Editor's Note: Uphill, Both Ways

Uphill, Both Ways

Are gaming's best days behind us?

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No, i dont think so.

Sure, i can go and play games that I played when i was a little kid for hours (Sonic, Spyro, Crash bandicoot, Final Fantasy 7), But half of that is because of the nostalgia factor.

Although these games are fun, games today can be just as fun, and in most cases, are more fun.

The best gaming days cant be behind us, only infront of us since now their is a larger demographic for games, so more people will make them, and that means more Golden games will be churned out.

It's funny because the Fairchild Channel F is retarded.
But don't let that sully your enthusiasm or nostalgia; the memories it gave you are clearly worth more that the shoddy design and underwhelming titles.

Come to think of it, one of the first games I ever owned was the adaptation of The Phantom Menace and I absolutely adored it. It might have been a buggy mess, but is was damn fun for my six (or thereabouts) year-old self to play. I think I discovered every single bug, poorly placed piece of terrain, and incongruous dialogue choice it contained - it was all a wonderful adventure which I hold dear. If I hadn't played it back then there's no way anyone could convince me to pick it up and play it today, though.

I do this often with Perfect Dark for the N64. It's funny to think that one game already had
64 weapons with alternate uses, 24 maps, 11 modes of play, 8 fully-commandable ai to use (that also had personalities that you could give them) and because of it being on the N64, there was no loading screen.

I miss no loading screens.

As for these new consoles, I think the leap between then and now is significant due to the fact that back then it was more for entertainment and now its a business. Video Games as a whole have assimilated with mass media just like mass media has assimilated with video games.
Corporate sponsorship of games on soda - Ads for that soda in the game. Movie companies investing in a video game console - Movies available on the console online.

I wouldn't say that the best days are behind us, I would say that these present days and days ahead will be complicated.

"You may think its bad now, but when you look back in ten years, you'll look back and laugh
at how simple things were" - Timeless quote.

Well, I don't know, but...
My first console (that I owned) was a Nintendo 64. Now, the other day at my job (which is to make sure people in the parks are safe and respect the rules), it was cold, so I went inside. In there, a boy was playing one of the portable systems (a DS or something) Well, with the sounds that his machine was emitting (the cubes' random drops and the constant whine of the motor) I thought 'oh, this is the DS mario kart game'
and then I heard the Sherbet land tune and I started being nostalgic of my childhood :D
So, our best gaming will always be behind us, no matter what (imo)

The first gaming console I owned was actually my PC.

When I was younger, a lot younger, about 4, I remember playing DOOM with my dad.
He was a construction worker that worked long hours and was often tired. I didn't get much chance to play outside or do lots of things other kids did with their fathers. But with DOOM, he didn't have to do much of anything, and I got to spend time with him and have a blast.

Every day after he got home from work he would start up DOOM and we would play. I would sit on his lap and we would take turns moving/shooting. This continued for a few years until the Playstation came out, and then we went from DOOM to Crash Team Racing and Tekken 2. Oh man, all the time I spent with him playing those games... they were easily the best times of my life. And even now, whether its due to nostalgia or something else, DOOM is still and probably always will be my favorite game. Because it helped me spend time with my dad.

if you can honestly say there have been better games than half-life 1, final fantasy 7 and ocarina of time since 2000, then you're mental.

Visuality:
if you can honestly say there have been better games than half-life 1, final fantasy 7 and ocarina of time since 2000, then you're mental.

Yeah, the last 10 years have been pretty dry now that you mention it.

I hope that the best days of video gaming are not behind us. That would be pretty bleak.

Would not take the opposite super optimistic angle of saying that none of the worst days of gaming are ahead of us. I think that as long as many people who both make and play games do not have respect for the great games of the past there will be many disappointments and missed opportunities ahead.

It's all about the games man. Not hounding some poor old movie critic until he admits that games are just like movies except they are probably better than movies or something. Not about making the same type of game every year with a different theme by realising some story that was written by the nephew of the CEO while he was bored at school.

Enough people know these things so I think that the best games are still ahead of us even if they are not going to be perfect recreations of the games of my younger days.

