Game People Calling: The Buy Once Manifesto

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Game People Calling: The Buy Once Manifesto

It's time to stop buying the same games over and over.

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This is why I like Steam and the PC - All the games I've ever bought on there still work.

I see it differently. I see the re-release of retro games as a way for newer gamers to enjoy the classics they would have otherwise entirely missed out on.

I keep all my old formats so I can play old games on. Or I think it is fair enough If I get an emulator and Roms for games I have already payed for and want on my pc.

When my NES games work on a flight, I'll join you. Otherwise no thanks.

I've mostly had this attitude for years. All the Virtual Console games I own are games that I never got the first time around.

Owh my good old PS1, or PSX, or whatever the abreviation was... I wonder whether you still work after all these years of collecting dust.

I really got to get me a new Xbox...

I really, really want to replay my Timesplitters games...

Game People Calling:
Instead I'll spend some time hunting down that old hardware and digging out my old carts and discs and have a real trip down memory lane at a tenth of the price. Will you join me?

As much as I'd love to, I will not join you. The hassle of hunting down working systems is waaay too much for me. I haven't come across a consistently ready-to-run NES since I was 10 or 11. And working Genesis's and SNES's are getting harder to come across as well according to my brother so I'm not going to bother with those either. And a couple of years ago my PS1 up and died on me so I figure grabbing working consoles from that generation will be tough to get now as well. So no, I'll stick with my PS2, PSP and current-gen systems when I get them.

I'll admit, one of the the main reasons why I even bother to purchase PS1 games on the Playstation Store is so I can play them on my PSP.

Having said that: Sony, where the hell is my goddamned Legend of Dragoon? I'd gladly pay double price for that game, c'mon!

Game People:
Game People Calling: The Buy Once Manifesto

It's time to stop buying the same games over and over.

Read Full Article

    One: Exposure of a new generation to classics released originally on unavailable hardware.
    Two: Move from set-piece to portability.
    Three: Digital distribution to counteract the exact problem posed in your article.
    Four: Centralization of game libraries.

The reasons are there. It's not ideal. Don't buy them if you don't want to. They're not for you.

I imagine that all digitally distributed titles on Xbox Live/PSN/Virtual Console will be available for free re-download on the next generation of consoles. If not, then that would be the appropriate time to write an article like this.

My policy is similar, but a bit different - I only buy a new version when I can't use my old one anymore. Sure, I can buy Super Mario 64 for the DS. But I still have an N64 and the original game - the only reason I'd need to buy the DS version would be for the portability.

When my N64 (or my NES is likely to be sooner) finally dies, I'll look at upgrading. But there's no reason before then.

Roms work fine for me. I can play them on my laptop on the road or at work, or on my desktop at home.

BillyShakes:
I see it differently. I see the re-release of retro games as a way for newer gamers to enjoy the classics they would have otherwise entirely missed out on.

I see the logic, though in practise I can't think of anyone personally who has got a game they missed out on, the only people I know who have bought these games are people who have/had the original. Then again, me and my friends could be the exception and not the rule.

I have absolutely no problem with the re-release of old titles, in fact I am quite pleased about it.

Gameboy, NES, SNES and PSX titles are not "Old junk worth 1/10th of the price" they are now classed as vintage and its extremely expensive to get a hold some of the more popular titles that everyone wants, and even more expensive to get the hard to find titles that no one had.

I was really lucky when I picked up an old NES with 40 games a few years back, I did a trade for repairing someones computer, and I picked up a few other consoles and titles when they were "Junk systems" as classed by Gamestop and in the cheap bin, before the 5-10 year crossover where they then become vintage and I would have to pay a fortune for them.

NES, Super Mario Brothers 3 going for $14 - $55 on e-bay, and that's with no buy now option, so who knows at what price it will end at, that's just one example.

Just try buying the final fantasy series on the PSX on the cheap...

Sigh...

When I read the title of this article I got really excited... For a minute I thought you were going to make a stand against this new developer attitude of forcing users to "rent" games instead of buying them, on how DRM, games with half the content locked as DLC, P2P models, and lack of support are intruding themselves not only on gamers' computers but on their ownership of games as well...

