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Entertainment Games

Are Older Games More Satisfying? 300

Kwirl asks: "While the computer and console gaming industry is growing at a remarkable pace, the focus is usually on better graphics as opposed to stronger gameplay and plot development/story arc. I personally have several titles (Sims2, Half-Life2, Doom 3, MSFS2004, Unreal 2004) sitting on my shelf that were amazing games, but just couldn't hold my interest for long enough to really be considered a worthwhile investment. In the last couple of years I had thought that the answer to my gaming needs would come in the form of MMORPG's. I have purchased and played many of them, but all seem to come to a stagnant point where I recognize that only addiction would drive me deeper into the game, and not better gameplay (Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Everquest II). In truth, I have found myself spending more time playing old MUD's (TorilMud, Medievia) again, or even amusing web-based games ( KingdomofLoathing, PimpWar, NeoPets). I am curious to know how many other people here find themselves walking intentionally backwards along the technological timeline of games for your personal expenditure of free time? What games/sites do you feel give you the best return of satisfaction versus time spent playing the game over the long haul?"
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Are Older Games More Satisfying?

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  • by tekiegreg ( 674773 ) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @07:54PM (#12937147) Homepage Journal

    Longer story, my favorite all time game is the old classic Chess. Whether it's getting cremated by my computer or playing and even occasionally beating humans online or offline. The depth and amount it makes me think is just great.

    Favorite dedicated computer game you ask? Try Civilization 2. Civ 3 for some reason seemed more fluff and the same amount of meat as Civ 2 (hence making it slower and doing nothing really for gameplay). Though I need to try FreeCiv one day.

    In general I just like games that make me think more than anything else. FPS games amongst others are interesting for about 10 minutes then I just walk away.
    • One word here to (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aliquis ( 678370 )

      The game needs to have a clever or fun design, who cares how it looks. Try elastomania across or whatever it's name is, it's simple yet kick-ass. Same goes for lemmings and so on :).
      "Puzzle"/skill games like those are games I like, even thought I never think about it, and also Strategy and the regular Quake FPS for relaxing.

      Quake was love.
      • Ultima V

        Amazing game. One of my all time favorites. Nothing beat playing on my old Apple //e with a green screen. Then one year later I discovered girls and gaming died that day.
      • I've only played the shareware Quake, but it's pretty fun...

        As for FPSes, the old ones also work on old hardware. UT:GOTY is a damn fun game, and is playable (granted, at 640x480) on my laptop (a P3 700 with 384MB RAM and a Rage Mobility M (4MB VRAM)).
    • God YES! I was just about to post about civ and civ 2, then I saw you beat me to it. :) Though I haven't played it in years, civ 2 still sits right up there amongst my favourite computer games of all time. It really did rock to an insane degree. IMO SMAC (Sid Meier's Alpha centauri) came close to equaling the experience if you want something more recent.

      There's definately something to be said for games that exercise the old grey matter - they ARE more satisfying.

      • I found Alpha Centuri a couple years back for $3 and I had to buy it. Now I make a point of uninstalling it when I'm done playing otherwise I find myself starting it up when my work gets boring.

        Great game.

        I'm also a Tribes fan. Good stuff.
    • That is exactly what I was going to say regarding the Civ series. Civ 3 was basically just a graphics upgrade of Civ 2. Hopefully, Civ 4 offers more to enhance the gameplay. But, I doubt they'll make it materially different.

      This also reminds me of the SimCity series. SimCity 4 is basically the same as all the other SimCities. If you've played SimCity 1, then you're not going to get much more out of SimCity 4.

      Given that I've played all the Civs and SimCities, I know exactly how each game will pr
    • Whether it's getting cremated by my computer

      Can you elaborate on this variant of chess please? I would love to know more about it, and perhaps even play it with some people I know...
    • by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <1ndt7174ekq80001@sneakemail.com> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:03PM (#12937593)
      Favorite dedicated computer game you ask? Try Civilization 2. Civ 3 for some reason seemed more fluff and the same amount of meat as Civ 2 (hence making it slower and doing nothing really for gameplay). Though I need to try FreeCiv one day.

      I've been playing Civ since it was just Civilization, and I can assure you that Civ3 was a huge improvement over Civ2. While there was certainly a graphical upgrade, a lot went on underneath too. If you played SMAC (Alpha Centauri) you'd see it was a sort of testing ground for Civ3, a lot of things that debuted there showed up with Civ3 (and some that sucked, didn't). Things like Culture and Resources are major changes, for example, and fundamentally alter how you play. There are also plenty of small changes that generally balance out some of the more annoying things about combat and city management and make an all around more enjoyable experience. I have absolutely no interest in going back to previous versions or to FreeCiv, and that's in spite of having to play Civ3 through Wine on a PIII-866 with crappy onboard video. It's that much of an improvement.

