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Thread: Everything used to be better - not for videogames!

  1. #21
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    Yeah, with all the great socio-demographic marketing research, soon video games will be McDonaldized, and we will be be TOLD what to play! YAAAAAAAAAY? Either that, or all of our games will be in Spanish.

    Not a racial dig there, but you all should pick up a copy of the book "The McDonaldisation of America"...the author escapes me at the moment.

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    First, Yoshi you lil' critter, you never mentioned that you're involved with DP! After all them years (well, weeks, ok) I have to learn about it? I feel like a wife learning the truth about her husband.

    I agree with Dennis and others who say that this is not a competition between game eras. I feel the same way. A good game is a good game. Period. No matter when it was made, under different conditions, great gameplay and games can always be enjoyed. However, I think it's a puzzling Q to ask if the last twenty or thirty years was for the better or worse for the games and the industry. Imagine a game developer twenty years ago and today. The turf changed, the games changed, the industry changed....for better or worse????

    Regarding Enter the Matrix: Absolutely agree. A bad, hyped game framed by movie sequences which harks back to the worst times when a movie license was a recipe for a crappy game which makes profit. (read my letter in GameInformer, vol. 124, p.16, signed Klaus, Milwaukee) But don't forget guys, we also have Spiderman and EAs Lord of the Rings. As I said, premature releases of bad games who make profit still exist, but not as many as to the worst Atari times due to the fierce competition.

    I wrote the post for three reasons: 1) There were never so many "good" games offered mixed with absolutely top hits than in the last two years. 2) There is a fundamental economic restructering within the videogame industry going on because it becomes professionalized. 3) The mythology build-up about the founding fathers of videogames sometimes blurs our perception of the present. Don't get me wrong, mythology build-up is great and necessary because it's a result of a success story. Classic gaming conventions, the research about the history of games, the well deserved reverence to Ralph Baer and Nolan Bushnell, the more and more developing videogame collection scene, the hall of fame in which the roots of videogames are celebrated is a must and there is a need for it; but don't let this romantic feeling coupled with selective memory get in the way of acknowledging that the present is a paradise for gamers and developers alike and that there is progress in overall game quality.

    I don't agree with the argument that present games are too different from let's say 8bit games and therefore they can't or shouldn't be compared. This is besides my point. I made an assessment if game quality overall improved. Comparing is the bread and butter of thinking, we do it all the time. If it is impossible or a sin to compare games, then game developers and we players commit this sin daily. Who didn't compare the new Metroid Prime with the SNES Metroid?? Developers compare the games they're working on with previous games, prequels, and games of the same genre all the time. If it's possible to compare a present game with one released two years earlier, then it's also possible to compare games which cover a time span of 15 years. To say that games of a certain time are just "different" and unique, that technology changed so much, 2D vs. 3D etc., to say that games are dependent on technological conditions of their time and our perception and expectations is certainly true, but it doesn't say much; and if it is true that basically nothing changed so much in gameplay (same old, same old) - with which I disagree - then it should be even easier and an invitation to compare games and give an overall assessment of quality development.


    Some pointed to the danger of conformity among games because development costs are so high which means that firms have to play it safe, or more in a cultural criticism trend, the "McDonaldization". That's only half of the truth. Sure, high development costs ensure an overall improvement of game quality and tends to make more conform games because of less risk- taking; but that's only half of the story!!! The fierce competition compel developers to offer something new, offer new experiences in lots of ways in order to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack BECAUSE more so than ever a good game can go unnoticed among so many good choices; and the prospect of incredible profit if you get one top hit (Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy X, Gran Turismo 3) which can make a firm financially sound for years to come doesn't hurt either. Again, competition is good for innovation; and there will be always games which offer something new and will be a commercial success, and there will be always sleeper hits.

    No, it's not a disadvantage that videogames became big business and professionalized; the tremendous success story of videogames and it's resulting professionalization "only" comes with a more structured environment, market considerations, planning, more people involved developing games, game testing, and responsiveness to the market. Granted, 20 years ago game developers had overall more freedom to explore, faced less pressure, but this didn't result in more innovation or overall great games because the competition was less.

