Are games today really that bad?

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Every generation has crap. What annoys me about this generation though is games are generally shorter, and safer. I hate how this gen insists on rebooting everything into FPS games or constantly remaking old games into HD. Would it have killed EA if they remade Syndicate into a strategy game or at least a good shooter rather than the committee safe, bland pile of shit we got?

I'm going to disagree here, as a good amount already have. There's nothing wrong with today's gaming industry. There are plenty of great games still coming out. Sure, I'll go back and replay Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Castlevania, but that doesn't mean I think that generation of games was better. You just have to know where to look.

Just to show, my five most played games on Steam in the past two weeks are Civilization 5, Total War: Shogun 2, Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, Waveform, and Audiosurf. Audiosurf is the oldest of the games listed, being released on February 15, 2008.

Both Civ 5 and Shogun 2 have Metacritic scores of 90, and were pretty heavily publicized on Kotaku before launch, and I agree that both of these games are amazing. Plus, as a fan of Civilization, I think Civ 5 is the best so far. For the rest, though, I just stumbled into Recettear and Waveform, playing the demos before buying them, and had someone suggest I try Audiosurf. These games are extremely entertaining, and quite original.

Recettear, for example, has you running an item shop (hence the subtitle) in a town that has JRPG-style adventurers looking for work. Waveform, just released a couple days ago, has you controlling a ball of light as it travels from Pluto to Sol, but the only way you control the ball of light is by controlling the wave it is traveling on.

I also have Psychonauts and Half-Life 1 on Steam (both purchased two weeks ago), but I haven't played them recently because the other 5 games have been that much more enjoyable.

I know all my arguments have been anecdotal, but I'm just trying to show that you can't say that all games are suffering because one or two genres that are extremely popular don't fit your tastes. Go out into the fringe every once in a while. You'll find something you like.

Tribes: Ascend

Proof that hardcore PC shooting still has it.

The game is amazing. Team work oriented and skill based....and looks pretty too. Probably the best multiplayer you're going to get out of a shooter these days.

Sucks for the linear level design in single player games though, its quite a shame :( Though, Bioshock Infinite is showing us that it has very open environments with lots of options for combat, so that could be our answer to the dilemma. If you're a Bioshock fan.

which you should probably be. Just sayan.

Anthraxus:
You just lost all your credibility right there.

You might think that, but I actually agree with him. Even the most putrid crap of today, in other words movie-based games, are actually generally more fun than the very best the 80's or 90's had to offer. What, Super Mario Bros? It always was crap. I grew up playing that game, and I never really liked it. It was incredibly flawed and not very fun to play.

Of course, there were exceptions, but there are ALWAYS exceptions, no matter which era you look at.

Dexter111:

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...

Well, then it is up to discussions what the actual "gems" of modern times are. Because I consider those nothing more than mediocre "cuisine". They are the pop-culture of video games, what platformers used to be. When you take Planescape: Torment (well, this one I have to admit I haven't played), a game which seem to got a load of positive response from both fans and critics you can't take Call of Mediore-charez to compare it to because this game is going to tear Call of Juarez a new one (like every mediocre game from that time).

But then comes the thing again which I haven't brought up to discussion yet: You can't expect to find the gems and just look at the big titles. From what I read Planescape: Torment was the Psychonauts of its time. Critically acclaimed but went under the radar of most of the gaming audience because of various reasons (nonfamiliar concept, less than good marketing and advertising) and was overall not a success.
To find the "best of the best" of a generation of video games you have to look outside of the radar. Like back then. Because many excellent titles don't get the attention they deserve at first but many years later.

This btw also somewhat destroys the idea that the best games of a generation also sell well. Planescape did not sell well, Psychonauts did not sell well. I am pretty sure there are lots of other examples for excellent games that did less then stellar in it's time and were overshadowed by the mediocre mainstream.

Bushnell (creator of Atari) said that games today were a suckish mesh and that is terrible for the industry.

...

WHAT?

