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

  1. #41
    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Now as I'm waiting for a computer to rebuild I can type this out.

    After a little over a decade, the game industry has seen many changes. As I mentioned in an earlier post, video games have become a part of mainstream life as a valid form of entertainment along with being an overall lifestyle from fashion to language. Since this original post we've seen two game generation changes, a shift in the delivery of games from physical to a mix of that and digital distribution and a new way to get our game on thanks to what has become a staple of everyday life for many: smart phones and tablets. During this time we've also seen the return and rise of the “garage”, now called “indie”, developers which have brought a tsunami of titles that hearken back to the games of the past to new concepts that address can address our emotions or make us aware of different causes or issues. The PC, after being hailed as a “dead platform”, is now seeing a renaissance in the game world thanks to said indies and the distribution center known as Steam.

    From the games side of thing, it is now essentially a “whatever you want, it's probably out there” type of environment. It's mind boggling what one can find, from your usual evolutions of your favorite titles like Super Mario Bros to games that look and play like they came from the 80's to games that can only be classified as “experiences” like Uncharted, BioShock or Journey. There are even games that for those gamers that have certain, well, fetishes showing that the boundaries have all but disappeared.

    From a social aspect gaming ranks up there with talking about the weather, sports or politics. For me growing up as a young teen during the NES days, you couldn't really talk about games with your peers in school as it was seen as kind of a “nerdy” thing to do. Of course the preps and the jocks played but you wouldn't get a confession out of them other than the deck was their sibling's. This could also be a phenomenon from where I lived so everyone's experiences may be quite different.

    With all these things going for gaming, you'd think I'd be dancing in the streets. After this original post I really got into the Xbox and then the 360 when it came out. I didn't play classics all that much anymore, sticking to the newer stuff, consuming what games tickled my fancy. I was thinking Lendelin was right-gaming was better in the modern era.

    Then I changed my mind....

    Games now having to be patched on the day you buy them. SYSTEMS needing patching the first time you use them. Options that came with your game system being changed or removed whether you wanted that or not (the X360 Blade menus, Wii MP3 playback-if I recall and the PS3 Alternate OS option to name a couple) and if you don't, you can't use your machine online. Anonymous gamers online that have no tact, sportmanship or even a clean mouth. Then the media...oh man, the MEDIA! Since when did video games become so...so...DRAMATIC?! So, I dunno, Hollywood? Read gaming journalism from yesteryear and then read today's so-called articles-night and day difference. Thanks to them we start hearing about the real “cream of the crop” of gamers-the swatters, “GamerGate”, those who send out threats to developers and such, forcing them to escape with their lives.

    This is not what I expected the future of gaming to go. While it's the best its ever been, it's also become the ugliest. The fan wars of Atari or Nintendo vs. Sega have nothing on what goes on today. Many of the popular games, at least for me, seem so “ho-hum” where you just plod forward. Then when you do find something you might like, beware reading about it because more than likely the article that's previewing it will give up a spoiler that can ruin what the developers have crafted as “an experience”. An article I read about Metroid Prime 3 did that to me when you face off against Ridley for the first time. Took the impact right out. Or a certain part of Call of Duty Modern Warfare while you are playing a character that is escaping the area in a helicopter-the emotional impact was lost.

    Of course, this could all just come down to me. I've had a lot of changes happen to me in the twelve years since I first posted in this thread. I still love the history of our great hobby but it's hard for me to delve into the modern. It's too big, it's too much. My time goes elsewhere and when it comes to games, I tend to sit on the sidelines and watch my kid and my girlfriend's kids play Smash Bros on the Wii or serve up some justice playing TMNT on MAME with the OUYA.

    And that's my 2 Zenny on this..or has inflation raised it to 4?

  2. #42
    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    I'm on a roll...with other threads being brought back up, I looked up a few members I'd correspond with to see if any good threads came up and this one was a classic. Not quite legal at seventeen years old and the servers did go down when I rose this puppy back from the dead. Eh, what's a little more Reanimator juice in this husk's veins....

