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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Will Modern Games Stand the Test of Time? 210

The Multiplayer blog spoke with Tadashi Iguchi, one of the developers for the recent Pac-man and Galaga remakes, about the decision to bring new life to old classics and whether today's games will receive similar treatment twenty years down the road. "'I think more than half of the games you see today with huge budgets and such a "realistic" focus will be either stale or forgotten in 20 years,' he said. 'On the other hand, the masterpieces of the '80s will definitely be enjoyed far into the future. The reason for this is simple — many of these classic titles have unique and fascinating mechanics that can't be diminished by the advancement of technology.'"
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Will Modern Games Stand the Test of Time?

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  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:12PM (#24971689) Homepage Journal

    If it's chess, I'd guess "no".

    • by The Iso ( 1088207 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:46PM (#24972211)

      I would say that standard chess has actually become a much less interesting game in the past few decades. It may have been a rewarding field of study once, but these days, whoever has spent the most time studying what is already known about optimal strategies in the first 10-15 moves will have the upper hand. Competitive chess is a contest of memorisation, utterly dominated by machines.

      • by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@m s c i g a r> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @09:51PM (#24972833) Homepage

        Professional golfers repeat the same swing time after time. Baseball players try to perfect their swings. A bowler strives for perfect repetition.

        Back to the subject at hand... old video games were more like chess than newer games. They could be mastered with study and repetition. Today's games more and more rely on simulating the real world, meaning that each new game renders the last one obsolete as the simulations improve. I believe that the move from 2d to 3d represented a fundamental shift in gaming, away from the abstract toward the concrete.

        The old games, lacking the realism, had to rely on the challenge. Today we're more concerned with reflections, textures and socializing. PacMan would have been very different if other humans controlled the ghosts.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Older games continue to thrive because it always was and always will be about the game play. The older games defined and created each of the different styles of game play and became memorable for them. As they are updated with the latest graphics etc. but retained the original game play the are revisited by players who remember the original games and are often still playing them.

          Level and campaign design are critical to a good game and crapping out on those can kill a game of regardless of it's history a

          • by Sique ( 173459 )

            But it's not all older games that thrive. It's a very, very small selection of older games, only about 5 oder 10 from all the games titles released from the beginning of computer games until 1990. But released were surely more than 10,000 games, which makes it less than a promille.

            And so I guess, also a promille of the games titles of today will pass the test of time.

        • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday September 12, 2008 @02:20AM (#24974611) Journal

          Well, it's true for almost any competitive video game too.

          E.g., take a l33t zerg rusher from Starcraft and put him in a situation where he can't mechanically repeat the same rush, and watch him proclaim that the map is crap.

          E.g., I once had the mis-fortune of working with a complete CS-head, and made the mistake of listening to him at first, which made it nigh impossible to shake him off when he got boring. Well, actually, I am a gamer, and at first it was just another talk about just another game, so it was interesting.

          Then it got massively boring as I quickly realized that he was playing the exact same map, and did the exact same thing, every bloody day. Several hours per evening. He'd buy the same bloody weapon and a grenade, run behind the same warehouse, climb the same ladder, drop through the same vent in the roof, crawled through the same duct, dropped in the same room, and shot the guy camping in the corner, if one was there.

          I guess that's the thing that got him the best score, or something, and he repeated it religiously. (And somehow thought it's worth talking about again, every day. But I digress.)

          One time I'm dumb enough to say "yes" when he wants to show me how cool CS is and how great he is, after hours. (We were pretty much free to install what we wanted to on the company computers, and a multiplayer round in the lunch break or occasionally after hours was pretty much a sacred tradition for most people.) So he finds a server with that map, and he's even on defense this time, so it promises to be different.

          He buys a weapon and runs and starts jumping in place in front of a vent. Some guy drops into that duct from the roof, my co-worker shoots him, and keeps on jumping. Next round, the same. Next round, you guessed, he's jumping in front of the same vent again like he's got mad kangaroo disease. Repeat for two bloody hours O.o

          So I'm standing there dumbfounded, mostly out of sheer morbid curiosity. I mean, it was painfully boring even for me to watch that repetitive _work_. I expected him to go, "ah, screw this, lemme show you something else" any time now. Nope. For two bloody hours he repeated the exact same sequence and hopped in place in front of the same vent.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tom ( 822 )

            And that's why CS will not "stand the test of time".

