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Thread: Have Games Changed Too Much from the Old Days for You?

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    Thumbs down Have Games Changed Too Much from the Old Days for You?

    === I apologize in advance for the long length of this post. It wasn't supposed to end up being so lengthy when I started to write it. I would appreciate it if you read at least most of what I wrote before replying. Heh. Excuse my verbosity. ===

    OK, let's look past all of the on-the-surface changes modern games have had, such as improvements in CPU, RAM, and audiovisual power; business changes like paid-for DLC, in-app purchases, and in-game item purchases; networking features like "cloud" save file synchronization, digital game purchasing & downloading, online gameplay, voice chat, text chat, video streaming, online profiles, online high-score boards (Oh right, "leaderboards" is today's correct terminology.), "friending," "liking," virtual badges, trophies, trading cards, etc.; and in-game changes like adding achievements with distracting on-screen notifications instead of the old do-this, unlock-that systems.

    Let's focus on the deeper stuff, the things which lie below the shiny surface of modern gaming.

    Has the design of modern games changed too much for you compared to the older games of the "pre-Internet age?" Now, I don't literally mean pre-Internet, I mean games from back before Internet-based features were so ingrained in them, so integral to them. For the sake of argument, let's say games ranging from 1970 - 2004.

    For me, they have changed too much.

    ---

    Games of yesterday expected you to either know what you were doing from experience with similar games, or to actually read the manual to learn about the story, characters, controls, and gameplay. Today, the player isn't expected to do any of that, but instead to be walked, with his hand held, through a series of endless tutorials.

    Back then, your character and you had to explore, by yourself, through the game world. Today, you either have some form(s) of AI companion(s) that help you out all the time, or you are always online with other people. There is no isolation, no absorption, no exploring by yourself.

    ---

    Today, there are thousands of distractions all the time, from "Your friend is online!" notifications, to achievement/trophy notifications, to unexpected "in-game DLC shop" characters, to connection problems, to unreasonable connection requirements (always online for offline-style, single-player games), to bugs, glitches, and technical problems, to patches both large and small which prevent you from playing until they are applied, to feature additions and removals, to menu/UI redesigns (usually terrible), to voice/text chat requests and pop-ups, to notification "lights" on the games' and apps' icons, to (I've heard) advertisements on the Xbox menus, to labyrinthine system menu designs and redesigns, to having the ability to start games marginalized off to the side to have the "OMG, buy new stuff!" ads/notices front and center, to people sending out group invites, online game session invites, friend invites, and "Let's trade!" invites.

    OK, perhaps that steered a bit too much back towards "network features" instead of game design.

    ---

    Back in the day, it was all about pushing yourself to your limits, to be the best player you could be, all for the sake of besting the game. You didn't need to be the best player in the world at any particular game, but you did need to be good to finish the game. You learnt patterns, you learnt weak points, and if you didn't know anyone who knew the answer to a situation, you had to figure it out yourself. You needed to figure out how to get a large number of lives/tries/continues early on so you would be prepared for the long haul. It was you versus the game.

    Today, the single-player campaigns are very easy and forgiving and almost as un-challenging as watching a movie. Really, watching a movie is about as "difficult" as it gets. You don't need to learn, you don't need to improve, you just need to do what the screen tells you to do... and you can usually take all the time you would like to complete the current requirement. Time is not of the essence, no matter what "exciting" events are unfolding around you. And you have an unlimited number of continues, so in effect, you have an unlimited number of lives and thus, unlimited tries to complete any task. Unless due to a technical reason (game glitches, file deletions) or the user for some reason choosing to do so, you will never have to start the game over. Even if the lives are somehow limited, they are so plentiful that combined with lots of save points, you are never in danger of running out. But if you somehow do run out, the game's continue screen will just shower you with tons of lives.

    ---

    Today's multi-player games are a different story though. There, you seemingly must do everything in your power to improve, from self-improvement, to hours collecting experience points to level up your character's stats, to spending in-game money - it all seems required just to remain competitive. And the game is always reminding you of this by comparing you to everyone in your "friends" list and comparing you to everyone in the world. It is no longer "good enough" to be good enough to finish the game or to be competitive with your house guests or true friends - these days you are encouraged at every opportunity to try to be the best versus everyone you meet online.