Judging the quality of something artistically objectively is very hard if not impossible. I'd say games are roughly the same as they have always been. People are the same all over though, I know that for sure, and I know that people are going to bitch without cease no matter how good or bad things are. Ignore the hordes of uninformed ignorant clods who populate the internet and believe what you want to believe.

more expensive a game cost to make the less risk a studio is willing to take and the more they will try to appeal to a larger and larger market to rake in the $$

games have been in a bad patch but things are improving

we live in a very interesting time when the nerds are once again breaching the basements to make games for gamers with the indy scene and thanks to things like steam and kick starter more and more niche games will be made

TheKasp:
But then comes the thing again which I haven't brought up to discussion yet: You can't expect to find the gems and just look at the big titles. From what I read Planescape: Torment was the Psychonauts of its time. Critically acclaimed but went under the radar of most of the gaming audience because of various reasons (nonfamiliar concept, less than good marketing and advertising) and was overall not a success.
To find the "best of the best" of a generation of video games you have to look outside of the radar. Like back then. Because many excellent titles don't get the attention they deserve at first but many years later.

I agree with Psychonauts, that was pretty brilliant and innovative, as was Beyond Good & Evil, and they were both "AA" titles. But if one has to go 7+ years into the past to get an example from 2005 or 2003 for something "fresh" and creative that pretty much proves the problem, doesn't it? xD

There is stuff as I said in the Indie and Small Dev Scene that does things different and tries new things, Double Fine has been making nice games like Costume Quest or Stacking (playing that right now on Steam, it's pretty good), there's World of Goo, Terraria/Minecraft, Rock of Ages, From Dust, Magicka, The Ball, LIMBO, Dear Esther etc. but they all feel (and are) rather limited and you can feel the low budget and low amount of people that worked on them at times...

But in the AAA scene I gotta think long and hard, maybe something like Portal, Epic Mickey, Batman: AA or Bioshock, but they're also rather good variants of older games that are pretty good with some new elements, and aside from Portal and maaaybe Bioshock I don't know if they'll become "Classics" 20-30 years from now.

Dexter111:

I agree with Psychonauts, that was pretty brilliant and innovative, as was Beyond Good & Evil, and they were both "AA" titles. But if one has to go 7+ years into the past to get an example from 2005 or 2003 that pretty much proves the problem, doesn't it? xD

There is stuff as I said in the Indie and Small Dev Scene that does stuff different, Double Fine has been making nice games like Costume Quest or Stacking (playing that right now on Steam, it's pretty good), there's World of Goo, Terraria/Minecraft, Rock of Ages, From Dust, Magicka, The Ball, LIMBO, Dear Esther etc. but they all feel (and are) rather limited and you can feel the low budget and low amount of people that worked on them at times...

But in the AAA scene I gotta think long and hard, maybe something like Portal, Epic Mickey, Batman: AA or Bioshock, but they're also rather good variants of older games that are pretty good with some new elements, and aside from Portal I don't know if they'll become "Classics".

Well, I took Psychonauts as an example because I actually just played it in 2011 and the most recent game I can think of. I am also pretty sure there are some brilliant games of today that went under my radar so there jumps in my "many games I can't think of".

I can also agree on all your examples (because they all are in my "Indie Games" tab on steam). There are also some good AA titles of modern times that had some problems and went under the radar of many because of lack of critical acclaim (well, "bought reviews" would be the better term). Alpha Protocol comes into my mind (the better Deus Ex: HR in my opinion). And if we talk modern games we have to consider the indie scene as well. In 10 years people will talk of the games you listed the same way people today are talking about the best games of old times and they will compare them to the fastfood of their time. Which will never hold up.

The whole problems with the triple A scene is a thing for another discussion. The bigger budgets have made them too dependent of publishers money (and the selling of houseowned IPs) who on the other side should start thinking "what plays good" then "what sells good". Most problems of the modern industry can be tracked back to the fact that most publishers are made of people to whom the whole concept of gaming is alien (the best proof for this is Valve, the giant made of people who do what they think is a good idea and which shows in the quality of their games).

Also, I am pretty sure that at least Batman: AA (Portal is not even discussion material. This game will be a classic) is going to take it's (rightfull) place in the list of timeless, good games. And be it just because it is probably the best comic made to game adaptation that has seen the light of day with a tight but good story (which was probably not that hard to make since they did not have to wqrry about establishing concepts since it is one of the oldest comic series), funny and simple combat which still gives you enough variations to develop your own style and it's rather unique optic style (which will still look good in 5-10 years unlike ME or DA games).

