The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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joehero
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by joehero Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:01 am

I think the general consensus is simplicity. The ability to pick up a game and start playing it without having to read a 25 page manual before starting. The learning curve is very quick yet the games continue to be a challenge, even 20 years later.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by J T Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:06 am

Mr.White555 wrote:Non abstract response:
The developers had less to work with so they made the best of what they had. Since the developers worked the in and outs of the hardware their products are made better than new games.

P.S. If my post didn't make any sense it is probably because I am tired and a little bit sleep deprived.


No, I follow you. I've heard a lot of artists and musicians talk about having "too much freedom" in their medium as it has advanced. For example, with the capabilities of modern recording equipment I can shape a sound in just about any way imaginable. I can re-pitch it, add reverb to make it sound like it's played in a cavern, filter out unwanted frequencies, compress the lower volume levels so that a whisper sounds as loud as a scream, use a vocoder to combine the sounds of my voice with my synthesizer for that robotic flare, and so on. There are literally millions of options for what I can do with the sound. Trying to make decisions out of millions of options creates such cognitive overload that you can't make very good decisions. Sometimes you need to artificially create a set of parameters to work within so that you can do the best you can within a limited range of options.

Related back to videogames, there are so many fantastic things that they can do with graphics now that I think they get lost in the graphical capabilities and lose sight of how the images should work in tandem with the gameplay, the story, and the sound. We end up with games that have fantastic graphical displays that just aren't warranted in the storyline, or that make your character appear powerful, though the gimped control system makes you feel powerless and the whole thing just doesn't come together. If they had pulled in the reigns on graphics developement and actually worked on the game itself (rules, level design, play control), the end product would have been much more enjoyable.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by neilencio Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:21 am

I think there's also the thing about developers nowadays trying to turn their games into big-budget interactive hollywood movies, which is a bit bipolar in the sense that it's awesome when it's done right but awful when it fails. Sometimes they end up making the experience so immersive and realistic that it becomes actual work.

I mean, there are things that are fun when you're a passive observer but becomes tedious when you're the one who has to do it.
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J T
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by J T Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:26 am

joehero wrote:I think the general consensus is simplicity. The ability to pick up a game and start playing it without having to read a 25 page manual before starting. The learning curve is very quick yet the games continue to be a challenge, even 20 years later.


Easy to learn, difficult to master: that makes a game great.

I think that's very important, and has been forgotten in many newer games. In the old days, game designers had to focus on achieving that goal. If you were going to have a person drop a quarter in an arcade machine, then they needed to be able to figure out the game instantly if you ever expected them to play again. If you wanted them to stay on the machine and keep dropping quarters, then you had to make it so it remained challenging as the game progressed. Easy to learn, difficult to master. That's what sold an arcade game before graphics and sound were great.

Now games are sold for more reasons. They can "wow" you with special effects and take you on a tour through a beautiful virtual world. They can tell a fantastical story that will take hours of your time, which is possible because you don't have to insert quarters, you can play in the comfort of your home, and you have memory cards to save progress. Now that 3D effects and lighting are possible, games are learning to take in knowledge from cinematography and translate it to 3D sculpted environments so playing a game feels more like watching a film that you have some control over. You just couldn’t do those things in the old days, so the game itself had to be good. In fact, did you know it was controversial that Pac Man even had a story? The designer had to fight for those silly little cut scenes where you see Pac Man and the ghosts running around. It was somewhat revolutionary back then to personalize the game characters by giving them names like Pinky, Inky, and Blinky. That seems ridiculous in the modern games market where story and graphics are emphasized.

Now there are focus groups and marketing research that fuel game design. The amount of factors that contribute to game design pull things in all different directions. Yet, I would argue that “easy to learn, difficult to master” is still the most important feature, though it is often forgotten. Games often don’t even attempt to handle the situation and just slap on a standard control scheme instead, such as a first person shooter where WASD is movement, shift is to run, CTRL is to crouch, and mouse is for head movement and firing. In the old days, if you just copied a control scheme, you pretty much copied the game because the graphics and story weren’t much to speak of. In order to compete in the old market, your game had to stand on its own in gameplay. Now you can create interest in your game for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with gameplay. I think that’s one of the big differences.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by (-_-) Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:45 pm

Definitely the pick up and playability. No tutorials and challenges that are developed from within the game itself. Like beating megaman without getting hit, or one credit running through schmups.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by Breetai Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:08 pm

J T wrote:I've heard a lot of artists and musicians talk about having "too much freedom" in their medium as it has advanced. For example, with the capabilities of modern recording equipment I can shape a sound in just about any way imaginable. I can re-pitch it, add reverb to make it sound like it's played in a cavern, filter out unwanted frequencies, compress the lower volume levels so that a whisper sounds as loud as a scream, use a vocoder to combine the sounds of my voice with my synthesizer for that robotic flare, and so on. There are literally millions of options for what I can do with the sound. Trying to make decisions out of millions of options creates such cognitive overload that you can't make very good decisions. Sometimes you need to artificially create a set of parameters to work within so that you can do the best you can within a limited range of options.

This could be why I prefer 60s -early 90s rock over just about anything newer, and completely HATE computer enhanced music (especially when they add effects to vocals!). The experimental stuff in the early 80s was fun, because it was experimental and everyone knew it. It wasn't normal and nobody intended it to be. Now it seems to show up in the majority of pop songs. This isn't just rock and pop, though. It seems to be in almost every genre, from rock, country, rap, hip-hop, pop, metal, etc. I'm not a big rap/hip-hop fan, but I do find the stuff from the 70s/80s/early 90s listen-able and often enjoyable. New stuff makes my ears bleed. I even prefer older movies for this same reason. Stuff like Avatar just seems... overdone to me. I like movie effects much more when they are done by hand, even if they don't look as realistic. It just seems so much more like art that way. You can imagine exactly what the creators of the movie were trying to accomplish when you saw hand-made special effects. Watch the extras DVD on the Back to the Future trilogy or Indiana Jones trilogy, and it is ingenious how they came up with things. Computers take all this away. It it just me thinking this way?

