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Don't Go Down Memory Lane? 316

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

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:11PM (#15847803)
    You can lead a gift horse to water, but you can't shoot it in the foot.
  • Darker? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rotten168 (104565) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:11PM (#15847805) Homepage
    That's a tad melodramatic don't you think?
  • by krell (896769) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:11PM (#15847806) Journal
    ....where everything is a hi-res shade of brown, and the boss is always a giant bug.
    • by andrewman327 (635952) on Friday August 04, 2006 @03:02PM (#15848166) Homepage Journal
      If they made a 3D version of Oregon Trail using the Doom or Quake engine and the old storyline, I would buy it. I would expect significantly improved hunting. The ability to shoot in towns wouldn't hurt either.


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

    • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:22PM (#15848680)
      I have also wondered why the mega boss always leaves tons of ammo for weapons possible enemies might have sitting outside thier door.

      • "I have also wondered why the mega boss always leaves tons of ammo for weapons possible enemies might have sitting outside thier door"

        You are so right. Whether the boss is a giant bug or one of those dragon-thingies they toss in every once in a while for variety, they are kind of dumb, and should be depicted with pointy hair.
      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday August 04, 2006 @07:02PM (#15849475) Homepage
        Because a supervillain's ultimate weakness is always their arrogance. "Ha ha ha! There is no way a puny mortal like you could defeat me, even with all the nuke-blaster ammo in the world! Here, have a truck load! And I'll heal you to maximum health first! And I'll stand above pits of the only substance that can harm me, with levers that drop the floor into the substance! Ha ha ha-- What? Impossible!!!! I cannot be defea---"

        Okay, so their ultimate weakness is that they are stupid.
    • by AlexMax2742 (602517) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:45PM (#15848803)
      ....where everything is a hi-res shade of brown, and the boss is always a giant bug.

      Compared to the 70's where everything was a dime-a-dozen maze game? Or maybe the 80's where everything was a dime-a-dozen platformer? Or the early 90's with their dime-a-dozen beat-em-ups? Or the late 90's with their and dime-a-dozen arcadey first person shooters?



      Gaming...gaming never changes. You have the games that define the genre and you have a couple of other worthwhile titles and then you hve the vast amount of crap. Tell me, have you ever tried looking through a complete Atari, NES or SNES ROM collection and picking a game at random to see how it played. Trust me, it's just as much of a crapshoot back then as it is now.

      • by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Friday August 04, 2006 @05:26PM (#15849006)

        I think you have put your finger on the problem. We remember the great games of the past when we get nostalgic, for the very reason that they have enduring value. Of course a merely average modern game doesn't stack up, even if that game is superior to an average older game.

        I play a lot of games via MAME and enjoy them a great deal -- but I don't play every game I can find. I don't want to. Most of them weren't that good. Still, I think TFA overstated the case.

    • Not anymore! With the power of the next generation, we can fight GIANT ENEMY CRABS!
  • Super Mario Bros (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:12PM (#15847813) Homepage
    Super Mario Bros is still lots of fun, I don't care what you say.
    • by rootofevil (188401) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:18PM (#15847854) Homepage Journal
      not to mention the sequels are pretty well true to the spirit of the original game
    • by IAmTheDave (746256)

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

      Bingo! Think of the business opportunity this presents! A new game sells, and its players often spend months playing said game. Nintendo WEEEE and PS3 and XBox 360 (dunno about Xbox for sure) will allow you to download old, nostalgic games for a small fee. For $5, $10, you download Mario 1. Then another $10 for 2, 3, Mario Kart, etc. You play these games (as is the point of the post) for a short period of time, and then download more.

      • fuck, no! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by namekuseijin (604504)
        "For $5, $10, you download Mario 1. Then another $10 for 2, 3, Mario Kart, etc. You play these games (as is the point of the post) for a short period of time, and then download more"

        fuck, no!

        I own the original cartridges, they are mine!! My SNES still works, but it's much more convenient to store backups of said games in my HD and play them in an emulator. I don't give a fuck to the legalese Nintendo will sprout once they are profiting from the old gems again: they are still mine!