I've owned a console of almost every generation since the nes (and I've been playing since I was a baby on uncles' Intelivisions, Colecos, and Ataris) but my favorite would have to be the ps2 but that's purely because of the games. Consoles do so much more now, they just don't do any of it very well: have you tried surfing the web on a ps3 lately? It's like they haven't patched it since launch, which maybe they haven't, I don't know.
So when you look at the games, they are certainly more capable but few draw out the fun of previous generations preferring to refresh franchises rather than recreating what worked, but on a greater scale: like when was the last time we got a Burnout with Crash Junctions.

At the same time, some of these refreshers (especially when reviving old franchises that missed the last couple of hardware generations) end up revolutionizing it's genre. Like with Fallout 3: it would've been a waste of tech to re-create the old standard (not that I don't think the originals are amazing) so what they made (while many argue isn't quite fallout) was very revolutionary to RPGs.

Now I'm just rambling and I have to go.

My first console when I was tiny was a used and heavily electrical-taped gray pong-in-a-box thing that hooked to a TV and had paddles. Don't even know the name. But my, the big switches and dials and buttons! When it finally failed, still made a dandy imaginary spaceship console.;)

After that was the Atari (Yars' Revenge and Megamania were awesome, and not having an arcade within 60 miles I even enjoyed one-maze honking Pac-Man).

And then came the C64 and an obsession that's lasted years. Killer music! Amazing games! Making my OWN games? Super-fast assembly language? WOW!

From there I moved on to a PC and... kind of stopped gaming. I still play a bit, but rarely anything new, though I keep up with reviews and such via a few favorite sites (ahem:).

I still play some of the old games. They do indeed have a spark that makes them really, really, fun. But there's new games with similar sparks. The vein hasn't been mined out yet. New ideas, clever mechanics, engrossing stories. We've been writing fiction on paper for millennia and people still haven't run out of ideas - I doubt video games could be drained in mere decades.

So, despite the fact that my own personal golden age has passed, I'm not egotistical enough to claim that everyone's in the same boat. Just like Sam Viviano said that Mad magazine was at its best when you started reading it, everyone has their own personal time of glory. As long as there's new gamers and new game makers, more golden ages are ever and eternally ahead.

Ah, indeed there's exceptions to both cases. Sure, most older games I've played hold up horribly, but I recently brought out maojora's mask and banjo tooie, and you know what? Still a barrel of fun to play. Especially tooie, in my eyes, the 3-D platformer just hasn't been matched since, nowhere near it. Also, whilst I have rosy memories of many games compared to the vast majority these days, when I got the orange box last year I was simply blown away with the sheer quality, everything about it reminded me of why I loved games so much. I still play Team Fortress 2 daily in fact, far more than any game in my childhood. :)

Very true. A good game is a good game regardless of the generation/console/etc. but anyone who honestly sits down and plays a "classic" title like Pac-Man, Frogger, etc. now a days for a reason other than a nostalgia fix must have something wrong with them. Sure they are classic titles that defined game mechanics and genres even to the present, but viewed today they are really pretty poor games.

StriderShinryu:
Very true. A good game is a good game regardless of the generation/console/etc. but anyone who honestly sits down and plays a "classic" title like Pac-Man, Frogger, etc. now a days for a reason other than a nostalgia fix must have something wrong with them.

(Opens "Retro Gamer" letters section.) Here's a guy whose kid plays Donkey Kong and enjoys it. He dislikes most of his dad's retro games, but thinks a few of them are fun despite the "lousy graphics". No nostalgia there.

StriderShinryu:
Sure they are classic titles that defined game mechanics and genres even to the present, but viewed today they are really pretty poor games.

I disagree. It's hard to make a true absolute statement, and you just called over thirty years of media "pretty poor". That's rather like calling the last century of movies "pretty poor" because they used to be black & white and the special effects weren't as good, and that anyone who watches Gone With the Wind or Battleship Potemkin or The Godfather for anything but nostalgia value has something wrong with them.