Simple is better in all things.
Last edited by Breetai on Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by CRTGAMER Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:12 pm

The Trakball and Twinstik gameplay. Throw in the lightgun.
Motion controls have at least resurrected light gun gameplay.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by YoshiEgg25 Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:23 pm

Breetai wrote:
J T wrote:I've heard a lot of artists and musicians talk about having "too much freedom" in their medium as it has advanced. For example, with the capabilities of modern recording equipment I can shape a sound in just about any way imaginable. I can re-pitch it, add reverb to make it sound like it's played in a cavern, filter out unwanted frequencies, compress the lower volume levels so that a whisper sounds as loud as a scream, use a vocoder to combine the sounds of my voice with my synthesizer for that robotic flare, and so on. There are literally millions of options for what I can do with the sound. Trying to make decisions out of millions of options creates such cognitive overload that you can't make very good decisions. Sometimes you need to artificially create a set of parameters to work within so that you can do the best you can within a limited range of options.

This could be why I prefer 60s -early 90s rock over just about anything newer, and completely HATE computer enhanced music (especially when they add effects to vocals!). The experimental stuff in the early 80s was fun, because it was experimental and everyone knew it. It wasn't normal and nobody intended it to be. Now it seems to show up in the majority of pop songs. This isn't just rock and pop, though. It seems to be in almost every genre, from rock, country, rap, hip-hop, pop, metal, etc. I'm not a big rap/hip-hop fan, but I do find the stuff from the 70s/80s/early 90s listen-able and often enjoyable. New stuff makes my ears bleed. It it just me thinking this?

No, I agree totally, new music is terrible. Basically I'll listen up to Nirvana, and mostly anything before that, but everything past them just isn't my thing.

In regards to games, like many of you have said, many of the newer games focus too much on story or graphics. Sometimes you just want a game for the gameplay, with maybe a bit of story. Nintendo has got this down, and that's why I continue to support them. Graphics don't make a game, else none of us would still be playing anything before now.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by thelolotov Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:26 pm

J T wrote:The obvious answer is nostalgia. Revisiting childhood memories often plays a factor into retro gaming. But it's more than just nostalgia. I play old games that I never played as a child and some retro gamers are really young and are playing games from before they were born. Some people even claim that the old games are better than the new ones (I don't think that's universally true, but I've seen some of you post this kind of general sentiment). So I'm curious to know what you guys think the old games did better. What makes the old games special in a way that newer games just can't seem to replicate?

There are a few ideas I have about this. One of the first things that comes to mind is the excitement of playing a game that was truly original. The early videogames didn't have older videogames or genres to copy from. There was no map and game designers had to be creative enough to start from the point of "what is a video game" not just "what should this particular game be about". It's always exciting to see a pioneering idea born. I feel lucky to have played a lot of the original genre starters back when they were originally released.

The other thing I like about some of the really early games is the elegance of a simple concept well executed. I played a bunch of Atari 2600 games the other day and I was struck by how many games have everything you need to know about the game all on one screen. You don't travel anywhere, it's all contained in the screen and all the rules are intuitively obvious. The best example of this from what I played was Yar's Revenge. You have an enemy one side of the screen, your character on the other, and a force field 1/3 of the way across the screen. You can only fire one bullet at a time and it has to hit a target or go off screen before you can fire again. When you are close to the enemy it’s easier to hit him, but harder to dodge his attack. When you are far away, it is easier to dodge his attack, but harder to hit him. You cannot fire within the force field area, which would be the easiest point on the screen to attack from, so this forces you to choose whether you want to have a more difficult time shooting or dodging. To kill the enemy, you have to launch a rocket from across the screen that can accidentally kill your ship and you have a similar dilemma about where to launch your rocket from. All of this basic structure sets the stage for a surprisingly deep game for something so minimal. It’s really kind of brilliant.

So what do you guys like about the old games?


I missed out on a lot of consoles during my childhood, so the only nostalgia I have is for the NES, SNES, N64, and gamecube, and I only had 2 NES games, never owned a SNES myself, but played about 3, same with n64, and owned about 17 GC games.

I actually find myself having more fun with the consoles I never owned, and with games I never played, despite how advanced gaming is getting (I've invested heavily in a triplehead setup, I know what I'm talking about, XD) I still find some old games really fun.
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Re: What do the old games have that the new games don't?

by blackmagepwns Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:48 pm

I've been playing games for quite sometime now, I began in the SNES era, went on to owning both 64 and PSX (my parents were divorced so i was exposed to both sides at the time.) Then on to GCN and such. I did miss quite a few great titles back in the day, but at the same time I played enough of them to really find my place in gaming. Sure, games today are beautiful and complex, But the same can be said of games of yesteryear in a different context. I for one, can stand loading times but I do despise them. In college now, I'm finding less and less time to play games, but I still make as much time as I can (like today, where I'm doing nothing but playing my older systems, probably starting with Mario 64 or JFG.)
However, I did own up and buy a PS3 last year, and since I have enjoyed some of the next gen games like LBP.

All in all, They remind me of the simpler times to where I could come home from school and just play video games all day.
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