    That or the multi-player game goes to the opposite extreme, telling everyone they did excellently no matter how terribly they played, rewarding everyone with points just for playing, and punishing good players by giving them the worst power-ups (or no power-ups at all) while giving the best power-ups to the worst players.

    Yesteryear's multi-player games were different. There was no "Buy more power with dollars!" nor "Play this game for dozens of hours to level up your fighter for versus play." All you needed to do was to improve yourself by spending a modest number of hours practicing and learning a few special moves from the game's manual or pause screen. You didn't need several copies of a game for multi-player (unless playing a handheld game, and sometimes not even then) - all you needed was one copy of the game whether on a local computer network (LAN party!) or playing split-screen on your TV. The only real requirements for multi-player gaming were having a console, a game, a few controllers (often multiple ones were packaged with the console anyway), and a few friends or family members. A good analogy was that it was as fun as playing a board game with buddies but simpler as the computer/console would take care of minding all the rules and pieces.

    ---

    And the leveling-up and upgrading of your character/units just to progress, ugh! Why can't it just be, "You must be good and get better," to proceed? No, today, no matter how good you as a player are, you must engage in an endless stream of uninteresting battles against fodder enemies to gain EXP for your character or units, so that your character or units can upgrade and branch out in the tech tree or skill tree or level sphere or whatever it is called. No-o-o-o-o-o, it can't be that TRAINED SOLDIERS are already prepared to go into battle, or "We've killed that enemy type enough, we are experts on battling it now, we can skip battling that type of monster or attack," or that leveling grants automatic skill improvements and unlocks, no, you must select which stats will go up with the small pool of stat boost points you were granted for leveling up, and you must choose not just the class, but also choose the skills which the character(s) gain. This just makes the game all the more complicated to design, program, and play! It makes the player stress out about whether he made the right choices. It wastes time and money on these things instead of spending it on those things which could be make the game more fun and simpler to understand!

    And all this work is to both permanently buff characters' stats and unlock new abilities. How about this, game designers: give me all the 'upgrades' and abilities at the start of the game as I am "The Chosen One," and I will figure out how to use them and get past all the obstacles in my way as I have been given all of the tools which will be required. How's that, huh?

    ---

    And the whole experience is watered down for the sake of maximizing the total number of possible hours of playtime.

    "Let's have the player go on fetch quests /AND/ go back to previous areas which he has already explored!"

    "Don't give the player the tools or the opportunity to collect the tools he needs at the beginning or 'just in case' before he encounters the need for them - that way he has to return everywhere later when he has item XYZ... then let's repeat that with every tool!" (That's pointed at you, Zelda series! This behavior goes way back, but it used to be much less obnoxious.)

    "Let's make him move really slowly so that the slow movement alone adds another ten hours of play time."

    "Let's have the character 'see no reason to pick that up' when the player tries to pick up an item even when it is really obvious that the item can be picked up or will be able to be picked up later so we can have them backtrack when they encounter a puzzle or situation which requires the item." (That's pointed at you, modern adventure games! Let us pick up whatever we want, dammit! Are we watching a movie or playing a game? The main character is supposed to be our on-screen avatar, our representation, our way of interacting with the world, so if we want him to move or carry out an action and he is capable of it, then let it be!)

    "Why let them just select their destination from a map and instantly travel there as they have already traveled along that path or been to that town and proven themselves capable of handling the area, when we can make them waste time by manually driving or walking there instead?" There's often nothing of interest along the way anyway, so let us skip the boring bits!

    "Let's have the on-screen dialog text c-r-a-w-l o-n-t-o t-h-e s-c-r-e-e-n v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y to add a few more hours to the game. The player shouldn't be able to speed up the text with a setting or a button press. Forbid the ability to skip dialog: we took the time to write it, they need to read it!"

    "Let's put so many side quests into this game that it will double the number of hours the players could spend in here even though completing any of them or all of them won't make a big difference to the player's abilities or knowledge!" I used to try to find and complete every quest in RPGs back in the 8-bit and 16-bit days of console gaming whether it was a main quest or a side quest. It helped to flesh out the game's world and provide insight into the characters and their lives and how their world worked. But nowadays there are so many same-feeling, pointless-seeming quests that I skip every optional quest. However, there are games like the Professor Layton ones which PUNISH you for this behavior by having the protagonist encounter some "gatekeeper" characters that won't let you go by until you've solved some specific number of puzzles or quests even though those characters... HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING HOW MANY PUZZLES YOU HAVE OR HAVEN'T COMPLETED!

