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Games All Downhill Since Pong? 403

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the you-kids-get-off-my-lawn dept.
In a recent article Nolan Bushnell laments the current state of gaming, stating that modern games are nothing more than a "race to the bottom" resulting in complete and utter trash. In order to combat what he sees as the downward spiral in game quality he continues to work on his new dining experience uWink that features tabletop games and a "reasonably priced meal". RPS weighs in on the subject arguing that, while the unhealthy obsession with Halo 3 might be a bit misplaced, there are plenty of gems to be found amidst the flotsam and jetsam.
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Games All Downhill Since Pong?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:34PM (#21080857)
    This was a triumph.

    I'm making a note here:
    HUGE SUCCESS!
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arathon (1002016) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:35PM (#21080861) Journal
    See: Portal [slashdot.org].
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:39PM (#21080897)
      Now that FPS games have gotten as pretty as they can marketing will have no choice but to focus on game play elements.
      • The movie industry continues to crank out pretty-but-stupid after pretty-but-stupid movie. The "hey-day" of special effects has come, and then come again. Visual art is not something that is ever going to reach an absolute apex; just look at the successful games out there that do *not* use as-real-as-possible graphics; World of Warcraft, for instance.

        Gameplay is, unfortunately, a far more expensive investment than graphics, with less return. It's hard to market as well; what can you say in a few words abou

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      i don't think referencing a fad (a tech gimmick-based game) really helps your argument. it's by Valve, and it has fun with physics and portal puzzles--but brand and tech doesn't make a great game. it may be nice, but it isn't anywhere near good enough for you to troll a thread with one word responses.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You clearly haven't completed the game. There's cake.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dhavleak (912889)
        Well, it's certainly an interesting game. Not gripping, but it's cool to see a game developer explore new game types.

        And I certainly think Nolan misses the point when calling all games these days crap. Lots of gamers would agree that Halo 3 is a great game, but not on the same level as the hype surrounding it. But in some ways Halo (the entire series) has had a role in growing the gamer population. It wasn't the first to have multiplayer gaming by a long shot, but the ease of the multiplayer scenario was pr
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ShieldW0lf (601553)
          And I certainly think Nolan misses the point when calling all games these days crap.

          Nolan compares himself to Disney. He created Chuck E. Cheese. He bemoans the way people don't socialize the way they used to, and how men don't buy board games anymore.

          Clearly, to someone like Nolan, a game like Portal is a bad game, because the better it is at being what it tries to be, the more it disinclines you to connect to other human beings.

          Those who disagree with him point out all the social aspects of onlin
      • Re:No. (Score:4, Informative)

        by KikassAssassin (318149) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @06:58AM (#21082929)
        I'm going to have to disagree with you there.

        You're right, brand and tech don't make a great game. However, fun, innovative and original gameplay that tests your intellect as much as your reaction speed, a surprisingly captivating story that had me hooked and wouldn't let go, a twisted sense of humor (I don't remember the last time I laughed that much at a game. The computer voice that guides you along is hilarious, and I was laughing at it almost the entire time I was playing), and an all-around high amount of polish do make a great game. Portal may be short (it only takes a few hours to beat), but it was the most refreshing, entertaining few hours of gaming I've experience in a long, long time.

        There are a lot of great games that have come out this year and there are even more great games scheduled to come out by the end of the year. No doubt, the second half of 2007 is looking like one of the best times PC gaming (and gaming in general) has seen in years. Even still, I would rank Portal as a more fun experience than any of the other games I've played this year so far, and I'm skeptical that anything coming down the pipe will top that first play-through of Portal for sheer enjoyment factor. After I'd finished the game's story mode, I was stuck on a Portal high for days. It was the same kind of high I get after finishing a really good book for the first time, and that's simply something no other game has done to me.

        You call it a tech gimmick fad, but that just tells me that you've missed the point of the game entirely. For me (and nearly everyone else I've talked to who's played the game), it's on track to be my game of the year, if not game of the decade. It seems like the only reason it hasn't been getting 10/10 scores in professional reviews is because of its length, but it was such a fun experience for the few hours it lasted that I'm willing to overlook that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Portal has nothing on Pong.

      Portal is fun for the two hours it takes to complete it. Then it's over.

      Pong remains fun years later, even if it is a bit simple. Maybe not for two hours at a time, but definitely for more than two hours total.

      And, yes, I'm aware that Portal artificially increases gameplay length with the Advanced and Challenge maps, but those are repeats of sections of the original game and, having completed the Advanced maps, not so much fun as "vein-popping frustrating."
  • Hmm, OK... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:36PM (#21080867) Homepage
    What metric is being used here? Fun-per-pixel? Fun-per-Hertz? I guess if you go by that standard, Pong is the best videogame ever.
  • Feh (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:38PM (#21080885)
    As if Pong could possibly be better than Duke Nukem Forever.
  • It had great team play. It had balanced objects. It had just the right amount of speed.