    Reading back, I thought I'd be more flip-floppity on the topic. I found, as I age, REALLY want to see and like the new hub bub because, just maybe, I'm an old stick in the mud that just doesn't like new things because they are new and likes to yell at kids from his rocking chair on the porch (well, I do like to yell at the kids, but, that's another story). The PS3/360/Wii era was pretty special for me in regards to games. I could enjoy them offline, with people online (even bought two different copies of "Battlefield 1942" for Xbox 360 and PSN to play with different folks), on a boat, with a goat, etc. I even dabbled more into PC games like "Dear Ester", "To the Moon", "Batman-Arkham Asylum", "Amnesia", "Rocket League" and the usual short foray into an Elder Scrolls game (as I never seem to get far before I just peter out). Then I moved to portable because my gaming time at home, heck, my COMPUTER time at home, is very short. I tasted the retro-goodness of "Shovel Knight", ripped through "Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds", played some "Blaster Master: Zero", dabbled in some Vita titles (like the Killzone game to get my FPS fix....then my elder kids wanted to play "Legend of Dragoon" and I haven't seen my Vita since, which is OK).

    However, what gets the most attention in my sparce gaming time? "The Legend of Zelda" (beat the first quest), "Zelda 2: Adventure of Link"(just got past the Island palace), started up "Super Mario World" (never really played it). I bought an N64 and a flash cart to play Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, Goldeneye 007. I scrounged up a CRT TV that was in storage and found how much nicer it was to play real hardware on its intended display and how much better I played on it (I CRUSHED the second dungeon in "Kid Icarus" as opposed to dying a lot on the NES Classic). I still do play some games from the early 2000's, like Metroid Prime Hunters on my DSi XL (I don't like playing DS games on my 3DS-just doesn't look right).

    With Humble Bundles I have tried more "indie" stuff. I got through "A Short Hike", which was Animal Crossing light. It was cute but ultimately I had to get to the end as I didn't want to wander anymore. Games by Fued keep my attention, like "Burger Lord", as it's a neat twist to a classic game that still LOOKS classic. But the hotness like "Papers, Please", "Overwatch" and such....I can't say I'm drawn. I have a rig that can play that stuff but the glitz, the buzz, the push doesn't thrill me. Add to the fact that the game you play months from now is not going to be the same game you played at the beginning puts me off. With my beloved Animal Crossing seemingly heading in that direction, I'm not buying a Switch anytime soon.

  3. #43
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    I feel like period between about 1998-2009 was a sort of "golden age" for video games. I find the history of video games in the earlier days to be highly interesting; how they were technically designed given the more limited hardware, how they were marketed and how the industry developed. But as for as the games that are most fun to PLAY, I find that the late '90s to late '00s has the highest concentration of just outright fun experiences. When this thread was created 17 years ago, we were right in that golden age. Don't get me wrong, I like plenty of games older than 1998 and newer than 2009.

    Leading up to about the early 2000s, technological progress made games richer and more fun experiences with each passing generation. The OP touches on a lot of good points showing the evolution of the video game industry up to 2003. Up to that point, each new generation offered something substantially new, something that made games that much better. By the early 2000s, graphics had gotten good enough to where, while not photorealistic, they were good enough to make well-detailed, rich, engaging environments, and the 3D no longer looked muddy and low-detail like it had just a few years earlier. Game budgets were big, but still small enough that even midsize studios got their games on PS2/Xbox/GCN discs; "mainstream" and "indie" weren't quite so separated. It was a creative golden age. Best of all, when you bought a game, it was all there. No patches (except on PC), no online requirements, just a disc, a system, memory cards, and a controller.

    What advancements have we really had since about 2007 or so? By the Xbox 360/PS3/Wii era (the tail end of the golden age, in my opinion), we already had graphics and sound that looked pretty damn close to what we have over a decade later in 2020. We've hit a law of diminishing returns on that front. After decades of moving forward, I feel like things really were better for video games in the 2000s than they are today. In the "golden age" online multiplayer was a thing, but it was a facet of gameplay, something extra that could add to the experience of some games. Today it's gone too far, with some games even requiring part of them to be downloaded, even if you have the disk. Many games have been created with the online experience being the ONLY thing considered, completely ignoring the single player experience (the new Battlefront II being an infamous example). There seems to be little creativity in mainstream video games, what with the budgets ballooning from big to ridiculous.
    On top of that, mobile gaming. Phones are good for simple experiences like Candy Crush, puzzle/word games, etc. But mobile gaming has killed off handheld consoles (except for the Switch, which is a hybrid), indie gaming studios which ARE producing unique content produce a good chunk on mobile. I'm sorry but I don't want to play long, complex, narrative driven games on a fucking phone with a touch screen.
    Not everything about the video game world of 2020 is bad, but it's a definite decline from the past.
    Real collectors drive Hondas, Toyotas, Chevys, Fords, etc... not Rolls Royces.