        I won't pay for them aga
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:15PM (#15847830) Homepage
    It's time we put away the Conkers and Contras and Castlevanias of our past and focus on the games we have yet to dream of

    This message should be for video game developers, not video game consumers. Developers definitely need to get their heads out of their @sses and start dreaming up new, creative ideas instead of just taking the easy way out with throwbacks. Consumers on the other hand have little impact on what games are being developed, and therefore consumers can do whatever they want. If they want throwbacks or if they want brand new fresh ideas, no biggy. But the writer of this article needs to direct his ranting towards the appropriate people.
    • You should check out the article linked a few days ago from Slashdot:
      http://www.next-gen.biz/page1.html [next-gen.biz]
      Ignore the hyperbolic title. The listing is in terms of money made. Look at how many sequels and tie-in games there are. Look how much money they make. Tie-in games (especially movie tie-in games) are the first thing I ignore since they are routinely crap, but they seem to make someone a lot of money. Publishers will likewise keep making franchise games because they produce the big bucks. They aren't
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:50PM (#15848076)
      I'm a professional game developer and have been for nine years, my entire post-collegiate life. As you might expect, I'm also a dedicated gamer and on the one hand, I really agree with what you're saying. We rely too much on rehashed ideas, license tie-ins, clones, knockoffs and sequels. I'm sick of it, and I just don't buy those games anymore. So I can sympathize and agree with where you're coming from.

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

      It's not as simple as pulling your head out of your ass, and presto, crazy new creative games start showing up on shelves. Like everything, money speaks loudest.
      • You make good points. Maybe the solution is to decrease the cost of developing and releasing a game. That way new ideas could be made into small, cheap games for a small audience without being a loss. It sounds like XBox Live Arcade has already done this. I remember hearing about at least one original new puzzle game for XBLA. Nintendo has also expressed interest in this market for their Virtual Console on the Wii. Maybe in the future, new gameplay concept will get a "testing" phase on a disc-less distribut
    • Most developers would love to do something creative with the paltry time and money their publishers give them.

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

  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:20PM (#15847865)
    My gaming experience maybe jaded by my memories (I can't enjoy half-life 1 quite the same way anymore) and tunnel vision might obstruct my modern game view (New Super Mario Bros. was good, but It could have been so much more,)but they haven't discouraged my number one reason for buying the Wii...Fun new games with their classic predicessors all in one system.
  • by terrisus (108956) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:22PM (#15847878) Homepage
    For some of us, gaming past isn't "looking back on things and remembering them."

    While it's true some people do just look back on it and remember things as better than they were, and that's their issue, it's not the case for everyone.
    Some of us still play those games you know.
  • "Old Bones" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keyne9 (567528) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:23PM (#15847884)
    Why are the newest games in the series so drastically different from the original? The answer is because gamers demand more from their hobby now, and there's just not a lot of meat on those old bones.


    Those "old bones" have a tendency to still have similarly excellent gameplay as the newer generation (and are usually far more challenging to boot!). When will we realize that gameplay isn't all bells and whistles?
  • EA Strikes again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fotbr (855184) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:23PM (#15847890) Journal
    Why put out new stuff when you make extremely minor changes and call it a new game? EA proved that business model to be a successful one, and everyone else has followed.

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

    From a consumer standpoint, it sucks. Eventually enough consumers will quit buying SUPER-COOL-GAME-2,3,4....x and force a shift in the market. Until that happens, enjoy Madden 2007, 2008, 2009, etc and FinalFantasy-WHATEVER because its not going to change.
    • Ironically, "Final Fantasy"'s system changes almost every game. The only real similarity they have are a few cameo characters and the title.
    • While I agree on most counts...