    It had suspension of disbelief.

    I so miss it.
    • by Night Goat (18437) * on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:52PM (#21081037) Homepage Journal
      LMCTF took up so much of my time in college. Thanks for reminding me. And you're right, it was great. You could just jump right in and start playing. Contrast this with Counterstrike which is no fun at all for new players who are playing alongside seasoned vets.
    • by bigberk (547360)
      Can I still play it? I'd love to check it out. Are there still people on servers?

      I don't understand how such large numbers of players disappear from games. I used to religiously play Wolfenstein ET (Enemy Territory), which was fun because of all the servers and maps. These days I can not find any human players online.
      • There are two types of gamers: The types who enjoy gaming and the types who follow the latest fad.

        Unfortunately the former is tiny compared to the latter hence why you have difficulty finding ET players.

        Everyone who disagrees with this article is the latter.
        Pong completely obliviates 99.9% of modern games in terms of game play and fun.
        Mind you I personally preferred Asteroids and Space Invaders more but Pong was still good.
  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:39PM (#21080907)
    I have a similar view - only differing by a generation or so. I'm probably a bit younger than the author. In my very humble opinion, games have gone downhill ever since they moved from 2D to 3D. My all time favorite game is Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES version). Ocarina of time was alright, but the games these days are just a little bit too complicated with way too much stuff going on. They're fine if you want to really get into them, but again, they are too complicated, and they just feel different.

    Perhaps it's just a generation thing... you love the games you were brought up with... I'm sure that there are plenty of people who feel that games have gone downhill ever since they started using "advanced" graphics (tiles, images, etc... the stuff you see with Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mario, etc... for the SNES and NES), as opposed to a ball and some paddles...
    • I think so, I think it really is an age thing. I grew up with the SNES and N64. I think Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 were the best of the series, Super Mario World 2 and Super Mario 64 go unmatched, and Star Fox 64 was THE game to have in '96. And games after that just seemed to lose focus. Games in the N64 era were 3D, all right, but it was obvious as hell that looks weren't the focus, seeing as hands were created with all of 5 vertices. Devs got creative with 3D then, but in later years they just st
    • by ashitaka (27544) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:53PM (#21081043) Homepage
      Maybe generational but there is an aspect of what kind of games do you like.

      I watch my son playing Final Fantasy on his PS2 and the ridiculous complexity of weapons, healing potions, tactics, characters and maps just takes away any possibility of me just enjoying the game or environment.

      The only thing I'll play on the kids consoles are the driving games.

      For me there would still be great pleasure in Xevious or Tempest.
       
      • by Jarjarthejedi (996957) <christianpinch@g ... com minus author> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:57AM (#21081455) Journal
        It's probably generational. I've played Space Invaders, Pong, and Galaga in their original styles and I found them all terribly boring. Give me a full form FPS or RPG any day. I recognize that a lot of people love those games but for someone whose first real game was Battlefield 1942 those older games are far too simplistic. That ridiculous complexity is one of things I love about games. As long as it's done right it offers you plenty of things to learn how to use which is something I find fun.

        I'm sure you'd have a great time playing Tempest again. I wouldn't enjoy that game much at all, I'd much rather play Age of Empire 3 or Battlefield 2142 or Halo 3. To me those are good games (well, Battlefield loses points for it's awful DRM lagging my computer for 10 minutes after I close it...) and the 'classic' games I nostagize about are Battlefield 1942 and Star Trek Armada 2 (which I still play). Simplicity is probably a great thing in a game, if you grew up with simplicity.

        As Douglas Adams once said, "Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things." That's really what this article is all about, modern games are against the natural order of gaming for those who grew up with Pong-generation games. To those of us who grew up with modern games they're normal and ordinary and the older games are boring.
      • by JoshJ (1009085)
        Have you seen Nethack? There's something like 20 potions, 20 scrolls, etc; and they all do different things blessed/cursed/uncursed, and Nethack is older than I am.
    • "I have a similar view - only differing by a generation or so. I'm probably a bit younger than the author. In my very humble opinion, games have gone downhill ever since they moved from 2D to 3D."