      FreeCiv, sadly, is stuck in the past and flat out refuses to implement most of the Civ3 improvements. I suppose if you like Civ2 then you'll like FreeCiv with the Civ2 modpack, but frankly, if you like Civ2 you probably already own the real thing anyway. FreeCiv seems to be mostly popular with people who like to screw around with options and settings (like most OSS projects), rather than people who just want to sit down and play a good game.

      The one thing Civilization had going for it that was lost in Civ 2 and 3 was the "conquer the world before lunch" aspect we would always go for. Game have become a lot more like epic weekend adventures. Civ4 plans to address this though, and I have a lot of faith in Sid Meier as a game designer (though I have no idea how I'll play it on this box). I also liked the unit building aspect of SMAC, but I don't expect to see that back soon.

      • The one thing Civilization had going for it that was lost in Civ 2 and 3 was the "conquer the world before lunch" aspect we would always go for

        At what time did you lunch? I never could conquer the world before several hours into the game. I realize that Civ2 and 3 are even slower, but that doesn't mean that Civ was actually a short game.

        That's why I play Master of Orion 1 now that I don't have much free time. I can play a small galaxy in 2 or 3 hours. Although is soon evident if I will get crushed in the
        • I'd recommend checking out Rise of Nations unless you are absolutely against RTS games.
          I enjoy Civilization but just don't have time for it. RON gives me some of the same feelings of city and empire building in a game that lasts about an hour on average.
        • Yes, agreed. How on earth could you finish a game in Civ in just a few hours? Spiffy hardware would help I suppose - I haven't played the original Civ since I had my Amiga, and it did run a bit slowly on that machine (though it was more satisfying playing it on the Amiga than on a wintel box).

          I agree with the other poster about Rise of Nations. Pretty fun game, and you can always do it in an hours time.

          Going to be a good year with RON 2 and Civ 4 is due out :).

    • I was just thinking of reinstalling Roller Coaster Tycoon again, not the 3D part 3, not even the humongous-level part 2, but the original.
      I tend to do this every one-and-a-half year or so, then play through all the levels in about 1-3 weeks and repeat in another one-and-a-half year.
      RCT is still by far the best game I've ever played and perhaps the only full-price game I play at all anymore (mostly casual games for me), perhaps beaten only by the game that is a universal drug; Tetris.
    • absolutely. simple with subtlety wins the day. from retro to just reliable.

      Return To Chaos - The Dungeon Master / Chaos Strikes Back Clone [ragingmole.com]

      DNA/Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Infocom Adventure [douglasadams.com] (online, java)

      Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [gamespot.com] (flash)

      NetHack 3.4.3: Main Page [sourceforge.net]

      Jardinains! [jardinains.com] (fun breakout clone)

      mono [binaryzoo.com] (excellent modern asteroids clone)

  • Thanks, Emulation! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deep square leg ( 703399 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @07:58PM (#12937179)
    I use my xbox as a media centre most of the time, but when I do play games on it it's through an emulator. The only actual Xbox game I've played for more than an hour is KOTOR.

    The latest games are good, and have a wow factor the first time I play each of them, but they don't have any staying power. I always seem to go back to my megadrive/SNES games, and ScummVM.

    Part of it is probably reminiscing, but mostly I think older games couldn't rely on great graphics, so they had to make up for it in other areas.

    • by Parham ( 892904 )
      Most people I know think the same way. Look at all the newage games compared to the old ones. Compare a new Final Fantasy, for example, to an old one. I think this is why the emulation scene is still going strong, while these next generation consoles are scrambling to come out with the best graphic games. I just believe that the older games had to work a lot to prove their worth with story, while the new ones (not all, but most) can do it with flashy graphics.
      • Are you on the dope? The original final fantasy had almost no story. Four heroes show up, fight a bunch of bad guys, and save the world. Wow, brilliant. Super Mario Brothers had an awesome story. Two plumbers fight turtle-like monsters to save a princess. If you want argue old games have more staying power than new ones, that's one thing. But to base it on story?? New games have almost universally more time put into story and more compelling stories.
        • by Parham ( 892904 )
          Sorry, I should have been more clear. Think Final Fantasy 2 (2 is the American equivalent of Final Fantasy 4 in Japan) and beyond which I think were pretty good. If not that, compare Chrono Trigger which I still think is one of the best games I've ever played. It's not always true, but there are a lot of old gems from older consoles which you just can't forget. I even think Final Fantasy 1 was pretty good for it's time... it was what practically started this entire big RPG craze.
        • Why is this a troll? He's exactly right.. I don't ever remember ever being like,

          "Oh my god... all my base belong to WHO!?!?!??"

          While FF3 (FF6j) and to a lesser extent FF2 (FF5j) for SNES did have some of the best stories and cinematic qualities to them, their predecessors left a little sump'n sump'n to be desired. I mean cmon, freggin 4 identical red-haired fighters can save the universe in FF1 for NES and nobody thinks this is strange!? Let's talk about games like Metal Gear when guards yell "I FEE

      • I don't fully agree with older games proving their worth with a story. This is true with the Final Fantasy games from the SNES. However, look at the old classics like Pacman and Galaga which people still love to play. These games are simple to play, but are still incredibly fun.