Some games are poor, sure, but games aren't immune to Sturgeon's Law. But just because the art and sound are lower-grade doesn't mean something like Impossible Mission isn't a good game. Not everyone's cup of tea, sure, but it's always been like that. Maybe you don't like older games, and that's fine. But to say that someone who does has psychological problems, well....

or a Tickle-Me Elmo doll, I would love it just the same.

Don't lie to us Russ, we all know you have a Tickle-Me Elmo and that he is in fact hidden beneath a pile of paper in your desk drawer.

Formica Archonis:

StriderShinryu:
Very true. A good game is a good game regardless of the generation/console/etc. but anyone who honestly sits down and plays a "classic" title like Pac-Man, Frogger, etc. now a days for a reason other than a nostalgia fix must have something wrong with them.

(Opens "Retro Gamer" letters section.) Here's a guy whose kid plays Donkey Kong and enjoys it. He dislikes most of his dad's retro games, but thinks a few of them are fun despite the "lousy graphics". No nostalgia there.

StriderShinryu:
Sure they are classic titles that defined game mechanics and genres even to the present, but viewed today they are really pretty poor games.

I disagree. It's hard to make a true absolute statement, and you just called over thirty years of media "pretty poor". That's rather like calling the last century of movies "pretty poor" because they used to be black & white and the special effects weren't as good, and that anyone who watches Gone With the Wind or Battleship Potemkin or The Godfather for anything but nostalgia value has something wrong with them.

Some games are poor, sure, but games aren't immune to Sturgeon's Law. But just because the art and sound are lower-grade doesn't mean something like Impossible Mission isn't a good game. Not everyone's cup of tea, sure, but it's always been like that. Maybe you don't like older games, and that's fine. But to say that someone who does has psychological problems, well....

Perhaps my choice of words was rather strong, but if you had one hour to play a single game and could choose from Pac-Man, Super Mario 3, Zelda: LTTP or Half Life 2 (just to pick a few highly regarded games from a variety of eras and genres), would you seriously even consider Pac-Man? Would most people who don't have a nostalgic fixation with Pac-Man?

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule and I am not saying there's anything wrong with all "older" games. Game quality can be enhanced with all sorts of technological bells and whistles, but at it's core a good game is a good game. I am saying, however, that many of the "old school" titles gamers regard as classic titles (by which I mean, essentially, pre-nes era) are not good games when viewed objectively from this point in time. They are shallow, short and repetitive. Sometimes they even lack solid controls and quality interactivity. (Note that there is no mention in that list of audio/visual quality).

Most people consider the Model-T a classic too, but they also admit they probably wouldn't want to drive one outside of a short burst to satisfy their curiousity.

StriderShinryu:
Perhaps my choice of words was rather strong, but if you had one hour to play a single game and could choose from Pac-Man, Super Mario 3, Zelda: LTTP or Half Life 2 (just to pick a few highly regarded games from a variety of eras and genres), would you seriously even consider Pac-Man? Would most people who don't have a nostalgic fixation with Pac-Man?

Probably not. But then, I wouldn't seriously consider the last two. The plot investment's too large to make an isolated one-off gaming session worth it. There's something to be said for a game you can jump right into.

StriderShinryu:
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule and I am not saying there's anything wrong with all "older" games. Game quality can be enhanced with all sorts of technological bells and whistles, but at it's core a good game is a good game. I am saying, however, that many of the "old school" titles gamers regard as classic titles (by which I mean, essentially, pre-nes era) are not good games when viewed objectively from this point in time. They are shallow, short and repetitive.

Like Popcap's entire library? I know we mock Ebert's "games can't be art" stance, but the converse isn't true either: "games must be art".

StriderShinryu:
Sometimes they even lack solid controls and quality interactivity. (Note that there is no mention in that list of audio/visual quality).

Okay. But lack of solid controls or interactivity? That's a lot of people's definition of a bad game.

StriderShinryu:
Most people consider the Model-T a classic too, but they also admit they probably wouldn't want to drive one outside of a short burst to satisfy their curiousity.