      I disagree, only certain genre's suffer from 2D-->3D and no once is pointing a gun to the devleopers head to make 3D games, there is the gameboy and DS if they really want to make a 2D game, and now there is Wii and Xbox arcade... if you want to see more oldschool 2D games then BUY oldschool downloadable games o
    • by Machtyn (759119) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:33AM (#21081297) Homepage Journal
      I've been enjoying and playing games since Atari 2400. I've enjoyed my share of Pac-Man, Joust, Missile Command, Super Mario Bros, Contra (one of my favorites), Wolfenstein 3d, Mech Warrior 2, Warcraft 2, (never did get into Starcraft or Red Alert), Quake (Team Fortress), Half-Life (TFC, Counterstrike), Diablo, Diablo 2 (favorite) , Half-Life 2 (Eps1-2, Portal, TF2) (favorite), Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, Runescape, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 (sadly, a failed port... could have been MUCH better. Yet, it was still really decent), Need for Speed: Underground 2 (not enough replayability, stupid EA for not supporting the mod community), Civilization 2, 3, 4, Bejewelled, Zuma, Bookworm, Text Twist (favorite), Peggle, Morrowind, Oblivion (favorite), Never-Winter Nights, Everquest, Zelda 1, 2 (favorite), Tetris, Metroid, Netcraft, kMoria (on the Palm), the Sims, Sim City 2000, Tiger Woods Golf and Wii sports. (not a complete list of the games I've enjoyed.)

      You'll notice I have a wide variety of interest in games, I think I've covered: casual gaming, first person shooters, role playing games (massively multiplayer, multiplayer and single player), strategy (real time and turn based), side scrollers, sports titles, sims and god games.

      I've mentioned quite a few cream of the crop and a number of first person shooters (I nearly went professional in Quake3 and UT.) I have enjoyed all of these games and it really is a preference to the individual player. My wife: a definite casual gamer. Me? can't you tell... addicted gamer. I can easily go back and enjoy the classics as well as enjoy the new shiny. I've learned I'm no good at real-time strategy... not that good at turn-based either, but I have fun with it. Also, give Valve credit, they're doing their best at putting a decent story into first person shooters. I highly recommend an Orange Box purchase.

      My point to this post is that each person has their favorite. There is no right answer to the "Best" game. To say Pong was the only decent game ... well, he may have a point, but there is just as much gameplay in Civilization 3 or 4 (multiplayer) as there is in pong.
      Just finished playing: Oblivion, Half-Life 2 eps 1-2 (twice), Portal (this will be awesome in multiplayer)
      Currently playing: Civilization 3 (with a friend), Civilization 4 (learning the game, getting ready for multiplay), kMoria (I'm finally figuring out this game), Text Twist (great on the laptop), Team Fortress 2, Never-Winter Nights (multiplay)
      Will/Want to play: Need a good flight sim, a better Need for Speed game (why can't we crunch cars real good, GPUs are good enough), a good strategy game and first person shooter that utilizes dual monitors.

      / Ah! How could I have forgotten Oregon Trail and another Apple IIe classic: Montezuma's Revenge. Or, even the classic Blue Disks for the IBM PC (and compatibles). // Your welcome for the trip down memory lane ;)
    • by Bryan Ischo (893)
      I have been playing video games since I was six years old in 1978. In my opinion, games are no worse or better now than they have ever been (that being said, I haven't played any video games since my daughter was born a year ago; although I vowed that I wouldn't let a baby change my playing habits, unfortunately the cold hard reality is, I just don't have time for such things at the moment).

      I have found great games to play every single year since 1978. They are out there if you look. Maybe the rise in po
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ILuvRamen (1026668)
      Yeah they sure killed the fun. If you sit two twelve year olds down at a 2 player flash game where you beat each other in the head with hammers, I personally know like 4 kids that would laugh every single time for like 5 minutes and say it's the best game ever made.
      anyway, the trend is tons more time having to be spent on art and design and skinning and textures and cutsecenes and Feng Shuing the map and whatever the hell else they waste time on these days. And that leaves a tiny budget and no time for a
  • Bioshock provided me with some of the best game-based entertainment I've had in years. And I've spent many happy hours deathmatching in Quake, going through a number of the Zeldas, thumping bad guys in Crackdown, and even playing Solitaire.

    Downhill, huh?

    (And yes, I enjoyed Halo 3).

  • I'm not really a big gamer and haven't really gone for the FPS stuff much after the first Doom. I've played a few games here and there, but there's one game that I've played off and on for 10 years and can't seem to break the addiction, and that's SubSpace [wikipedia.org] (now known as Continuum [getcontinuum.com]). I started playing in '97 when Virgin Interactive had it in beta and while I've gone a few years here and there where I haven't played, I still play it pretty often. I can't really say what it is about it that's so appealing to me
  • LucasArts adventure games, Silent Hill 1,2 and 3 (4 sucked), Prince of Persia (all of them except the gameboy versions), Castlevania, SuperMetroid and derivates. Lemmings was a gem, too.

