Games That Time Forgot

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Games That Time Forgot

Shamus wonders why some games don't get the franchise they deserve

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I didn't play the original but played the hell out of starflight 2.

But star control 2 still has a place in my heart as one of the greatest games ever made. The writing was funny and insightful, the universe was well developed and vibrant and decisions actually had consequences.

And it was really really fun.

X-COM had a good run. TFTD refined the formula and if you have it a chance you will see Apocalypse did a really good job with the turn based/realtime transition. Not to mention the awesome destructible environments.

you piloted a little ship through a three-dimensional maze and blew up robots to a pulsing electronic soundtrack. It was a first person shooter where the "person" was a futuristic fighter plane and you usually couldn't tell which direction was up.

I know you were talking about a completely different game, but I couldn't stop thinking about Forsaken for the N64 after that description.

I have not seen Descent in a long time. I'm going to have to reinstall my old copy of 1 and 2 now. Thanks.

Silent Storm (2004) came pretty close to X-Com, at least where the tactical combat is concerned.

Well, if you want space action, Freespace 2 is on GoG.com for $6.99.

Not exactly Starflight, but its still really fun.

starflight (megadrive version) is one of my favourite games star control 2 was really really good but I only played that years after it was first released.

Here's star control 2: http://sc2.sourceforge.net/

It's freeware. Go play it.

May I suggest Republic Commando as a game that definitely should have got a sequel.

Shamus Young:
X-Com was a complicated and unforgiving game of resource management tactical combat.

This seems to be the industries main move at the moment, and it's something we've all talked about before. The Industry's main fears are complex and unforgiving.

Bioshock took the super-harsh System Shock, gave it a nice coat of paint, dipped it in Atlas Shrugged and made it almost impossible to fail.

And complexity has been steadily been reduced as far as possible. Even in MMO-RPGs, there are "set builds" to max DPS, which reduces the play experience to "use spell on bad guy".

Tagging back to the old "Deaths need to mean something", it'd be good if the Industry understood that while their main audience like a pick-up-and-go, there's a lot of money to be made on slightly tougher games. Super Meat Boy sold well, Chime sold well, and while neither are complex, they are unforgiving. Complexity doesn't always need a huge manual, as Civilisation 5 shows, but SimCity/The Sims show how much interest there is in complex life management simulations. I'm willing to bet that The Sims even gives Call of Duty pause for thought in the money stakes.

But no-one's gone into it, even after the success of the above games and others like Syndicate,the Tycoon series, Vampire, Dungeon Keeper.

Hell, even Dope Wars is a fun little waste of time and it's a lot more complex and unforgiving than most of the Triple As. Possibly not the greatest subject matter, but change it to sweets or lemonade and you could sell it on the App Store.

Irridium:
Well, if you want space action, Freespace 2 is on GoG.com for $6.99.

Not exactly Starflight, but its still really fun.

Freespace is amazing, great game even today thanks to the awesome community constantly adding more to it.

One of the reasons I enjoyed the Mako sessions of Mass Effect is that they kind of felt like a modernized version of the whole planetside landing/exploring/resource gathering of the Starflight series.

Now I need to dust off my Amiga again to give the games a whirl...

I'll die happy if they ever make a proper sequel to Crusader: No Remorse

I never got Crusader: No Regret and I've always . . . . well regretted that.

Oh Descent! My dad used to play the first two with me :D (that and Quakes I and II, and BGII). Good memories fosho. My favorite part was blowing the reactor and flying out the escape-shoot, and that sweet cut-scene that played when you did. I've tryed a couple times to beat Descent II again, but it's hard to get back into those old games.

Star Control 2 ranks as the best game of all time, as far as I'm concerned. Starflight 2 is not far behind (I didn't play first one until many years later).

I badly miss the entire space exploration genre. The closest we've got in many, many years have been primarily flight sims, and that just misses the point.