Undeniably worse, nostalgia having nothing to do with it. Vidya games are eclipsing other mediums in the entertainment business now and like all large commercial endeavors, they are shallow, soulless and average.

I remember getting my mind blown by how games came out with new mechanics, strategies, styles like every 6 months towards the end of the 90's. Things were evolving, changing, it was fun and challenging.

Now many games from 2006 and 2012 are nearly indistinguishable from one another. Thank you xbawks.

Yeah, i'd say today they are definitely worse.

TheKasp:
The whole problems with the triple A scene is a thing for another discussion. The bigger budgets have made them too dependent of publishers money (and the selling of houseowned IPs) who on the other side should start thinking "what plays good" then "what sells good". Most problems of the modern industry can be tracked back to the fact that most publishers are made of people to whom the whole concept of gaming is alien (the best proof for this is Valve, the giant made of people who do what they think is a good idea and which shows in the quality of their games).

Yeah, I'm not complaining about the Indie scene, it's getting more numerous and they're doing their best. It's also where I kinda see the only hope of moving forward, that and since 2 months ago obviously Kickstarter, but the Indie scene as it is today is a new thing from late 2009/early 2010 and pretty much started with Minecraft and World of Goo.
I just want studios like Bullfrog (Populous, Magic Carpet, Theme Park, Syndicate, Dungeon Keeper I+II, Theme Hospital); Lionhead in the early days (Black & White, Fable, The Movies); Maxis and their amazing Sim games (and they did a lot like Sim Tower/Ant/Town etc.), Origin Systems (Ultima series, Wing Commander, Privateer), or fresh new things like Lemmings, Creatures, Worms, FreeSpace and so on, at least with the respective budgets and team sizes that they had back then...

Honestly, think about what AAA games have been produced since 2005+, everything else all but died with the release of the Xbox360.

They can pretty much be summed up in 3-4 "genres" e.g. FPS or TPS (usually cover-based), Sports games, Action RPGs where you Hack&Slash and Open World games with RPGy bits that usually could also either fit under TPS or A-RPG themselves and even between those we're starting to see some kind of homogenization.
All other genres or experimentation all but died out on the big studio side, there's a few Strategy games every now and then on the PC and a few rare exceptions but otherwise... That's kind of a dark period for me and I really, really want more variety back in my gaming xD

SirBryghtside:
Shamus Young, a contributor to this site, has revealed some interesting things about this subject. Fact is, the time taken to produce the 'complexity' of what you showed there pales in comparison to the amount of time taken to make the game look shiny enough to be accepted in this generation. The high standard of good graphics means that we cannot go back to that level complexity without some massive innovation in game design in general.

I partly agree, and partly disagree. The case Shamus Young made in that article was actually that things like game design are pretty trivial in cost next to graphics. So I don't think it would actually be much more costly to implement mech-style controls vs. the standard console FPS button layout.

On the other hand, you definitely do have the issue where large developers get very risk-averse with their bigger, more cost-intensive games. However, I think we're actually fine now as a result of the indie scene - the barrier to entry for making a vidya game is lowering, and therefore I think we're pretty likely to see innovation continue to come from the lower-budget games.

NinjaKirby1322:
Plus, as a fan of Civilization, I think Civ 5 is the best so far.

Are you sure?
The civ5 AI has become a complete tactical joke that cannot get anything done under the one-unit-per-tile rule.
Emperor used to be a decent difficulty setting. Emperor is now a walk in the park. The AI needs even bigger cheats and advantages to pose any challenge.
Stacks of doom in civ 3 and 4 the AI could control properly atleast. 1 UPT is too much for it too handle. Civ5 replaced the stack of doom with a carpet of doom.
Players were outmanouvering the AI so badly, the devs nerfed the flanking bonusses and everything else that made 1 UPT and hex tiles tactically interesting in the first place.

On a strategic level the AI is just random. Doing crap like backstabbing their own allies when they are at war with the player. The AI doesn't even properly estimate the strenght of other civs when declaring war.
War and diplomacy is random now. In civ4 the AI atleast made sense, even if it was somewhat biased against the player.