  • by The Orange Mage (1057436) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:49PM (#21080993) Homepage
    Coming from the guy who was part of Atari AND founded Chuck E. Cheeses, it seems Bushnell is stating HIS personal goal/philosophy of gaming.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      He must not be alone in his opinions, I wish I had founded three wildly successful enterprises (Pong, Atari, Chuck E Cheese).

      From the article:

      We used to have families sit down and play a game together. A lot of video games today are very isolated. You don't see mom and dad, sister and brother, sitting down like they used to play, say, Monopoly," says Bushnell. "That represented good mentoring time for families that just isn't happening now."

      So, yes, he has a certain vision in mind. He thinks family me

  • Wii (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Nabbit (924807) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:49PM (#21081001) Journal
    Has Mr. Bushnell played Wii? The article is pretty vague on what exactly his beef is with modern video games, but Nintendo seems to be aiming to do the same thing he is with his interactive restaurant games (minus the food of course).
    • Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:41AM (#21081337) Homepage Journal
      Up until a few days ago, I probably would have agreed with TFA. I played my share of console and arcade games as a kid, and a computer game here and there (I even gave WoW a shot, and it admittedly keep me going for a few months), but I just don't generally find games all that engaging. Either they're too simple and I get bored, or they're too frustrating, and I get annoyed and bored. It just feels artificial -- if I want a challenge, there are enough projects on my to-do list to keep me busy for several lifetimes, and if I want escapism, there are a lot of books. I'm not denigrating people who do like games (we all have our hobbies), I just didn't really get the draw.

      But that was before a few weekends ago, when the S.O. and I were at a friend's house and saw Wii Sports in person for the first time. I'd heard of it, of course, but had never really played it. Overall, I'm not sure it'll go down in the annals of videogames as more significant than Super Mario Brothers, but maybe it should: I saw more non-gamers pick up and have a good time with that game than I've ever seen before, on any system. Lots of people who normally would have just tuned it out as annoying background noise ended up taking a turn. And perhaps more significantly, we weren't the only couple leaving that night and saying "wow, we have got to get one of those" to each other. It's a video game system that doesn't feel like a 'video game' system -- it felt like poor-man's virtual reality. And a week later, despite living with one of the most anti-video-game people I know (and at their insistence, no less), I found myself rearranging the living room furniture so that there's more room to play Wii Tennis.

      As far as I'm concerned, Nintendo should let Sony and Microsoft fight over the established market: they're creating a whole new one, or at least bringing a lot of people whose last console system was an NES back into it. The major question for them is whether they're going to be able to continue to produce games that maintain the very high bar for playability and group fun that Wii Sports does (so far, most of the third-party titles we've picked up from Blockbuster have been a bit disappointing). The question of whether the Wiimote is revolutionary or just a novelty will ultimately depend on whether they can get more games that use it effectively and intuitively, instead of just using it to emulate traditional controls or as an addon, rather than the platform's core and distinguishing feature. At least in my opinion, if you play it sitting down, somebody missed the point.

      I've played Halo 3, and yes, the graphics are pretty amazing (it's probably the first game I've played where the flamethrower looked borderline convincing). I suspect, based on the hardware, that the Playstation's are even more impressive. But there's nothing there that makes we want to run out and drop half a grand. (When they're selling for $100, I'll buy an XBox3 so I can play through Halo for the plot.)

      Wii Sports (and the ensuing sore arm) was pretty much worth $250, just for the sake of watching people whose knee-jerk response to any console system is "I don't do video games" change their minds and start to enjoy themselves within a few seconds of handling the controller.

      Games are not dead. I think that the game publishers and the hardware developers just went though a very risk-averse phase where nobody wanted to take chances, and so they ground out basically the same product, to the same audience, over and over. If you liked that product and its evolutionary improvements, it was great. But if you didn't, there could be pretty long dry spells. I'm not sure whether the Wii is the beginning of something different, or just a temporary oasis, but you'd have to be an idiot not to enjoy it either way.
      • Bushnell's reputation is far overrated. His "great ideas" were simply to take existing breakthroughs - Russell et al's SpaceWar, Baer's, and before him Higenbothen's, tennis game - and turn them into arcade games. He has never been a game designer nor a technological innovator - just a canny impresario who has never had insight into what makes good gameplay (look at what happened to Atari under his guidance.) I seriously doubt he has even played a game made after 1990 for more than 15 minutes.

        He has no auth
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:50PM (#21081015)

    IMHO, that's the reason why games today for the most part suck.

    Games these days are multimillion dollar affairs. And that's even before the movie is released. [wikipedia.org] There is so much money at stake that no sane person would ever risk making a game without a market study and focus groups. Large projects demand it.