Though I never played it personally, your description of Starflight seems like it would be right up Mojang's alley for their next game. It sounds like a sci-fi space themed version of Minecraft, and that sounds like nothing short of life-devastating awesomeness.

You also might be interested in UFO: The Two Sides, a more faithful remake of the original that's essentially just a high res update from the original game. Pretty far along into development too, missing city textures which makes Terror missions nearly impossible and the pedia isn't up yet, but everything else works perfectly!

NLS:

Irridium:
Well, if you want space action, Freespace 2 is on GoG.com for $6.99.

Not exactly Starflight, but its still really fun.

Freespace is amazing, great game even today thanks to the awesome community constantly adding more to it.

Freespace is actually a spinoff series from Descent if you didn't know. The first game is named Descent: Freespace, and it's technically a continuation of Descents story. Kinda like Tribes was a spinoff of the old Starsiege and Earthsiege games.

Sometimes the spinoff become more popular and well known that their originators. Go figure!

Great article and loads of great suggestions so far. for anyone who liked Magic Carpet you should check out Sacrifice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrifice_%28video_game%29

It's a crime this never caught on

Damn, now I gotta fish up our old copy of Decent 2. First game to ever give me serious vertigo/headaches. Great stuff, that. Fortunately a couple decades of gaming have boosted my tolerance for crazy 3D action awesomeness.

Irridium:
Well, if you want space action, Freespace 2 is on GoG.com for $6.99.

Not exactly Starflight, but its still really fun.

FreeSpace 2 went Open Source some years ago and has spawned tons of high-quality mods and total conversions. One of the more prominent examples is the Babylon 5 Project.
I'm still hoping for a successor to the series. The ending to the game was incredibly well done (I got blown to bits by the supernova while heroically defending a medical transport) and one of the rare occasions where mankind simply lost. In my opinion, this game is the pinnacle of space simulators up to this day.

Anyways, really nice article. If someone hasn't played UFO: Alien Invasion, I'd highly recommend it. The game runs very stable and offers lots of features in its current build. Only downside is that it's still in development.
Magic Carpet with a contemporary engine ... oh, sweet dreams ...

Descents amazing, I got a hold of 1 and 2 on playstation recently as part of a nostalgia binge (see also: Rayman 1), and have said pulsing electronic soundtrack on my ipod. I made a friend play it and he got motion sickness.

A nice article. I always wondered what happened to Vagrant story?

It was set for a sequel and it was Square trying something a little different. Well worth another bash. Instead we get to trudge through more dull FFxxx.

Most of the games I wish for sequels to are turnbased so I know its not going to happen. People don't seem to have the patience for them anymore.

That Starflight game sounds a little like Escape Velocity. My first family computer was a Mac, so I'm reasonably well acquainted with Ambrosia Software. EV was basically a game with a top-down view where you start off with a little shuttle and do odd jobs trying to get better ships/equipment. Eventually, you can get a big capital ship with fighters and try to take over the various star systems by weathering some seriously brutal attacks. It was a simple game, but fun and super-expandable. I remember playing a big mod that added a bunch of planets and tech from the Babylon V series (not that I ever watched it, but the fact that it was possible was cool).

I'd love to see an updated and expanded version of that. Spore did something similar with its space segment, but not quite on the level I'd like. Maybe take Spore's style of galaxy travel (with some better navigation options), then put it in some better progression and RPG elements on an epic political backdrop and we'd be approaching what I'm talking about.

Ah, one can dream.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Shamus Young:
X-Com was a complicated and unforgiving game of resource management tactical combat.

This seems to be the industries main move at the moment, and it's something we've all talked about before. The Industry's main fears are complex and unforgiving.

The industry is chopping out anything that might be a threat to accessibility.

Games that could only be beaten by practice and repetition are almost entirely a thing of yesterday.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Games That Time Forgot

Shamus wonders why some games don't get the franchise they deserve

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So does this mean that Experienced Points is officailly back from hiatus? I always liked this column and was sad when it wasn't around.

If it has returned then count me among the many readers who are happy about it becoming a regular feature again.