        Thankfully there are new games with nice graphics that are still fun to play. ICO for the PS2 is a beautiful games and the sequel Shadow of the Coloses looks like it will also be just as great a game. Katamari Damacy was a wei

        • Amen in regards to Galaga, brother. I play it every chance I get, preferably on the original arcade version, as the newer 'updated' versions suck -- different movement patterns, things move too slowly, etc...

          I hang out at a bar in town solely for the purpose (other than the fact that I go there because, unlike a club, people don't bother you unless you want to be bothered) of listening to (sometimes) interesting indie music and being able to play Galaga for a quarter any time I want.

          Sadly, their machine

  • Nethack.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tktk ( 540564 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:04PM (#12937218)
    the ascii crack before Evercrack.

    In the 90s, it ruined my college GPA as it must have done other people. Everyone once in a while I download it again and play for a few weeks. Then I'll erase it after never getting past the mines and not think about it for a few years.

    At least now it only ruins my normal sleep cycle. I work in land development so being awake isn't a major requirement.

    There is one advantage for slow development cycles like with Nethack. You can pick it up years later and it'll be pretty much the same.

  • Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:05PM (#12937223)
    I just look for decent flash stuff on newgrounds and other flash portals.

    I'm a 2D platformer at heart. The extra dimension allowed developers to get lazy, while the games that came from the 2D era had to be creative to set themselves apart from the hundreds of other 2D platformers.
  • Nostalgia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rustbear ( 852420 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:07PM (#12937234)

    To be honest, I think that a lot of people like older games because these they evoke memories from a more innocent/carefree time in the player's life (e.g. teen-age years, or college), rather than better gameplay.

    • Re:Nostalgia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Koiu Lpoi ( 632570 ) <koiulpoiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:29PM (#12937389)
      I highly disagree with this statement. I have gone back and played many older games which captivated my attention while younger. Only a small percentage of them I found to still be great games, but many of them I went "Holy crap, I can't believe I liked this!". However, I will say the reason I wanted to play them again in the first place was nostalgia. The nostalgia got killed quick in many cases.
      • Yeah, that also happens to me with some old games - not because of the crappy graphics I think (at least it doesn't seem to be the main reason in some cases), just because it seems boring as hell. I don't have half the patience for games I used to have, is that what you felt too?
        • Not graphics at all. I still love some old Genesis games, which had terrible graphics by today's standards. I'm not sure if it's really patience, but many older games I feel were only fun because I was 6 years old.
    • Re:Nostalgia (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Deagol ( 323173 )
      I think that's partly true.

      However, I only started playing Nethack within the past year, and I'm hooked. It's addictive.

      The last PC game I actually bought and played with any regularity was Quake II. I played a few demos after that, and "borrowed" a few titles, but they didn't last more than a week or so.

      When I need a game fix, I usually fire up GXMame and play favorite titles from my youth. So there *is* some good-ol'-days psychology there. However, my kids love those old games, so they're stil

    • Re:Nostalgia (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Monte ( 48723 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:01PM (#12937581)
      I disagree - I think the older games inherently had better gameplay simply because there wasn't anything else to devote resources to devloping. "Here's your tools: 16k of RAM, a 1.77 MgHz processor, 240x120 pixels in eight different colors. Go nuts!"

      To make an analogy, if your board and gamepieces are essentialy a piece of dirt, a sharp stick and a handful of pebbles, the game you come up with had better have some damned good play value if you expect anyone to play it.

      Case in point: How many people can remember all the secret doors on the umpteenth map in Quake 2, vs how many people can remember to get the Babel Fish in Infocom's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? And when all is said and done, which was more satisfying to beat?
      • by tverbeek ( 457094 )
        Case in point: How many people can remember all the secret doors on the umpteenth map in Quake 2, vs how many people can remember to get the Babel Fish in Infocom's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? And when all is said and done, which was more satisfying to beat?

        The echoes of my triumphant "YES!!!" upon first solving the Babelfish puzzle still resound through the structure of my parents' house, lo these decades later.

    • Re:Nostalgia (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DarkZero ( 516460 )
      To be honest, I think that a lot of people like older games because these they evoke memories from a more innocent/carefree time in the player's life (e.g. teen-age years, or college), rather than better gameplay.

      I don't think it's just nostalgia. I think a big part of it is that over the course of years of development on certain platforms, people found some types of games that were really fun, but in the last five years or so we've gotten rid of them because they're "old technology". Getting rid of the 2
      • Tell me about it. The 2D sidescroller was the most abandoned technology in history. I'd love another version of Castlevania SOTN, Golden Axe, Final Fight.

        I still think the original mortal kombat games using 2D photographic motion looks better than today's mortal kombat 3D. Why abandon it??