  4. #44
    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
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    Quote Originally Posted by WelcomeToTheNextLevel View Post
    On top of that, mobile gaming. Phones are good for simple experiences like Candy Crush, puzzle/word games, etc. But mobile gaming has killed off handheld consoles (except for the Switch, which is a hybrid), indie gaming studios which ARE producing unique content produce a good chunk on mobile. I'm sorry but I don't want to play long, complex, narrative driven games on a fucking phone with a touch screen.
    The thing with mobile phones is that instead of playing games on the go, I'd rather just watch something on youtube or browse the internet instead of actually play a game. Are people really playing games portably anymore? At least compared to before portable internet existing?

  5. #45
    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    The thing with mobile phones is that instead of playing games on the go, I'd rather just watch something on youtube or browse the internet instead of actually play a game. Are people really playing games portably anymore? At least compared to before portable internet existing?
    I see and hear kids playing games on phones, maybe the 6-10 crowd. Any child over that age I see a lot of thumb moving or tapping, so that could be communication. Adults I see on the go tend to communicate or surf it seems with the rare video watch. But that's just from my slice of the world, the rest of the pie may vary.

    I do not see Switches or any other distinct gaming handheld used "in the wild". Once, maybe last year I saw a mom pull a switch out of a bag for their child.

  6. #46
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    What a fascinating thread...for example:

    Quote Originally Posted by NE146 View Post
    Well naturally. I sure as heck hope that in the year 2023 people won't be making arguments as to how the Xbox/ps2/GC games from 2003 are NOT better than the "current" batch of games. Heck we BETTER have better games by then or something is friggin wrong!
    ...it really amuses me that this, written back in 2003, is now only two years away.

    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    With Humble Bundles I have tried more "indie" stuff...But the hotness like "Papers, Please", "Overwatch" and such....I can't say I'm drawn. I have a rig that can play that stuff but the glitz, the buzz, the push doesn't thrill me. Add to the fact that the game you play months from now is not going to be the same game you played at the beginning puts me off.
    It's true; Indie games can be very hit-or-miss. There is so much stuff on Steam that weeding through all of it can be a daunting task. The nice thing is that things are cheap - if you go to town during a Summer Sale, you can pick up 10 games for < $50. If a quarter of those end up being really good, I consider that a win. It doesn't dole out money according to how great the game is, unfortunately, but it does mean that I'm paying about what I'd expect to pay for the great ones. For games that I like to play, I often find that the Indie scene is the only one churning these out. For whatever reason, AAA studios are still stuck in 3D land and refuse to make anything 2D. Nintendo might be an exception? But the most recent console I own from them is a Wii and a DSi "big" (whatever it was called - the larger version).

    Appreciate the note on "Papers, Please". It looks experimental...maybe people gush about it because it's making a "statement" through the gameplay? It embeds "moral choices" into its design? That gets people all riled up...whether it's fun or not is a different matter.

    The Indie games I've loved (I define this as "Finishing the game" or playing the heck out of it if it has no end - any game that holds my interest that long is a winner) over the past decade+ that have been actually fun have been (in no particular order):
    Aquaria
    Bastion
    Transistor
    Dead Cells (love this one - it's like SotN turned up to 11)
    Fez
    Kingdom: Classic + New Lands
    Double Dragon Neon (not really "indie" I suppose, but maybe for Capcom it was experimental)
    Runespell: Overture
    FTL
    Into the Breach
    Invisible, Inc.
    Thea: The Awakening (I'll admit this one may be an acquired taste)
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
    Soulcaster
    Hand of Fate
    Terraria
    Firewatch
    Dex
    Waking Mars

    There are a few others in my Steam library that I haven't tried so far. The only AAA release I can think of that has gotten as much play as any of these has been Civ VI - that has been really fun and I love it. Maybe I'm not giving them enough of a chance because they're so expensive.