            It was wildly popular for a while, mostly because there was no serious competition, it was new, and the hardware requirements were so low that a lot of people could play it. Oh, and also because it was popular, never underestimate the self-reinforcing aspect of multiplayer games.

            I used to play a lot of CS. I was pretty good. Not one of the top-players, but always in the top 5 or so scorers. But if you ask me today what I remember, it's exactly what you des

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I have to disagree with you here. If there's one game that is close to "standing the test of time," it's Counterstrike.

              It's one of the few games that hasn't changed much in almost ten years, not at all really, and it hasn't diminished in popularity.

              And it's simple enough that skill does really matter... you have to have good reflexes and make good tactical decisions.

    • by Skrapion ( 955066 ) <skorpion@fire f a> on Friday September 12, 2008 @02:24AM (#24974625) Homepage

      You can compare classic games to chess, because they're pure gameplay.

      Many modern games are more about story-telling, so a comparison to Citizen Kane would make more sense.

  • by Goalie_Ca ( 584234 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:12PM (#24971697)
    There are classics out there today as well. Consider star craft. The gameplay mechanics are pretty good. In fact, what i'm hearing about star craft 2 is that its a remake of the old game with a little more colour.
    • Not a lot of money went into special effect, so the concentration was on the story(gameplay), and it yielded excellent results. Of course there are some duds from long ago.

      We will continue to see great games, and those will continue to have as an absolute requirement excellent gameplay, fun, replayability, and involvement.

      Special effects, realism, etc are nice to have, but can not be the focus. Again chess is the example.

    • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) *

      Ya kidding right?

      Starcraft suffers from the classic "tank rush" problem that the turn-based strategy predecessors said that all real-time strategy games would suffer from.

      They were wrong, it is possible to balance an RTS to not suffer from tank rush, but Starcraft wasn't.

      • One of the beauties of Star Craft is that the game can be over in 4 minutes. Your adrenaline starts pumping from the time the first probe hits the mineral line.

        You've got to be prepared for the rush. If you leave yourself open to it then you have no one but yourself to blame.

        If you're good enough, you can stop it and still have a better economy than your opponent who had to sacrifice his own economy to get early units.

        I can understand if that style of game doesn't appeal to you, but I've always found it t

      • by telbij ( 465356 )

        Starcraft suffers from the classic "tank rush" problem that the turn-based strategy predecessors said that all real-time strategy games would suffer from.

        That's what made Myth such an amazing game. Take the production element completely out, add a real 3d physics model, excellent play control, and a dozen different game types. Suddenly you have both deep strategy and hard-core tactical elements. It's funny, because when it was in development back in 1996, the graphics and what they were doing with 3d landscape and blood was really grabbing gamers attention. Now 12 years later, the graphics look quaint, but the depth of gameplay (particularly Myth II) and

    • In fact, what i'm hearing about star craft 2 is that its a remake of the old game with a little more colour.

      Nah, Starcraft had plenty of color. You're thinking of Diablo 3. Starcraft 2 is just going to have better resolution.

    • what i'm hearing about star craft 2 is that its a remake of the old game with a little more colour.

      Roughly speaking, yes, but not exactly. Some skills have moved around: I've heard that Mind Control will now be available to overlords instead of dark archons. Some skills have changed a little: zealots will have the ability to move faster in short bursts (somewhat like the Stimpack). Some new concepts have been added: you now have a mothership, which I expect to be somewhat like a hero in Warcraft III.

      But at its core, it's still zerglings vs. marines vs. zealots.

      -- Jonas K

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:13PM (#24971703) Journal

    Grab yourself a full set of MAME ROMs off a torrent, the signal to noise ratio is pretty low. Most of the classic arcade games have been forgotten, and rightfully so. Same thing here.

    • Rose tinted glasses, my good fellow.

      Nostalgia has this way of making anything in the past seem wonderful.

      Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for some Pacman on the Atari.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mattack2 ( 1165421 )

        Whoosh... You're agreeing with the parent article you're supposedly disagreeing with.