    And that's the problem - innovation gets lost in that process. Put another way, innovation isn't safe.

    Back In The Day(tm), it was just a couple of guys sitting around thinking up wacky ideas. Sometimes they stuck, and sometimes they didn't. If it failed, who cares? It's just a half a dozen guys that are already on the payroll. But if it worked, you could get innovation - and that made the difference. That's why guys my age sit around playing MAME and not giving a crap about Madden 07. How different could is possibly be from Madden 06?

    Nolan is a product of the Golden Age. That's why he's disappointed with today's games. Innovation was the thing back then. A half a dozen mad mavericks could easily turn the world upside down with a really great idea.

    Sadly, not possible today. That's why despite all the beautifully rendered cut scenes, bazillions of vertexes per second and obscene piles of money thrown at new titles these days the games are just simply missing that magic spark. And just plain fall flat for guys from our time.

    • by Bob54321 (911744)
      The wikipedia link you gave is hilarious... See the Development Hell section giving movies who status has gone uncertian: # Duke Nukem: The Movie (2007) :)
    • by Machtyn (759119)
      I tend to disagree. The multi-million dollar projects do use focus groups. However, some use these focus groups to try out new ideas, some make it, some don't. True innovation still happens. Ultima Online was a huge risk. It worked. It worked better for Everquest and even better for World of Warcraft. But why? Because WoW innovated from the original to make something truely outstanding. EQ did it, too.
      Diablo was innovative, and Diablo 2 innovated on that.
      Half-Life was also extremely innovative. It us
    • by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:53AM (#21081417)
      IMHO, that's the reason why games today for the most part suck.
      Games these days are multimillion dollar affairs. And that's even before the movie is released. There is so much money at stake that no sane person would ever risk making a game without a market study and focus groups. Large projects demand it.

      And that's the problem - innovation gets lost in that process. Put another way, innovation isn't safe.

      Back In The Day(tm), it was just a couple of guys sitting around thinking up wacky ideas. Sometimes they stuck, and sometimes they didn't. If it failed, who cares? It's just a half a dozen guys that are already on the payroll. But if it worked, you could get innovation - and that made the difference. That's why guys my age sit around playing MAME and not giving a crap about Madden 07. How different could is possibly be from Madden 06?

      Nolan is a product of the Golden Age. That's why he's disappointed with today's games. Innovation was the thing back then. A half a dozen mad mavericks could easily turn the world upside down with a really great idea.

      Sadly, not possible today. That's why despite all the beautifully rendered cut scenes, bazillions of vertexes per second and obscene piles of money thrown at new titles these days the games are just simply missing that magic spark. And just plain fall flat for guys from our time.


      Indie != Good. Innovative != good. Small != Good. Generally it's nostalgia clouding your judgment. You look back and remember xcom, pacman, supermario, rygar, etc.. and forgot all the dreck. There was always derivative dreck, innovation usually sucked, and golden ages are more about you then what ever you are reminiscing about. Nolan was part of the original video game collapse. It was partly his fault for letting the really dumb people run Atari.

      A good idea getting to a good organization can still make a good game. KOTOR, BioShock, FFXII, Halo, Warcraft 3, Disgea, etc.. were all non too original games that achieved success by doing it right and fun. Even now small developers can still make games. IF you criteria is that a good idea ought to be enough then the newest gen of consoles will fit your bill. Wii is intrinsically cheaper to develop for and the PS3 and 360 all have smaller scale downloadable games. Try Flow, theres just an idea, one guy, and a ton of oddly addictive fun. Try any of the XNA titles, try Most DS game. This is the true golden age.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The Raven (30575)

        Indie != Good. Innovative != good. Small != Good. Generally it's nostalgia clouding your judgment. You look back and remember xcom, pacman, supermario, rygar, etc.. and forgot all the dreck.

        Wow, you completely missed his point. He didn't say that at all. What he said was that variety was good, and that independant small teams could innovate frequently, and sometimes that innovation struck gold. The whole problem with current day gaming is that triple-A titles are almost never breaking new ground. Innovation

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:50PM (#21081017) Journal
    is games that have lived on because they have infinite ways of being played....

    ping pong

    chess

    tennis

    sudoko, ect
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      ... and no undo/save.
      • by Machtyn (759119)
        I don't know about that. Chess has plenty of save points (DON'T TOUCH THAT BOARD!) and Sudoku has my eraser, er undo.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by justthinkit (954982)
          Chess has plenty of save points (DON'T TOUCH THAT BOARD!)