    Game developers learn, from game to game, from year to year, from decade to decade. Right now it videogame paradise, we are spoiled with great games. However, the market is overheated, and will at one point calm down.

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    @Yoshi, zachM, and others: I completely agree about Enter The Matrix. It's bad for the touted "revolution" between the movie and game industry in every aspect; becasue this game unfortunately sells well,other developers will follow the recipe "make a bad game, hire famous directors, neglect gameplay, and still make a profit." This game and its success is disadvantegous for the industry in every aspect.

    What really bothered me were the hyped, distorted and shizophrenic reviews of this game in mags. GameInformer and Nintendo Power were just terrible, they explicitly recommended to buy a bad game becasue of the movie sequences!! That's plain awful. (only GamePro got it right) Gameplay is key, gameplay is key, gameplay is key, not movie sequences, graphics or sound. Movie sequences, graphics, and sound are merely very important( !) tools for gameplay, nothing more and nothing less. My evaluation of overall game quality in the last thirty years is also based on this belief.

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    it's so hard to find a good game with good replay value nowadays.
    Somebody make me a "CGE 2k7 Attendee banner" so I don't have to use this lame text

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarioAllStar2600
    it's so hard to find a good game with good replay value nowadays.
    It's because new games are more driven on story/progress today. As technology has advanced people have become used to extensive games that actually go somewhere, are story based, and the player works towards an eventual goal.

    Gone are the days of arcade games and classics, where the main objective was to simply get the highest "score." The majority of today's generation are simply interested in passing all the levels, scoring whatever bonuses they can, and generally just progress through a game untill they get bored of it and purchase another title.

    Whilst the modern genre of games is terrific, they're becoming more and more "scripted" (for lack of a better word) in that they have the same/or similar events happening each time you play, which turns off alot of people from replay value. This is probably why the recent "revolution" of gaming into this whole "free to do what you want" GTA style is becoming so popular. It's fun, and it creates a new experience everytime.

    A good example is Splinter Cell. Awesome game on it's own right, but most casual gamers will run through it once, kill the guards in a certain way, and once it's over... it's over.
    Sure, there are plenty of ways you could replay the game... try not to kill anyone, just incapacitate etc. But for the casual gamer, this isn't really a driving force anymore, and they'd much rather get into another game.

    Myself however, even though i'm a product of the (relatively) new generation. (Born in 1985, Gamer throughout the 90's) I have a very wide taste in videogames. I still play all the 80's classics (Dig Dug, Pacman etc.) and I enjoy them just as much, if not more sometimes than modern games. Not only just for nostalgia reasons, just because they are generally well written games that are still fun to play today. Sure they might not have the depth of say, Halo. But there's something so addicting about trying to get past that damn level in Ghost's N' Ghouls that I can't put my finger on.

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    Lendelin: My working on the N64 section for DP never came up, plus I'm not one to toot my own horn. I don't think anyone in the community knew I had an online arcade either (it fell with Xoom).

    Anyway, I think I don't have much ground to stand on about a market saturated with "good" games. I've been jaded waaay too long and seem to be stuck in a funk with most modern games not making me want to get my game on. It doesn't help that a string of games I rented for various modern systems stank while I bought games for my SNES I never played before and I had a blast. So that's perhaps skewing my view.

    I WILL say, though, by stepping away from the Sony camp and looking at its competitors things are starting to get more interesting. Specifically I point this towards Xbox. It has its share of ports, but more interesting titles are starting to arrive. I've already mentioned KOTOR, which is a unique CRPG experience. Splinter Cell was a delightful surprise, as was Gunvalkrie, Morrowind, Otogi, Halo, and now upcoming games like Fable are showing that at least SOMEONE isn't resting on their hands and going with the rest of the flock. It's also a haven for FPS games and I'm such a sucker for a good FPS.

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    "Isometric Bacon" pointed out that for years now the overall trend goes towards more complex and lengthier games at the cost of replay value. Absolutely true. I think this explains exactly the attraction of older games as a variety and niche to the current games. I'm sometimes amazed that some of my students know Joust or the first NES Castlevania, and when I ask them why they play these games it always comes out that they love their simplicity and straightforwardness. It would be very interesting to have reliable and specific socio-demographic data about these playing habits.