    • Yep (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:39PM (#24972113)

      People tend to look at the past through rose coloured glasses. They remember the good things, not the bad ones. In the case of games it is no surprise. You find a game you love, you play that thing to death. Thus it stands strongly in your memory. You find one that sucks, it quickly gets set aside and thus more easily forgotten.

      There was a lot of pure crap released in the past. You just don't remember it because you didn't spend much time on it.

      • If you do not believe the parent, just check this site out. []

        It's a satirical show about shitty games from the past atari/NES/SNES/PS1/etc.
        Looking at several episodes of it I can conclude one thing, there were some very good games but some games simply SUCKED MONKEY BALLS.

        Fortunately, we humans can easily repress those feelings. Just don't make me play Deadly Towers again.

        • Come on. Deadly Towers was hard (probably the 2nd hardest-without-being-stupidly-frustrating game on the NES) but it was a good game.

          Battletoads, OTOH...

      • by Zeussy ( 868062 )
        People seem to forget or not realise that there were hundreds and hundreds of games for the NES/SNES/Master System/Mega Drive, almost every film, TV series, comic book seemed to have some cheap tacky game tie in, even more so than today. Just look at this list List of NES Games [], but then back in those days the Nintendo Seal of Quality actually meant something, there were very few truly bad games, but really only a small fraction of those games are really remembered as great games as the parents have said.
    • by Perseid ( 660451 )
      There are a LOT of games in MAME that are utterly terrible. I don't consider the "signal-to-noise" ratio any better on arcade games than any other platform.

      My opinion has always been this: If you take a random game from any system in history chances are it sucks. Most games, let's face it, aren't very good. And the gems that there are, whether they be recent or past, will be remembered, probably through more of those rose-colored glasses people have been going on about.
  • by EvolutionsPeak ( 913411 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:14PM (#24971721)

    Great games will be remembered and the rest will be forgotten. There was nothing special about the 80's in that regard. There were just as many crappy games (ratio wise at least), we have just forgotten those.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by philspear ( 1142299 )

      It's also telling that it seems to be the guys who made the "classic games" in the 80s that are praising remakes of their games and saying things like

      I think more than half of the games you see today with huge budgets and such a ârealisticâ(TM) focus will be either stale or forgotten in 20 years...On the other hand, the masterpieces of the 80â(TM)s will definitely be enjoyed far into the future. The reason for this is simple â" many of these classic titles have unique and fascinating mechanics that canâ(TM)t be diminished by the advancement of technology.

      Yes, just like how those earliest black and white silent movies, with simple concepts like going to the moon on a zepplin, are still being remade wheras more modern movies like "Jurrasic Park," with huge budgets and "realism" are forgotten in a week.

      In honesty, Galaga and Pacman I find quite boring. It's ludicrous to imply that high budgets and production val

      • Yes, just like how those earliest black and white silent movies, with simple concepts like a lovable tramp, are still being remade wheras more modern movies like "Waterworld," with huge budgets and "realism" are forgotten in a week.

        Hmmm... I should get my cherry picker fixed. :-P

  • by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:15PM (#24971737) Journal

    Your game's reputation will suffer in the long run because gfx will improve with time. If you focus on the total picture of gfx/gameplay/tilt/sound/etc. and do it properly your game will have a much better chance of keeping it's rep high.

    But that's an easy made analysis.

    • by JPLemme ( 106723 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:24PM (#24971897)

      I think that even if you have a great game, the mere fact that it has "representational" graphics is going to hurt it in the long run. Pac Man has essentially no graphics--it was abstract in 1980, it's still abstract in 2008, and it'll be abstract in 2080. But in 20 years GTA 3 will look like a poor representation of reality, rather tahn not looking like any reality.

      It's almost like the Uncanny Valley--graphics that don't try to look real can't take you out of the game, whereas graphics that are more realistic *will* take you out of the game once those graphics are out-of-date.

      • True, but games that people have thoroughly enjoyed by most people will still be fun if you play it again. Example: Zelda Ocarina of Time. Sure, the gfx are old but I still enjoy playing it because it's such a kick-ass game.

        I fear for Crysis though, gfx quality will catch up on them and then *poof*. You have a standard shooter with lame gfx.