          That would be a PAUSE function. Doesn't make the game easier, and is not very effective if your opponent has to go home and you need the kitchen table for something else.
      • This game [areyep.com] (based on Wolf3D) has an interesting solution to the "saves games make the game easier" problem... it has a "Tournament mode". You get a limited number of saves and you have to search to get powerups to give you more.

        I think that is a good way to do it... make a regular mode where players have all the conveniences of loading and saving at whim that they're used to... and a "challenge" mode where they are restricted somewhat to add an element of risk back into the game.

      • by Kingrames (858416)
        You haven't figured out how to undo/save in chess yet?
    • is games that have lived on because they have infinite ways of being played....

      ping pong

      chess

      tennis

      sudoko, ect


      Chess and Sudoko are finite state systems. if string theory is correct so is tennis and ping pong. /pedantry
    • by mbstone (457308)
      Never heard of "Ect". Is there a Windows version?
  • Was Tac Scan, a really cool vector arcade game. I'm afraid that they have been sliding downhill ever since.
  • he forgot tetris (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:53PM (#21081047) Journal
    he forgot tetris... BLASPHEMY what other game do you know is able to etch its self directly into your brain? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris_effect [wikipedia.org] though he is somewhat correct, a lot of the games have been utter garbage lately, although most of the bad games of the past died a quiet death to be forgotten as it should be.
  • by bombastinator (812664) on Monday October 22, 2007 @11:57PM (#21081075)
    Lets review.

    New things are not as good as the old stuff back when they weren't as degenerate.

    "reasonably priced meals"

    Old fashioned entertainment

    Isn't this all a little stereotypical Old Fart? i'm waiting for him to start talking about how good 70's cars were compared to today and what great artists "the Captain and tennille" were.
  • I find it hard to listen to the ramblings of any old man, even the one who made Pong, who believes that the solution to gaming's ills lies in the serving of a reasonably priced meal.
  • by jsse (254124)

    "It was like breaking down walls. And it was a metaphor. The world is better when you break down walls. Walls separate people. The more inclusive we can be, the better we can be as a species."

    Those FPS games fits into your metaphoric mind as well. The world has way too many people, up to the point that the less people there are, the better we can be as a species. Killing people in game are a metaphor, we might as well use real guns to kill people on the street, but kids today need training.

    But I do agree with you that walls should all be broken. We all use wall hack anyway. What's the point with setting up walls besides conning newbies? Down with walls.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:03AM (#21081111) Homepage
    I think it's important to note that early generation consoles (i.e Atari 2600) cost nearly the same as those made thirty years later - about $300 MSRP (usually discounted). So in 1982 little Jimmy's mom and dad could easily be asked to spend half their mortgage payment on a new console system, plus games. In 2002 a new Xbox/PS2/GameCube was what? Less than five day's pay at minimum wage.

    The relatively high price of the 2600 kept the user base pretty small. We all played them, but I bet most of us went to neighbor kids house to do it. Of course, with the video game crash 1983, a massive console glut was created....so maybe everybody's parents bought them after the crash.
  • Can't agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stormie (708) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:05AM (#21081123) Homepage
    "Pong" is a little before my time, I've only got about 23 years of experience as an avid gamer. And, in my opinion, this is just bunk.

    Back in the good old days? There were fantastic, innovative, fun games, and there was also immense quantities of absolute garbage.

    And now? There are fantastic, innovative, fun games, and there is also immense quantities of absolute garbage.

    Any claim that games were "better" in the old days is just so much nostalgia and selective memory. Think a bit harder, you'll remember those games you pirated on the C64 that were so bad that you'd spend 2 minutes waiting for the game to load and then only 30 seconds playing it before you tossed the tape back in the case.
    • Couldn't agree more - Pong was well within my time and I still find games that are great fun. I don't have as much time to play them, yeah, but when I do I've found lots of things to enjoy. Half Life 2 was good, Oblivion (though I never really had enough free time to complete it), hours of fun with BF2, and lots of others.

      There's just as much creativity around, and just as much total crap, as there ever was.
  • by mookie-blaylock (522933) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:10AM (#21081141)
    So, great, he's a father of the industry.

    Ever been to uWink, his latest idea? It's godawful. Imagine the most tired, re-tread, uninspired, and dull fare you could get from the unholy collision of an Applebees, California Pizza Kitchen, and PF Chang's. The hook? You get to use a touch screen to order your food! Wow, touch screens! You know, like you use at the airport, your ATM, the occasional gas station, and about 500,000 other places. Plus they've got incredibly dull table games... Oh, and for kicks, the touch sensors on the screen are so comically inaccurate -- so make sure to double check that you're getting what you've ordered.