      I don't think "Final Fantasy whatever" fits into the same category. Different numbers in the Final Fantasy line are about as similar as completely different games. There is no story linking them, the world is different for each, and even the gameplay can change from game to game. Only a relatively few things carry over from one game to the next. If most companies treated sequals like Square Enix does, there would be much less of an issue with sequals.
  • by the_crowing (992960) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:26PM (#15847920)
    Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by staying obsessed with the old classics?
    Yes. I think people have too much of a tendency to look back at a game as being better than it really was and better as it gets older. When they hear of a new sequel in the works for an old series they're in love with, they expect it to be as much (if not more) fun than previous games, however, they expect the gameplay, setting, and monsters to be the same as the old game while, at the same time, they expect the new version to be fantastically different, addictive, and genre-breaking.

    Truth is, newer installments of classic games can be as good as ever, but they will never live up to the memories that gamers have developped for their classic, personal favorites.
  • by Maul (83993) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:28PM (#15847933) Journal
    Many of the great Super NES and Genesis games still have excellent replay value. Some of the fad titles and the crap shooter/fighter clones don't withstand the test of time when replayed. However, the true classics like Super Metroid, Yoshi's Island, Final Fantasy 4-6, Phantasy Star 2 & 4, the Sonic games, etc. are still as fun to play as they were back in the day.
    • Indeed, I think the article is totally off. I've been playing Earthbound obsessively for the past few weeks. It's fantastic. Mario RPG, Yoshi's Island, and Donkey Kong Country 1+2 are next. Then again, I'm not really your typical XBox gamer (my last console was an N64. My next will be a Wii), so maybe this only holds true for people like me.
  • No. (Score:2, Insightful)

    sure the old games have been done to death by now, but for the most part the good games from back in the day were pioneering things. Though, it should be said that for the most parts the major driving force behind the remake is the nostalgia factor. I mean, look at NARC. The remake was absolutely horrible because they spent more time saying "Remember how you liked play NARC back in the day? Guess what, It's back! and SHINEY TOO!!!" when they should have been making a game where blast druggies with missiles.
  • Except... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork (926717) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:32PM (#15847959)
    Haven't emulators exploded in popularity (not to mention promised classic gaming on newer consoles) because people DO want to re-play these games? There are also new gamers that want to go back and play earlier games in series that they like. Portable versions of games also often remain in 2D and exhibit the same gameplay as their classic counterparts. People do like these games. Recently expressed by Nintendo and others, gamers may even want shorter games with more intense gameplay that they can pick up and play for 15 minutes, and older games (aside from lack of save features, but remedied witih savestates) are perfect for this type of play.

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

  • by shoolz (752000) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:32PM (#15847964) Homepage
    The first RPG I ever played was simply called "Dungeon", this was the Commodore game that got my entire family hooked on video games for the rest of our lives.

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

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

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

    While my father is STILL in denial, I have accepted the truth. My fond memories of that game are gone forever.
    • Maybe what is really missing is your imagination??
      • Maybe? Maybe not. New console launches typically remind me of how much more vivid human memories are then the real experience. I was a huge fan of Dead or Alive 2 on the Dreamcast. I played it quite frequently, but as time went on I started playing other games. Months later a friend of mine got a newly released Xbox 1 and had Dead or Alive 3. I went to see it and wasn't impressed at all. To me it looked graphically the same as Dead or Alive 2, it didn't even look more shiny. That night I went and fired up D
    • by porcupine8 (816071) on Friday August 04, 2006 @03:00PM (#15848156) Journal
      You should have played text-based games instead.

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

      • It just doesn't get any better than that.

        Okay, maybe a well-timed L2000,M1,M1. Or actually being able to type BAGN^H^H^H^HBANG the first time. :-)
      • Ahhh, I have some quite fond memories of playing LOTRD on the local BBS's. At the time, live FPS's weren't really available (well, doom entered at some point in time, but 'online' play was limited to 2 players with modems, or an expensive LAN setup), and the best multiplayer came from hitting re-dial until you were able to get through to play your daily turns :-)

        There was another door game I can't remember the name of, but basically it was space-based where you would roam around the galaxy, trading differ
      • My brother and I would race home from school to fight over who would play Wizardry on our Apple II. Usually one of us ended up doing the mapping on a sheet of graph paper while the other typed. We'd stay down there until our parents yelled at us to get out of the basement and do our homework. Seeing now those blotchy graphics and the combat that consisted of lists of monsters makes me realize that you can't capture the past.

