Are games today really that bad?

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TheKasp:
And this is why today a game takes a shitload more of manpower and time to make. Because "they are easy, effortless cashgrabs". Ehyup...

I call it "lack of resource management".

Games don't take "more time" to make. Games take time to make, period.

Manpower and money employed into making a game does not equate proportionally to quality. I think everyone is familiar with the "too many cooks stirring the soup" analogy.

Zhukov:
Nah, games have only gotten better.

Graphics are better (duh).
Writing is getting better, gradually. (Very gradually.)
Level and gameplay design is better.
Interface design is miles better.

People look around and see that 90% of games are mediocre or crap and that there are Call of Duty imitations everywhere. But that's how it's always been. Twenty years ago 90% of games were mediocre or crap. The only difference was that we were knee-deep in 2D platformers instead of FPSs.

I quotes you because you are one of the escapists that are the most levelheaded when it comes to these discussions . Now although what you said is true , do the things you say actually make games "better"?

The ultimate goal for games ( and correct me if you disagree) is to be fun . Therefore , in my opinion , for a game in 2012 , to be better than one in let's say 1999, it would necessarily have to be more fun . See a game could have all the things you have mentionned and still not be fun , thus missing the point of the game . Inversely , a game could have none of those things and be insanely fun , making it ultimately better ( think minecraft).

I think that the wrong question is being asked here is are games more fun than they were back in the day . When asked like that , it becomes less black and white , and more massively grey . It also heavily depends onthe individual .

As for my opinion on the matter , i think games today are less fun and ultimately worst because , and again this is just my opinion, there is much more to focus on than gameplay , graphics need to be spot on , as well as voice acting, basically everything needs to be perfect. Back then the main focus was gameplay , if the gameplay was bad , then everything just went to hell . In the games that had great gameplay and great story ( think legend of zelda) they were hailed as marvels and are now classics .

ElPatron:

I call it "lack of resource management".

Games don't take "more time" to make. Games take time to make, period.

Manpower and money employed into making a game does not equate proportionally to quality. I think everyone is familiar with the "too many cooks stirring the soup" analogy.

Yeah, I really remember those good old times when 95% of games weren't pure shit. WAIT, I do. Maybe you should start remembering it too.

My point still stands: Developing a mainstream game today takes more effort and manpower because those games are complexer and bigger than any of the old games could even dream of to be (and be it just on the mechanical basis). Calling games "easy cashgrabs" today (this quote started this discussion) is somewhat funny because people seem to have forgotten how easy cashgrabs looked like. May I point you out to ~90% of the library of old consoles.

But maybe I have to take my rosetinted glasses on to say that this

image took more effort to make than this image

So yeah, complaining about "bad games today" is stupid because bad games always existed. Even more around the time when Christian propaganda games could've been made without fearing big costs (recent ones I remember) or when developers were able to sell a cartridge with 50 shitty titles for over 100$ of which everyone took less effort to make than the last homework I had in the first semester IT studies.

TheKasp:
bla bla bla quoting some words and give them other meaning

I'd like you to quote the post where I said "easy cash grabs" or that we used to swim in good games.

Until then, I'll just assume you are arguing with someone that isn't me.

Fact: the time it takes to develop a game does not = quality. See Duke Nukem Forever.

Fact: Bigger development teams don't mean more complex games. See Infinity Ward.

Fact: Writing in videogames hasn't improved

Zhukov:

Level and gameplay design is better.

*starts laughing forever*

Wait, you were serious? Because in reality, level design is constantly getting worse. More linear, more simplified and more streamlined. Good level design is getting more and more rare each year.

These days, games try to hold your hand to an unreal degree. Take Megaman. Back then, nobody would have added "press X to jump" or "press A to shoot". Nobody would have added a message of "beware, this enemy could kill you!". Nobody would have caused a message to pop up, telling you in detail what an enemy is and what his grandmother ate for breakfast today.