        • The game boy castlevanias are pretty good. I'd definately recommend checking them out. Also the metroid games are also very awesome. 2D platforming bliss for sure. From what it looks like, the new Castlevania for DS will be 2D as well and use the touch screen for magic spell casting. I don't think they are planning on abandoning 2D castlevania since the 2D games tend to sell a great deal better than the 3D ones.
        • Tell me about it. The 2D sidescroller was the most abandoned technology in history. I'd love another version of Castlevania SOTN, Golden Axe, Final Fight.

          As another poster already pointed out, the Gameboy Advance Castlevanias are a trio of really, really great SotN-style games, and the Metroids are pretty damn good, too. Aria of Sorrow in particular is like a shorter, but equally greater SotN, with great gameplay and a great plot.
    • Re:Nostalgia (Score:3, Interesting)

      To be honest, I think that a lot of people like older games because these they evoke memories from a more innocent/carefree time in the player's life (e.g. teen-age years, or college), rather than better gameplay.

      There is a lot truth there, although the older games that I play now are like five-star "Top Dog" classic "Best Games of All Time" titles that I simply couldn't afford buying back when they were new even if I had heard of them which I hadn't. I run them in DOSBox, compile them in Linux, or whateve

    • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:32AM (#12939320) Journal
      While I'll aggree that there is _some_ nostalgia involved, that is definitely not the whole story. Games _are_ becoming more and more "streamlined" and shallow.

      1. Games are becoming more and more simplified, I assume for the benefit of the casual gamer. I'm all for cattering to casual gamers, since I like a good intuitive interface myself. But often it means degrading gameplay as well.

      E.g., look at a single series of games, from the same company, not even going that far back to be a case of nostalgia. Look at the (d)evolution that happened between Patrician 2 and Port Royale 2. (And if you're nasty, trace it all the way back to Elite, since Patrician 2 to Port Royale 2 are basically Elite on water.)

      The economy got over-simplified. Basically while Patrician 2 was _hard_ and actually a trade and economy simulation, in Port Royale 2 you pretty much are guaranteed to make money as long as you don't actively try not to. It also doesn't help that the whole strategy element of leading a _fleet_ in Patrician 2, eventually devolved into a sea arcade game with a single ship in Port Royale 2. (The rest of the ships in your fleet are basically extra lives in that arcade fight.)

      2. As an additional reason for that, there's a bunch of stuff that's just hard to implement properly in 3D, or not obvious to the casual player in 3D, so it either disappeared or got the equivalent of a big neon sign saying "use it HERE ==>"

      E.g., I can think of old 2D games where you could scale any wall, or (try to) blow up walls, or use a grappling hook on any ledge. Nowadays you have clearly marked "you can climb this one" walls, e.g., in Sudeki. Or if you get a grappling gun, there will be a big marking where you can use it, and typically not too often.

      3. There's a lot of stuff that gets streamlined because everything today has to be real-time. Actual strategy tends to be replaced by whack-a-mole clicking without a plan. E.g., whereas a PC RPG used to involve basically squad tactics and use of a whole range of spells (status effects, buffs, etc), nowadays you get action-RPGs where you have to run, hit and block in real time, and if you get any spells they're direct damage.

      Compare for example, the old D&D games from SSI, which were practically a turn based tactics game, to, say, Demon Stone. Right. Nothing says "D&D" like having to do attack combos, and all spells being nothing more than a weapon upgrade for the mage.

      4. Variety _is_ shrinking. Games tend to be easily dividable in narrow "genres" lately, often meaning a clone of other games that sold well. While it doesn't necessarily say "new games are bad", playing an exact clone of a game I've already bought before, does somewhat reduce my satisfaction.
  • I've been playing a fan translation of DragonQuest (DragonWarrior) 5 which originally came out in Japan.

    While it has the annoying verbose interface common to the DragonQuest series, I'm finding that the game itself is quite enjoyable. Its a shame that it was never officially released in the US by Nintendo. It was a strong SNES title, IMHO.

    Considering that Nintendo had a policy of censoring US releases, I'm tempted to drag up fan translations of the other games in the series and play them again.


    • I've recently gotten into this myself pretty fiercely. If you ever get the chance, try out Rudora no Hihou, Terranigma, and I'm sure you've probably already played Sieken Densetsu 3, but if not then there is another one to grab. I couldn't believe these games weren't released in the US, but it all came down to market timing and other BS back then.
      Great games though, and I don't know what I'd do without the internet for bringing us gems like these.

