You can often find one very entertaining statement on the net. It comes from experienced gamers and sounds like this: they say, you just have to get acquainted with the classics of the genre. And not just read about it or find a video with the passage, but certainly personally – perhaps, a documentary certified certificate of “acquaintance” is not required. However, is it really necessary in our age of fast Internet and modern technologies to play old releases? And why is it sometimes impossible to get any pleasure from a hit, in general, game? Let’s try to answer this question together.
But before we get to the main topic of our conversation today, let me insert a short but extremely important preamble. In this text, we’re not going to hurt anyone’s affectionate feelings by saying that all old games suck. This is at least not true. However, it is important to note that absolutely all hits of the past can be divided into several conditional categories. The first cohort includes projects that simply do not exist on the modern market. Try, for example, to find an action game based on Star Wars, in which it would be just as interesting to wave a light saber, as in the famous Jedi Academy. There’s no such thing.Force Unleashed and recentFallen Order is not worth mentioning – these games are in many ways inferior to the 2003 hit.
To the second rank are video games, which have practically not become obsolete over the years. There are not so many such releases, but still they are:Heroes of Might & Magic 3 , all kinds of RTS, economic strategies, immersive sims by typeDeus Ex , TV seriesHalo or spy dilogyNo One Lives Forever , meat shooters like the first partPainkiller and its add-on – we suppose you understand what this is about. And, finally, the third group – these are the games that we will talk about today. They did not change the genre foundations, did not make gamers roar with delight – they just existed for a certain period of time. Therefore, just put a tick in your notebook somewhere: the VGTimes editorial office does not encroach on the sacred – we are talking about the “salt of the earth” here, and not rinsing emeralds in sewage. Did you agree? Then let’s get down to the main part.
Hardly any of our readers would argue with the claim that video games have changed dramatically over the past twenty-five years. Today it is no longer customary to scare gamers with a static camera, make them collect diamonds in a police station or multi-colored keys. The principles of game design have stepped forward, and so much forward that today it is not always possible to see the transition between the intro and the gameplay. Here here is the hero waving his fists, talking, and then – bam – and you have to fight. Disorder ?! Not at all – it’s just that the games took a lot from the cinema, adapted and brought it to a new level.
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Alas and ah, but such rapid progress had a very bad effect on the preservation of the heritage of the past. Just try to run some shooter from the late nineties and early zero, and you will be very surprised how “stilted” and, sorry, faded in comparison with modern action films. The heroes of those years did not know how to hide behind cover, they had to poke at the wall just to avoid damage. Sophisticated combat system? With rare exceptions, everything was as severe as possible. We deliberately do not cite any specific games here – the list will be too long. It is important to understand one thing: old game design templates will seem wild to the new generation of players.
The point here is not at all in the complexity or the threshold of entry (we will talk about this a little below) – it is about the perception of the gameplay. The modern player is overfed with high-quality gameplay and he simply will not tolerate a one-button combat system, thanks to which it is not very clear, the heroine is conventionalBloodRayne will kick or kick your opponent. All this leaves a serious imprint on the index of “digestibility” of old video games by the new generation of gamers.
Perhaps the most controversial point in our conversation today. The fact is that the complexity, in contrast to the same graphics, cannot be assessed using some objective scale. What is almost impassable for one – the other will overcome in no time. At the same time, there will be a dozen opinions, even within one community. Just go to some “trifikhunter” resource and see how the people there vote for the complexity of “platinum” – we guarantee that you will be stunned by such a strong difference of views. However, we will still try to display the average temperature.
Let’s start with the following statement. Don’t confuse games with lopsided game design (see previous point) and games that challenge the adventurer. If, in order to pass a conditional role-playing, you need to study it, get imbued with the mechanics, understand how the pumping system works and choose tactics for each opponent – then this is an honest, real difficulty. If difficulties arise solely due to the fact that on “hard” mobs and bosses turn into a sponge for cartridges or spells, and your character dies from a couple of pokes or due to the fact that one polygon is not caught on the ledge, then this is an example bad taste and developmental laziness.