        I'll also toss in memories of Sierra On-Line games and a bunch of Scott Adams adv
    • The full name was Alternate Reality: The Dungeon. While the graphics may have suffered over the years, the gameplay didn't. I still play through to the end every couple of years on my Atari 800 emulator.
  • " But when the fully 3D, story-driven sequel fails, they point at the original on its lofty pedestal and demand an experience that lives up to their memories. "

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

    Second, if a game fails, you can't blame it on those people. If your game fails, chances are far greater that it sucked rather than that there exist large
  • With limited things that could occur technically, games of yesteryear seem to be a lot simpler. That simplicity means that things had darn well better be fun, or your player won't plunk down money to stare at a "blob" and hit a single button over and over. Nowadays, there's a lot more development which goes into a game, which means that gameplay isn't as big a focus, generally.

    Also, old games were generally reliant on the ability to just pick up and go and be beaten in one sitting, as opposed to having ga
  • Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sage Gaspar (688563) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:38PM (#15848000)
    Just look at Metroid, Mario, Metal Gear, Castlevania (SotN and gameboy), Zelda, Prince of Persia, Final Fantasy... Fans and newcomers alike hated the more recent installments, right? Right?

    No, it's not hard to involve the themes, maybe part of the storyline, and the major gameplay elements from the original game into an entirely new engine. But it does make a convenient scapegoat if you're a developer whose games are failing or a pundit firing off the first story idea that came to his mind.
  • In my first runthrough of Doom 3 I was rather disappointed. Not only were my memories of the previous games absolutely stellar, but thanks to id's open sourced engines there were graphically superior iterations that played every bit as smoothly as the DOS originals. Beating that is a tall order, even for id.

    Inexplicably I got a hankering for Doom 3 again several months later. I installed a mod that gave me all the door codes (you need a pen and paper otherwise) and suddenly I had a really great time!
    • If you want to play Classic Doom in the glory of Doom 3 check out http://cdoom.d3files.com/ [d3files.com] It is a Doom 3 total conversion to allow you to play all of episode 1 from the original Doom in the Doom 3 engine. Updated graphics, textures, models, music, everything.

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

      -Rick
      • DUDE!!!

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

        I'll check out the musician you host as well. He's got a tough act to follow since Doom 1 and 2 have some of my favourite soundtracks of all time, but if a certain John (Romero?) gave his thumbs up I'll definitely give it a listen.
  • There are a hand ful of old games that I will pull out and play through all the way.

    1 - Monkey Island. Straight up one of the best humorous adventures out there, even in 16 colors!
    2 - Quest for Glory 1. After the VGA remake, the 256 color imagry interesting story line, and great game play make it worth running through over and over.
    3 - Quest for Glory 2. The old CGA version still keeps me entertained. The type-action interface requires actual thought. Instead of clicking on someone for a dialog option, you
  • by BytePusher (209961)
    I think the thing that was most enjoyable about the 'old' games, was that they always pushed the edge. One of my favorites was Ultima 7. The game play was very simple and consistent, but provided a ton of freedom. Once I beat the game, I spent a long time playing with the editor(cheat) mode, building castles out of gold bricks, making Lord british join my party and such. Wolfenstien, DOOM and Quake were much the same game, but all of them made huge leaps in gameplay. Then you had merging between MUDs,
  • I _know_! I mean, just yesterday when I was playing Ms. Pac-Man in a bar, I was pining away for the clean simple fun gameplay of the latest Primal Fury Wrath Fighter Clone Thing. Oh, wait, no I wasn't, because Ms. Pac-Man still kicks butt.
  • Nostalga (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SetupWeasel (54062) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:49PM (#15848075) Homepage
    There were some games we played because we had nothing better.