Car analogies outside Slashdot? Tsk.:) Problem with this analogy is that most people don't drive for fun. A Model T would suck for commuting. But gaming is for fun.

I guess this is the root of the problem: Fun is subjective.

Irridium:
The first gaming console I owned was actually my PC.

When I was younger, a lot younger, about 4, I remember playing DOOM with my dad.
He was a construction worker that worked long hours and was often tired. I didn't get much chance to play outside or do lots of things other kids did with their fathers. But with DOOM, he didn't have to do much of anything, and I got to spend time with him and have a blast.

Every day after he got home from work he would start up DOOM and we would play. I would sit on his lap and we would take turns moving/shooting. This continued for a few years until the Playstation came out, and then we went from DOOM to Crash Team Racing and Tekken 2. Oh man, all the time I spent with him playing those games... they were easily the best times of my life. And even now, whether its due to nostalgia or something else, DOOM is still and probably always will be my favorite game. Because it helped me spend time with my dad.

....i asmost teared...me and my dad would play the NES for hours and never shut it off...because if you did youd have to play it all over again....which we did alot lol

ironlordthemad:

or a Tickle-Me Elmo doll, I would love it just the same.

Don't lie to us Russ, we all know you have a Tickle-Me Elmo and that he is in fact hidden beneath a pile of paper in your desk drawer.

Oh, so that explains the strange muffled noises.

I have a feeling I'm going to like this issue.

My first system was the Sears Telegames (the Sears-badged Atari 2600). Didn't have another console at home until the NES came out. The NES holds the nostalgic-gaming-place in my heart. I loved the games and it was awesome to see home-gaming become insanely popular again after the crash (which I remember mostly for being able to get 2600 games super-bargain-bin-cheap, mom bought me Raiders of the Lost Ark for $6 and E.T. for $4. Think we got Pac-Man for $6, too. Only reason I remember those prices is they were on the boxes for all those years.) The NES was right there at the start of my best-friendship, a guy a few years older than me, who'd already graduated, and I'd cut school and go over to his parents' house on his days off and play NES games, watch anime, and eat piles of 7-Eleven food (oh youthful-metabolism, how I miss thee.) Those were good times, but there were also a lot of good games that I think still hold up despite the nostalgia. Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Balloon Fight, Mario Bros, Wild Gunman...there all still fun to play (though the lightgun doesn't work on our high-falutin plasma teevees.)

In later years, when I was collecting classic gaming systems, I picked up a Fairchild Channel F at a thrift store for $8, complete along with a half-dozen boxed carts at $1 a piece. It was a pretty sweet system considering the tech at the time. The controllers were weird, with the single-stick, twister-top (paddle-controller) that also functioned as the plunger-fire-button. The sounds came out of the console, too, instead of the tv (legacy Pong-console setup, I imagine.) And the carts were HUGE, about the same as an 8-track tape but longer and bright yellow. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Channel_F

Naw. I think our best days in gaming and still yet to come.
People have been saying for years that gaming was best in the "good old days," yet every now and then a new game comes out which completely blows people away. Portal is a great example of this.

I found a Fairchild Channel F clip on Youtube for anybody who's interested in seeing what the games were like. I was surprised by the quality of the games considering it was the 1970s.

I totally agree with you on this one. any pokemon thread i go to on this site will have atleast one person talking about how the first 151 pokemon were the best and that red and blue were alot harder then the newer games blah blah blah. you are wrong! its time to move into the future with the rest of us.

Visuality:
if you can honestly say there have been better games than half-life 1, final fantasy 7 and ocarina of time since 2000, then you're mental.

Well there has been Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2, Timesplitters, Mass Effect, Unreal Tournament 2004, Uncharted 1&2, Pokemon gold/silver, Morrowind, Civilization, Battlefield (not Bad Company), F.E.A.R., S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Halo, Knights of the Old Republic, Fable, Crazy Taxi, Power Stone, Sonic Adventure (the only good 3D sonic game), Shenmu, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, God of War, Grand Theft Auto 3/Vice City/San Andreas, and Call of Duty 4 just to name a few.