    Respect the player's time, game designers! Only keep the parts of your games which are interesting or exciting, and cut the cruft! Haven't you ever heard that less is more? If we could complete your games in less time, we could complete more games in the same amount of time. That would feel like a real achievement. And you could sell more games and sell them for less money each while making more profits overall as we would have more time and need for picking up more games as we'd get through them sooner.

    AND YOU COULD SPEND LESS TIME AND MONEY DEVELOPING EACH TITLE INSTEAD OF SPENDING TEN OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND TWO TO TEN YEARS WORKING ON THE SAME GAME THE WHOLE TIME. Haven't you noticed how the length of game makers' resumes/CV's have shrunk over time? It's because you all spend so much time and so many resources making a single game anymore! Your entire career can be broken by one badly-received game! It's a whole decade and fortune down the toilet with one poor selling piece of software. It's why there are no more "AAA" game developers left in Australia for crying out loud!

    ---

    In short, today's game are too focused on being constant sources of revenue, being "social" whilst ironically isolating you from real socialization, maximizing hours by watering down the experience and piling it full of filler content, and being "accessible" to the point of lacking challenge. Thus they lack interest from an adrenalin-loving action gamer from the old school such as myself.

    There are a few exceptions to these "rules" (trends) these days, but they are sure getting harder to find. For now, I will continue to play some modern games, but it looks like the time is nigh when I will have to resort to just playing the games of the old school.

    === What about you? Are you fed up with all the changes, seemingly for the worse, that modern games have had? Are any of these changes actually bright spots for you? Or are today's "upgraded" games actually downgrades from what we had, and that the real upgrade is to going back to what we collectively had, seeking out what you enjoyed best and those you haven't played yet? What is the actual best way to play for you? ===
    Last edited by Nz17; 04-22-2015 at 04:38 AM. Reason: moved to columns section, added 'article' prefix

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    I prefer older game design for several reasons. I'll try to be concise.

    Old games chose to abbreviate tedium in favor of pacing. Take a game like Ocarina of Time against the original Zelda. Tons of traversing a wide open Hyrule field simply to aid scale vs. every screen in the original nearly having a secret or function toward a maze or puzzle. It takes a second or less to push a block in the original, but I have to sit through real-time animation of pushing a block for several seconds in Ocarina. I can play a game of Baseball Stars in 10 minutes. It takes about an hour for a new MLB game or more. Realism isn't always better if it's filler.

    On the same note, older games leave more to the imagination. Modern games tend to attempt total simulation and let you go everywhere. As a result, there's little left to think about by comparison. A game like Legacy of the Wizard puts a castle in the background that you never go into. Final Fantasy III (VI) shows detailed steam pipes and caves throughout Narshe that make the world seem like it existed before you as a player arrived, and you won't see it all, but you'll wonder if you will. These things make you fantasize as opposed to a game like Skyrim, where you'll get to see everything, and while it's astounding in scope, it can't live up to what you might imagine about a game that captures your imagination.

    The types and genres of games feel the need to add role-playing and customization/progression elements. Imagine having to choose a skill tree in Contra or Gradius or having to buy a DLC pack for weapon upgrades in Heavy Barrel. As noted in the original post, games were once a test of skill, meant to be immediately accessible but a challenge to master, not a framework for a cinematic story to be told.

    That brings me to my last thought-intent in game design. Early designers weren't concerned with being artists, they were making games to be amusing and challenging, and to eventually find ways to encompass other forms of entertainment like sports or role-playing into a format that could be enjoyed in a new way. Modern design is so concerned with its own industry and place in the zeitgeist on top of the ludicrous budgets that those things dictate that developers force themselves into the roles of artists and directors instead of people just trying to find a way to create something accessible, engaging, and amusing. They're trying to make AAA masterpieces. Sometimes it works. However, not all games need to be cinematic or thought-provoking. Sometimes they just need to be fun to play for a short burst.

    It's getting to the point where people will stop calling them "games," and start calling them "interactive experiences." I've always just been along to have fun playing games.

