Early to Mid 90's gaming

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jon
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Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby jon » April 14th, 2017, 12:19 am

I've really been missing the old days lately because I feel like things were very fair. I was too young for the first and second generations. But for me the most important and interesting time in my time following video games was from like 1992-1995. There was so much going on. And most importantly, there was something for everyone. There was computers, arcades, SNES. Genesis, 32x, Sega CD, 3do, Turbographx, Jaguar, Neo Geo. Nowadays, if you don't like the PS4, you're screwed. Because the XBone is the same system. There's basically one system. And there's no variety in publishers or types of game genres. A ton of genres have gotten screwed, and don't even exist anymore. I feel like 1995 was the year video games went downhill and by 1997 it was over. I literally remember reading Gamepro magazines from mid 1995 and there were reviews for a "ton" of consoles and all sorts of publishers. Then by the end of that same year, almost all of the consoles and publishers had folded. And also, computer games went downhill so badly, it's not even funny. All the ingenuity was sucked out and it seemed like there weren't as many games being made. By 1997 it was basically the PS1 or no video games. Because the N64 couldn't compete. And the pathetic graphics and soul crushing load times made me wonder if it was even worth it. Suddenly, all the amazing systems and publishers and graphics all came crashing down like it didn't even happen. And 20 years later it's still the Playstation or nothing. I'd just assume pretend the last 20 years never happened.

OzGamer
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby OzGamer » April 14th, 2017, 1:37 am

jon wrote: Nowadays, if you don't like the PS4, you're screwed. Because the XBone is the same system.


I know you don't like RPGs, but the PS4 has plenty of games by Japanese developers that don't get released for the Xbox One. The Xbox One has its exclusives too, though far fewer than the PS4.

If you despair about the current state of video-gaming, at least you have the those classic consoles to play. Relive your favourite games, discover those that you never played.

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Stalvern
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby Stalvern » April 14th, 2017, 3:54 am

jon wrote:And also, computer games went downhill so badly, it's not even funny. All the ingenuity was sucked out and it seemed like there weren't as many games being made. By 1997 it was basically the PS1 or no video games.

The late '90s were a golden age for the PC. The era of Riven, Half-Life, Grim Fandango, System Shock 2, EverQuest, Thief, Quake III, Age of Empires, Planescape: Torment, Descent 3, Homeworld, Baldur's Gate, MDK, and StarCraft was hardly "PS1 or no video games".

While I can see where the rest of your post is coming from, I can't really agree with your ideals. The glut of different platforms in the early '90s was an unsustainable anomaly; the market wasn't nearly large enough to support that many systems, especially when the Genesis and SNES had libraries an order of magnitude larger than the newcomers and also-rans. (I have a real soft spot for the 3DO, but I would have been an idiot to drop $700 on one in 1993 instead of a system with, you know, games.) When you say that this provided "something for everyone", who was the Jaguar for? Or the 32X? (I do know who the TurboGrafx and Neo Geo were for: Japan and millionaires.) The truth is that there were two consoles that had something for everyone, and the rest were lucky to have anything at all.

However, when it comes to negatives, you're right on the money:

jon wrote:Nowadays, if you don't like the PS4, you're screwed. Because the XBone is the same system. There's basically one system. And there's no variety in publishers or types of game genres. A ton of genres have gotten screwed, and don't even exist anymore.

What's happening is very simple: As consoles get more powerful, they can do more and more of the same things, and it takes more and more resources to put them to effective use. Back when engineers had to make hard decisions about palettes and sprites and sound channels, the primitive machines that came out of this showed very different priorities (there is no mistaking a game on the Intellivision for one on the Colecovision, even going by a single screenshot) and could be pushed to their limits by lone programmers. On the other hand, now that consoles can do essentially everything (and, clock speeds and poly counts aside, have been able to since the PS2's generation), the limits that differentiated them are gone, and when the details of a single PS4 model are as demanding as the entire development of a 2600 game, the number of people it takes to make a game look and run half-decently skyrockets. All of these people have to be paid, of course, and when developers put that kind of money into a game's budget, it doesn't get approved anymore unless it can guarantee a return on the investment by selling to mass markets comfortably established along genre lines. In its ceaseless pursuit of formula, the triple-A gaming industry is basically an even more mindless counterpart to Hollywood at this point, and it's all because of the money it now costs just to put pixels on a screen.