    The decor is kind of like chromey mid-90s meets that bar in Star Trek 3, only people look like they're having a lot less fun. Basically, imagine any "futuristic" concept hacked out by any of a dozen subpar ad agencies or architecture firms around 1997. The Century City food court is 10x more self-consciously "futuristic" in its design and seems less ridiculous.

    And the last bit of fun: Anything that's actually edible on the menu will be sold out. Ditto for any beers worth drinking. So enjoy that exotic pepperoni pizza and bud light...

    Nope, sorry, give me Mario Kart, Guitar Hero, GTA, Final Fantasy 4, Katamari Damacy, Civilization, X-Com, Star Control, or any other of about six dozen games that are brilliant or brilliantly fun. If I wanted to go someplace and be bored while surrounded by awful overpriced food and where touch screens pass as a killer app, I'd hang out at the airport.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gyppo (982168)
      Agreed. I walked by it to check it out, then passed also. The idea of using a touch screen that hundreds of people have used before me then eating finger food didn't appeal to me.
  • First person shooters and racing games are getting a little old, how about something new?

    I've more or less quit gaming after finishing HL2. Granted I never was a huge gamer but it's the same 'ole shit. Aliens are invading earth, one dude saves us all. It's WWII, some guy single-handedly wins the battle of buldge. Blah, blah, blah.

    I guess this is why I still get out of the NES or N64 more than anything. At least "Army Men, Sarges Hero's" was fun. Maybe it's me, but I like comedy and am really tired
  • He's just trolling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rgo (986711) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:17AM (#21081193)
    I respect Nolan for his GREAT contribution to the gaming industry, but I can't believe he said that current generation games are pure trash.
    Come on, the company he founded was a great contributor to the videogame crash. The crash happened many years ago, and a phenomemon like that hasn't repeated ever since; not because there are huge budgets or people buy crap, but because there are very good games in the market. There are games with charismatic characters (Mario), cinematic experiences (Goldeneye, Metal Gear Solid), inmersive worlds (Oblivion, Zelda, Half-Life), or plain-ol fun (Wii Sports, Mario Kart, DDR, Guitar Hero, Metal Slug).

    Maybe he is ranting against american game publishers like EA, Activision, that like to market the same crap season after season, giving no more entertaining value. Maybe he is too old and don't play complex games. But that is no excuse, because there are also really good indie (or indie like) games, like Every Extend, Geometry Wars, Bejeweled, Clubhouse Games, Pac Mac CE. Games that are WAY more fun than the late 70s titles.

    I also been thinking that maybe he doesn't really like videogames, but he likes to make them. It has always happened, just read some interviews to game developers and they'll tell you they don't really play games. Maybe he liked the old games, closer to the heart of the beginnings of videogaming, he was a protagonist in the revolution. Right now, there is nothing, in gaming, that makes him PASSIONATE because he FEELS there hasn't been a real Paradigm Shift(TM) in the way games are made or people interact with them. I hope he is trying to say what I have just written, but the interview is very poorly done to draw any conclusions.

    I only have one message to him: Mr. Bushnell, thank you, you're work has made a great impact in our lives, in ways that no one can imagine. I'm glad you are still an active innovator, I love your restaurant idea, but don't treat the gaming industry like that, please look at Wii Sports and Wii Fit and you'll really see gaming is changing for the great benefit of our glorious nation.
  • by doyoulikeworms (1094003) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:22AM (#21081217)
    Where it was a bunch of pictures of a horse running? Yeah, that was the best fucking film of all time. It's just been downhill from there.
  • 4 s! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:25AM (#21081235) Homepage
    A recent study showed that if people have to wait for more than 4 s for a website to load they get bored. I had to watch a stupid advertisement for 15 s, or press a link I discovered after 4.5 s. Sorry mates, I won't see your website. This was an even more stupid and offensive way to force advertisements down my throat than those stupid popup advertisemnts you see on some websites.
  • I've been playing video games for about 30 years, and the couple decades I've always heard the hype of "Playing this game is like being in a movie." I've seen try after try, from playable games that looked nothing like movies, to movie-like games (Dragon's Lair, beautifully animated) that were not really playable.

    Only recently have we hit that milestone with Heavenly Sword -- good playability, good acting (voice and facial), and art direction that is breathtaking. And most major titles at least have a prett
  • Nag nag nag (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:30AM (#21081269) Homepage
    There will always be people who nag about everything being better in the olden days. I didn't read the article because of the stupid advertisement, but if the guy who wrote it really thinks pong was the best game ever made I feel sorry for him. I, for one, am enjoying the torrent of new adventure games that we are experiencing at the moment a lot!
  • If there is a downhill slope, it begins with pong, not after pong. This slide is created by the equivalence of 'games' and 'graphics' There are perfectly good text games, and the graphics adds little or nothing to the experience. Wonderful games like star trader, HHGTG, and Zork did not need graphics. Graphic games like Pac Man were so mindless as to be nealy worthless to anyone over the age of 12.