You learned this through GAMEPLAY. Nowadays? Nah. HandholdingHandholdingHandholdingHandholdingHandholdingHandholdingHandholdingHandholdingHandholding.

It's downright sad. There are still exceptions, but their numbers are decreasing and are almost entirely limited to indygames and DS games.

because those games are complexer and bigger than any of the old games could even dream of to be

Complexer - haha nope
bigger - haha nope, other way round
better graphics - thats all that improved.

TheKasp:

My point still stands: Developing a mainstream game today takes more effort and manpower because those games are complexer and bigger than any of the old games could even dream of to be (and be it just on the mechanical basis).

Are we talking game complexity or software complexity, here? Because in terms of game complexity, well...

image

image

ElPatron:
blah blah blah

How about you look back at the post you quoted me from.

And maybe you should read what I wrote. Yes, the development of games is more complex. A game today is a way more complex programm even compared to games from 2000, not even speaking from prior games. Thus it takes more time to make it, playtest it and such. To shorten the development cycle bigger teams work on those games.

And to all the other point:

Fact: The narrative is vastly improved.

Fact: Good writing is subjecitve, especially if you have zero qualifications to actually tell if it's good or not. And writing has improved, it is better than then.

Edit: Ah, I'm getting sick of it all already (add to my actual sickness right now), off to watch a movie, may I'll respond to whatever comes next...

Kahunaburger:
shortage

Well, I think that in my last post (the one right after you since... well, same time of posting) I mean software complexity.

That mainstream games today are less complex is not even worth mentioning (and I really don't know if you can classify Mech Warrior as a mainstream game).

Also, this picture has the big problem that it compares the control scheme of m&k (which are always better for complexity due to more buttons *duh*) to the simplicity that was the controller which started of as a stick with 1 button and evolved to the "complex" thing it is today.

There are also plenty of games that prove that you don't need such control schemes to have complex games. Those are to be found in the indie genre.

So, now comes my edit to work: I am literally physically sick (and also sick of this thread already) so I'll go watch a movie. Have a nice day!

Kahunaburger:
Are we talking game complexity or software complexity, here? Because in terms of game complexity, well...

Is this really an argument you wanna get into?

Fine: Super Mario Bros. = A - Jump. B - Run. Digital pad - Move.

That's it. Three buttons. Wanna keep insisting that games are less complex nowadays? Or will you stop trying to compare the most complex controls of yesterday with the least complex controls of today.

Besides, why on earth are you comparing a PC game to the 360 controller? It's not even the same system.

TheKasp:
How about you look back at the post you quoted me from.

I said that making an engine from scratch today doesn't involve most of the "real work" it used to.

Personally, I think that coding is hard and I would prefer not to do it any more in my life.

But coding isn't half the challenge if you already know how to circumvent most of the obstacles.

TheKasp:
And maybe you should read what I wrote. Yes, the development of games is more complex. A game today is a way more complex programm even compared to games from 2000, not even speaking from prior games.

Complexity of a program =/= complexity of the game.

Having a complex program does not translate into good quality gaming.

Having a simplistic game in a complex program is a waste. Rather make a good simplistic game on a simple program.

TheKasp:
Thus it takes more time to make it, playtest it and such. To shorten the development cycle bigger teams work on those games.

Like I said, the complexity of the program doesn't mean more quality.

If the program was simpler, perhaps there would be no need for big teams.

TheKasp:
Fact: The narrative is vastly improved.

It would help if everyone acknowledge that there were more games than Super Mario back in 1980-2000.

TheKasp:
Fact: Good writing is subjecitve, especially if you have zero qualifications to actually tell if it's good or not. And writing has improved, it is better than then.

It's not better. Things haven't changed that much. Doesn't take a qualified expert to understand that good viodegame writing is not widespread.

Elcarsh:

Kahunaburger:
Are we talking game complexity or software complexity, here? Because in terms of game complexity, well...

Is this really an argument you wanna get into?

Fine: Super Mario Bros. = A - Jump. B - Run. Digital pad - Move.