On the economic level, the devs tried to balance the choices by making everything equally uninteresting and unappealing.
Gone is the variety of Civ4. No more specialist/hammer economy vs cottage spam vs super capital wonderspam, which were all valid economic strategies
given the situation. Civics used to have a very big impact on the game without unbalancing it.
Civ5 promotes only one thing and that is horizontal growth. Happiness limits cannot replace the maintenace costs of civ4. Many small cities with only the cheapest, primitive buildings, because everthing becomes progessively worse the higher you go on the ladder. It's a worse situation now than the science/tax farms in civ3.

Anyone who actually thinks that games are somehow worse now than they were back then are deluding themselves.

Time tends to filter out all the crap, meaning that we've forgotten the days of unlicensed cartridges (games that literally did not work) and the sheer amount of clones that littered gaming back then.

Sure, you can cherry-pick all the day, claiming "proof" that the medium has somehow become less complex than before.

Skoldpadda:
They're more linear and less complex

Nope and nope.

Back in the day, open-world games tended to be much rarer than now due to technical limitations. Also, here's an example of how gaming has become thousand times more complex:

Compare the console controllers, back then the most simple of games only used 8 buttons max. Now, the PS3 controller (for an example) has more buttons and functions than a car, this is what "simple" games are utilizing now.

I am guessing you don't remember much of what constituted 90% of games back then, or didn't play it.

EDIT:

Wonderland:
Bushnell (creator of Atari) said that games today were a suckish mesh and that is terrible for the industry.

...

WHAT?

Ahahahahahahahaha...

...Is he serious?

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

This is so true.

I remember playing Quake 2 and it was labyrinthine. Multiple floors, twisting tunnels. The massive levels in the warehouse section of the game were insane and you could easily get lost.

You play a modern day FPS, and its just A-B. So boring.

Elcarsh:

Anthraxus:
You just lost all your credibility right there.

You might think that, but I actually agree with him. Even the most putrid crap of today, in other words movie-based games, are actually generally more fun than the very best the 80's or 90's had to offer. What, Super Mario Bros? It always was crap. I grew up playing that game, and I never really liked it. It was incredibly flawed and not very fun to play.

Of course, there were exceptions, but there are ALWAYS exceptions, no matter which era you look at.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather play Super Mario Bros. than Kane and Lynch 2. Fun, simple, and well designed > unpleasant, slightly less simple, and badly designed.

And it's not exactly like Super Mario Bros. was the epitome of early games - it wasn't even the epitome of early console games. I would happily say that Starcraft is as good or better than any modern RTS, Planescape: Torment or Shiren the Wanderer are as good or better than any modern RPG, and Mechwarrior 2 is as good or better than any modern single-player FPS.

Dexter111:
snip

Well, I agree. More diversity would not be bad for the AAA industry which basically just fights over the top places in FPS, TPS and c(inematic)RPG. The actual funny times (even in those three genres) can be found in AA or lower categories. It's like Pokemon, watching the Uber battles is boring as hell because there are just legendary pokemon bashing their skulls in but in the lower tiers you have such amazing ideas between players which you'll never thought off (offensive Pixies!).

Strategy games... ah yeah. The AAA strategy genre is dominated by Blizzard, the last try to compete was an utter failure *I'm looking at you C&C without bases*. I would not consider the actual competition in strategy to be triple A, the budgets and mass appeal is overall to low in those but hey, we still have some diversity in the last alive franchises there and there were also some amazing RTS games last year (Frozen Synapse for one).

Ultima... My secret love... It hurts to even think about the last games in this series.

And I won't get started on the xBox and what "good" it did (well, thanks to it indie developer migrate to the PC so... well, the only thing I am thankfull towards the xBox).

Overall: I seem to have a different view on many things people see in old games. For me there is no disconnect between story and how it is told in games therefore I prefer some modern day first person perspective games to old ones (I mentioned Portal, STALKER and HL before). I have no problem with streamlining and better accessability as long as player are still regarded as intelligent people (SC2, CS:GO, Dark games, Witcher games). I am actually rather happy not to work around control schemes like in the Mech Warrior games (god, I was a kid back then with next to zero english knowledge. Even try to play this game was a whole challenge). But still, I won't say no to complex niche games (and I actually don't say no to those. I love me some Frozen Synapse).