So, in all honesty, most of the games of the past fall into the second category. They are complex not because the designer generously scattered interesting situations on the map that require a special approach, the development of tactics or strategy. No, they are difficult because “Oh, damn it, I didn’t reach the ledge again, although here, now, almost, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, I hate this game!” And then there was a curved boevka, and the enemies were almost unkillable …
The Dark Souls series is a great example of a really difficult game. Difficult to be honest, not due to game design mistakes
If you were not fond of games at that glorious time, when even pirated cartridges and discs were expensive, and the Internet was on the cards, slow and not for everyone, then you can hardly get into the romance of those years. Yes, we agree that today very few games are trying to throw at least some kind of challenge, but let’s be honest: better fun “casual” than all this game with complexity due to remnants of the arcade era and the elementary inability to create 3D games. Recommend this to beginners? No really!
Unlike outdated gameplay and difficulty curves, the high barriers to entry cannot be attributed to the unambiguous downsides of older video games. However, the plus turns out to be very “flimsy”. Let’s look at this point from a research point of view. More recently (on a historical scale, of course), relatively few people have played video games. Almost all of them constituted the so-called “core target audience” – they were ready to study the subject of their hobby. Developers could afford to create worlds without fear that the buyer would abandon the passage, faced with the very first difficulty that arose due to the fact that he did not understand some element of the gameplay.
All of this allowed game studios to create the deepest, uncompromising video games possible. However, time passed. The industry grew, and now consoles and advanced PCs are bought by ordinary people who do not want to read manuals and spend hours discussing on forums the features of building a build for a Barbarian or Enchantress. They just want to play the game and enjoy. This is what influenced the fact that modern games are created, first of all, with the expectation of gamers who are not ready and do not want to dig into something for a long time. A good example of this is the seriesThe Elder Scrolls . If the conditional Morrowind still forced players to poke around in mechanics, read books and complete quests according to the description from the diary, then alreadyOblivion andSkyrim have simplified the mechanics to the level of potatoes: follow the arrow – listen to the dialogues. And we are still talking about itMass Effect is silent, which turned out to be a cue wheel shooter; and aboutFallout , which by the fourth part finally slipped into an action movie for the evening.
Is it bad? Partly yes. There is too much service and content on a silver platter and too little meaning. On the other hand, there are still video games forcing gamers to study themselves – the sameWasteland 3 orDivinity: Original Sin 2 is an example of this. Where are the old games and the subject of our conversation here, you ask? It’s simple. Almost all of the older games, regardless of their genre, forced gamers to study themselves. They had a high entrance at times, moreover, that of the masterpieces (Deus Ex), that of the outspoken walker like a shooter based on “Die Hard”. And this is really an obstacle that can scare off modern lovers of interactive entertainment. But this obstacle is sometimes worth overcoming. They said it was an ambiguous point. Oh, how ambiguous.
Finally – the most curious. Hardly anyone will today defend the technological component of the hits of the past. Even outspoken conservatives admit that modern games are much more technologically advanced and many times more beautiful than their predecessors. However, everything is not so simple. The fact is that truly beautiful video games – both now and in the past – are relatively rare. Beauty, in turn, is of two types: design and shader-polygonal.
So, best of all are those games that do not try to look very realistic. For example, Okami, a wonderful adventure game about a she-wolf-goddess from Clever Studios, is still played cheerfully, and someSplinter Cell: Chaos Theory has not passed the test of time – its age is felt one-two-three. And this “obsolescence” often becomes a stumbling block for modern gamers.
Why launch frank naphthalene when there are much more modern projects nearby that correspond to their era? The result is interesting. The conditional Sam Fisher or Max Payne is being driven across the virtual clearing by people who caught them at one time – while the younger generation has long had their heroes and idols. And this is the normal course of history – it has always been and will be so. The exceptions are timeless games like Okami. Due to their visual style, they still look great.
What’s in the bottom line? Forget old games like a bad dream and keep up with the times? Not at all! The claim that all old-school shooters and RPGs are complete bullshit is as untenable as the whining that modern games are completely casual. We propose to approach the issue with a healthy head. Personally launch those games that were able to more or less survive and study history from material from the media and encyclopedias. You need to know the classics, but not at the cost of nerve cells.
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