Super Mario Bros is a platformer. The proper comparison for that would be something like Spelunky, Super Meat Boy, or Canabalt.

Elcarsh:
Wanna keep insisting that games are less complex nowadays? Or will you stop trying to compare the most complex controls of yesterday with the least complex controls of today.

I wouldn't describe Call of Duty controls as the "least complex" - they're pretty much middle of the road for shooters designed for the console (i.e., most modern shooters).

But the central point isn't actually the control layout (showing the list of "verbs" the game gives you is just a simple way of expressing the difference.) The central point is that modern games aren't any more complex or deep than older games - compare, for instance, Tribes 2 and Tribes: Ascend, Starcraft and Starcraft 2, or Nethack and Diablo 3. This is not to say that modern games are necessarily shallower (take ArmA) - it's that the concept of older games being simplistic is really only true for older games designed for certain consoles, and even then, not always true.

(But TheKasp was talking about software complexity, anyway, which is pretty clearly correct.)

Elcarsh:

Besides, why on earth are you comparing a PC game to the 360 controller? It's not even the same system.

Really? Someone needs to inform Activision, because I don't think their design philosophy reflects this.

every generation has its strengths and weaknesses (seeing strengths disappear and new weaknesses emerge is the bloody cause of nostalgia), but not all generations are equal. i think we are in something equivalent to the silver age of comics, where things are mostly mass-marketed dribble. we will look back on games of this era as "charmingly stupid".

there is a uniqueness of the last era that will never be captured again, and you cant just say "nostalgia for the puny old dinosaur games" and write it off. the prototype stage of gaming as an artistic medium is a wonderfully unique and fulfilling time to be playing them, to see conventions established and bold moves made because there was so much unexplored territory. now that weve found a financially viable rut to wallow in, publishers have been doing the same thing they always do when that quirky little kid's toy suddenly becomes popular: MILK IT TO THE BRINK OF DEATH.

at some point soon when we are sick and tired of the same old brown FPS bullshit over-saturating the market and sales start plummeting, publishers will start getting desperate, allowing some fresh blood to take a risk and revitalize the medium (stan lee, spielberg, and miguel de cervantes did very similar things).

there is a lifecycle to art, and we just happen to be approaching our second reincarnation.

so I'll go WATCH A MOVIE. Have a nice day!

I think these guys arguing for modern games just probably prefer more of a cinematic experience with all the fancy voice acting and such.

Raven's Nest:

DeadYorick:
Games are becoming more cinematic because people want to see big budget movies, just paying 60$ for them and playing them for 5 hours.

I'll just leave this right here

image

Since you advocated the photo let me explain why I think its an unfair, apples to pairs comparison.

-BTW, it appears I'm about to go on a rant so don't think i'm arguing with you directly or anything...

I imagine the 93 map comes from a game like Doom 2. Everybody remembers and loves Doom 2.

Lets say the one on the right is Gears of War. Everybody remebers Gears and everybody either loves it or at least recognises it as a milestone in modern FPS design.

Gears has an established story full of twists, depth and consequence...

Gears

FPS

Wat

As well the rest of your arguement mostly amounts to mass amount of praise for Gears of War and yet failing to justify why map design has become a series of linear corridors since 1993. Gears was also hardly innovative. It's setting and stylised choices were all done numerous times before and the over the shoulder cam was done by Resident Evil 4. The only thing it added really was the "cover system" which reminded me a lot of a stealth game's cover system (like in Thief deadly shadows).

zefiris:

Zhukov:

Level and gameplay design is better.

*starts laughing forever*

Wait, you were serious? Because in reality, level design is constantly getting worse. More linear, more simplified and more streamlined. Good level design is getting more and more rare each year.

These days, games try to hold your hand to an unreal degree. Take Megaman. Back then, nobody would have added "press X to jump" or "press A to shoot". Nobody would have added a message of "beware, this enemy could kill you!". Nobody would have caused a message to pop up, telling you in detail what an enemy is and what his grandmother ate for breakfast today.