    I doubt, however, these kind of games would be any commercial success today; development firms couldn't survive; as a niche offering, ok, but in a time with very different tastes and fast value change "our" games wouldn't stand a chance. I don't know how well Contra Shattered Soldier and Ikaruga did, but even a game like Super Mario Sunshine with a low ‘cool' factor didn't meet Nintendos sale expectations.

    Yoshi, we are also a bit shizophrenic. We want something new and go back to the old. On the one hand we demand innovation and fresh ideas all the time and lament about their lack in current games, on the other hand we go back to very well known games which are twenty years old. Not a lot of gameplay innovation there when I play my old Metroid. Maybe there is a lack of innovation in us which rivals the lamented lack of innovation of the current games; or maybe we just cling to the values which these games represent in looks and feel and don't want to change.

    I think that one additional aspect makes the current offerings of games better than the past, that is the responsiveness of the industry. We have not only the "cool" splashy flashy effects games with great gameplay value like Devil May Cry, Onimusha, and Final Fantasy X, but also games like REZ, Contra Shattered Soldier, Pikmin, Metroid Prime, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Everblue 2, Zelda WW and many others which take the needs of the so called ‘old school gamers" into account by reviving 2D gameplay or capturing the atmosphere of prequels. Yohi, as you said yourself, there are some great games on the Xbox, and the industry realized that profit can be made by satisfying our needs. Additionally, we can get a PS2 Gradius 3 and 4, or FF Origins because we can fondly look back at the incredible success story of videogames.

    My point is, these offerings wouldn't be so varied and of this quality if the industry wouldn't have professionalized and became market oriented to such an extent (which comes at certain costs for sure). Prospects of big profits combined with a competitive environment(!) results in innovation, and we shouldn't demand from the present more than from the past, neither should we put the present under much more scrutiny. Only one market situation would spell doom - that is the situation of the industries crash in the 80s when a game earned big profits no matter which quality it had. Game developers and hardware manufacturers are as greedy or profit-oriented as they always were - but as a general rule they have to offer us something good before we give them our money.

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    ::Sprinkles the contents of a musty bottle over the ground then raises his hands to the heavens, the sleeves of his tattered robe sliding down to reveal his arms and hands surrounded in a nimbus of blue, crackling energy::

    "ARISE!!!!! COME FORTH FROM THE DEPTHS OF TIME LONG FORGOTTEN!!!"

    Ok, this is probably the most necro of necrothreads ever but I was waxing nostalgic and found this thread deep in the abyss of the DP forum's past. A lot has changed in the game industry over the last twelve years while some trends stayed the same. What are some of the current members thoughts? I know I'll probably post my revised ideas when I can use a real keyboard.

    I wonder if I will burn in some electronic version of Hell for delving this deep into the forum pile.....picking through the bones of lost posts....

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    About sums up classic and current for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    ::Sprinkles the contents of a musty bottle over the ground then raises his hands to the heavens, the sleeves of his tattered robe sliding down to reveal his arms and hands surrounded in a nimbus of blue, crackling energy::

    "ARISE!!!!! COME FORTH FROM THE DEPTHS OF TIME LONG FORGOTTEN!!!"

    Ok, this is probably the most necro of necrothreads ever but I was waxing nostalgic and found this thread deep in the abyss of the DP forum's past. A lot has changed in the game industry over the last twelve years while some trends stayed the same. What are some of the current members thoughts? I know I'll probably post my revised ideas when I can use a real keyboard.

    I wonder if I will burn in some electronic version of Hell for delving this deep into the forum pile.....picking through the bones of lost posts....
    If the sever goes offline it's your fault.

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    I love retro gaming but I'll be the first to admit the gaming industry has only gotten bigger and better. The genres aren't limited today that much either, how about Catherine? Or Katamari? There's lots of RPG's still released, 2d platformers still live on, tons of puzzle games like Bejeweled and all that, the regular FPS games, hack n slash games, I'm not seeing the limited genres today. If anything gaming has gotten bigger and better.