Hyper-space:

Skoldpadda:
They're more linear and less complex

Nope and nope.

Back in the day, open-world games tended to be much rarer than now due to technical limitations. Also, here's an example of how gaming has become thousand times more complex:

Compare the console controllers, back then the most simple of games only used 8 buttons max. Now, the PS3 controller (for an example) has more buttons and functions than a car, this is what "simple" games are utilizing now.

The controller isn't really the problem here. I mean, look at Shiren the Wanderer. That's basically a graphical roguelike for the NES. Like any roguelike, you have a hilarious number of possible actions (change facing, put stuff in jars in your inventory, name an unknown item and every item of its type to make it easier for you to identify its function in the future, and so on). They get all those functions to fit on an NES controller.

It seems to me more like there's a perception among game developers that if they make their game too inaccessible (too difficult, too complicated, too unforgiving, etc.) they will sell fewer copies. This is certainly a position we can sympathize with, because Activision employees have to eat too, but it does lead to shallower, easier games coming from the major developers.

I have a question. When did the last 'generation' of games end and the current one begin?

Where do we put games like Halo 1, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Morrowind and Warcraft 3?

I think there are some excellent games in this current age. Dragon Age, Mass Effects 1 and 2 (haven't got 3 yet), Skyrim, Starcraft 2, Dawn of War 2, and 1. I've heard good things about Shougun 2.

All I thinks happened is we have become over saturated with shooters, and there is a backlash against them. So criticism of them may well be valid, but there are still other good games out there.

Hyper-space:

Wonderland:
Bushnell (creator of Atari) said that games today were a suckish mesh and that is terrible for the industry.

...

WHAT?

Ahahahahahahahaha...

...Is he serious?

Pretty sure a game is only good when it's so bad that all copies of it are buried in the desert. In that sense Atari is still the top dog to this day!

Sexy Devil:
Pretty sure a game is only good when it's so bad that all copies of it are buried in the desert. In that sense Atari is still the top dog to this day!

They're the only generation of consoles to have crashed the fucking market.

In that regard, they are the only top dog.

Kahunaburger:
[The controller isn't really the problem here. I mean, look at Shiren the Wanderer. That's basically a graphical roguelike for the NES. Like any roguelike, you have a hilarious number of possible actions (change facing, put stuff in jars in your inventory, name an unknown item and every item of its type to make it easier for you to identify its function in the future, and so on). They get all those functions to fit on an NES controller.

It seems to me more like there's a perception among game developers that if they make their game too inaccessible (too difficult, too complicated, too unforgiving, etc.) they will sell fewer copies. This is certainly a position we can sympathize with, because Activision employees have to eat too, but it does lead to shallower, easier games coming from the major developers.

...And?

I could list off Paradox Interactive's library of super-complex titles and it wouldn't prove anything, except that these few title are complex.

Its a fact that your brain slowly filters out all the unnecessary memories (such as mediocre movies/video-games that you've watched/played), leaving only the good memories behind. So why can't we just get some fucking perspective and realize that nostalgia only skewers your view-point?

There is no difference in quality now or then, except when it comes to the technical-side of things. Post-launch patching has made it so that you will for certain be able to play any game, no matter how buggy, unlike back in the day.

It's not better or worse, it's different. The wheel keeps on turning and good and bad games are produced as it always happens.

Of course I would rather be alive now and have the option of playing previous games from bygone generations as well as contemporary games.

Hyper-space:

Kahunaburger:
[The controller isn't really the problem here. I mean, look at Shiren the Wanderer. That's basically a graphical roguelike for the NES. Like any roguelike, you have a hilarious number of possible actions (change facing, put stuff in jars in your inventory, name an unknown item and every item of its type to make it easier for you to identify its function in the future, and so on). They get all those functions to fit on an NES controller.

It seems to me more like there's a perception among game developers that if they make their game too inaccessible (too difficult, too complicated, too unforgiving, etc.) they will sell fewer copies. This is certainly a position we can sympathize with, because Activision employees have to eat too, but it does lead to shallower, easier games coming from the major developers.

...And?

I could list off Paradox Interactive's library of super-complex titles and it wouldn't prove anything, except that these few title are complex.