Irridium:

Visuality:
if you can honestly say there have been better games than half-life 1, final fantasy 7 and ocarina of time since 2000, then you're mental.

Well there has been Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2, Timesplitters, Mass Effect, Unreal Tournament 2004, Uncharted 1&2, Pokemon gold/silver, Morrowind, Civilization, Battlefield (not Bad Company), F.E.A.R., S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Halo, Knights of the Old Republic, Fable, Crazy Taxi, Power Stone, Sonic Adventure (the only good 3D sonic game), Shenmu, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, God of War, Grand Theft Auto 3/Vice City/San Andreas, and Call of Duty 4 just to name a few.

Well, the games you maybe could have mentioned in the same breath are Portal, Half-Life 2, Baldurs Gate 2, one of the total wars or possibly all of them and, er...yeah i'll give you a gta to be generous.

However, none of them are as good as any of the 3 I mentioned, and as my former comment can clarify, you're mental. If you'd actually played the 3, you'd see that only 2 of the games you mentioned are worthy to even be compared. I'm basically saying Jessica Alba is hot and you're saying Maggie Gyllenhall is as hot. She just isnt even close.

Visuality:

Irridium:

Visuality:
if you can honestly say there have been better games than half-life 1, final fantasy 7 and ocarina of time since 2000, then you're mental.

Well there has been Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2, Timesplitters, Mass Effect, Unreal Tournament 2004, Uncharted 1&2, Pokemon gold/silver, Morrowind, Civilization, Battlefield (not Bad Company), F.E.A.R., S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Halo, Knights of the Old Republic, Fable, Crazy Taxi, Power Stone, Sonic Adventure (the only good 3D sonic game), Shenmu, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, God of War, Grand Theft Auto 3/Vice City/San Andreas, and Call of Duty 4 just to name a few.

Well, the games you maybe could have mentioned in the same breath are Portal, Half-Life 2, Baldurs Gate 2, one of the total wars or possibly all of them and, er...yeah i'll give you a gta to be generous.

However, none of them are as good as any of the 3 I mentioned, and as my former comment can clarify, you're mental. If you'd actually played the 3, you'd see that only 2 of the games you mentioned are worthy to even be compared. I'm basically saying Jessica Alba is hot and you're saying Maggie Gyllenhall is as hot. She just isnt even close.

I have played(sorry for that. major typo) Half Life 1 and Ocarina of Time. I haven't played Final Fantasy 7 due to the fact that everyone everywhere seemed content to talk about every little point in the story. And since I already knew everything about the game a few weeks after release, I couldn't bring myself to buy it.

Personally I liked Majora's Mask a lot more than Ocarina of Time, and Half Life 1 was amazing, but I didn't play it until a few years ago, when every piece of hype died down.

And playing through Ocarina of Time and Half Life 1 today, its amazing how much things have changed, and how much better things have gotten. They were big and revolutionary for their time, but these days I would say most of the praise is due to nostalgia.

But, thats just my opinion, and it seems you can't be swayed.

That's the entire point of my post, if you play ocarina of time and half-life 1 today they're still the best games out there. I didn't play ff7 until december and it made it straight into my top 5 games of all time, thats how good damn good it is.

If you honestly play STALKER and speak of it in the same way as half-life 1, prefer majora's mask to OoT and put games like fable, crazy taxi and god of war as being as good then I am just going to stop replying right now, because it's pointless.

Like Kross said, the last 10 years have been pretty dry of truely excellent games. There've been some very very good ones, but none that quite get to the level those 3 do. I didn't even mention Deus Ex either.

Wiezzen:
I found a Fairchild Channel F clip on Youtube for anybody who's interested in seeing what the games were like. I was surprised by the quality of the games considering it was the 1970s.

Wow. I don't remember there being that many colors.

I think the answer to this question is "When you are dead, no one will think so."

I find it strange that film critics are allowed to call Citizen Kane, an extremely old movie, their favorite, while someone who says Chrono Trigger is their favorite video game is labeled as a nostalgia-filled moron.

 

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