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    I still play the new generation of games, and some are very good like GTA V comes to mind, but I prefer the classics. The new gen. focus is to much on online multiplayer and less single player. I also dont like all this DLC crap that you have to pay for, when it is already on the disc. Plus I also dont like how this gen. is trying to force everyone to a download the game state of mind. I like to have a hard copy of a game period. I dont like buying a new game and sitting for 40 min while it forces you to download it anyway. I bought the game to play it off the disc not force me to put it on my hard drive. Anyway, I just like the gaming of old better. Thats just my opinion.

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    For me, it depends. As awesome as a game like Final Fantasy VII is, it feels like it takes too long to get anywhere. By comparison, Fallout New Vegas is probably an even longer game than that, but it's much faster paced and level grinding doesn't seem like a chore like in older RPGs. Likewise games like Batman Arkham Asylum do a much better job of putting you inside the head of the character than older games ever did and indeed, you have to THINK like Batman to get through some of the tougher areas. Plus, trying to find all the Riddler trophies, character profiles, etc. is an excellent example of sidequesting done right.

    On the other hand, when it comes to strategy games, I love the old school stuff like Fire Emblem, Military Madness, etc. but have no interest in trying any of the newer ones like Game Of War. Also, the newer Legend Of Zelda games don't interest me as much as the older ones did (Zelda 2 is still my favorite in the series) and I love old school platformers like Rayman, Crash Bandicoot, Little Nemo The Dream Master, etc. and it doesn't seem like games like that exist anymore outside the Mario series or if they do they're few and far between.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retroguy View Post
    (Zelda 2 is still my favorite in the series)
    Zelda 2 is awesome. My favorite as well.

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    I don't think I can respond well to this as I'm on the clock, probably will later if I don't leave what I have here at that.

    But a suggestion. Move this to the columns area. I think there would be a far better benefit to this where it shows up on the main page so people are drawn to the board to read it. More of your discussions like this should go there.

    I will say this much, I agree with you hands down across the board there I believe. It's not about what's better or worse of now or then, but what has changed, and depending on the person it's a horrible change, unwelcome, nice, or applauded. The thing is, it's not age based. How often do you see kids and teens who never knew the 80s and 90s going around buying up old games or firing them up as ROMS on the old Nintendo Virtual Console...quite a bit. Why? Sometimes I've asked, and it comes back to usually reasons you mentioned. Lack of hand holding. No ball and chain garbage with hours of training and helpers. No insipid DLC holding back parts of the game. The games are about the land, the control, and the challenge -- they don't take a back seat to the audio visual stuff. The games get to the point, you don't have hours of fluff or consistently 5-15 second animations to do a simple motion just to make it look more real and cool (the zelda vs ocarina example used.) I think in this age as things go along more and more gets less personal and more busy, people moving towards mobile devices as house time gets less and less. So why the hell do we need a 100 hour RPG where 50% of it is asinine filler side quests with no real benefit, and then a bunch of drawn out sequences for another 20% of it that aren't needed to just look cool? 30 hour RPG vs 100 hour, I'll play the short one. Somewhere along the way people forgot that getting to the point was a really good idea with console games and that is starting to bleed into handheld too which is tragic. There's also that big push to basically put down people/games who like single player, who want to be immersed and do their thing and best the game, that if you don't have a huge multiplayer focus it deserves to be called a lesser/poor game by the media. That's just sad too. It is just sad when you see that newish Wolfenstein pop up and all the moaning online about how it would be better if you could take it online...really? I think not. That game has good length, amazing detail, a good story that moves, lacks the hand holding, and drives you to improve on the stages a they come along kind of like the old Wolf3D from the early 90s. Imagine that...someone still can do it.

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    I agree with the OP overall. Although I have to say that much depends on the game type in question.

    For example:
    In old games there are simple games (Pacman, Donkey Kong, Burger time, etc...) and then there are more involved games (Mario, Final Fantasy, Zelda, etc). Of course, there are many categories in between.

    In modern gaming there is also a big divide in complexity with simple, medium and then (what I would call) extreme (like Call Of Duty, World of Warcraft, etc.)

    Oftentimes what would be considered a "fault" of one type game would be a "feature" of another type. Like, depth of story is a good thing in an medium complexity adventure, but would be a fault in a simple game.

    I guess I am just saying that game type makes a big difference in how I would respond to any given issue.