  • My List (Score:4, Interesting)

    by miyako ( 632510 ) <(miyako) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:09PM (#12937253) Homepage Journal
    I don't think that old games are necessarily better than newer ones, rather I think that a lot of it is that nobody really remembers old games that were bad, except for the ones that were particularly horrible. That said, I do notice that there tend to be a few games that I always come back to that hold my interest more than others. If you haven't played any of these, they are games that eat up most of my play time.
    • Tony Hawk games. (Generally, whatever the most recent tony hawk game is gets a lot of play time from me. And I pretty much hage sports games.)
    • Tetris. Seems to be a variant of tetris on everything now, great for quick games here and there.
    • Tron. Not the new FPS but the classic like KTron or Armegatron or GLTron.
    • Super Mario series. Sunshine excluded. I can pretty much beat any of them in my sleep now, but I still come back to the m again and again. 3, World and 64 are my favorites.
    • Tekken. Fighthing games are good for long term play.
    • Geneforge
      Marvel vs. Capcom 2
      Grandia 2
      Shadowrun for Sega Genesis
      Well of Souls

      Yup, seems the games on my list are almost all older games, and the newer ones are either for the Dreamcast or are short on graphics.
  • I just gave a talk at a conference which talked briefly about this. One of the my points was that the large companies have no incentive to advertise about older games. Activision makes more money for every copy of DOOM 3 that is sold than they do when someone fires up the original DOOM. (There are also issues with losing the history of the industry, but that's a whole other rant.)

    In the end, the newer games get more attention than the older games. Companies spend a lot of money convincing people to keep track of the new games and that technology drives "fun". This is how the companies make more money.

    This is actually a very backwards way of thinking of some games. For example, online RPGs (aka MMORPGs) actually get better with age. A game like my own Meridian 59 has had several expansions and tweaks done to the game over the years. These games tend to be very bug-free and well-balanced. The game grows and expands over the years, and the game you can play now is often quite different than the game it originally was.

    Finally, sometimes games change. I'm a huge fan of computer RPGs, but the games released these days are hardly RPGs. Instead of being able to create a character (or party), I'm forced to deal with a pre-made character and run him (or rarely, her) through a pre-set adventure. Sometimes I just have to fire up a Wizardry game or the original Final Fantasy as an antidote to the mostly passive games that are released these days. I guess they sell really well, but it's not the type of game I want to play.

    I'll post the slides to my conference talk on my professional blog (http://blog.psychochild.org/ [psychochild.org]) when I get the chance.

    Some thoughts,
    • Instead of being able to create a character (or party), I'm forced to deal with a pre-made character and run him (or rarely, her) through a pre-set adventure.

      Pre-made characters mean that the pre-made adventure can have a lot of depth and detail. That's hard to do with generic characters. Maybe you can supply your own character interaction ... but, if you can do that, do you need the computer game at all?

      I recommend pen+paper RPGs if you want to create your own character :-)

      • I recommend pen+paper RPGs if you want to create your own character :-)

        I already play paper RPGs every other Friday, thanks. When I play paper RPGs I want a social experience of hanging around with friends and having fun. I want to say, "Where's the Mountain Dew?" and get everyone laughing.

        On the other hand, sometimes I want to just kill things. Combat simulation with dice gets a bit boring after a while, so paper RPGs aren't all that great for this. I want to create a party, flex my tactical ability
    • I've played plenty of pen & paper RPG campaigns where everyone had a premade character and ran through a preset adventure. RPG stands for Role Playing Game. You know, where you play a role. Nothing says it has to be party based, or that you have to come up with that role on your own. The change in RPGs is, in my mind, an improvement over that hidebound way of thinking. I despise party based RPGs. I hate the illusion of giving me freedom to create my own role while still forcing me to play the stor
    • European Air War is one of the few games I play on my home comp.

      Easy and fun.

      I don't play online but there is a large group of people who do with all sorts of mods etc that have grown over the years.

  • by RootsLINUX ( 854452 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xunilstoor}> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:12PM (#12937269) Homepage
    I'm deeply thankful from the bottom of my heart for emulators of old systems. It's true. I find myself playing the good old games a lot (mostly NES and SNES) more than the newer, shinier games. Maybe it's the nostalgia factor that brings me back time and time again. But it's probably because I share the exact same sentiments as the article. Games are not designed to be fun anymore. They are designed to make companies hoards of money. Those two business models are disgustingly different, and hence so are the games they produce.

    I'm sure there are others like me out there who have let their passion take them far enough to the point where they make their own game [allacrost.org] in the "old-school" style. Of course I doubt anyone is out there making loads of money off of making new games that look like they could have been released in the 90s, but I bet there are quite a few like me who spend their spare time working on their game as a hobby.

    On a side-note, I bet you kids these days wouldn't give such "ancient" looking games a second glance, since they've been suckered into the game media hype machine of "better-looking game = better game". *grumble grumble* Rotten kids!!!! Why I remember back in my day, we only had one button on our joypads, and that was damn well enough for us!
    • "On a side-note, I bet you kids these days wouldn't give such "ancient" looking games a second glance, since they've been suckered into the game media hype machine of "better-looking game = better game".

      I was thinking just the opposite of that.
      The young generation is still familiar with 8 and 16 bit games only they know them form handhelds and not from consoles.
      It's the gameboy/pokemon generation.
      And Nintendo is said to be offering all those older games on their upcomming revolution.
      So they must think the
  • Hell, Yeah! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:15PM (#12937287) Homepage Journal
    Many games today have too much flash or pow, though the art or message or depth of the games have improved in some places.