Uh... right.

Telling players which button does what is not "hand holding".

Nor is having a level layout that actually makes sense, unlike the jumbled messes found in the shooters of yore.

FPS, TPS, whatever.. They're both shooters.

And the linear level design of modern 'corridor' shooters takes all the tactics/thought/planning out of the game and basically turns them into a shooting gallery. Move straight ahead, shoot the baddies that pop up, rinse and repeat... Snooze time ! And that's just the level design. I'm not even going into the bs mechanics of modern 'realistic' shooters.

And on the subject of Arma, how come that's the only somewhat realistic shooter around these days, but we're flooded with all this COD kiddy stuff ?

We used to have Ghost Recon 1, Rainbow 6 (Raven Shield and earlier games), SWAT, Operation Flashpoint:CWC, the Brothers in Arms games even.. Now all we have is Arma.

And don't even come with the new R6 games or GRAW cause I'll laugh in your face.

Zhukov - Are you trying to say modern games don't hold your hands too much ? Cause I'll laugh in your face too.

OP - Why don't you just play some older games and find out for yourself ? I'm sure if you gave your preferences on genres, ppl will give you suggestions.

TheKasp:

ElPatron:
blah blah blah

How about you look back at the post you quoted me from.

And maybe you should read what I wrote. Yes, the development of games is more complex. A game today is a way more complex programm even compared to games from 2000, not even speaking from prior games. Thus it takes more time to make it, playtest it and such. To shorten the development cycle bigger teams work on those games.

And to all the other point:

Fact: The narrative is vastly improved.

Fact: Good writing is subjecitve, especially if you have zero qualifications to actually tell if it's good or not. And writing has improved, it is better than then.

Edit: Ah, I'm getting sick of it all already (add to my actual sickness right now), off to watch a movie, may I'll respond to whatever comes next...

Those aren't "facts", not by far and the opinion of a lot of people is that the narrative is not vastly improved, games like Ultima, Wasteland, Planescape, even Fallout etc. had writing and choice similar to good books adapted to video games, they would encourage you to think and ponder and they didn't have a "good" and a "bad" option as such (or rather it wasn't just, "Do I pick "Renegade" or "Paragon"?" as today).
They put deep thought into their storytelling and worldbuilding, tried to implement philosophical questions and decisions to the best of their knowledge and implement writing that doesn't assume the player is a blithering baboon, thought up entire cultures and races with their own script and languages and core values etc.

What you're basically trying to argue all the time is that big "Blockbuster" movies that thousands of people in different studios work on like Transformers or similar are "better" than everything that came before... because, well, look at those special effects and all the people it took to make them!

You're also missing the point and assuming that just because something looks better it has to be more fun or be the better "game", which isn't exactly true... there's also two man teams (or even single individuals) out today that produce more quality with their Indie titles than AAA studios ever do.

Zhukov:
Uh... right.

Telling players which button does what is not "hand holding".

Nor is having a level layout that actually makes sense, unlike the jumbled messes found in the shooters of yore.

Well yeah, it actually is... it's assuming that someone is a moron and telling him right out, like... when you give someone that never ever played a videogame a controller and see him do things and you feel like jumping in and telling him outright what he has to do... don't do that.

(seriously, watch that, it's about game design... give it ~3-5 minutes and if you still don't care, then turn it off :P)

And if you think straight corridors with a bunch of cutscenes is "better level layout" I can't really help you :P

The amount of detail in levels has gone up and the amount of crates used to fill those levels has gone down: http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/39.html , but other than that the complexity has been all but sucked out from most games, Bioshock for instance is a good exception from that as it tries to simulate System Shock 2 (which is an awesome thing to do).
That's part of why it stands out from "follow this corridor" kind of shooters.