... Till I started reading and noticed that you missed what would otherwise be a very interesting point in my opinion like a champ. I'm sorry but I can't sympathize with this... Of all the petty gripes and inconsequential things to complain about this seems like one of the most pointless. You're complaining about paying to replay a game you own on another console, on a new console... Which leads me to ask: a) Why are you buying a game you already have?; and b) why don't you just play it on the platform you have it for?

Yes, backwards compatibility is more convenient, but it's as far from essential as possible. As technologies advance they become increasingly different from it's predecessors, and money put into developing backwards compatibility is money not put into other ends (like processing power or stability, for instances), for what ultimately has no more return for the company than any other marketing technique.

In sum: I like my old games. That's why I keep them together with the old machines. If you get rid of their platforms that's your fault isn't it?

Fenixius:
This is why I like Steam and the PC - All the games I've ever bought on there still work.

Same, means no matter how old it is can still enjoy the classic on a newer PC, just with a few tweaks.

What did annoy me though was recent Mario release. Just felt like a cash in

I generally agree with you. Indeed one of my major concerns as far as gaming goes is that I have a 60GB PS-3, suffer HD limitations with games that require installs, and pretty much couldn't upgrade if I wanted to because of my huge library of PSone and PS-2 games. Indeed if my PS-3 ever dies I'm not sure what I'll do since I don't have a PS-2 anymore.

Of course the problems with the idea of encouraging a boycott is generally that gamers don't boycott. To my knowlege I have yet to see one serious attempt.

Another issue of course is an ironic one, and that is that a lot of those re-released old games have a portion of the profits going towards the original creators/companies. One of the reasons why I think people buy old games, is that they feel by spending $6 here or there it shows what kinds of things they want. The idea is that by showing support for some of these titles or series it increases the chance of new games being made in a vein that they want.

There has been little proof of this working of course, but I think it's part of the logic you overlook.

It's also noteworthy that there has recently been a petition based on this attitude, where Sonic fans were being called to boycott buying the new Sonic titles, but instead purchuse the older ones to try and send a message that they want a return to the old style Sonic. Something that was mocked, but makes sense when you look at the overall mentality.

Also for those with a love for older games, it's noteworthy that they are hard to buy original copies of, and frankly stuff happens to discs and the like. I've bought a few PSone classics off PSN for example because my discs were lost, stolen, or destroyed despite the huge number of games I do have. Final Fantasy VII, & 8, Grandia, Silent Hill, and Dino Crisis, are titles I've bought over a period of months for that reason. Due to the great RPG camping apocolypse of my collection, I'm also hoping they release Vagrant Story, Chrono Cross, and Xenogears for lack of any other affordable way of replacing them. Consider you could replace 10 PSone games (as much as I hate digital) through a rerelease for the cost of buying one of those games via Ebay.

Just some thoughts. In spirit I agree with you, I would like to see a lot of these old titles become public domain/abandonware but frankly I'm not sure if even a boycott could achieve this (and it seems to be what your getting at).

Hmmm... portable classics or not playing my old favorites because I can't take 'em with me... tough call.

Wow. I didn't think it could get worse than Pocket Gamer articles. I stand corrected.

I only buy these games when I no longer have a physical copy of my own to operate. Games like Chrono Trigger, FF VII, Castlevania, Resident Evil 2, Super Mario World, etc. etc.

BillyShakes:
I see it differently. I see the re-release of retro games as a way for newer gamers to enjoy the classics they would have otherwise entirely missed out on.

This is exactly the way I see it. Re-releases are clearly targeted at people who either

a) Missed out on the game when it was initially out

b) Had the game and for some reason it is now unplayable, due to breakage or selling

If you happen to already own said retro game on it's original platform, why are you even buying the re-release? You are not now, and never were, the target market of the re-release campaign.

Therumancer:
I generally agree with you. Indeed one of my major concerns as far as gaming goes is that I have a 60GB PS-3, suffer HD limitations with games that require installs, and pretty much couldn't upgrade if I wanted to because of my huge library of PSone and PS-2 games.

Have you tried just getting a new HD? I upgraded the drive in my PS3, and now have loads of memory (got a deal on a 1TB) as well as retained backwards compatibility.

I think you may have skirted the real point a bit much, and everyone thinks this article is about saving money now. It's not.