    For example: The Marathon trilogy, made by a few guys whose company went on to make another pretty popular game. [bungie.net] This game was the "thinking man's" Doom, complete with aliens, serious weapons (many of which have returned in one form or another in Halo), and a deep storyline that enriched play [bungie.org]. Marathon was also one of the first (if not THE first) multiplayer FPS game, introducing the concept of the mouse-as-head game control to make for rapid movement.

    The coolness of this game is that it's now freeware (not open-source, however). [bungie.org] The game originally appeared as an original Mac OS game. That game is available and (currently) playable only a Mac that can run Mac OS 9 or Classic (in Mac OS X). However, Bungie also released the second game, Marathon 2, as a Windows game. So Mac and Windows users can download a special Mac OS X-native or Windows-native application (thanks to enterprising programmers who loved the game and wanted to play on) to play the original code, complete with a few modern graphic pick-me-ups.

    Bungie still puts in a few Marathon in-jokes in their games. The first one you'll see is the insignia on Captain Keyes' uniform in Halo, and later, look closely at the Monitor's eyeball. Familar?

    I'm still fond of old-school Zelda games on NES, SNES, and Game Boy, too.

    Frog blast the vent core!
  • Netrek has been around for nearly 15 years, and it is still one of the best online games out there.

    Long live ModemJoe! king of the BB's...
  • personally I'm addicted to Boggle on games.com. Its competitive, pitting you against other players.
  • How about trying some role playing and actually teaming with other players. People who play massively multiplayer games as if they were single player games and then shout from the rooftops that they suck really piss me off. The game isn't designed for single player gameplay.
    • On the other hand, many of us are antisocial geeks who quiver at the thought of having to cooperate with other people (having to do it at work is enough... meh).

      It's still cool to walk into the auction house on WoW and see it packed to the brim though.

  • Simple answer: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:21PM (#12937333) Journal
    Consider the size of the following two sets:
    • The set of all new games; let's say "from 2002 onwards" for concreteness.
    • The set of all games from before 2002.
    Now, consider your standard of "goodness". The questioner uses something he calls "satisfying"; there are many possibilities here. This is a meta-argument, so I really do want you to substitute your personal standards.

    Now, unless your standards truly contain something highly technology based, like "I just can't play a game without reflective glass or incredibly realistic water", which set is going to contain more good games?

    Is this really surprising?

    Cherry pick from ~20 years of games, and compare that to the cherry-picked games from the last three years, and the former set will typically be larger.

    That said, there are some ways modern games are legitimately better. Linear RPGs are one strong example, I think (though non-linear RPGs are, for a variety of reasons, effectively dead). I'm not saying all standards will have this result... just the vast majority of them.
    • though non-linear RPGs are, for a variety of reasons, effectively dead

      Precisely. Linear RPGs are incredibly boring to me. All the good nonlinear games (Darklands [darklands.net], Privateer [the-underdogs.org], etc) are old. I have high hopes for TES: Oblivion, even though Morrowind wasn't that great.

  • "The Secret Island of Dr. Destructo" on the old home 8bit computers. I played it to death on my old CPC6128, and I still fire it up every now and then under emulation - would do more often if the CPC emulator key repsonse weren't as slow.

    It was a 2D side-view shoot-em up where you controlled a little plane and had to shoot down a variety of planes, bombers and helicopters and by making them crash into the ship or island on the screen, sink the island/ship.

    I've never seen a game with the sprite control of
    • A 2D game that has a plane that loops around clockwise/counterclockwise?

      Could be "Combat" for Atari 2600 or "Two Tigers" for arcade.

      If the destroyed enemies crash down as kamikaze, and the long-term goal of the game is to tear through a large obstacle (carrier ship, etc.) by crashing enough destroyed enemies into it, then it's definitely "Two Tigers"!

      Give it a try on MAME if you get the chance. One of my favorite arcade games. Got fairly good at it, too....

      BTW, it's surreal to grow up playing a comput
    • I've never seen a game with the sprite control of Dr. Destructo: Very unusual, z made the plan circle anti-clockwise, x clockwise, such that you could loop and bank all over the screen. Very very effective.

      That sounds a lot like a game called Sopwith we used to play in the high school computer lab around 1988. Tha game itself was more simplistic than the one you described, but the control system was the same.

  • Classic-like games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZakuSage ( 874456 )
    I'd say you need a bit of games that are classic in nature, but are at least reletivly new. For instance, games like Viewtiful Joe, or any of Nippon Ichi's creations bring out a nostalgic rush, and play like their older cousins, but are much, much deeper and/or stylish.

    Personally, I get a lot of replay value out of the Metal Gear Solid series. To this date, it retains a very traditional camera placement, with very contraversial or thought provocing themes and fantastic graphics. The games, while holding
  • The only console I own is a SNES. I don't like 3D games very much, I don't like shooters at all. There are a few on GameCube I like (such as Zelda 4 Swords and Paper Mario - both being basically 2D!). Games are just much better when the people who made them care about the gameplay, not making the graphics as cool as humanly possible. Of course, there are some nice graphics in those two Gamecube games I mentioned - but they're not going for photorealism. I like cartoony graphics better than realistic ones, a
  • Starflight (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Foolhardy ( 664051 ) <csmith32.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:39PM (#12937454)
    If you want an old game that has real depth, play Starflight. I recently started playing it for the first time, and it's like a good book but without being linear. I've been picking up clues to the story, while exploring planets and trying to stay alive.