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

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

    Games like Castlevania, Resident Evil, and even Zelda were more promise than game in their first iteration. They were landmark games for their time, but if you were honest with yourself when you first played them, you knew that those games needed more power. The developers were making do with what they had, but they were coding for future systems. Those type of games don't age well.
  • by creimer (824291) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:53PM (#15848101) Homepage
    I noticed this problem when I was the lead tester for Atari Anniversary Advance [gamespot.com] for the GameBoy Advance. This title had the original ROMs of Asteriod, Battlezone, Centipede, Missile Command, and Tempest being emulated on the GBA. When I first got the title, I thought these were awesome games because I played them when they first came out. (I also played Pong when it first came out as well.) But, with the critical eye of a professional tester, I found out that there were sure buggy as heck. Mostly due to the limitation of the hardware during the early 1980's. The gameplay is still awesome and I still suck 20 years later. :P
  • What's the point of hypothesizing about "if", when emulators are cheap and plentiful? If you think that Castlevania 1 was better than it's latest sequel, go play it. Nobody's going to pick on you for not keeping up with the times.

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

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

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

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

    Get creative: make games, not hardware demos. After all, you're supposed to b
    • Super Metroid on the SNES was a good game, outside of the limits of the hardware. That game still stands as the pinacle of 2d sidescrolling, alongside Castlevania: SotN. Nostalgia or not, that games influence can still be seen in games to date. But, point taken, Metroid is a game that's stayed consistantly good and pushed it's hardware in interesting, innovative ways.
  • I just finished Monkey Island 2 last night, and Monkey Island 1 last week, and will start MI3 tonight, and I have to say, they are every bit as good as they were brand new.
  • This Can Be True (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday August 04, 2006 @03:13PM (#15848224) Homepage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I got an old copy of FF7, arguably the best-loved of the "modern" FF series, and the

  • by xdroop (4039) on Friday August 04, 2006 @03:33PM (#15848352) Homepage Journal
    This is precisely the same problem with Star Wars: Episode One. It is impossible to live up to the memory of seeing Star Wars for the first time, especially when the first time you saw it you were seven.
  • But if you went back and played it today, chances are you wouldn't bother playing past the second level.

    Well, I did bother to play it for the first time ever a few month ago and had plenty of fun with it. After I was through with Castlevania1 I continued with Castlevania3 and yet again had plenty of fun with it. There was absolutly no nostalgia involved, since I never happen to play those games before, I only ever played Castlevania Adventures on Gameboy and hated that pretty much back then (just way to sl

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

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

    It's the gameplay, stupid.
    • Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Mario Brothers, Pengo, Bump-n-Jump... All fantastic games which are still fun to play today.

      Are they? I am not so sure about that, might be just me 'cause I grew up with the C64 and NES and so got used to "deeper" games early on, but none of the games you listed there would hold me for longer then 5 or 10 minutes. I mean Pac-Man has three ghost, a lot of dots to eat and exactly one level, after 5mins (well, a few seconds actually) I have seen it all. DonkeyKong isn't much bet

  • by garylian (870843) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:03PM (#15848558)
    Back when the graphics were cheesy 3D lines (Wizardry) and 2D pictures (Bard's Tale), the top down looks (Ultima), or the top down look of Might & Magic, the the companies couldn't rely on "wickedly cool graphics" or "scantily clad heroine" to make a game work. They had to rely on the story in the game to keep you coming back.

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

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

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

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

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

    Nowadays, with as much time as people have to put into the graphics, for a one time shot type game with limited extra revenue potential, they skimp on the story, and try to wow you with graphics. Even some MMOs are falling into this model, and don't last long.
    • One of my strongest memories of Bard's Tale was how all of the houses in the town all looked the same and you practically needed a AAA map to find your way around (the compass spell helped alot). Then you could open doors like Monty Hall and reveal a few monsters. Who'da thought monsters would live in condos?
  • by Captain Rotundo (165816) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:08PM (#15848590) Homepage
    I completely disagree with almost all the comments in this article and made in response. I've dug out old systems, and downloaded emulators and while on a few occassions the games were much easier due to their play-style (The Orig. Super Mario Bros, I could never beat it as a kid, now I pull it out for my kid and its super easy for me) but by and large they are very similar to how I remember them, and they are still fun to boot! - I find the early 3D games a little tough on the eyes, but I imagine they were just as nausia inducing back then, we just tolerated it more.