    However, with that said, I do think that (many) modern games are often more of a "grind" than older games... Sure we all had points in games where we had to spend hours to finish a boss, but the idea of grinding (for the sake of keeping the game going on forever) becomes a point of frustration. The biggest issue with the "grind" concept is that the "end condition" of the game is no longer to "finish" the game, but rather to eventually give up out of sheer boredom or frustration as you realize that you stopped enjoying the game a long time ago (and that it will probably never end in any way that will leave you with a feeling of closure).

    Social features are fine (IMHO) as long as it is secondary (ie: peripheral) to the game... it is nice to see worldwide rankings and some other features, but when it starts becoming a requirement to advance then it has gone to far....

    I have to say that my biggest complaint about multiplayer is the dearth of games that allow two people to play side by side (in the same room...ie: couch co-op). All the major consoles seem to have too many games that only allow multiplayer over networks. On top of this, most games that do support couch co-op only do it thru splitscreen. Of course, I realize that this is the only choice for FPS games, but it would be nice if more games were created with the central idea being same-screen couch co-op. (Like Balder's Gate, Diablo III, DeadNation, etc).

    Don't get me wrong; networking is a great feature. I just think that manufacturer's of consoles (that can support two or more controllers like XBOX, Playstation Wii, etc) should try harder to encourage developers to create couch co-op versions (for any game that already plans to support multiplayer over a network). Playing with friends over the internet is great and all, but I would much rather play with someone in the same room. But perhaps I am the exception.

    Anyway, I hope that all makes sense.
    Last edited by Tralornik; 04-20-2015 at 12:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tralornik View Post
    The biggest issue with the "grind" concept is that the "end condition" of the game is no longer to "finish" the game, but rather to eventually give up out of sheer boredom or frustration as you realize that you stopped enjoying the game a long time ago (and that it will probably never end in any way that will leave you with a feeling of closure).

    Social features are fine (IMHO) as long as it is secondary (ie: peripheral) to the game... it is nice to see worldwide rankings and some other features, but when it starts becoming a requirement to advance then it has gone to far....
    That grind as you put it, is why I rarely finish games anymore, even when they're marked as supposedly really good stuff. I get fed up with the stuff because it takes what was done decade(s) ago and then takes it too damn far into boring frustration you're stuck somewhere/doing something probably somewhat unnecessary or being dragged out to where it's demotivating to continue. Luigi's Mansion I nailed a few times, the sequel on 3DS takes the collection and expanding sizes and weird puzzles too far after the first couple of them that it became a chore and I just walked away from it to only poke at it every 4-6months once to shelve it again questioning why I don't get rid of it despite liking it.

    Agree with the social stuff, and a huge one that goes too far are forced trophies, and then if you're a collector forcing a good chunk of them into asinine multiplayer conditions or conventions that are a drag. Hell even having them at all pop up in a game should be optional. Though I didn't quote that too, couch play is becoming a stupidly lost art because of all the 'social' stuff force fed to players these last couple of consoles.

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    We're not quite here yet, but I get the depressing feeling we're not that far off.
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    Give it a few months or so, that is 2015 after all. We did get those shoes more or less, and the board too (if you use it over a magnetic surface.)

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    Many of these arguments depend on the type of game being discussed. Some genres have gotten into a rut, for sure, as have certain companies. The domain of interesting and unique game ideas has shifted. Once upon a time, the consoles were the source of great innovation; now, I'd argue it's the indie game scene.

    Great, concise games with a refined and polished experience are available. I just wouldn't expect it from EA and some of the other big players. There is a very wide variety of games available, with some being more intense than others. Few are willing to "punish" players and force them to repeat the same segment of the game over and over to memorize patterns. I think the multiplicity of avenues for selling games (allowing niche greats like Fez, Bastion, Bit.Trip.Runner, Braid, Soulcaster, etc. to flourish), combined with the wide availability of all of yesteryear's classics, make it a better time than ever to be a gamer.
    Last edited by calthaer; 04-20-2015 at 08:32 PM.
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    Video games have definitely left me behind. I generally agree with the points that have been made in this thread, but I'll add another one that gets me personally- the games now are so detailed that it's art, style or characters will turn me off completely and I won't play it. For example, I hate macho badass shmucks. The characters in the original Contra may have been that, but they just ran around and shot things and didn't annoy me. Now I have to listen to some idiot's arrogant one liners every time he accomplishes some menial task. There's so much annoying voice acting in games these days, I long for the days when it was just text.