Sacrifice. If ever there was a game that deserved more it was this. Fell through a gap between genres which confused the hell out of people, and also was almost like the Crysis of it's day in needing some pretty hefty resources to get going.
But the things it did and still does. The look of the game drew you in more than most others I can think of.

On a lsightly related note, I also with Planet Moon studios hadn't gone the shitty handheld game and Wii route as Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Armed & Dangerous were, if not the most innovative, two of the funniest games I've ever played. And so few studios do funny. Or at least, do it well.

Ah; the only two of those I knew were Descent and X-Com... both awesome games. (I actually just started up a new round of X-com).

Man; I wish Descent would get a true-to-the-original reboot/spiritual successor. That's a genre I could really see some more of.

I can't help it but Beyond Good and Evil filled me with revulsion. I found the gameplay uninspired and unwieldy (shooting neon goop from my camera ranked high on my annoying game mechanics list), and even my partner, who didn't play it, to this day hates the game for the constant barking chatter in the backgrounds wherever I went that drove her insane.

It's never occurred to me to lament the lack of a sequel on that one.

Zakarath:
Man; I wish Descent would get a true-to-the-original reboot/spiritual successor. That's a genre I could really see some more of.

Agreed. There simply aren't enough free-flying, space shooter/puzzlers out there... or at all for that matter.

AlgarWolf:
I have not seen Descent in a long time. I'm going to have to reinstall my old copy of 1 and 2 now. Thanks.

My mom played the heck out of that game, joystick and all. And I got a kick out of watching her play it being to young to at the time, that and Readneak Rampage.

Oh wow, I remember/miss Descent. Haven't heard that game mentioned in a long time. I played that thing so much.

I vaguely remember Magic Carpet but never got very far with it.

Descent 1/2 were the first games I could play over the Internet via the magic of the Kali program (translated LAN network protocols into Internet TCP/IP and connected you up with servers on which you could just start the game, hit LAN Multiplayer, and kadoom- it worked! 20 bucks lifetime).

I had So Much Fun with Descent II online and the custom levels like Stadium, SpeedRacer, etc. I miss having something like that now.

bjj hero:
A nice article. I always wondered what happened to Vagrant story?

Just downloaded it off the PS3 Store :D

rsvp42:
That Starflight game sounds a little like Escape Velocity. My first family computer was a Mac, so I'm reasonably well acquainted with Ambrosia Software. EV was basically a game with a top-down view where you start off with a little shuttle and do odd jobs trying to get better ships/equipment. Eventually, you can get a big capital ship with fighters and try to take over the various star systems by weathering some seriously brutal attacks. It was a simple game, but fun and super-expandable. I remember playing a big mod that added a bunch of planets and tech from the Babylon V series (not that I ever watched it, but the fact that it was possible was cool).

http://www.ambrosiasw.com/games/evn/ Escape Velocity Nova is a sequel running on modern/Windows systems. Check out the plug-ins. There's mods which let you run the original and the previous sequel storylines through reasonable approximations of their old interfaces. Looks like there's also a mod for Star Trek ships...

Here is a complex and awesome retelling of Stargate with X-COM tech: http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-16092/Hotpoint+XSGCOM+Goa+uld+Defence.htm

Oh man, I played Starflight for weeks and never got anywhere but it was AWESOME.

Also, Sacrifice = Awesome

Nitram22:
May I suggest Republic Commando as a game that definitely should have got a sequel.

Yes! While the Star Wars franchise as a whole has been thoroughly milked, that particular sub-franchise needs a sequel now. It was so amazing, albeit quite a bit different from the other games on the list.

Also, Shamus, I know you touched on it briefly, but I'll just say it again: Mirror's Edge. I don't care what people I say, I loved that game. I played it to death, it was so amazing. Sure, it had flaws, but they were the kind that could have been gotten rid of with a sequel. No flaws were inherent to the concept (except the no-looking-at-feet thing, but really, I thought that particular flaw was seriously overblown).

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