    And thats what makes retro gaming so charming. Would a 1956 Corvette have the amount of charm today if cars were still built with that simplicity? The fact that gaming has evolved so much makes plugging in a Genesis controller that much more charming. Hey remember when controllers had wires??? Remember being 8 and trying to beat Ninja Gaiden?

    Plus, do people expect technology to just stay in 1988? Video gaming would be dead if it stayed at that level.

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    Only a fool would expect the 80s never to die, but I think it's fair to say there needs to really be room for both types because they're widely different even if they go over the same general themes. Aside from no buttons, a lot of tablet games fall into the 80s and 90s mold of stuff and mix it with modern depending what you buy, and same can be said for the download/indie type stuff on whatever you use (PC, 3DS, PS4, etc.) The only argument I can think for better is you at one time never had to fight with a crappy camera and have a constant need to stop and look around as it was all straight up about the game play, not game play + dicking with the way you view it and see around within.

    Duke Nukem 2 or Duke Nukem 3D. Same game in spirit, total different style.

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    I don't mind games changing, even if I don't enjoy them much by comparison nowadays. I just wish that in addition to new games, maybe someone other than indie programmers would work at developing and evolving old concepts and templates that still have a lot of room for growth. Some things I'd like to see:

    A full-blown Castlevania: SOTN-style game with 2-4 player local or online play. Not like Harmony of Despair, but rather with different starting points and characters with different skills who could lower ropes for one another or trade weapons... access switches in different parts of the castle.

    A JRPG with 2D 1 on 1 Street Fighter-style battles where equipment actually reflects on your sprite, and experience gives greater vitality, defense, and unlocks new specials. By the same token, evolving the concept of Little Ninja Bros. or Super Ninja Boy into something more playable.

    Take a game like Armada for Dreamcast, but let me land and explore Gauntlet or Alien Syndrome-style, too.

    I just feel like there's still room for growth in older frameworks and gameplay, and it'd be cool to get to play old 2D style games with the kind of scope their original technology limited instead of making yet another FPS, sandbox game, third-person shooter, or western RPG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
    I don't mind games changing, even if I don't enjoy them much by comparison nowadays. I just wish that in addition to new games, maybe someone other than indie programmers would work at developing and evolving old concepts and templates that still have a lot of room for growth. Some things I'd like to see:

    A full-blown Castlevania: SOTN-style game with 2-4 player local or online play. Not like Harmony of Despair, but rather with different starting points and characters with different skills who could lower ropes for one another or trade weapons... access switches in different parts of the castle.

    A JRPG with 2D 1 on 1 Street Fighter-style battles where equipment actually reflects on your sprite, and experience gives greater vitality, defense, and unlocks new specials. By the same token, evolving the concept of Little Ninja Bros. or Super Ninja Boy into something more playable.

    Take a game like Armada for Dreamcast, but let me land and explore Gauntlet or Alien Syndrome-style, too.

    I just feel like there's still room for growth in older frameworks and gameplay, and it'd be cool to get to play old 2D style games with the kind of scope their original technology limited instead of making yet another FPS, sandbox game, third-person shooter, or western RPG.
    Get on mobile (iOS and to a somewhat lesser extent, Android), Steam, and Kickstarter. Indie developers without a lot of development money are mixing things up in interesting ways, many of which will never make it to consoles. Terrific indie games come out for the Vita all the time. Humble Bundles deliver lots of curated fun for as little as a dollar per week.

    We have it better than any classic era could ever dream of ... we have two active and vibrant big-name handhelds, three big-name consoles, two aged but still-interesting consoles, myriad tablets and phones that can do amazing things, and if you still want to play old games, you can get a handheld or a laptop computer for around $200 that can easily play anything up to and including Dreamcast and Windows games. That's about $88 in 1984 money, and $133 in 1996 money.

    We have network and storage options that can transmit and keep thousands of games for pennies a day, and multiplayer communities around the world so there's always someone to play with. If you're really lazy, you can just watch people play games on Twitch and YouTube. If you want to create your own games, development tools like Unity are powerful and cheap, and don't require multi-thousand dollar development workstations. Somewhere in the middle is the rich modding community, who have remade games like Skyrim into anything they want it to be.