    Also, there have been a lot of Japanese games that may be pretty good that I won't play because most of the characters look ridiculous to me nowadays. This wasn't a problem with low res pixels. I think a lot of you will understand the value of having your imagination fill in the gaps. Right?

    Does anyone else have the problem of modern games' elements of style ruining it for you?

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    Lots of good points made in this thread, and I'll get to those in a few days with a proper reply. But first...

    Quote Originally Posted by retroguy View Post
    We're not quite here yet, but I get the depressing feeling we're not that far off.
    Since you bring it up, retroguy, no, we are not that far off anymore: http://www.october212015.com/

    We are 183 days, 2 hours, 17 minutes away from that fabled day in BTTF2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XYXZYZ View Post
    Video games have definitely left me behind. I generally agree with the points that have been made in this thread, but I'll add another one that gets me personally- the games now are so detailed that it's art, style or characters will turn me off completely and I won't play it. For example, I hate macho badass shmucks. The characters in the original Contra may have been that, but they just ran around and shot things and didn't annoy me. Now I have to listen to some idiot's arrogant one liners every time he accomplishes some menial task. There's so much annoying voice acting in games these days, I long for the days when it was just text.

    Also, there have been a lot of Japanese games that may be pretty good that I won't play because most of the characters look ridiculous to me nowadays. This wasn't a problem with low res pixels. I think a lot of you will understand the value of having your imagination fill in the gaps. Right?

    Does anyone else have the problem of modern games' elements of style ruining it for you?
    Oh, man... I was looking through the latest Game Informer today and this was sickening me... a ton of new characters all cut from the same two molds of western scarred loners and Japanese hipsters. Good lord, it's like there were three games spread out as 40, and they all star douchebags.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XYXZYZ View Post
    Video games have definitely left me behind. I generally agree with the points that have been made in this thread, but I'll add another one that gets me personally- the games now are so detailed that it's art, style or characters will turn me off completely and I won't play it. For example, I hate macho badass shmucks. The characters in the original Contra may have been that, but they just ran around and shot things and didn't annoy me. Now I have to listen to some idiot's arrogant one liners every time he accomplishes some menial task. There's so much annoying voice acting in games these days, I long for the days when it was just text.

    Also, there have been a lot of Japanese games that may be pretty good that I won't play because most of the characters look ridiculous to me nowadays. This wasn't a problem with low res pixels. I think a lot of you will understand the value of having your imagination fill in the gaps. Right?

    Does anyone else have the problem of modern games' elements of style ruining it for you?
    Generally yes, the games including the characters look too realistic for me to enjoy them. Instead of being stylized, it's just overly realistic. I find it ugly. It makes me miss all the Sonic character knockoffs of the 90's.

    I've never been a big fan of RPGs but the look of modern Final Fantasy games especially looks bad for modern games. They never looked that detailed on the SNES. It's generally the same way with anime, hand drawn looks better than modern CGI.

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    I think that the limitations in older console generation forced developers to be distinctive in pixel art and design or in how to use less polygons and lower-res textures to convey an atmosphere, and as a result you had a wide variety of looks to old games, whereas now most official releases push for the same ultra-realistic look. It's like if every painting was done in the style of realism just because it's more accurate to existence, where impressionism, cubism, surrealism, etc. can add imagination or subtext to the same subject of the image. Hell, I'm not even into arguing games as art or not, but the creativity with a cruder medium was much more admirable to me than whether or not every NPC has fully motion-captured facial features. It's technology replacing that piece of visual creativity in many modern cases, and to me that removes a potential piece of a game's identity.

    Earthbound could have been done in the same style as Final Fantasy III. It looks like it does because its creator had that in mind as part of its identity. Skullmonkeys could've been pixel art, but it's claymation. If it looked like Johnny Bazookatone it wouldn't be the same game. So, why should we be okay with 95% of retail releases looking so similar?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by XYXZYZ View Post
    Video games have definitely left me behind. I generally agree with the points that have been made in this thread, but I'll add another one that gets me personally- the games now are so detailed that it's art, style or characters will turn me off completely and I won't play it. For example, I hate macho badass shmucks. The characters in the original Contra may have been that, but they just ran around and shot things and didn't annoy me. Now I have to listen to some idiot's arrogant one liners every time he accomplishes some menial task. There's so much annoying voice acting in games these days, I long for the days when it was just text.

    Also, there have been a lot of Japanese games that may be pretty good that I won't play because most of the characters look ridiculous to me nowadays. This wasn't a problem with low res pixels. I think a lot of you will understand the value of having your imagination fill in the gaps. Right?

    Does anyone else have the problem of modern games' elements of style ruining it for you?
    I'd argue your entire post was just words, but the point at the end there in that middle bit is all that needed to be put down. Modern games come with the lack of the buyers imagination when we're talking about design. I rarely can sit through voice acting cutscenes so I will turn on subtitling on every modern game I buy because I read fast so I'll just tap away and let the scenes in many cases get cut off if it's not something truly worth letting play out that isn't just filler. Everything is so well detailed with an anime game you have no imagination, it's watching a cartoon and interacting with it. Or you go for something with a sense of hyper realism like an Uncharted or modern Tomb Raider type, you're riding along with one hell of an interactive movie, and if you want that good (I love Uncharted), but if you dont... argh just let me play Tomb Raider GBC or Pitfall Mayan Adventure to get the same style without the bs. I'd rather enjoy good use of pixel art, colors, and chip tune or pre-sampled(snes) sound and let the world expand in my mind than have it handed to me. I'm sure more than one of you as a kid probably pretended playing SMB1 what the Mushroom Kingdom was like in a dream and lived it until you woke up, and your mind made it up. Now you have Mario Galaxy 2 and you have it in front of you, no thought required. Remember all the tv variations on Mario's voice or ones we made up as kids before Martinet took it over? Same goes with the audio, it wasn't there or wasn't forced. Hell even today media asshole dump all over Nintendo for still having Link be a mute. So much for imagining that eh?

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    The OP is right on a lot of things with the modern generation. For games to be "experiences" they tend to get very formulaic in presentation (like Mass Effect's obvious "areas of battle" where there are walls to crouch behind and such) on top of the hand holding to move the story along, like Call of Duty or Uncharted. And the online competitiveness of multiplayer....don't get me started.

    However.....

    I do "get" why many popular games are the way they are. If you get a good narrative game that has a structure-why let the player bust it up? Games like Uncharted are supposed to be played in sequence and as long as it's a fun ride it doesn't matter. Or how about games like the new Tomb Raider or even Mass Effect? Yes you have multiple things you can do and yes the little arrow pops up to point you in the right direction. I actually LIKE that because, as opposed to gaming in my youth or even pre-children adulthood, I don't have the time to slog through nooks and crannies trying to find my way to some artifact. My priorities have changed and if I can enjoy a game in what time I can afford, great!

    Online competition is really no different than in the past. Yes you can get "perks" for getting to certain levels of experience, like in CoD, but it takes time, skill and cunning to get there. Yes there are people that spend gobs of time online but then again, what's the difference of someone spending gobs of time to get the highest score in Space Invaders or Donkey Kong? Or being able to spank their opponent in a fighting game at the arcade? I agree something is lost with the shift away from couch gaming but I let the online video jocks alone. If one could set up an "old fogies" room in CoD or Battlefield 1943 (ugh I stunk when I played that recently), I'd probably be on it and maybe so would some of our crowd.

    I do agree about games that pad on stuff to extend the game. If it flows with the main quest and doesn't make me wish the game was over mid play (Zelda:Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword come to mind), I'm fine with.