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

    You mean we, meaning gamers? I dunno. From the summary, it sounds like the problem is that the industry is shooting itself in the foot by insisting on strip-mining those old classics instead of coming up with new ideas, despite the fact that (as is mentioned) there's not much meat on those old bones. It's the same reason everyone's always ripping on Hollywood.

  • Everyone raves about all the old games. I whip out MAME or a NES emulator now and again, but the thrill just isn't there anymore. I remember being astonished, when playing Pac Mac for the first time in who knows how many years, that the maze was the same on every level. I'd completely forgotten.

    Downloaded the Galaga demo on XBox live last week. Meh...

    They're fun for a couple levels or rounds or waves or whatever, but then that's it.

    I agree with one of the other posters, though. The games seem MUCH eas

  • by Decimal Dave (411182) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:44PM (#15848791)
    A few years ago while I was still in college, I wrote a paper for my computer ethics class on the subject of abandonware. In the course of my research I stumbled across some old games that I'd never played as a kid; the first game in the Monkey Island series, and the first three Quest for Glory titles. Those games were positively *ancient*. Someone already mentioned in the comments that these games are considered classics (bringing back memories and whatnot), but I thought the games were compelling, even without having played them as a kid. I remember taking a three week break from Unreal Tournament to play through QFGII for the first time. I thought it was great, despite the EGA graphics and text parser. That is evidence enough for me that vintage games can have more than just nostalgia value.
  • Ah yes, it's a lot like 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. In many ways it's superior but will never be as recognized as the original.
  • by Kodack (795456) on Friday August 04, 2006 @05:15PM (#15848963)
    I've heard these arguments before and in some cases they have truth to them. I could say this about a game like Altered Beast, which when it came out on the Genesis was sold on it's graphics not it's game play. So when the draw was the graphics, and now those graphics are dated, there is no draw.

    Not all games get their fun from graphics though. Why is it that every system and cellphone has an Arkanoid type game? Because Arkanoid is fun to play and requires no time commitment. Play and put it down, no logging out or spending hours leveling your chracter.

    Castlevania 1, 2, and 3 on the NES were all excellent games because the gameplay was both challenging and rewarding. You kept playing to see what would happen next, what would the next boss look like? And in their own way, the graphics and sound contributed to it.

    Sometimes less is more. One of the charming aspects of the old 8 bit games is that the rasterized rendering engines relied on simple block like textures repeated and varied to form the game world. This was cruder than bitmapped graphics but it forced you to use your imagination more. The box art and the user manuals for the game is where the art was. Those told you what the game was supposed to look like.

    Any 10 year old can loose themselves in the world of Legend of Zelda with it's water falls and dangerous ascent to mount doom with it's falling boulders, and explore an entire world. And the map that came with the game showed you what that world was really like. So when you played the game you didn't see raster blocks stacked end on end, you saw woods and rivers. And since your mind was filling in so much, the real world, and hence real world realism, could never possibly be as fantastic as the one in your head.

    There is no better example of this than reading a good book. You have nothing to go on but your imagination and the words of the author. Any bookworm here can tell you that the movie never lives up to the book. As fantastic as Peter Jacksons movies were, they can never capture the raw fantasy of reading the books themselves.

    So rather than be disappointed by playing older games, they remind me of the shortcomings of newer games. As the graphics become more and more realistic, the imagination and fantasy elements took a back burner to the eye candy.

    I can't look at a full moon in a clear sky to this day, without remembering the opening cinematics for Ninja Gaiden. And I absolutely lost myself in the world of Castlevania. In particular, Simons Quest was especially fulfilling to play over and over to get the different endings. I wanted to live in that world, and playing the game was the closest I could come to it.

    Some people like nice rendering and graphics, they prefer photo realism to impressionism. Some people like Monet and some people just see little paint daubs.

    The old games that are worth saving, are still completly viable games that continue to hold my attention and I only wish there were more games that sucked you in so bad that you dreamed about them.

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