    Real VR is coming soon, but even so, we have large, cheap, high resolution flat panel displays, a plethora of good wireless controller options, surround sound, and great tech everywhere. A single $30 microSD card can hold the entire MAME catalog in addition to all the Star Wars games on GOG.

    Anyone who complains about "games these days" just shows a lack of imagination and exploratory spirit. The technology and innovation behind even the worst MMORPG of 2015 is way ahead of anything we could have imagined in the age of Colecovision. If you don't like what you see, go make something better, because it's never been easier to do so.

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    I'd argue the storage thing is a huge negative in the long run. Its causing a problem the PC industry has caused for years which sucks but is far worse on a closed system -- updates. Releasing games in beta format to use full price guinea pigs to figure out what they didn't want to pay people to do, then release many patches to fix things. Old games you can always run a virtual machine or tweak to run on a new system, or even use DOS Box of all things and patches can always be found thanks to the internet. On a console, once the patch is pulled and the network is toast, you got a broke ass game you're stuck with. There's not so much wrong with games these days in as how they're handled and how consumers are mistreated compared to back then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flojomojo View Post
    Get on mobile (iOS and to a somewhat lesser extent, Android), Steam, and Kickstarter. Indie developers without a lot of development money are mixing things up in interesting ways, many of which will never make it to consoles. Terrific indie games come out for the Vita all the time. Humble Bundles deliver lots of curated fun for as little as a dollar per week.

    We have it better than any classic era could ever dream of ... we have two active and vibrant big-name handhelds, three big-name consoles, two aged but still-interesting consoles, myriad tablets and phones that can do amazing things, and if you still want to play old games, you can get a handheld or a laptop computer for around $200 that can easily play anything up to and including Dreamcast and Windows games. That's about $88 in 1984 money, and $133 in 1996 money.

    We have network and storage options that can transmit and keep thousands of games for pennies a day, and multiplayer communities around the world so there's always someone to play with. If you're really lazy, you can just watch people play games on Twitch and YouTube. If you want to create your own games, development tools like Unity are powerful and cheap, and don't require multi-thousand dollar development workstations. Somewhere in the middle is the rich modding community, who have remade games like Skyrim into anything they want it to be.

    Real VR is coming soon, but even so, we have large, cheap, high resolution flat panel displays, a plethora of good wireless controller options, surround sound, and great tech everywhere. A single $30 microSD card can hold the entire MAME catalog in addition to all the Star Wars games on GOG.

    Anyone who complains about "games these days" just shows a lack of imagination and exploratory spirit. The technology and innovation behind even the worst MMORPG of 2015 is way ahead of anything we could have imagined in the age of Colecovision. If you don't like what you see, go make something better, because it's never been easier to do so.

    I know about those kinds of indie projects. What I was saying is that I'd like to see an actual studio with a budget attempt that sort of thing. I am also aware that it's very unlikely, but I can dream. I haven't had an overly positive experience with indie developed games, and while I play portables and the like, I prefer my games on console.

    Truthfully, I don't enjoy most modern games. I'm not a game developer, nor do I fancy myself as one. What I am is a player that likes what I like, regardless of scope or innovation. I'm okay with games being what they are, and I wouldn't deprive their fans of the experience. Grand scope does not make an MMO better than Donkey Kong, though. Each has their audience. It's okay for people to like what they want to, whether they're a skilled programmer or just a working person who doesn't have the time to be an amateur developer.

    Technology allows for a lot of things, but by no means guarantees fun for all, and if everyone who has tastes that deviates from current trends just went with the flow, things would become stagnant. I don't feel like it's wrong to want to see old frameworks pushed, though, especially when acknowledging that it's more or less a personal fantasy and not an unrealistic expectation. People can continue to play The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto all they want. I'll keep being the person who imports Strider on PS3 because it's on a disc and is in an old style I prefer, and we'll all be right to play what we want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flojomojo View Post
    Get on mobile (iOS and to a somewhat lesser extent, Android), Steam, and Kickstarter. Indie developers without a lot of development money are mixing things up in interesting ways, many of which will never make it to consoles. Terrific indie games come out for the Vita all the time. Humble Bundles deliver lots of curated fun for as little as a dollar per week.
    Yes, indie development has really grabbed the attention of the spotlight lately with many developers cranking out title after title. But that's the problem: you get the Johnny-Come-Coders who want to do their dream and then release a title that's not that good at all. Now multiply that by many many more "developers" that release these broken games, endless clones or just mediocre and it becomes difficult to sift through the chaff to find the wheat. It's no different than the big publishers, just more software.