Paradox Interactive should be applauded for this and we should give them more of our money. They have learned something that many other devs haven't - that depth is okay.

Hyper-space:
Its a fact that your brain slowly filters out all the unnecessary memories (such as mediocre movies/video-games that you've watched/played), leaving only the good memories behind. So why can't we just get some fucking perspective and realize that nostalgia only skewers your view-point?

The old-school games that I played the most around the time that they were actually released are as follows, in descending order of playtime:

1. Pokemans
2. Zelda
3. SimAnt
4. MechWarrior 2
5. Age of Empires

So I ran into stuff like Deus Ex, Homeworld, Planescape: Torment, and Super Metroid years or decades after they were released. I suspect I'm not the only one who likes these games because they are really good games, not because a nostalgia filter.

Hyper-space:
There is no difference in quality now or then, except when it comes to the technical-side of things.

The issue is more, at least in my opinion, a lack of progression in game design. Many people who should know better have failed to learn lessons like: WRPG stories should have choices and consequences, FPS level design should not be about the player moving linearly towards the next whack-a-mole section, turn-based tactics are fun and people will pay money for games that involve them, good gameplay and aesthetics age better than good graphics, people are smart enough to handle complicated control layouts, people are smart enough to figure out how to use items on the environment without glowing highlights around the interactable portions of the environment, and so on.

Kahunaburger:
The old-school games that I played the most around the time that they were actually released are as follows, in descending order of playtime:

1. Pokemans
2. Zelda
3. SimAnt
4. MechWarrior 2
5. Age of Empires

So I ran into stuff like Deus Ex, Homeworld, Planescape: Torment, and Super Metroid years or decades after they were released. I suspect I'm not the only one who likes these games because they are really good games, not because a nostalgia filter.

So you've played a range of games released from 1987-98, I've played as many great games in the last five years as I had during most of my childhood. Still doesn't prove shit.

people are smart enough to handle complicated control layouts, people are smart enough to figure out how to use items on the environment without glowing highlights around the interactable portions of the environment, and so on.

People who have played video-games for decades and have an extensive knowledge of recurring control-schemes might find it easy to play more complex games. But you are comparing those kinds of people with others who do not have the same experience.

You see, we are lucky to have gone through the medium hand-in-hand with the evolution of the controllers, we went from playing games with 8 buttons to shit like the PS3 controller. Dumping someone who has no experience whatsoever with video-games straight into a modern one doesn't work, its the equivalent of trying to teach someone how to drive a car (and all the logistics that come with it, traffic rules, ect.) within 5-10 minutes.

Saying "Oh, I didn't have any problems with learning how to play this game" is fucking meaningless. Moving around in a 3D-space is not a given, its something you have to become accustomed to. Knowing what kind of stats are in most RPGS is not a given, its something you have to have extensive knowledge on.

Trying to teach someone how to play Modern Warfare 2 is different from say, Super Mario Brothers. In fact, its a thousand times more complex than Super Mario Brothers. So again, fucking perspective, its seems as if its impossible for gamers to put themselves in someone else's shoes.

Zhukov:

Indecipherable:

Zhukov:
Writing is getting better, gradually. (Very gradually.)

I'd disagree here, again on the quality of writing of the isometric RPGs. Stuff like Planescape Torment just absolutely rapes the face out of everything written in the last five years. Metaphorically, that is.

That's one game. You can't point to one single game from the late 90s and say it's proof positive that games suck nowadays.

Besides, for all I hear about how wonderful PS:T's writing was, it certainly wasn't good enough to keep me interested.

Chrono Trigger, Arcanum, Deus Ex, System Shock, Shadowrun, Earthbound, Fallout, Fallout 2, Baldurs gate...

You want me to keep going? Because it's no trouble, really. I can disprove you all day if you like.

Face it, games have been kinda on the sucky side these days.

Hyper-space:

Kahunaburger:

people are smart enough to handle complicated control layouts, people are smart enough to figure out how to use items on the environment without glowing highlights around the interactable portions of the environment, and so on.

People who have played video-games for decades and have an extensive knowledge of recurring control-schemes might find it easy to play more complex games. But you are comparing those kinds of people with others who do not have the same experience.

