids . . .

      Seriously though. When guys our age started playing computer games, they were all text based. The earliest graphics games were such a leap visually it was like night and day. The graphics now are like watching a movie.

      Gotta wonder what it'll be like in another 20 years.

  • by Mattygfunk1 (596840) * on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:11AM (#14979235)
    While the screenshots are nice, if you compared other metrics like customer satisfaction and average hours of game play per gamer, how would they stack up?

    My bet would be they are a lot closer than this graphics comparision which was purely a technology problem.

    • 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]
      • Which ones are pre-rendered? A comment by the editor states that all shots in actual engine shots. I can testify for some of the 360 shots myself.
        • At least PGR3. There's the Microsoft logo on the picture! I doubt MS inserts their logo in every rendered frame, although one might be carful with the MS beast.
          • 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.
      • by KDR_11k (778916) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:17AM (#14979538)
        Either way those screenshots aren't gameplay shots (because you can't play a game with such a perspective). I'd have preferred had they chosen comparable situations in the games and depicted those instead so there's actually something to compare.
    • I still think the old games had more playability (and though there are still gems like GTA) but newer games to me just seem to be more eye candy than anything else
      • by Rebyk (52278) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:52AM (#14979493)
        It is like comparing a book and a movie telling the same story. Some people always prefer books because they force you to use your imagination. The same applies to old games. However, sometimes the makers of a movie or a game have a better imagination than you do or they can visualize something better. I admit that some, perhaps even most, new movies and games are just eye candy or special effects but sometimes they really make you feel something that was not possible 20 years ago, and that is just the visual part. Don't forget the sounds.

        And then there's the nostalgy. If you played some game as a kid, you can't play a new game 20 years later and have the same feelings because _you_ are not a kid anymore. That has nothing to do with the quality or playability of the game. It is very hard to be objective in this matter.
    • 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.

      • Game play in some senses has gone backwards. I can't think of
        any straight shoot-em-ups today that require anything close
        to the quick reactions and finger dexterity of a game such as
        Defender.
    • by CSMastermind (847625) <freight_train10@hotmail.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:31AM (#14980076)
      Actually you know what that tells me? We had all the same games 20 years ago.......when will we get a new genre?
  • Screenshots (Score:5, Funny)

    by JonathanR (852748) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:12AM (#14979238)
    What, you can now believe what you see on the box-art?
  • I still have a special place in my heart for that game. It was fun getting to your endzone, then running back to the other endzone, and throwing the football all the way across to the other endzone and getting a touchdown. As long as the pass wasn't intercepted, everything was dandy.
  • Pre-rendered shot? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mgblst (80109) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:12AM (#14979242) Homepage
    To be fair, a number of those shots for Xbox games are pre-rendered. NHL 06 and Project Gotham Racing. To be completely honest, they should have stuck to ingame shots.

    It still makes you laugh though. If only there was as easy a way to measure game playability as these is to measure graphic differences.
    • by Runesabre (732910)
      If only there was as easy a way to measure game playability as these is to measure graphic differences.

      This, I believe, hits at the root as to why we get so many multi-million dollar me-too efforts from big companies. The decision makers don't play games yet they are they ones that make the decisions on what gets created and published and what doesn't. These people don't understand gameplay because they haven't lived gaming; they have no connection with it. But they can see better graphics in the 5 minut
    • Those pictures from XBOX360 games are not pre-rendered. At least this is what the editor of that page says:
      All screenshots are from the actual engines = none of them shall be pre-rendered. The scaling effect have a beautifying effect though.
      • by Not Invented Here (30411) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:42AM (#14979326)
        Even if they are done by the game engine, they aren't camera angles you actually use when playing the game. Take a look at the PGR shot, and ask yourself, "Could I really drive looking at my car from down there?"