    The biggest thing with indies is that they CAN take a risk as they have no one to answer to (ie share holders) but themselves. Sometimes it pans out, others not so much.

    We have it better than any classic era could ever dream of ... we have two active and vibrant big-name handhelds, three big-name consoles, two aged but still-interesting consoles, myriad tablets and phones that can do amazing things, and if you still want to play old games, you can get a handheld or a laptop computer for around $200 that can easily play anything up to and including Dreamcast and Windows games. That's about $88 in 1984 money, and $133 in 1996 money.
    When haven't we had something like that?

    Mid-to-late 1990's- Saturn, PSX, N64, SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, PCs with a ton of great titles you can buy cheap off the racks and demos galore online.

    Early to mid 1980's- VCS, INTV, Coleco, C64, CoCo, TI, Apple.....

    Early to mid 2000's- PS 2, DC, Gamecube, Xbox, GBA, PC and the last gens stuff going into the sunset.

    Beyond the tablets and smartphones, we had games everywhere THEN. The only real difference is that gaming has become more of our lifestyles than ever before.

    We have network and storage options that can transmit and keep thousands of games for pennies a day, and multiplayer communities around the world so there's always someone to play with. If you're really lazy, you can just watch people play games on Twitch and YouTube. If you want to create your own games, development tools like Unity are powerful and cheap, and don't require multi-thousand dollar development workstations. Somewhere in the middle is the rich modding community, who have remade games like Skyrim into anything they want it to be.

    Real VR is coming soon, but even so, we have large, cheap, high resolution flat panel displays, a plethora of good wireless controller options, surround sound, and great tech everywhere. A single $30 microSD card can hold the entire MAME catalog in addition to all the Star Wars games on GOG.

    Anyone who complains about "games these days" just shows a lack of imagination and exploratory spirit. The technology and innovation behind even the worst MMORPG of 2015 is way ahead of anything we could have imagined in the age of Colecovision. If you don't like what you see, go make something better, because it's never been easier to do so.
    Online gaming seems to be only as good as the popularity of the title being played. From my experience, if you aren't on the latest mainstream game, the fewer the number of people are playing. And not everyone plays every game that's online capable. I ran into that back on the old XBL with games like Phantom Dust where it was a hopping place and then one day-nothing. Not a soul for over a week. Couple in the fact that servers for games get taken down and the pitch for multiplayer isn't as convincing.

    And the number of titles-I don't know if anyone else runs into this but does anyone else think we have too much choice? Like going into a family restaurant with a gigantic menu and you look over it going "what the heck do I want?" Sure you have an idea but you sift through and go I could have that or that or that. If you were sure then the menu is moot as you know what you want right off the bat other than to see what variations of what you want the place offers.

    A person can spend more time sorting through what's out there than actually playing.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Interesting breakdown by the decade.

    If you exclude the obvious computers in all those decades, and the tablet/phone touch stuff now, this generation probably is the most restricted due to more lack of mainstream choice again by that listing. You have the WiiU and 3DS, Vita and PS4, and the One, and if you throw in the last generation in this decade still Wii, PS3, PSP, and the 360. If you look at what those offered then and what the stuff now does, again less. More of a lifestyle and with that less of a choice too because only so many things can trend at one time.

    It is true that multiplayer is big these days, hell the last decade, but it does come at that cost -- whims of interest, and of the company. People move on, good luck with that if you don't want to. Company decides to pull the rug out, better pray some people setup an unofficial network to support it longer (like Phantasy Star Online got.) Multiplayer in a way is limiting choice in the long term for a short term rush by the consumer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gentlegamer View Post
    If the sever goes offline it's your fault.
    You just HAD to say something, didn't you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    You just HAD to say something, didn't you?
    And I was right.

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