So, let's talk about button layouts. The second game I played was Mechwarrior 2. The controls for the game are as follows:

image

I was like 9 at the time. If I and my 6-year old sister could figure out how to play that, I'm pretty sure most people can.

In fact, the whole standard FPS control scheme strikes me as targeted towards people who play a lot of FPS games, not people who have never played a game before. There's nothing inherently less intuitive about "set throttle to move forward" vs. "press W to move forward," assuming the game is balanced around the control scheme in question.

Hyper-space:

Saying "Oh, I didn't have any problems with learning how to play this game" is fucking meaningless. Moving around in a 3D-space is not a given, its something you have to become accustomed to. Knowing what kind of stats are in most RPGS is not a given, its something you have to have extensive knowledge on.

My point is more that people aren't stupid and can figure this stuff out pretty quick.

Syzygy23:

Chrono Trigger, Arcanum, Deus Ex, System Shock, Shadowrun, Earthbound, Fallout, Fallout 2, Baldurs gate...

You want me to keep going? Because it's no trouble, really. I can disprove you all day if you like.

Face it, games have been kinda on the sucky side these days.

And this few titles prove what exactly? I can do it too, throw in some critically acclaimed titles (for their writing of course) and yell that it proves something.

All those games have bad to mediocre narrative compared to modern games with excellent story. Like Portal 1 / 2, Bastion, Batman AA, Alpha Protocol, Psychonauts. Narrative, the means to tell the story in an interactive medium, is also a big part of "writing" itself. And face it: Several games of the last year alone have tried more alternative means to tell a story than any of those you've listed where all you see are textboxes or cutscenes full of exposition.

Face it: You are weraing THICK, rosetinted nostalgia glasses or have your elitist stick so far up your ass that you truly believe yourself when you say that all games are sucky this days.

Anthraxus:

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.

That doesn't discourage me from believing that modern gaming has just filled up the market with placeholder games that hold no real impact, and that the true pieces of art (opinionated, of course) are hidden under the rubbish games. I don't think gaming has become bad, I just think there are a lot more games so quality has been eroded by quantity.

Excluding, however, developers who take their time with their creations. See: Dark/Demon's Souls, Uncharted Series, ME1-3(Ending Controversy aside), Bioshock, etc.

TheKasp:

Syzygy23:

Chrono Trigger, Arcanum, Deus Ex, System Shock, Shadowrun, Earthbound, Fallout, Fallout 2, Baldurs gate...

You want me to keep going? Because it's no trouble, really. I can disprove you all day if you like.

Face it, games have been kinda on the sucky side these days.

And this few titles prove what exactly? I can do it too, throw in some critically acclaimed titles (for their writing of course) and yell that it proves something.

All those games have bad to mediocre narrative compared to modern games with excellent story. Like Portal 1 / 2, Bastion, Batman AA, Alpha Protocol, Psychonauts. Narrative, the means to tell the story in an interactive medium, is also a big part of "writing" itself. And face it: Several games of the last year alone have tried more alternative means to tell a story than any of those you've listed where all you see are textboxes or cutscenes full of exposition.

Face it: You are weraing THICK, rosetinted nostalgia glasses or have your elitist stick so far up your ass that you truly believe yourself when you say that all games are sucky this days.

You gotta look at the games from an overall point of view too. Not just the 'story' or writing. The actual GAMEPLAY and complexity/depth has gotten so dumbed down and piss easy, I can basically sleepwalk through these modern games while half paying attention.

dancinginfernal - see above. The games you mention other than Demons/Dark Souls aren't anything special when it comes to gameplay. More modern popamole gameplay.

Hyper-space:
Its a fact that your brain slowly filters out all the unnecessary memories (such as mediocre movies/video-games that you've watched/played), leaving only the good memories behind. So why can't we just get some fucking perspective and realize that nostalgia only skewers your view-point?

Because it's a bullshit argument, as I said before I CAN remember about as many bad games I played (e.g.: Lionheart , Daikatana, Urban Runner, Hopkins FBI etc., I remember that I thought Myst and Morrowind sucked for instance even though other people liked them, I still remember that one Tomb Raider game that sucked (Angel of Darkness), I remember that one Star Trek game they turned into a shooter and it was pretty bad (Generations), I remember that they turned King's Quest 8 into some sort of Hack&Slash/FPS game and that Ultima 9 wasn't running very well on top machines at the time and was buggy as fuck and so on.
It's a bullshit argument used by people who don't want to recognize that there's truth to it and it's easier to call on "nostalgia" instead of trying to have a discussion.