    The DOS version of Starflight is an 80808 era CGA game that has a lot of things that were way ahead of it's time. Inside of 700K there are hundreds of unique planets, several races and an involved storyline. The planetary details are generated by fractals but remember what you do on them. Almost everything is done in real time; if you stay silent on the comm channel too long, the aliens on the other side can get annoyed or take over the conversation. A lot of descriptions are done by text, so it requires a little imagination, but the atmosphere of trying to survive, alone in a cold unforgiving universe is very strong.

    If you want to give Starflight a chance, I suggest using dosbox [sourceforge.net] with the speed set to 1000 cycles. Anything higher will make battles and communication impossible. Be careful, though: saving or even playing the game modifies the main game files (stara.com, starb.com, starflt.com), so make archives of them if you want to save. You can't quit without saving.

    Despite a slower pace than many modern games, this game is quite addictive once you get started. I'm going back to it right now... now if I can just find some promethium so I can repair the sheilds...
    • Starflight is a great game, even today, but it is too hard. I have been killed by asshole aliens uncountable times, and have gone bankrupt many many times. It is still cool to play it from time to time, but I wish I didn't suck as much as I do in it.
  • symbols (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HawkingMattress ( 588824 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:43PM (#12937480)
    as Scott mc Loud [scottmccloud.com] would say 100x better, using symbols in drawing, or graphics allows the brain to treat the data it's presented in a totally different way than if the subject was looking a a detailled drawing. You instantly know when you look at a symbolic graphic that there's more to it that what you see.
    Old games used symbols to display things on screen almost of the time, because the machines couldn't do more. But you didn't treat the things displayed on screen as if they were realistic drawings anyway, you knew they were just symbols which meant tree, kobold, or whatever and all the real action had to happen in your imagination.
    So everyone in fact had a different, and extremly rich perception of the game.
    Constrast that with 3D. The things you're looking at are generally not symbols, they're literally what you, or your character, see. That means your imagination can't interface with what is displayed. Those realistic, tangible objects aren't compatible with it.
    That means that if the illusion isn't 100% perfect, the charm will be broken.
    Now, you're just consuming a world someone as prepared for you, the same as everyone else. Before, your brain had to build it itself, but it was incomparable.
  • by Monte ( 48723 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @08:54PM (#12937543)
    "Hunt the Wumpus" never gets old for me.
  • Old games ARE better (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Valacosa ( 863657 )
    Best game ever: Star Control 2. It's a hilarious RPG with, in my opinion, fairly high replay value. The best part? It's now abandonware!

    This discussion reminds me of Sim City 2 VS Sim City 4. Sure, SC4 had more features, but it lacked the same soul. Pretty graphics can't make up for a sense of humour and fun gameplay. Another example: the decline of the Leisure Suit Larry franchise.

    One of my other favourite games is Chopper Commando by Mark Currie. CGA Graphics, but the messages when you died were awe
    • Best game ever: Star Control 2. It's a hilarious RPG with, in my opinion, fairly high replay value. The best part? It's now abandonware!

      Absolutely. But please, it's not an RPG (just because you can upgrade your ship?). It's adventure/action.

    • Don't forget the Ur-Quan Masters which is a totally modern remake of Star Control 2 using the original source code. It runs on Windows, Linux, probably even BSD and OS/X.

      The Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net]

      I've spent a lot of time with this one and I was just considering playing it again soon, actually.

    • Wow, I seriously thought I may have been the only one to know about that Chopper Commando game. I remember playing that for hours! It really had a lot of replayability. Sometimes I would play a game with self-imposed rules such as only getting enemies by setting your helicopter on course for them and ejecting out at the last second. Or one where I wouldn't fire a single shot...I had to maneuver such that they'd shoot themselves. It had some wierd features/bugs too like that Mark Currie zone where you c
    • Best game ever: Star Control 2.

      Happy *campers* are best. *Enjoy* the *sauce*.