        I may be old-fashioned, but I prefer to play racing games with the camera looking forwards, and maybe with the speedo visible somewhere on the screen. Those wishing to take screen shots of racing games should read this useful guide. [ukresistance.co.uk]
      • 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.
    • The PGR3 shot certainly isn't pre-rendered. Yes, it has a Microsoft label on it at the bottom, but those shots can easily be taken in-game using the photo system (where you can set things like aperture, shutter speed, focus, etc.)
    • But a cut-scene shot of Double Dribble is fine?
  • by Roy van Rijn (919696) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:14AM (#14979245) Homepage
    Last Christmas I got this The Ultimate History of Video Games [amazon.com] book. And I can really recommend it. It describes how everything got started, from pinball machines to arcade machines to the first home entertainment systems. Also very nice to read how all of the Atari developers where smoking drugs all day long, and how their annoyed managers hated that :)
  • by sucker_muts (776572) <sucker_pvn@hotm a i l .com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:15AM (#14979246) Homepage Journal
    For those interested in some more background (and with way too much free time), check this out:

    Wikpedia article about computer games. [wikipedia.org]
    Comprehensive article with lots of detail. [gamespot.com]
  • The Bard's Tale (Score:5, Informative)

    by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:15AM (#14979252)
    The Bard's Tale is available for DOS, Apple II, Atari ST, Amiga, and Apple IIgs.

    That photo is from the worst graphical version available(Apple II), and doesn't do it justice. The Bard's Tale was a wonderful game, and in many ways still is. Trying to play that game without the internet and without a clue book is extremely challenging. Games like The Bard's Tale, Wasteland, etc. deserve respect...they are the shakespearean classics of computer games.
    • That's not a picture from the Apple II version. I'd hazzard to guess it's from a Nintendo machine.

      The Apple II version was actually pretty decent. They used staggered pixel drawing bitmaps (alternate color+white) to make checkerboard-like patterns and give the graphics a nice change of pace from solid colours. Lots of graphic adventures at the time also did this.
  • by Beolach (518512) <beolach@NoSPam.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.
    • I don't think that games have changed all that much. Sure, we have programmable-shader 3D HD++ graphics, but the core gameplay of many genres has pretty much stagnated.

      In genres like racing or sports (say football), there isn't much difference between Pole Position and Gran Turismo 4, or between Tecmo Bowl and the latest Madden. The "precision" may have gotten better, allowing more options or more accurate simulations of things like play calling or physics, but they're mostly the same games (save the fa

      • by Beolach (518512) <beolach@NoSPam.juno.com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:07AM (#14979517) Homepage Journal
        I disagree. There's been a number of other advances besides graphics in games, even in genres like racing or sports. I remember an old American football game where the only interaction the player had was selecting what play would be used each down. The player selected the play & then watched is it either succeeded or failed based on what play the opponent had selected, with some random variations thrown in. That's very different than the level of control a player of a current American football game has. Physics and AI are also on completely different levels now than they were 20 years ago.

        Now, those are all aspects of the underlying game engine, which is somewhat seperate from the overall game design. Advances in the various aspects of game engines creates more possibilities for the game design, but fulfilling the increased potential does require innovation on the part of the game designer; and it's by no means guaranteed that the designer will do so. But regardless of whether they fully realize their potential, does not change the fact that the game engine, and hence the game as a whole, is different than games 20 years ago. Innovation or the lack thereof in game design is in many ways a seperate issue than changes in the game engine. As graphics is only one part of the game engine, I'd like to have seen a more in-depth article that included more comparisons of other aspects of game engines between 20 years ago and today, in addition to the side-by-side screenies in the article.
  • 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 Channard (693317) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:30AM (#14979290) Journal
    Bards Tale, which was also recently remade as a non-party RPG wasn't online. A fairer comparison would have been Playing Army (running around the streets with sticks for guns) versus World of Warcraft. The prime difference being that when your mum called you in for tea you had to go. Whereas World of Warcraft players are sustained by an IV feeding beef stew directly into their bodies and hence never have to leave their desks. Ever.
  • by ricepudd (960850) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:42AM (#14979324)
    You can see how much we've moved on, just compare the original Duke Nukem with Duke Nukem Forever!

    Oh wait...
  • by hyfe (641811) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:43AM (#14979329)
    ... which versions were more fun?
  • 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

    • 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 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.
    • And yet, people still read Shakespeare.
    • 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.
    • 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 basics haven't changed much, but I realized Dune 2 had been passed up already when Dune 2000 came. It was the same with better graphics, but particularly things like queuing had improved in other games.

      I never had so much fun as I did when I played Dune 2, I completed the campaign with all three (even the bloody useless Ordos, don't know anyone else that did). But well, trying t
    • blah blah blah.... M.U.L.E., Archon, Seven Cities of Gold
    • I am STILL replaying ultima IV-V.
      I still replayed recently Bard tale 3.
      I am still replaying from time to time Planescape Torment.
      And that is a short list of oldies that I play more than any recent game EXCEPT NWN....
  • 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!)
  • Star Control in Melee mode, human to human.

    With two good players, fights can go on for hours, especially when they are evenly matched (Syreen vs Spathi comes to mind.)
  • My memory... (Score:2, Redundant)

    ...must be playing tricks on me. I don't remember Bard's Tale being a massively multiplayer online game. Oh, and I don't remember having to queue for 45 minutes before getting to play it either, even when loading it from tape! Not all of the "improvements" in games have made things any better! :(
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Am I the only one noticing that the article mainly (only?) compares crappy old Nintendo graphics with shiny new XBox graphics.

    They could just as well have compared some of the 1986 4-coloured PC games with new Gamecube games. Heck - even comparing old PC games with other games from the same era, would make the PC look silly! :-D
  • One thing that always irks me about these lookbacks is that it's mostly seen through the eyes of a console gamer. Gaming consoles in the 80s and 90s were underpowered toys compared to the computers of that age (starting with the micros, ie. Spectrum, C64, Amstrad, and then going on to the 16 bit micros, ie. Amiga, Atari, followed by the PC, ie. Doom). Nintendo and Sega had their platform games and their kiddie icons, but that was about it.
    • Re:Nintendo - aargh (Score:3, Informative)

      by Viol8 (599362)
      Not completely true. Most consoles have some dedicated hardware to do some pretty nifty effects that would be
      almost impossible on a home computer of the day. Eg the
      SNES had sprite scaling and rotation and perspective that
      could all be done in real time. Try doing that on a Spectrum.
      The only home computer AFAIK than could do the same was the
      Amiga.
      • Re:Nintendo - aargh (Score:4, Informative)

        by Haeleth (414428) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:32AM (#14979780) Journal
        Most consoles have some dedicated hardware to do some pretty nifty effects that would be
        almost impossible on a home computer of the day. Eg the SNES had sprite scaling and rotation and perspective that could all be done in real time. Try doing that on a Spectrum.


        Uh... your chronology is rather inaccurate. The SNES reached the West in 1991, nearly a full decade after the ZX Spectrum.

        By the time the SNES appeared, sprite scaling and rotation and perspective were trivial and commonplace on home computers. For example, the 3D space combat in Wing Commander (1990) is based entirely around smooth scaling and rotation of sprites in real time. And within a year of the SNES launch, PC gamers were enjoying titles like Wolfenstein 3D and Ultima Underworld (1992) that totally blew away anything that was ever achieved on unextended 16-bit console hardware.
  • Back in the 70s, my dad bought this off-brand game console from Fedco (a pre-cursor of Costco). Oh, it was terrible. I think it played pong and brickout, but the only one I remember for sure (and the only one he played) was blackjack.

    My friends had Atari, and I had junk. It was so embarrassing when my friends would be over and my dad would ask us if we wanted to play video games. He was so proud of this cheap, no-brand, POS.

    I don't care how prehistoric some of the old games seem in comparison to the flashy new stuff. Back in the '70s, I would have killed for those prehistoric games.

    - Greg

  • It ignores gameplay. Apart from the ability to shoot the monster, is Quake 2 (haven't tried 3 or 4) really any more playable than 3D Monster Maze? T.Rex got me regularly, and I still remember jumping out of my skin as I accidentally strolled past him and having to push the 7 key REALLY HARD on the grounds that the key was pressure sensitive and would let you run faster if you only pressed hard enough, which for some reason I could never do. (OK, I was only 14 at the time so perhaps that had something to
  • Lode Runner has got to be one of the all time great games on this planet, solar system, galaxy and universe! (Apple ][)
    The amount of creative time I've wasted playing that game and the amount of joysticks I wore out is immense. Tehre goes about 2 years of my life. I must be some kind of loser......

    What I really miss are the BBS games. Anyone remember them???
  • Along with new stuff for gaming, it appears Dell will sell a massively overclocked (4.26GHz) Pentium D version of the XPS 600 [reghardware.co.uk].
  • by glas_gow (961896) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:58AM (#14979500)
    With ZX spectrum and Commodore 64 games taking anything up to ten minutes to load from a cassette [if they loaded at all], you were kind of blackmailed into thinking they were better than they really were.
    • Re:Cassette loader (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vo0k (760020)
      You bastard, don't talk about C64 and ZX Spectrum with their frequency-modulated casette recorders! I had Atari 65XE! 600 baud, sometimes and more minutes of waiting, even worse reliablity... we were so envious about your load times! Ah, the "Turbo" extensions, cartridge, tape recorder mod, up to 30 games on a casette instead of 4-6, and finally 5-8 minutes instead of 20-30!

      With standard casette recorder you would think twice before starting to load a game, and spend next 3 hours or so on it.
  • 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. :(
    • And, honestly, I'd love to play my old games again. But my 486 recently died, so they don't run anymore. :(

      Dosbox to play them on and "home of the underdogs" to get the files so that you haven't got to scratch around hunting for an old 5 1/4 drive... (sorry haven't got time for links, can't do that much browsing at work)

  • by Trogre (513942) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:04AM (#14979511) Homepage
    So we'll be seeing today's Windows games vs today's Linux games?

    I kid, I kid

  • T.B.H. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by berenixium (920883)
    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 a
  • by el_womble (779715) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:12AM (#14979530) Homepage
    I started gaming with the Spectrum 48k. Apart from the 15 minute load times the thing that stuck out the most in my memory was the desire for the flash screen the apeared halfway through game load was the actual ingame graphics.

    When I finally got my grubby little paws on a NES my wish was granted, and then I started to wish that the games I were playing were more 'realistic'. At the time I played beginner Games Worksop games like Hero Quest and Dungeon Bowl. What I wanted was a game were I could actually be in the 'dungeon' and walk around it like my characters in the game could. I upgraded my PC to a 486 SX20, installed Wolfenstein 3D and then I wanted it to have better graphics.

    There were side wishes: I want to be able to shoot someone with a genuine fake gun: duck shoot. I want to be able play golf with a genuine fake club, I want to play racing games with a genuine fake steering wheel.

    My current wishes include: play jedi knight with a real lightsaber (revoluntion?) and I want a truely immersive environment - just like the matrix. Do I expect the games to be any better? No not really.

    Its not the games that are to blame for the increasingly bland gaming landscape its the market. We understand that emmersive 3D environments are expensive, so we're prepared to handover $60 per game, but we are also defensive about handing over that ammount of cash if we don't know we're going to like it.
  • 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)
    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, Soni
  • In the 80s and early 90s it was possible for one person to
    code a game that could sell commercially (as opposed to just
    as freeware) in big numbers. Which meant that amongst the
    reams of dross you got the occasional gem of inspired lateral
    thinking gameplay that could never have come from a 20 man
    committee which seems to be behind all the games today.

    People expect amazing graphics these days and this means
    its simply not possible for one person (or even 2 or 3) to
    write a killer commercial game since no matter ho
  • I promise I'm not the farker who submitted this.
  • Games vs Reality (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:37AM (#14979597) Homepage
    A third column showing how said game would actually look in reality would have been nice. Especially with videos it often becomes pretty obvious that todays games aren't a lot closer to reality then those games 20 years ago, sure they look pretier today, but animation, physics and 'flexibility' of the environment don't even get close to how complex reality is. Animation is also often very primitive since motion captured sequences don't blend together all that well, making everything look robotic. Physics are still missing from many games, especially when it comes to objects that aren't the main focus of the game (ie. a car might have a (often lame) damage model, but the environment is far to often indestructable). And the player is also limited to a few predefined actions in very many games, so that the key differences between games today and games of the past is made by the more buttons we have on the controller, not by the rest of the game.
  • 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...
  • This does make me think of Marshall Mcluhan's work actually. The older lowres screens/images achieve better involvement because they reduce the information stream they deliver(cold media). Hires information is less involving(hot media).

    Still working it out for myself tho...
  • by Kaptain_Korolev (848551) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:02AM (#14979655)
    Tweaking your autoexec.bat and config.sys so that you had enough of the first base 640k of RAM to actually get any games to run on your power beast 486. That's were the fun really was!

    Himem.sys and emm386.exe, I had nearly forgotten all about you guys, ahhhh those were the days.

    For those who want more of this jovial tweakfest go here [kisser.net.au]

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