Dexter111:

Those aren't "facts", not by far and the opinion of a lot of people is that the narrative is not vastly improved, games like Ultima, Wasteland, Planescape, even Fallout etc. had writing and choice similar to good books, they would encourage you to think and ponder and they didn't have a "good" and a "bad" option (or rather it wasn't just, do I pick "Renegade" or "Paragon" as today).
They put deep thought into their storytelling and worldbuilding, tried to implement philosophical questions and decisions, thought up entire cultures and races with their own writing and languages and core values etc.

What you're basically trying to argue all the time is that big "Blockbuster" movies that thousands of people in different studios work on like Transformers or similar are "better" than everything that came before... because, well, look at those special effects and all the people it took to make them!

Renegade / Paragon = Moral Choice Systems (and pretty bad ones compared to Ultima 4). Not narrative. And while most studios seem to be stuck on cinematics to tell a story there are other who explore new means to tell a story, new means that were nonexistant even 3 years ago. So yes, that narrative in video games has improved is a fact.

And no, I am saying that todays blockbusters are not better or worse than old blockbusters. Or do you really want to tell me that Pirates of the Carribean is less entertaining than some 90s summer flick?

What I try to hammer into peoples heads is that you can't take gems of old time and compare them to the mediocre games of modern times.

But I expect the lack of this basic understanding from someone who basically dismisses all FPS of having a good story.

TheKasp:
What I try to hammer into peoples heads is that you can't take gems of old time and compare them to the mediocre games of modern times.

But they're not... at least I don't see anyone doing that, I haven't seen games like "Army of Two", "Thor: The God of Thunder" (an IP cash-in), Shadow Harvest, Mindjack, Call of Juarez, Dragon Age 2, Ghostbusters etc. even brought up. They're comparing the classics with games considered "good" nowadays and the most-selling and profitable game series with lots of sequels like Gears of War, Call of Duty etc., games that kind of define this generation of gaming and a lot of developers try to emulate to generate sales themselves...

It's just that nostalgia makes everyone's perception of that older game seem better. Today, as we grow, we begin to see flaws in new games but not in the older games. In fact, half the time these games are better is because nostalgia elevates them to greatness.

I'd say yes but mentally I'm still a child who is distracted by bright colors and can completely ignore plotholes if it's fun. The more realistic games try to be the more likely the plotholes/glitches stick out. I like ridiculous over the top and don't mind cartoons and most modern games aren't made like that. You may have a few indie titles, but I'd rather not dive into that pool of shit to find that one gem which turns out to be cubic zirconium.

I'll point out that map that's been floating out in here and say that's another reason. 1993 you were given a character and a gun and ran and and killed shit, now they're trying to make it a full experience with a story and everything. I like both, and that's exactly it. They're two different things played for two different reasons, I like diversity and being able to pick whatever I'm in the mood for. I don't want to be stuck with a linear game when I just want to walk around and shoot things and pick up shiny keys. I don't care why a rusty key is sparkling, just make it glow. Non-shiny keys annoy me for some reason.

The:
It's just that nostalgia makes everyone's perception of that older game seem better. Today, as we grow, we begin to see flaws in new games but not in the older games. In fact, half the time these games are better is because nostalgia elevates them to greatness.

Here's an interesting experiment: play an old, universally acclaimed game you haven't played before. Prepare to be floored by:

A) how good it is,
B) how little some modern games seem to have learned from it.

It's not nostalgia - the classics are classics because they are really good games.

I love these ppl that cry nostalgia constantly. It's not like we can't play some of the classics now and see how much better they are than today's 'top' games.

Probably 90 something % of them are total graphics whores.

Dark Souls was one of the greatest games I have played in the last 10 years. So no, I don't believe games are becoming bad.

I believe that they are becoming different as they are introduced to mainstream media.

As far as I'm concerned it's all about how much fun you're having and I'm personally still having a lot of fun.

Problem is, everyone has a different opinion on what they find "fun".