  • by rohlfinator ( 888775 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:46PM (#12937842)
    For any gamers looking for a fresh (freeware) 2D platformer with an old-school feel, look no further than Cave Story. [romhack.net] It's an amazingly designed game by Studio Pixel, which is actually just one guy with a lot of talent. The game plays a lot like Metroid or Mega Man, but it has a unique weapon system. The graphics are very reminiscent of an SNES or DOS-based game, but the pixel art is spectacular and the story is very engrossing. I highly recommend it to anyone, as it's easily the best freeware game I've ever played.
  • by The_Dougster ( 308194 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:52PM (#12937879) Homepage
    There's no doubt that most of these new games lack the fun factor. I find myself consistently going back to some older classics. Here's my "most played" list.
    • Neverwinter Nights - I have a PW Server that I have been playing on for years now. Still a ton of fun. I play this several times a week usually.
    • Jagged Alliance 2 (and its mods) - Every couple months or so I get heavy into a game of this for a week or so. This game is brilliant! Been playing it regularly for years now.
    • DOSBox - While not a game per se, I use this to run X-COM, Master of Orion, Privateer, and Ultima Underworld. If you have DOSBox and a good PC then abandonware sites are like gold mines. I regularly rotate through the above games as the whim strikes me.
    • 4X Games - These tend to have lots of replayability. Master of Orion (DOSBox), Space Empires IV, and Galactic Civilizations are some of my personal favorites.
    • Bioware and Black Isle games - Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Fallout. These series are great to replay every so often. Fallout 1 is always cool to play through because its a quick game compared to the rest.
    • Shooters - I think the most fun ones are Quake, Quake2, Serious Sam, Fortress mods, and Duke Nukem 3D. Others are cool but I keep coming back to these for some mindless blasting. I gotta say I'm burned out on shooters right now though.
    There's no doubt that the replayability of most new games has suffered. It seems like the old ones always had randomizers and scenario generators while new ones just trust that they will live on in multiplayer and user-made mods.

    My hope for the future: Duke Nukem Forever, Jagged Alliance 3, Fallout 3, Quake IV, and Elite 4. They all come from a long lineage of "fun" games and hopefully they will uphold the tradition.

    • DOSBox - While not a game per se, I use this to run X-COM

      You realize of course that X-COM 1 & 2 run natively on XP now with a patch? I'll be glad to share if you're interested, I spent a lot of time digging up various X-COM stuff on a whim recently. I even found a multiplayer add-on for it (!).

      Only problem for me was that, given my habit of building absurd bases, my game crashed irrecoverably pretty late in, but unless you build 10 psi-labs with several hundred guys on staff, you probably won't get
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:58PM (#12937916) Homepage Journal
    Are generalizations always wrong?
  • I think in general older games only seem more satisfying because we tend to remember the best parts of the good ones. But when I look back, I remember:
    -Ungodly frustrating games that could only be beaten with codes or Game Genie, either because they were just too hard (Konami Games) or too long to play in one sitting and had no way to save.
    -Instability - Stability was a horrible problem with console games, although the Japanese have had it far worse than others due to getting the games first. I had plenty o
  • Zork me, baby! I'm the Wizard of Froboz!

    I spent more time on those games generally having a great time, than I've spent on any game since. That ASCII text was simply captivating, too! :)
  • In other words, maybe there's been a bit of a backslide over the past couple years, but I think that overall most games have improved quite a bit since, say, King's Quest I.

    Though I do wish the adventure game genre would return to popularity. LucasArts used to make some really excellent games.
  • Just in case nobody mentions it.

    Older game that kicks the snot out of almost everything to come after it.

  • Video games, movies, food, places we have seen in our passed life have been experiences by a different person: ourself younger. Comparison is impossible.

    Watch a video game, a cartoon you loved, eat one of those sweets you were so fond of ... they suck :)

    Go Debian!
  • Alpha Centauri (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JasdonLe ( 680479 )
    The son of Civ II: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri... I can't keep away. The graphics are great, the gameplay even better. , customizable units, unobtrusive mood music you don't mind leaving on... See, I feel like playing it right now!
  • When someone asks me what my all-time favorite games are i tend to include old fps games like Doom, Quake, Shadow Warrior, ROTT, Duke Nukem 3D, Hexen... the lot.
    While in my memory these were all superb games which i spent many hours playing i must admit only few were still appealing when i tried them again. You find out game play of fps games has improved in a subtle yet essential way.
  • . . . is a great example of a more modern game that's fun and going in new directions. For me, I've noticed that limitations are what make games fun. The more modern games progressively try to find ways to remove them, which is the wrong approach.

    Take Chess. Chess is popular because, in my opinion, you have very rigid limitations. Pawns can only move two spaces on the first movement. Rooks only horizontally and vertically, etc. It's creative exploitation of combinations of limitations that make the game fu
  • I recently had to make a list of games that I really enjoyed playing. I found that there were about one or two games per year that I thought were great (since about 1985).

    I replay older games. The reason is that there are simply not enough good new games to hold my attention (and I play for about an hour a day, which is not a lot). I rather go back to a classic which I know is good, than that I let myself be bored with the new stuff.

    So there is good new stuff, but not enough to occupy all my gaming tim

  • I never even bothered to jump on the constant new game release wagon. I have continued to sink most of my time into old school games like the board game Risk [sillysoft.net] and cards (bridge is awesome).

    Of course, every now and again something special will come out brand new...

  • Master of Magic 2!
  • by St. Arbirix ( 218306 ) <matthew.townsend@Nospam.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @06:58AM (#12940108) Homepage Journal
    Go. And computers are a very long way off from beating humans in this one.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter