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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Is The 32-Bit Gaming Era The New Retro? 69

Thanks to GameSpy for its 'Pixel' column discussing whether the early days of the PlayStation and Saturn are a newer, but nevertheless interesting stage of 'retro'. The author points out: "Moving to 3D brought a lot of challenges along with it, not the least of which involved graphics. The 32-bit generation differs greatly from its 16-bit predecessor in that a lot of 32-bit games' visuals have not aged well." But he nevertheless highlights the fact "there were so many vibrantly original games released for these machines, some obscure, some blockbusters... Motor Toon Grand Prix brought cartoonish designs to 3D life. King's Field put you in a truly non-linear, 3D dungeon. WipeOut married futuristic racing with high-caliber visual design. Panzer Dragoon gave flight to every kid's 'Neverending Story' fantasies." What were your favorite titles from the early days of 32-bit?
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Is The 32-Bit Gaming Era The New Retro?

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  • Nights! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WiKKeSH ( 543962 ) <> on Saturday June 05, 2004 @08:03PM (#9347231) Homepage
    Nights into Dreams!
    Single-handedly sold the saturn to me.
    • Nights needs to make it into someone's hall of belated fame. That game was spectaculary done in all levels. Music, level design, graphics, hell it even introduced an analog controller to the Saturn.

      If I recall correctly, it was the first really widely adopted analog controller. Sorta widely anyway.
      • Funny. I was a BIG PSX addict, and a few weeks back, on the spur of the moment, I slapped a bid on a Dreamcast on Ebay and won it. Been playing tons of stuff on it and amazes me it died.

        I'm still stuck in the 16 bit retro days (SNES/Genesis).
        • If you havn't discovered it yet, I have to quickly plug the dreamcast homebrew scene. is a good repository for most of projects out there. And while it takes a bit of sifting, there's some really amazing programs out there. The nes and master system emus have easily made the dreamcast my most used console. The availability of sdl makes it very fun to write for as well.
          • Don't forget BOOB! [], either, it's a great site.

            The DC was a great machine, but there's really only a small number of titles available. That said, many of them are pretty unique (Seaman, anyone?), but if you like RPGs, you're almost out of luck, since there are only three good ones (Skies of Arcadia, Grandia 2, and Record of Lodoss War). There are, however, no less than 50 bazillion racing and fighting games.
            • I think people who like RPGs will definitely get a kick out of Shenmue.

              For action RPG, try Elemental Gimmick Gear.

              I haven't tried Grandia 2.

              Record of Lodoss War is a Diablo clone. It's fine, but I wouldn't place it in the "good rpg" category. Better go with PSO, especially since player made servers are getting up to speed.
  • Not just yet.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Saturday June 05, 2004 @08:05PM (#9347250) Homepage
    Thanks to GameSpy for its 'Pixel' column discussing whether the early days of the PlayStation and Saturn are a newer, but nevertheless interesting stage of 'retro'.

    They're not retro yet if people still actually use them. I know people that still play games on their original PlayStation.

    Give them another 10 years or so. Nothing picks up speed as being "retro" until the people who grew up with it get to the point where they have the capability of enabling their want for nostalgia.
  • Wipeout and its sequels kicked ass! And apparently, the nameless evil pigowl company had smart enough employees to get a good soundtrack for each one. Totally added the right touch to the game at top speeds.

    anyone have a track listing for Wipeout (the first one?) I could never find it.. some tracks I had never heard before
    • Re:Wipeout (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      check out In the US, the first game's soundtrack was done in-house, under the name Cold Storage.
  • Ground Breakers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miyako ( 632510 ) <> on Saturday June 05, 2004 @08:18PM (#9347339) Homepage Journal
    Mario 64...ok so the Nintendo 64 wasn't 32bit, but is from the same era, and I think it has some of my favorite classics.
    Mario 64 is still one of my favorite games of all time, and the graphics are still quite good, if primitive. This was really a revolutionary game, and I can't really even think of a game on any non-nintendo system even today that has quite re-created the formula.
    Tekken - I've always prefered the tekken series over the virtua fighter series. These two titles though really brought the fighting game genre into it's own with 3D fighters.
    Blood Omen - Legacy of Kain. While I did not care for the sequals, this remains one of my favorite games of all time. With lots of great voice acting this macabre adventure surpasses even a number of the zelda games in my mind.
    Resident Evil - this game is like one of those 60's horror flicks, it was scarry at the time, but even now it's a lot of fun because while the graphics "special effects" are dated, it's great fun to go back and laugh at.
    Final Fantasy VII - One of my all time favorite Final Fantasy games, the rich detailed pre-rendered backgrounds still look good today, and the storyline and gameplay still offer plenty of fun. I would love to see a sequal to this game, rather than that dreadful FF:X2.
    • yes, you are actually more right than you think to include the N64 - its games were nearly all 32bit code - the 64 was basically a marketing gimmick :) (for evidence of this, see that most N64 games can run on a 32-bit emulated r4300i core). So feel free to add Zelda OoT and the other classics from that system (Goldeneye? Mario Kart? Wipeout64 was basically the Playstation version with analogue control, w00t) to the list for this era ;)
      • hmm, I wasn't aware of that. Your right though that a lot of N64 games belong on the list. Along with those you listed one of my favorites is Blast Corps.
        I don't know many people who played this game, but everyone who did can attest to the fact that this very unique game definitely deserves a spot on the list.
        Also let us not forget what I belive might have been the last N64 game to be release, Conquers Bad Fur Day. Now THAT was a fun game.
    • Re:Ground Breakers (Score:3, Informative)

      by hawkbug ( 94280 )
      Crash Team Racing (CTR) for PS1. It did a great job of copying Mario Cart. Unoriginal? You bet. Fun as hell? Oh yeah. I never had an N64, but I played Mario Cart on a friends, and was extremely pleased to see a "version" of it come out on PS1. It wasn't exactly the same, but I actually prefer the PS1 Crash version better.
    • I've always though the 64 from the nintendo 64 came from the 64 MB cardrige they where using ..
    • I've always been more of a 16-bit fan myself - the graphics just seemed more polished. I did get a playstation however, here's my list of favorites from the 32-bit era:
      Castlevania SOTN (best graphics & sound ever?)
      Suikoden II (rare gem that few people played)
      Breath of Fire IV (ditto)
      Strider 2 (still fun to play)
      Grandia (great for an earlier game)

      As well, there was a huge collection of remakes:
      Lunar 1 & 2 (these were awesome!)
      Final Fantasy 1-2, 4-6 (pretty good)
      Chrono Trigger (so-so, but
  • Not retro (Score:3, Funny)

    by News for nerds ( 448130 ) on Saturday June 05, 2004 @08:18PM (#9347342) Homepage
    when you can play PS games on PS2, though Sega fans may miss the days.

    BTW, 8-bit rules!
  • New Retro (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jakek101 ( 652878 )
    People called 16-bit durring the late 32-bit era, I don't see why 32-bit wouldn't be retro now. It certainly will be when the next set of consoles come along.
  • by timlee ( 303958 ) on Saturday June 05, 2004 @08:40PM (#9347454)
    My very first RPG ever which I got for a birthday present when I was but a young lad of 9 or 10. Thus began my decent into dorkdom.
  • nights into dreams
    shining force 3

    Panzeer Dragoon!

    Such a great system. I still play mine although it does feel like I use to feel playing atari.
  • Virtual Boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Servo5678 ( 468237 ) on Saturday June 05, 2004 @08:54PM (#9347546)
    All this talk of 32-bit 3D games and not a single mention of Nintendo's Virtual Boy. Despite it's poor showing in the marketplace, it does have several classic games such as Wario Land and Jack Bros. And the system and its games are popular in eBay circles. Nintendo DS? I say bring on the Virtual Boy Advance!
    • Re:Virtual Boy! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wibs ( 696528 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @12:06AM (#9348332)
      Don't forget Mario Tennis. That game is great on any platform, but the VB had it better than the rest simply because there was absolutely nothing going on but gameplay. There weren't flashing colors in every corner of the court distracting you from the ball back and forth, you had good control of your koopa, and it got to be habit to select Yes when it asked if I wanted to continue destroying my retinas.

      The more I think about it, that's one of my favorite games of all time.
  • Ok, so its a DC game, but its one of the best examples of 'retro' games on modern hardware. Its 2D and all through the game the story laments the death of 2D with the new generation of consoles. Its so crazy now seeing hundreds of sprites on screen at once. If only they made more games like this.

    Im quite looking forward to the next Paper Mario. Its visual style is truly cool and 'new' yet quite retro.

    As always i stand by my sig.

  • extremely fun...and vertigo-inducing...
    alas, too odd an interpretation of ol' platformers to catch on too strongly
    • Quite possibly the most interesting games I played on my Playstation were JF1 and 2.

      Wish they would've brought 3 to the states.
      • Jumping Flash was a great game. The fact that it had a harder mode once you finished the game made it even better.

        But, I think that the most remarkable part of it, is that it is a 3D jump-and-runner, with First Person perspective, that actually has the jump part right. When you jump, the camera automatically looks down, so you can control where you are going to land. THIS F*CKING WORKS!

        No other game that I remember has done this (I really missed this when playing Metroid Prime, Half Life, and whatever oth
  • I wish I still had a 32x and a doom cartridge... the again, I could get the same thing from a copy of Doom for the pc by replacing all the different perspective sprites with the same head's on view...
    • You want retro style from the 32X era? Hard to go past Virtua Fighter 1 and Virtua Racing -- these titles show how little detail is needed in a 3D game for basic enjoyable gameplay. Heck, the Virtua Racing for the MegaDrive with the (grabs cart, checks) Sega Virtua Processor is one of the most impressive products of the early console 3D era.

      Added Note: Disturbingly, the frame rate on 32X Doom is better than the Saturn version.

      • these titles show how little detail is needed in a 3D game for basic enjoyable gameplay

        Reminds me of Hard Drivin' [], although the Genesis port was pretty bad. They used to have one of these arcade machines (the full cabinet one, mind you) at the Franklin Institute in Philly, where you could play for free. I think it was in the technology section, and is was supposed to demonstrate VR, and how, by 2000, we would all have VR suits and do everything virtually. Anyway, I mostly remember it for running over t
  • That was the first game I played for the PS, and it was a great one. The graphics were great, and the cartoonish gameplay was a lot of fun after you get used to it.
  • by Mupp252 ( 263650 ) on Saturday June 05, 2004 @11:59PM (#9348313)
    Am I the only person that belives that the 32-bit era never really got a chance to get off of the ground?

    I mean the "16-bit era" (I use that term loosely since one could endlessly argue specs of the systems at the time.) had a solid amount of time to create very unique gameplay and push it boundaries wheras the 32-bit boom was merely a blink of an eye. The platforms were introduced, games were made and then new consoles took over.

    In a way that whole time frame has kinda scarred me when trying to classify new classics on the 3 leading platforms. It's almost like game manufacturers are no longer concerned with pushing the limits of their hardware. They only feel threatened when a bigger and badder system is introduced.
    • I think the generations themselves are blurring together, thanks to backwards compatibility. Console makers just want to have the shiniest widget on the market for penis-envy reasons... not just theirs, their customers'.
    • I mean the "16-bit era" (I use that term loosely since one could endlessly argue specs of the systems at the time.) had a solid amount of time to create very unique gameplay and push it boundaries wheras the 32-bit boom was merely a blink of an eye. The platforms were introduced, games were made and then new consoles took over.

      (disclaimer: I didn't bother to verify dates, so I'm going by memory. I may be off by a year or so.)

      I'm not sure I agree with you. The "16-bit era" started with the Genesis

      • Actually Dreamcast had 2 64 Bit processors. (Still not exactly 128 bit) Xbox is 32 bit. Cube and PS2 are 128 bit though.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Can anyone clear up the whole "N-bit" naming scheme?

        "Bits" refers to the data size of the CPU. You don't add it when a machine has multiple processors, and you definitely don't count sound processors when measuring bits.

        The Genesis and SNES were 16-bit because they used 16-bit CPUs, but IIRC they had 8-bit sound.

        The SNES had a 16-bit sound processor (SPC700), and the Genesis had a Z80 for sound.

        though I believe the SNES at least could pull from a palette of 2^16 colors, and the Genesis from 2^15 or
        • For awhile, they were talking about the bits of the main CPU, now they seem to gravitate to the video chipset instead. The SNES is technically an 8-bit if you go by the CPU. It's a 65C816 which has a 16-bit address bus but an 8-bit data bus. Everything is multiplexed to 8-bit. The TG-16 was 8-bit, but had a 16-bit graphic chip. The Jaguar was 16-bit, but had a 64-bit graphic chip. The Jaguar used a 68000 (same CPU as Genesis and Neo Geo). The N64 used a 64-bit CPU, but multiplexed it to 32-bit, becau
  • Even though it's only 16 bit, I think(know) that Secret of Mana for the Super NES is perhaps the best game ever.
    • No, Shadowrun for the Genesis was the best game of that era. :) Shadowrun for the SNES sucked though... but the one for Genesis was SOOO flippin' cool. I know people who've went out searching for a Genesis system just to play that game. Why have there been no new Shadowrun games!! And we're getting a RIFTS game, finally.. but it's on N-GAGE!?!?
      • You know, you're not the first person I've heard claim that the Genesis version is better than the SNES version. Since you bring the topic up, I'm just curious to know what differences make the Genesis version better?

        I'm not flaming or opening things up for a serious debate or anything... I'm authentically interested in what made the two versions of the game so different...
  • Guardian Heroes, Virtua Fighter 2 (hi-res and 60fps!), The House Of The Dead, Virtual On, Marvel Super Heroes, and Capcom Generations #2 (Ghosts 'n Goblins, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, and Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts) were all great titles on the Sega Saturn.

    Tempest 2000, Alien Vs. Predator, and Battlemorph were great on the Atari Jaguar.

    In fact, Tempest 2000 and Guardian Heroes are my second and third favorite games of all time (Grand Theft Auto III claims the top spot).

  • Not great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fr0dicus ( 641320 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:58AM (#9349271) Journal
    I don't think I'll really look back on the 32-bit boxes with much fondness. They represented the birth of many of the franchises we now expect to see modern versions of, and many of these titles are completely and utterly replicated and extended by the modern hardware. For me that generation was the first forays into 3D, and many titles were released and sold purely on the basis of a new or interesting graphical technique that would just look horrifically dated today.

    I'm not denying that there weren't some great games, but nothing like the breadth that the SNES offers the retro player, and what there is has been watered down by remakes for the modern hardware.

  • Why do they keep referring to the "32-bit era" in the past tense? Aren't we still in that era today?

    Marketing-speak aside, the PS2, Gamecube, Xbox and most of your PCs and Macs are 32-bit machines.
    • They are 32-bit in the way that computers are spoken of, but game marketeers decided that it would be good for business if they could find a large number that isn't so hard to change. I believe it has something to do with gfx capability, but I'm not sure.

      The first (truly) 64-bit machine will be quite something.
  • for me... it was Metal Gear Solid & Gran Turismo 1 and 2. I don't know if I was the only one that did this, but I would tape myself playing and record all the awesome CG intros for all the cool games like GT or Tekken, etc, then bring the tape to school and showoff to all my friends and get them all hyped up about the games... those were the days..
  • Hours and hours of multiplayer, thumb callouses that could etch glass, and that damn clown. Between the Paris & New York Hi-Rise that's some good stuff.

    Vigilante 8 tread a lot of the same ground, and it had its own charm.

    I also fondly remember the homemade 25ft link cable made for head-to-head Armored Core.

  • I was always a big fan of the original Rayman. That was absolutely beautiful 2D platformer that was tough, but fun to play. I saw someone mention Jumping Flash already, another quirky, but fun game. Daytona USA launched with the Saturn was the best racing game until...Wipeout was incredible for the time and I'd love to see a sequel on the three platforms. With the newer graphics/CPU power, I'm sure it could be fantastic. I'm sure there were many more that took too much of my time when I was younger, bu
  • Saturn:
    Daytona USA we played it for HOURS and HOURS and HOURS.
    Sega Rally - Game Over Yeah!
    Guardian Heroes
    Radiant Silvergun
    XMen vs. Streetfighter (import)
    Saturn Bomberman

    Gran Turismo
    Metal Gear Solid
    Castlevania: SOTN
    Square RPGs

    Perfect Dark
  • The CD32 was and still is my absolute favourite 32 bit console. A shame it didn't last that long... The great thing about it is the ability to transfer old Amiga games to CD and play them with the joypad/big tv thing that we all love :).

    CD32 had lots of cool games. Here's a short list of my faves:
    Pinball Fantasies
    Super Stardust
    S uperfrog...

    And many more :)

  • Now that games like Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and [insert your favorite N64 title here], even 64-bit games could be considered "retro" in the right setting. Then again, since some 32-bit and 64-bit titles helped to kick off the 3D gaming era, I don't think I'd call them retro just yet... maybe throwback games to yesteryear.

    "Retro" is still limited to 2D, although it is no longer restricted to the early classics like Pong, Pacman, and Galaga. Now it can include NES, SNES, and Genesis titles li
  • Syphon Filter.

    Had to be the most revolutionary game of it's time, not only graphically, but the gameplay as well.

    I probably replayed that game 10 times, which is always the ultimate compliment.
  • Uhhh...that was the farthest thing from my mind when playing Panzer Dragoon.

    Panzer Dragoon was pretty much a full-on rip-off of Nausicaa, visually, and in large part thematically. Christ, comparing Panzer Dragoon to Neverending Story is kind of like comparing Predator to ET.

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