It's about console giants selling old games as-is and making a huge profit for it, rather than focusing on new IP or expanded content. I'll stand with you on this, I'm tired of seeing pages and pages of Virtual Console titles and rehashes on the Wii coming out every month, and yet barely anything new is being released that is worth buying.

I'll keep my DS and GBA games, I won't buy a DSi for the downloads. I'll keep my Xbox and PS2.

The real problem is the different formats between manufacturers. If I buy a DVD, it works on ANY DVD player. Why aren't game consoles the same? Money, thats why. I have a NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, Gamecube, Ps2, Xbox, Xbox360, and Ps3 hooked up right now. Its ridiculous! The only thing I play on Ps3 is rachet and clank. The only thing I play on Xbox360 is rockband and MW2. It's stupid to force me to buy a new console for one game. If a third party could develop games for a universal console the market would be tripled! Then more risky games could be developed, instead of re-releasing an old, but guaranteed money maker.

Sporky111:
I think you may have skirted the real point a bit much, and everyone thinks this article is about saving money now. It's not.

It's about console giants selling old games as-is and making a huge profit for it, rather than focusing on new IP or expanded content. I'll stand with you on this, I'm tired of seeing pages and pages of Virtual Console titles and rehashes on the Wii coming out every month, and yet barely anything new is being released that is worth buying.

I'll keep my DS and GBA games, I won't buy a DSi for the downloads. I'll keep my Xbox and PS2.

You're welcome to do that. I, on the other hand, will do everything in my power to consolidate both my games and the necessary consoles to play them on.

I own 3 current game systems: DSi, Wii and PC. When I go on a trip, I take the DSi and my laptop with me, and not much more. If I had the opportunity to get more games for my DSi (such as old game boy and NES games) I'd jump on it in a heartbeat.

The point I, and I think a fair number of others, am trying to raise is: Re-releases of old games are NOT a bad thing. There's a website, www.gog.com, which is devoted COMPLETELY to re-releases of old PC games, and it's an amazing thing. Honestly, I wish more companies would go to the effort, because I'm not keeping around a Win XP machine to play a couple old games any more than I would keep a GBA around to play my Game Boy Color games.

By re-purchasing old games I can:
1. Consolidate my collection
2. Express continued interest in the series by voting with my wallet. I'm not going to buy some re-mastered piece of crap, but if it's a good game I feel is neglected I'll buy it and hope enough others do the same for the publisher to realize "hey, there might be money in re-visiting this..."

One other thing: You and the author of the article are both making the assumption that "if these resources weren't devoted to modernizing old games, we could have more fun new games!". While that may be theoretically true in a general sense, the disparity in resources required to produce a brand-new, current-gen game versus the resources required to update an old game is HUGE. So we're not talking a 1:1 ratio of "new games we could be playing" vs. "old games they tossed on VC", but rather something like 1:100 or beyond.

SavingPrincess:

    One: Exposure of a new generation to classics released originally on unavailable hardware.
    Two: Move from set-piece to portability.
    Three: Digital distribution to counteract the exact problem posed in your article.
    Four: Centralization of game libraries.

Five: Providing incentive for the publisher to re-visit the game.

This is an important one to me... there are a lot of neglected games and series out there which I'd love to see modernized. If a publisher tosses one of these games on VC, I grab it because of the personal benefit and also because I hope that if enough people do the same, they might see it as financially worthwhile to do a bit of fan service.

gsf1200:
If a third party could develop games for a universal console the market would be tripled!

There is a universal console. It's called a PC.

You do that, I dont want to dig out my nes, or pay 50 bucks for a game i can get for 10 on virtual consal. I want to play my old games, and to me its worth 10 bucks for the conveniece of playing it a new way.

saregos:

gsf1200:
If a third party could develop games for a universal console the market would be tripled!

There is a universal console. It's called a PC.

ooooh snap!
you beat me to it!

inb4 rabid x-box "PC Killer" fanboys!

Demon ID:

BillyShakes:
I see it differently. I see the re-release of retro games as a way for newer gamers to enjoy the classics they would have otherwise entirely missed out on.

I see the logic, though in practise I can't think of anyone personally who has got a game they missed out on, the only people I know who have bought these games are people who have/had the original. Then again, me and my friends could be the exception and not the rule.