For that matter I also played Fallout 1 the same year I played Fallout 3 in, I thought Fallout 3 sucked like most Bethesda games and that Fallout 1 was one of the best games I ever played. Also played System Shock 2 for the first time some time ago (well like one year ago) and *gasp*, it looked pretty bad and had some issues but was still a lot better than most of the ultra-brown cover-based shooters nowadays.

I'll assume it's already been linked to before, but I think this little video sums up what's wrong with gaming as a whole, nowadays. It's largely from the point of view of shooter players, but the same basic hand-holding is perceptible everywhere else.

As games became mainstream, we were forced to find ways to convey information in increasingly clearer ways. It used to be shooters or even RTSes didn't need much more than patience or experimentation, but it feels like everyone wants to go from being a newcomer to "HARDCORE MLG SHIT, YO" in as little time as possible.

That involves the game spoon-feeding you its own strategies and tactics. It's not terribly bad in that it's laid out the ground work for a more social gaming scene (I don't think we'd have TF2 without the mainstream's integration, for instance) but at the same time, it's alienated those of us who play for the sake of being challenged or of feeling some sort of rush.

Having always been more of a casual gamer than anything else, I don't really mind the lack of seriously hard games in today's market, but I'd be hard-pressed not to understand how some people would.

Personally, though, I think most of the problem is in conveyance. We used to let the level design speak for itself, and now we tend to rely on tooltips or invasive tutorials.

IamLEAM1983:

Haha that's hilarious. I also like this one:

IamLEAM1983:

the game spoon-feeding you its own strategies and tactics.

Yeah, drives me up the wall. The problem is that it's a lot easier to design a game that railroads players through scripted segments (or into specific builds) than it is to design a game that can accommodate a wide variety of builds, strategies, and tactics.

IamLEAM1983:

It's not terribly bad in that it's laid out the ground work for a more social gaming scene (I don't think we'd have TF2 without the mainstream's integration, for instance) but at the same time, it's alienated those of us who play for the sake of being challenged or of feeling some sort of rush.

I actually really like the way TF2 does things. You have classes like Medic, Heavy, and Engineer, with relatively easily-mastered mechanics, but can go all the way up to stuff like this. There are classes for people who want fast, skill-intensive gameplay, people who want to focus on strategy, people who want to trick and ambush other people, and so on.

Kahunaburger:
I actually really like the way TF2 does things. You have classes like Medic, Heavy, and Engineer, with relatively easily-mastered mechanics, but can go all the way up to stuff like this. There are classes for people who want fast, skill-intensive gameplay, people who want to focus on strategy, people who want to trick and ambush other people, and so on.

Absolutely. I'm a halfway-decent Engineer myself, and I tend to suck at mostly every other class. I've got a gamer crush on the Spy class, but I can't play it effectively to save my life.

Engineer's easy and it's pretty relaxing, overall. All you need to do is get acquainted with where the other players need your gear or where they're *likely* to need it, and sit back while mothering your turret or your fellow Engies' own gear. Throw in the occasional shotgun frag or you setting up your turret offensively to mix things up, and you're good to go.

Not to mention that it's one class that really rewards experimentation. If you can use sneaky ways to reach unintended areas, you can literally make a killing. The easiest example would be the water in 2Fort's moat. I always stick a turret somewhere in there at some point in the match, and it takes *ages* for people to spot it.

Nobody thinks to check the water. ^^

In my opinion, most of the games today don't offer me the same "in-depth" feeling that they used to. In fact, I only like a few developer companies these days. People like Valve, Bethesda, and some others are the few companies that i trust when it comes to buying their product.

I'm still open to other games though, just that the games that are released by these developers tends to be a bit more.. better? than others. Also, the lack of challenge is killing me.

Also, announcing DLC after a week of launch isn't helping my liking. I miss "Pop n play". Now its "Buy,make accounts,update,etc." then play. Developers are getting greedy.. but who isn't greedy these days.

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