    OTOH, if games are seen as a way to push technology, then there is not downhill slide. Pac Man and Donke

  • Person comments about poor state of an industry. Offers own product instead. We will be following this story with regular updates as it happens.
  • I'm still trying to get ET out of the hole, you insensitive clod!
  • Forget First Person Shooters. Pong was the first and best 2D Third Person Omniscient (TPO) game that used (ahem, _only_) the Law of Reflection in its physics engine. Not only were you aware of all the action in the entire game universe simultaneously, but you also knew -- no, FELT -- all the character's motivations from everyone's point of view. As if that weren't enough, the angle of incidence was always equal to the angle of reflection with respect to the surface normals. Poetry.
  • All puns aside, Asteroids [atariage.com] kept me glued to my Atari for my first-ever all night gaming session. I think that was just before Christmas in 1981. The game was simple and fascinating.

    It took until 1995 for another game to keep me glued to a screen in quite the same way. That one was Descent [wikipedia.org]. The innovative use of 3D space and the creepy alien ships jumping you from all angles was terrific. I loved it, but I was jumping at shadows for days after my marathon session.

    I played Pong quite a lot when it f
  • "Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."- Douglas Adams

    Mr. Bushnell has a serious case of retroism. Pong objectively sucks. If you gain any enjoyment out of it I assure you it's purely nostalgia.
  • History is always very kind to guys like this. If there is one thing I grow weary of is it's old guys who were successful probably beyond their dreams casually forgetting the number of mediocre/bad games that were around then. Hell, he was probably responsible for many stinkers too.

    History keeps notes on one or two titles younger people seem to have heard of, but probably haven't played. The rest, (and there were many) are forgotten.

    It's time to hang it up and move onto something really new.
  • You know that flash based helicopter game. You click the mouse to go up and let go to go down - and then navigate over obstacles that are getting harder and harder. That was a good game.

    Another one which I haven't played in a while was this circle game. You had two circles, one within the other. Each one had a small opening and they were both spinning in the oposite directions. So what you had to do is shoot a ball through when the openings align. I payed that one for hours and hours and hours...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not only does this phenomenon apply to games, but movies, music, comics, novels, etc never seem to be as good as they were when you were 15-25*.

    This rule is applicable to everyone. How many 50 year olds do you hear say, the music in my time was bland, boring and repetitive. It all sounded the same... now this new stuff the kids are listening to, it's new, refreshing, exciting and is nothing like I've heard before.
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @03:33AM (#21082209) Journal
    ...Being involved with old computers like the Sinclair Spectrum and BBC Micro, where most of the games are now easy to get hold of, I can tell you that the rose tinted view of all old games being great is just that - a rose tinted view. People remember the games they like from 'back in the day'. However, most of the games back then were dross. Only a few actually stood out. Nothing has actually changed (well, except the games are much, much more expensive in real terms now).
  • by Zantetsuken (935350) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @04:47AM (#21082465) Homepage
    While not exactly brand new, I still argue that the plot lines from Final Fantasy 10 [wikipedia.org] and FEAR [wikipedia.org] are extremely well thought out and is something to make you think a bit (not as much in FEAR, but at least a bit).

    First, it depends on what you're looking for in a game - if you want a great story, but you've only ever played sports games and never picked up an RPG, you can't at all say that all new games suck if you aren't even looking enough or at all in the right genre.

    Just because when you bought whatever console you bought (or if you bought into PC gaming) happened to have shitty games the majority of its life span (or entire life span) doesn't mean that _ALL_ new games suck. Some consoles are better for certain game genres than others. Personally, I suggest a PS2 - sports, shooters, RPG's, and a few puzzle/party games here and there. If the only thing you want is party games, go with something from Nintendo. If you like chatting with other people (read: squeaky 14 year olds) and playing games online, get an Xbox.

    As a note on the 2 games I listed, if you disagree, in Final Fantasy 10, go talk the "Maechen" (the old scholar researching the world) in every area throughout the game and see why certain parties in the game are extremely hypocritical. As for FEAR, pick up every answering machine and laptop intel you can to help understand just how sick the plot is. That or just have somebody who's done that spoil it for you...
  • Confusion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by say (191220) <<on.hadiarflow> <ta> <evgis>> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @08:45AM (#21083541) Homepage
    He seems to be confusing the amount of good games per year with the ratio of good games to bad ones per year.

    While the odds of getting a good game through picking one at random is diminishing quickly, the number of good games is still constant (or rising). You just have to be more picky.

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