Whether that be spending time giving points to various stats, setting up your troops in strategical positions, attempting to get past a difficult platforming sequence, racing down the highway at top speed, committing genocide by bashing one button, shooting people without giving a fuck or comparing the societal and political views of individuals and factions in a fictional world not like our own.

dancinginfernal:
Dark Souls was one of the greatest games I have played in the last 10 years. So no, I don't believe games are becoming bad.

I believe that they are becoming different as they are introduced to mainstream media.

Dark/Demons Souls is an exception and a rarity in todays games.

Nope. There have always been shitty games.

It's just that there are a lot more popular shitty games now.

Either way, I sincerely doubt that older games were better or that there is any larger a proportion of shitty games now.

Necromancer Jim:
Nope. There have always been shitty games.

It's just that there are a lot more popular shitty games now.

Either way, I sincerely doubt that older games were better or that there is any larger a proportion of shitty games now.

Again ppl. Nobody is saying that there weren't shitty games in the past. Herp.

It's just that the supposed best games now don't measure up to the best of the past. (unless cinematic experiences, linear shooters, hand holding, gay elf/alien sex or LARPing/hiking simulators,ect... is your thing)

Nah, as much as people like to bash "Generic Modern Shooter of Duty #7", this generation has a staggering amount of amazing titles.

It's just that the most popular ones are the loudest, but they certainly don't define the entire generation.

Anthraxus:

Necromancer Jim:
Nope. There have always been shitty games.

It's just that there are a lot more popular shitty games now.

Either way, I sincerely doubt that older games were better or that there is any larger a proportion of shitty games now.

Again ppl. Nobody is saying that there weren't shitty games in the past. Herp.

It's just that the supposed best games now don't measure up to the best of the past. (unless cinematic experiences, linear shooters, hand holding, gay elf/alien sex or LARPing/hiking simulators,ect... is your thing)

Excellent job not reading past the first sentence.

The only thing better about old games is that adventure games seemed to exist then.

Now most games are Modern Military FPSs or "dark fantasy" RPGs.

Then again, most of my older games, if I played them more than once, it was more out of me having no other games to play more than a desire to replay them.

There are plenty of shitty games in the mainstream now, but there were just as many shitty games back then. Even the good games of back then can barely hold a candle to the shitty games of now.

This is just taking the worst of today's games and comparing it to some absurd idealization of the old.

That has less to do with anything current sucking and more to do with the fact that nostalgia a natural thing that people do, not the result of an unbiased comparison between the present and the past.

Same deal with music and why anyone over a certain age will call all new music trash that doesn't compare to "the good stuff they had back in the day". Nearly everyone does this, about all kinds of things and it's more about your brain simply not being as able to appreciate new things in the same way as you get older.

)

Even the good games of back then can barely hold a candle to the shitty games of now.

image

You just lost all your credibility right there.

Chess isnt a good game its just ppl's nostalgia *rolls eyes*

GonzoGamer:

Indecipherable:

GonzoGamer:

That's the thing. Most of the games made today are crap but that isn't really any different from any other generation going back to the intellivision.

However, one thing that's gotten worse is the money grubbing. Hasn't been this bad since the arcade days.

image

Well to be fair, games were much more expensive then than now.

Doing a bit of quick research (I played NES games but was too young to buy them myself so I don't know the pricings off hand), games were around $45 to $60. SNES got up $80, and N64 up to $100.

Looking at the N64, you can basically double that in modern terms (5% inflation for 15 years) so that's a game at $200.

For NES, you can over triple the cost. 25 years is a long, long time.

There's a lot more that goes into it than just this very brief glance - development costs were much lower, but the market was a great deal smaller, and cartridge costs much higher - but $ for $ we get games far cheaper than ever before.

Yea, the problem with inflation however is that it's a myth. Most things actually don't go up with inflation, like entertainment or the average salary for that matter.
I have no doubt that games have become more expensive to make, it just troubles me that the ones that really play the schemes referenced in the image above aren't the small struggling dev studios but the big publishers who were already making huge profits before they started chopping up releases.

You have no clue what you are talking about.

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