    I might add more later and i hope this came out right. Dang smartphones sometimes throw off my focus on what I want to say while making sure I don't flub te typig...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    I'd argue your entire post was just words, but the point at the end there in that middle bit is all that needed to be put down. Modern games come with the lack of the buyers imagination when we're talking about design. I rarely can sit through voice acting cutscenes so I will turn on subtitling on every modern game I buy because I read fast so I'll just tap away and let the scenes in many cases get cut off if it's not something truly worth letting play out that isn't just filler. Everything is so well detailed with an anime game you have no imagination, it's watching a cartoon and interacting with it. Or you go for something with a sense of hyper realism like an Uncharted or modern Tomb Raider type, you're riding along with one hell of an interactive movie, and if you want that good (I love Uncharted), but if you dont... argh just let me play Tomb Raider GBC or Pitfall Mayan Adventure to get the same style without the bs. I'd rather enjoy good use of pixel art, colors, and chip tune or pre-sampled(snes) sound and let the world expand in my mind than have it handed to me. I'm sure more than one of you as a kid probably pretended playing SMB1 what the Mushroom Kingdom was like in a dream and lived it until you woke up, and your mind made it up. Now you have Mario Galaxy 2 and you have it in front of you, no thought required. Remember all the tv variations on Mario's voice or ones we made up as kids before Martinet took it over? Same goes with the audio, it wasn't there or wasn't forced. Hell even today media asshole dump all over Nintendo for still having Link be a mute. So much for imagining that eh?
    That's why I'm still in love with Pokémon after all these years. It's one of the few remaining mega-franchises where using your imagination is encouraged and playing it however you want without constant handholding is the entire point. Sure, you could argue that things like making TMs infinite use watered it down somewhat, but the core gameplay has remained exactly the same since 1996 and it still works.
    Last edited by retroguy; 04-21-2015 at 11:22 AM.
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    I think this quote here sums up what most of us are saying quite nicely:

    "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944) - Author of "The Little Prince"

  21. #21

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    To be honest, I've long lost touch with "modern" games. I really stopped at around PS2. My brother has the Wii U and I played it a bit one night, and the whole time I just felt like it wasn't "video gaming" at least not in the way I remember video gaming to be. I kept thinking I can't wait to go back to my trusty Super Nintendo, which never fails me.

    Call me an old fart, but I know what I love best, and I'm gonna spend my gaming time playing what I enjoy most.

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  22. #22
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    For me it ends at the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. . . all the 32-bit and 64-bit systems had games whose graphics seem complex going by alternating camera angles required for some views.

    ~Ben

  23. #23
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    I haven't gotten a chance to read through most of the replies, or the entire original post, but for me there are a few genres that I don't enjoy modern incarnations of; namely platformers, and (3D) fighters.

    I used to love platformers. Mascot type platformers and action platformers, back when they were 2D, then Mario 64 came out and I was the only person I knew who absolutely did NOT like it. I don't like many 3D platformers at all, and I don't think I've ever actually played one all the way through to the end.

    The things that most people loved about it were what I disliked. I hated having the freedom to openly explore 3D worlds in a platform jumping because I felt that it broke the flow of the game. Having few boundaries in a 3D world meant wandering aimlessly. You no longer had to set up and time your jumps and attacks with caution and reservation or manage the time you spend on a single stage. The structure and gameplay mechanics of platformers were completely different when they went 3D. There wasn't any 'flow' to the stages, or at least that's how I felt about it. I don't think modern platforming games are 'bad', they just became something entirely different that really don't interest me.

    Having the freedom to wander through open playfields at my leisure without a sense of urgency, or the benefit of a serious or engaging narrative like in a more realistic action or horror title that would justify a 3D world ('to me' I mean) just seems really boring. I feel that way about some 'serious' sandbox games as well though. I know most people feel the opposite, but for me 'less' freedom of movement and more confines keeps me interested in a game, especially if there's something I'm focused on that's driving me. 'You can do whatever', just makes me not want to do anything at all.

    As for 3D fighters, they just always felt too random for me to get seriously into like I did 2D fighter. They don't have the same tight back and forth play mechanics as 3D fighters.

  24. #24
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    I also really hate how long most games are now. One of the things I really enjoy about retro games are how short and sweet they are. I can blow through them in a few hours, tops. The older I get, the less time I have to sit around gaming, so if I can get through a game in a week with only a few hours invested here and there, that's awesome.

    I recently finished The Last Of Us in just a week (that's really fast for me), and it does what it does so well, I really had no complaints. It didn't drag on needlessly, and it never felt like a chore.

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    Excellent points, Emperor Megas. They express many of the feelings I have.

    I really don't like it when games are "too long." For me, the maximum length of a game in a typically lengthy genre like Role Playing Game should be no more than 30 hours, and even then it better be super compelling for me to complete. I prefer my RPGs to be 20 hours or less.

    Action games need to be even shorter. I'd say they should max out at 15 hours and have a preferred length of 4-10 hours.

    I think it is best when a game when first played takes less than 12 hours to complete, but once you master the game, it can be completed in less than 1.5 hours.

    And for a "speed gamer" like myself, arcade games are great! They are (more or less) able to be comprehended almost instantly, and you can play a "full" game in less than 5 minutes!

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