I missed out on X-Com and used Steam to get a copy of it. I also missed out on the full version of Interstate '76 and used Good Old Games to get it. So people do go for getting classics in order to experience them. Hell I never actually owned a NES during its heydey, only had played at friends' houses. So the NES I own now is actually one i've had for maybe 10 years or so.

Buying games on the original hardware is awesome... when you can actually find it at a decent price. If I want to play FF3 on a SNES, one, I have to find a working SNES, and two, I have to find a copy of FF3 that won't cost me an arm and a leg. Which is virtually impossible where I live, so of course I'd have to order things online.

Then there's the question of "Where exactly am I going to put all of this hardware once I get it?" Right now, I live in a small apartment where space is at a premium. I simply don't have anywhere to setup a devoted games room that could house a wall of systems.

There's always emulators on the computer, but if I can legally own the games, I would much rather go that route. So I guess that I'm the market that these things are pointed at. Someone who wants to just keep around a minimum of hardware, but still play the old classics. And be willing to pay for those classics. And frankly, I get more access to games than I ever did while growing up. So games that I read about in nintendo power or gamepro that I could NEVER find here, I can now just download in about 2 seconds and play on my latest and greatest system.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't understand what the big deal is. It keeps old games exposed. They don't need new features if they were good games. I could give a rats ass about new artwork. If I wanted something shiny, I'd play one of my new games. What I want to play is the -original- game, and this gives me the chance to do so.

This is actually a difficult problem to solve-

On the one hand, how long can these companies reasonably support old hardware? Can Nintendo really afford to keep selling SNES just for the few people who need to replace an old one to play their old games?

On the other hand, are we going to have to re-buy our game library every generation or two? We had to do it when DVDs replaced VHS tapes, although VHS tapes degrade over time anyway. Same with music.

Disc media, by being easier to make backwards compatible, helps, but how many systems can we expect the next round of consoles to emulate?

Personally, I wouldn't mind dropping $200 in a couple of generations for a system that plays my old Xbox and 360 games while the Xbox 1440 is only backwards compatible with Xbox 720 games.

I think it's an important problem to solve, though, because if video games are going to become a respected medium, there needs to be support for it's back catalog.

gsf1200:
The real problem is the different formats between manufacturers. If I buy a DVD, it works on ANY DVD player. Why aren't game consoles the same? Money, thats why. I have a NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, Gamecube, Ps2, Xbox, Xbox360, and Ps3 hooked up right now. Its ridiculous! The only thing I play on Ps3 is rachet and clank. The only thing I play on Xbox360 is rockband and MW2. It's stupid to force me to buy a new console for one game. If a third party could develop games for a universal console the market would be tripled! Then more risky games could be developed, instead of re-releasing an old, but guaranteed money maker.

Invalid comparison. Betamax tapes didn't work on VHS players. Blu-ray discs don't work on DVD players, either. Sure, it's not cheap for us - it's not cheap for the publishers, or the developers, for that matter - but what we have is three companies who've invested heavily in producing platforms with their own distinct architecture, and a divided market. There is no simple step towards a single-console system. Your point, I'm afraid, isn't as good as you think it is.

And yeah, it is because of money. Money also happens to be the reason we have a multinational industry that produces games at all. What of it? What were you implying, exactly?

I'm WAAAAY ahead of you, Game People. I still have my old SNES which I can hook-up at any time. The only SNES games I buy via virtual console are ones that I was never able to find on cart. I also still have my old PS-X despite having gotten a PS2... and I'd still have that too if it wasn't one of the earlier models that turn into $300 paperweights... :/ On that note, I even still have my Gamecube despite my Wii having phenomenal backwards compatibility. I still have my old GBA, and even my Gameboy Color. I might even have a couple others packed away that I'm not thinking off-hand.

If someone isn't savvy enough to hold onto their old games, and/or isn't willing to put the effort into trying to track down the originals, that's why things like Virtual Console are there.

BillyShakes:
I see it differently. I see the re-release of retro games as a way for newer gamers to enjoy the classics they would have otherwise entirely missed out on.

This is precisely the reason I like things like Virtual Console and GoG.com. Being a late starter in the realms of video games I missed a heck of a lot of brilliant video games simple because I wasn't alive or old enough to know how to or particularly want to play video games. These sorts of things allow me to play all the games I hear other people talking about, or I read about that I never had a chance to play first time round, without needing to resort to less than legal methods!

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