      • by quantumplacet ( 1195335 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @09:05PM (#24972421)

        never have mod points when you need them. I was scanning through this thread to figure out where to post exactly what you just said. I will add though, that early video games had simple gameplay mechanics that couldn't really be improved upon without making it a completely different game. Games today will see and endless amount of minor enhancements, improvements and spinoffs over the next many years. When most people look back at games from today, they will be weak early versions of current games. Games from the 80's will never have modern equivalents. That being said, it's not really a knock on today's games, they're still good, just someone else will make the same game but better sometime in the near future.

        • I agree about graphics but not gameplay. It's just that people have stopped trying to advance the simple concepts.

          On the graphics front you have a game like Team Fortress 2. Which with very little work will look great in 100 years.

          On the gameplay front you have games like Braid which is essentially Mario + a horde of other 80s games + New time manipulation widget.

          Even Duke Nukem for Xbox now is going to get "rewind" instead of save. Also the flash version of Portal is freakin' brilliant. As good if not

      • Yes, but we're fast approaching photo-realism with our current technology. The difference between the generations of consoles will be less dramatic with each iteration (or, the lifetimes will simply extend further). Honestly, I don't think some of the better-looking Xbox 360 or PS3 games will look horribly dated in 20 years (not compared to the difference between modern games and '80s arcade games). After all, both high-def TVs (which will hopefully not become obsolete for a while) and our eyes have a ma

  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@ g m a i l . com> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:18PM (#24971785) Homepage Journal

    Many classic Sierra titles have been remade by fans, even after they received official updates into the VGA world.

    Ultima VII is still played via Exult, and is being remade by fans at the same time.

    Some games are considered classic, and are revisited. Most won't.

    I wouldn't be shocked to see Half Life 1 get ported to Valve's next engine.

    • I wouldn't be shocked to see Half Life 1 get ported to Valve's next engine.

      But would that indicate that Half-Life is a classic and timeless game, or that it's got a pretty good story that, when some modern graphics are applied becomes playable again?

      If one of greatest games of our time needs to constantly be upgraded to latest graphics to keep people's interest it would indicate that, no, in fact today's games don't stand the test of time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew ( 866215 )

        The two statements aren't exclusive.

        It many get updated, but the updated graphics aren't necessarily needed to keep the gameplay enjoyable.

        However it is an axiom none the less that it is MUCH easier to sell someone initially on a title based upon graphics. Many people have zero interest in playing something with antiquated graphics unless they've already played it before, and know it to be fun.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Does West Side Story indicate that Shakespeare's stuff hasn't stood the test of time?

        • No, it's neutral. Many less-than-stellar works are re-interpreted with varying degrees of success all the time, they don't necessarily reflect on the quality of the original.

          An indicator that Shakespeare's work stands the test of time is that people still perform Romeo and Juliet.

          And, as an aside, did anyone ever see that terrible show Kindred: The Embraced?

          There was a preview for an episode with the most unintentionally hilarious script I've ever seen, it said "They're like Romeo and Juliet - Except the

          • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

            My favourite line from that show for unintended humour was the new Brujah Primogen declaring as he took power that he would be around for a long time.... the last episode before it was cancelled. Oops.

      • Well, I'm currently in the middle of replaying Duke Nukem 3D, and I am enjoying it immensely, even though I have FEAR + expansion pack sitting on my desk. Now why do you suppose that is? I can't see myself revisiting HL, or Doom3 (although i want to replay Doom1+2). I play starcraft all the time, and DiabloII as well. All "bad" graphics (by crysis standards, which I also have on my desk), but I'm having more fun than with the "good" graphics.
    • You reminded me to go check on HL: Black Mesa. Still not done. :\

      • Didn't that project basically change directions a few years in, from recreating the HL1 campaign, to only recreating multiplayer maps?

        • Not according to the site []. They are using some models and textures from HL2, but the intention still seems to be to recreate the entire original game. I'm expecting to see it around 2017.

  • Elder Scrolls (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Deorus ( 811828 )

    A series that I'll never forget.

  • Nostalgia rules all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelz ( 611260 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:23PM (#24971873)
    I call BS on the "unique and fascinating mechanics". The real reason games from the 80's will be "enjoyed" far into the future is that the generation that grew up with or played it will get nostalgic and run back to it every once in a while.

    Games that I think might be hailed as "classics" in 20 years:
    Most Mario games (they're still reselling all the old ones on handhelds, I doubt this'll stop in 20 years).
    Counterstrike - Immensely popular in the day, it'll certainly be a fun fallback in the future.
    • I call BS on the "unique and fascinating mechanics". The real reason games from the 80's will be "enjoyed" far into the future is that the generation that grew up with or played it will get nostalgic and run back to it every once in a while.

      I'm just slightly too young to have fond memories of Pacman in the arcade (or maybe I just got into computers late, I don't know), and I never liked it. It is incredibly boring, the gameplay is the same for each level!

      Games from that era tend to be simplistic, ugly, incredibly frustrating, and mostly rather crap. And while I do play the occasional game from the system that I did grow up with (MSX, for those who care), I wouldn't expect anyone else to look at it today and see anything of worth.

      On the other h

      • I expect there will be remakes of Deus Ex, Sands of Time, and System Shock 2 at some point, and people will still enjoy playing them.

        Deus Ex doesn't need a remake, you're living in it. Look at the copyright date on the game, look at the skyline in the New York levels, look at what's not there, and get paranoid :-)

        System Shock 2... well, there's Bioshock. But that was too easy and nowhere near as frightening. There was nothing in that game to compare to the madly shrieking psi monkeys. Or the spiders. Oh

  • Duke.




    • Yep. It's just as awesome today as it was ten years ago.

      If that isn't withstanding the test of time, I don't know what is.

  • Faulty comparison (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PotatoFarmer ( 1250696 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:36PM (#24972071)
    "'I think more than half of the games you see today with huge budgets and such a "realistic" focus will be either stale or forgotten in 20 years,' he said. 'On the other hand, the masterpieces of the 80's will definitely be enjoyed far into the future.'"

    Well, they weren't all masterpieces back then, now were they? I don't know about anyone else, but I can certainly remember some stinkers from that era. Pitting the average game of today against stuff that has obviously stood the test of time seems a bit disingenuous.
    • Games in the 80's were unique. No one wanted to play a cheap rip-off. Especially if we are talking arcade games. If you walk into an arcade today (providing you can find one), they are fighting games, driving games, or light-gun games. All so similar. All so mediocre.
      • by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) * on Thursday September 11, 2008 @11:45PM (#24973785) Homepage Journal

        Games in the 80's were unique. No one wanted to play a cheap rip-off.

        I'll have to disagree here... There were a LOT of ripoffs, and they got played... for what choice did you have? What your local arcade had was what they had.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

        Er, hello? Videogame crash? Caused by countless crappy clones? Even before the crash there were tons of clones (even Pong had them), it's just natural for people to think "hey, we can make something better than that" and try to sell that. The clones are forgotten but they did exist. Of course these days the arcade is in a terrible state since noone really cares about it anymore, noone really puts much effort into big new arcade games. The arcade is dead, look at home consoles for the current games.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:39PM (#24972119)

    Kind of hard to compare. The equivalent of games 20 years ago are the cheapie games you download over the console's net store. Zumies is the kind of thing that will be around for ages.

    Something like a Half-Life will maybe end up feeling old, ucky, and unfun to play but it will eventually be superseded by another well-done shooter. Same play mechanics, better graphics, different storyline, you know the drill. The next best racing game? Well, the big one from 1995 will feel skunky by this point in time but the latest one on current gen consoles feels great. The good points will be taken from it and other contemporary games and be reworked into various new racing games and fifteen years down the line we'll look back at 2008 and say "wow, just look at how far we've come."

    I agree with what the poster said above, grab the old ROM's and see how poorly the games stack up to your own memories. I love shooters but Doom feels awful and clunky now. I say this as a person who played the shit out of that game and was disdainful towards every shooter that came after it until Half-Life.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WDot ( 1286728 )
      I don't think graphics are a problem. Yes, I know the graphics in Quake I, Diablo I, Red Alert I, and Half-Life I are "bad." But I love them nonetheless. Also, I have played NONE of those games before I was 17. I'm 19 now, so I haven't had too much time to get nostalgic over them.

      The problem with really old games is CLUNKINESS. You know, how in the original Metroid Samus's beam gun only shoots two inches before the shot disappears? Or how Link's shield in the original Zelda only works against proje
      • How about leaving games on all night because otherwise you need to start from the beginning?

        Just about every emulator can do that via savestates. Heck, the Wii has a suspend play feature that allows you to do just that. Most older games will be played on emulators in the future because of the radical changes in OS/hardware design 10-20 years into the future.

      • Or how Link's shield in the original Zelda only works against projectiles, and it's fickle at that?

        The shield you have at the start of the game is rubbish; it'll usually stop rocks and arrows but not blades or fireballs or magic. Buy the upgraded one - prices vary from 80 to 160 rupees depending on which store you visit. Beware of Like Like.

  • by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:41PM (#24972145)

    It doesn't really matter that much whether or not modern games are good enough to withstand the test of time. Many are so reliant on developer servers being up that eventually they will become unplayable after the game isn't popular/profitable enough to justify further server uptime.

    • Wait. Are you actually saying that games don't exist outside of a mmorpg?
      • by CSMatt ( 1175471 )

        No, I'm saying that stuff that has DRM on it that depends on a central server will cease to be (legally) playable after the server is shut down. But yes, MMOs of all kinds will suffer the most from this.

  • God of War is one of them of this I am certain. It got everything right -- graphics, atmosphere, audio, animation, gameplay mechanics.

    It was like a symphony of gaming, everything about the game cohered together well.

    Some unsung classics (i.e. underground/cult following)

    Xenosaga episodes 1-3 had a great and interesting story and some very good graphics and concepts but the interest was lacking from the masses and the execution of the gameplay was standard JRPG stuff (not very well designed). The gameplay w

    • by malkavian ( 9512 )

      Not so sure it would. It's one of those that I bought and played, and about halfway through just ended up thinking "Meh, this is standard fodder". There was nothing groundbreaking, or innovative about it.
      Standard platform style, with story borrowed from a mashup of mythology.

      The audio, good, if the music is your cup of tea. Video? Good, as was just about every other game around then. Gameplay? Interesting, but sometimes frustrating. Nothing different there.
      It's a fair enough implementation of a formu

  • I don't feel the need to echo others. I'll just give points people haven't brought up. Warning:I'm going to get a bit abstract.

    If you're 30+, you lived through it all. 2d games are great because there are only so many situations you can put someone through in 2d without tacking on a big storyline. 3d games opened up a whole new realm of possibilities, but opened up even more challenges. How do you control the camera? How do you move around? If you mess up some basic things making a 3d game, you can
  • Warcraft II (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paeva ( 1176857 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @09:19PM (#24972553) Homepage

    To me, in middle school when it came out, Warcraft II was absolutely amazing and revolutionary. From the beautiful opening cutscene, to the pre-rendered musical score, to the beautifully-done graphics and interesting gameplay that kept me on the edge of my seat.

    Then, a few weeks ago, I started it back up, and was shocked by how klunky the interface was. It was hard to select things, hard to manage the economy, hard to figure out what buildings I had to build to get certain improvements. Peons would stop working when their resource depleted (and they wouldn't even tell me!). You couldn't save and recall groups of units. Worst of all, the beautifully-balanced gameplay seemed to have been almost a figment of my imagination.

    The truth is: Warcraft II (Command & Conquer which came out around the same time, also upped the bar) broke a lot of new ground in RTS design. And while newer games can often go astray, nobody will say that they haven't also improved on the genre. Warcraft II was great because it *first* exposed us to many of those great designs, but games that came out afterward often improved on that.

    The same could be said of the Civilization series... CivII will always have a fond place in my heart, but whenever I go back to playing that, I really miss the innovations that have been made in the series since then. (I never played CivI, sorry!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nomadic ( 141991 )
      To me, in middle school when it came out, Warcraft II was absolutely amazing and revolutionary

      Thank you for making me feel ancient.
    • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

      Civilisation (I) + ResEdit = Win once upon a time on a Mac LCII. :) Good Times.

      Civ II came with it's own cheat menu for when you felt like messing around.

      Skipped Civ III

      Trying to decide if I can afford the time sink to go buy Civ IV.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MK_CSGuy ( 953563 )

        Civ IV is really good.
        I played all the Civs including Alpha Centauri and Civ IV was the only one that came close to making me rethink my conviction that 'Alpha Centauri is the best civ-like ever.(period)'.

  • Try playing the following classics from the Atari 2600:
    - Pitfall
    - River Raid
    - Adventure
    - Yars Revenge

    As a 10 year old, all of those games rocked. Play them now - no, they didn't hold up. I give them credit for their place in history, but would I play them for hours on end now? Nope.

    • by acvh ( 120205 )

      when I played Pitfall for hours on end I was using my imagination to fill in the blanks. It was more engaging in that regard because my own fantasies were part of the game. Turok, to pick a game with an arguably similar concept, doesn't have blanks for me to fill in, I have to play in the developer's fantasy. and yes, my ringtone is the swinging on a vine sound from Pitfall.

  • because they take too long, they aren't memorable enough, are full of soul-sucking DRM, the hardware isn't stable enough and online features won't be online long enough to truly re-create the experience. Unless you're talking about fan mods and third party servers, which don't really count.
  • by Repton ( 60818 )

    Civilization will be 20 years old in a few years (released 1991). I wouldn't be surprised if I'm playing Civ5 by that stage -- either that, or I'll occasionally pull out Civ4 to relive the experience.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WDot ( 1286728 )
      I recently decided to reinstall Civ IV just to play a quick game. I came home from classes early in the afternoon, and the next thing I knew it was dark out. Every Civilization game since the first one I played (II) has been able to do this to me. It's crazy. No matter how much Sid Meier tinkers with the Civ formula, the result is always the same: once I click the icon, I kiss the rest of my day goodbye.
  • The 80s started the game industry (arcades) and with projects like MAME and other console emulators out there, those games will definitively survive for years to come.

    But like anything else for example: movies, music, etc... video games which peaked for years in popularity, will go through phases of "revamping" and I think that as long as the "new improved" version builds upon and somehow is as cool if not more than the original, this will keep the franchise alive.

    Unlike movies or music, a newer version of

  • Rose colored (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 ) on Friday September 12, 2008 @01:19AM (#24974313) Homepage

    As others have pointed out, people are looking at the 80s games with rose colored glasses. A lot of those games really sucked. Another thing to note is that those games are very easy to recreate, so of course they're still recreated. Stuff like Pac-Man and Frogger are games that you could make in a weekend by reading a tutorial in a C++ book - and those original games had 1 programmer working on them start to finish. Try recreating GTA4 in 20 years time. It's still going to take a lot of time and money just like it did the first time. The game mechanics are complex, there's fairly strong AI. Comparing the gameplay mechanics between that and Pac-Man is apples and oranges. There are a bunch of gameplay mechanics in current games all working together. Each of those gameplay mechanics will survive long into the future, being copies from generation to generation in the games that people are gonna make. You could say that we're still playing Wolfenstein 3D 16 years after it originally came out in the form of any current FPS game. The innovations that each game incorporates should be the things that are judged whether they will stand the test of time. Not the games themselves, which are getting too complicated.

    If you want an analogy, look at the movie industry. We're not seeing remakes of Casablanca every couple of years, but we are seeing elements from Casablanca that have been integrated into the language of cinema - even long after the average moviegoer wouldn't know a Casablanca reference if they saw one.

  • As an example, I just finished playing it on the Wii; in my opinion, it's the best game for that console.

    And yet, in gameplay, it is nearly identical to the SNES version... which is still very playable, today. My kids are playing them in emulators. The Wii version could have it's 3d graphcis swapped out with 2d sprites, and it would be every bit as enjoyable.

    I will bet that most games that are trying to push the graphical edge will rarely be replayed twenty years from now, because their primary draw
  • Or does this sound like my dad when he talks about just HOW great rock 'n roll was in his day and how everything is crap now?
  • Games today are very different from games 10, 20 years ago. Not all of them, but a good part of the AAA titles.

    It's a question of size. You simply couldn't do games with the complexity and content of a current, say, MMORPG before. You could do tricks with procedural content (Elite comes to mind), but even then you were limited by the available code size.

    "Old" games were built like chess, or Go, or card games or any other non-computer game that mankind invented. They have a fairly simple set of rules and goa

  • by fyrie ( 604735 ) on Friday September 12, 2008 @10:08AM (#24977767)

    We'll probably never find out because we won't be able to play the games 20 years from now when the DRM servers are kaput.

The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have his head knocked off. -- Bill Conrad