    Point is...I think gaming is as good as it ever was. When I go to pick up my NES controller, it seems like a huge step down compared to any of the games I just listed - with a few of the absolute greats like Super Mario Bros. 3 being a notable exception. I can't honestly sit here and say "They don't make 'em like they used to" - not in the sense that phrase is used. It's true, they don't - I think they make things BETTER. The problem today isn't in having better games than before, it's in finding them amidst all the mediocre or bad.
    You are startled by a grim snarl. Before you, you see 1 Red dragon. Will your stalwart band choose to (F)ight or (R)un?

  7. #47
    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calthaer View Post
    The Indie games I've loved (I define this as "Finishing the game" or playing the heck out of it if it has no end - any game that holds my interest that long is a winner) over the past decade+ that have been actually fun have been (in no particular order):
    Aquaria
    Bastion
    Transistor
    Dead Cells (love this one - it's like SotN turned up to 11)
    Fez
    Kingdom: Classic + New Lands
    Double Dragon Neon (not really "indie" I suppose, but maybe for Capcom it was experimental)
    Runespell: Overture
    FTL
    Into the Breach
    Invisible, Inc.
    Thea: The Awakening (I'll admit this one may be an acquired taste)
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
    Soulcaster
    Hand of Fate
    Terraria
    Firewatch
    Dex
    Waking Mars

    There are a few others in my Steam library that I haven't tried so far. The only AAA release I can think of that has gotten as much play as any of these has been Civ VI - that has been really fun and I love it. Maybe I'm not giving them enough of a chance because they're so expensive.

    Point is...I think gaming is as good as it ever was. When I go to pick up my NES controller, it seems like a huge step down compared to any of the games I just listed - with a few of the absolute greats like Super Mario Bros. 3 being a notable exception. I can't honestly sit here and say "They don't make 'em like they used to" - not in the sense that phrase is used. It's true, they don't - I think they make things BETTER. The problem today isn't in having better games than before, it's in finding them amidst all the mediocre or bad.
    I read that list and was like "Oh yeah, I have Bastion. I only got so far and then got distracted by something else." Even when I loaded up my Franken-laptop with Windows 10 recently, I loaded Bastion but only got as far as I did before. Something always comes up and then I don't think about it. Firewatch I'm currently playing when I can on the Friday "game night" with headphones tightly on so the kids don' t hear the language. This is one of those new "games" I like-it pulls me into the story and I want to interact with it more. It actually has dialog options I myself would probably say, which is a bonus. I don't know how "far" I'm into it play wise, but I'm investigating a fenced in section of the park, to lessen any spoilers. I can't seem to wrap my brain around FTL.

    Yeah, there IS a lot of stuff out there, which really makes it hard for the cream to rise to the top.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Custom rank graphic

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    I can't seem to wrap my brain around FTL.
    FTL is hard at first. It seems really random and unfair. My initial review for it on Steam was negative.

    It helped to read a walkthrough. There are certain techniques / tricks that make everything a lot easier - knowing which equipment to buy and which crewmembers to hire / find is essential (they are not created equal) and, without a walkthrough, can take a lot of experimentation. To begin with: your initial runs aren't supposed to be successful...you're supposed to unlock more ships and crew members, THEN find a combo with one of those to beat the game. Winning the game with that ship they start you with is really hard; there are many other ships that make it a lot easier.

    Once I figured that out, it clicked for me and I enjoyed it. Same thing with "Into The Breach" by the same developers. Very hard, initially - then I unlocked some more things and won the game with one of those. I didn't go through again and again to unlock everything.

    Some of these "indie" games will click with certain players and not with others. BIT.TRIP RUNNER was one that a lot of people love; I kind of got bored with the arcade action of it. La Mulana seemed needlessly hard. Hated "Dear Esther".

    I guess I also liked Cave Story and Braid, though - they were great. Kero Blaster was also amazing...Risk of Rain I liked...Westerado was really fun. Mark of the Ninja was great. I forgot to mention a lot. Almost all the best games from the last two decades that I've loved have come from small developers.
    You are startled by a grim snarl. Before you, you see 1 Red dragon. Will your stalwart band choose to (F)ight or (R)un?

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