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scotland
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby scotland » April 14th, 2017, 7:38 am

OzGamer wrote: If you despair about the current state of video-gaming, at least you have the those classic consoles to play. Relive your favourite games, discover those that you never played.


Absolutely!

I was playing my Atari 2600, and it hit me how many games I have for it. Back in its retail days, I would only have a handful of games. Even in later yeats when kids rented games from Blockbuster, did they ever get to play nearly the games you can today with Ebay? Add in flashback retro consoles and homebrew games and multicarts, and its a golden age for classic gaming. Interest is high and technology has advanced to let even hobbyists build things. Original hardware is still a problem (how many of us have a Vectrex? Or a 3DO? Or a Speccy if you are an American?), but there are more options for those than were in the day.

I think if you like pre PS1 gaming, then there are probably a library of games out there you can play for the very first time. There are also places on the web, like here or AtariAge, where that is applauded. New homebrews and hobby projects and kickstarter things are happening all the time.

Also, check out portable gaming. The GBA and DS libraries may have a lot of what you like.

And if you really want new games with those old school properties, Mobile is the emerging marketplace. The newest Professor Layton game, for instance, is going to mobile and not the 3DS.

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MoarRipter
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby MoarRipter » April 14th, 2017, 10:27 am

I see PS1 as the turning point too, specifically Metal Gear Solid. That's when games became movie like with the long storylines and requiring way more time to finish than previous titles. A lot of people love that video games went that way but I prefer the simpler times - games that could be finished in 10 hours or less, couch co-op, simpler control schemes, physical manuals! Games are indeed way too much like Hollywood now with their cookie cutter formula to reiterate with established series from games that actually were kind of innovative in the 90s and 2000s but are now terribly stale. It's like "here's a new game that's essentially just like other games you've played on our previous consoles 20 years ago, but we changed it to a different story so it's all new and it plays in 4K but you need our new $600 system to see it."

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scotland
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby scotland » April 14th, 2017, 10:43 am

MoarRipter wrote:A lot of people love that video games went that way but I prefer the simpler times - games that could be finished in 10 hours or less, couch co-op, simpler control schemes, physical manuals!


I am in agreement with you, but the hobby has always been about cutting edge tech. Intellivision and Blast Processing and all that.

The good news is that there are still video games built by small teams, of limited scope, focused on gameplay or a quick story or something. Maybe they are on Steam or mobile or portable gaming, and less on console gaming, or only downloadable, or you have to hunt for them. Maybe its like sports where a few sports dominate the market, money, and media coverage and seem to define "sports", but really there are all sorts of sports at many levels. Its a shame video games don't have an Olympics to highlight lots of sports once in awhile.

Ransom
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby Ransom » April 14th, 2017, 11:13 am

There's a lot of cynicism in the original post, but I think there is a lot of hope for the future.

Take a game like "Shovel Knight". I came of age during the SNES/Genesis era, and this throwback to NES style graphics feels retro even to me, but I think it's the greatest example of how to prioritize gameplay, play control, and simple fun factor over high end graphics the way so many games get bogged down these days.

I think a paradigm shift is happening in video games where it disconnects from always having to use the highest level graphics, framerates, and cutscenes to where there are plenty of games that value a simple play experience and are designed to fit a "one hour a day" niche in your life, as opposed to these triple A titles designed to fill a 40 or 60 hour work week.

The early 90s were a sort of golden era, but as others have said, we had access to so much because the era of the arcade was ending just as the era of the PC was beginning and the console market was overloaded. It made for this enormous variety in experience for those of us in the first throes of love with this hobby, but to 99% of us the NeoGeo or Turbografx 16 was nothing more than a legend that we believed probably had even better games than what we were playing!

Gaming is meant, to me, to be a place where I can relax with my friends. I love my family, and I even love my job, but these days I play Starcraft 2 with a longtime friend and introduce my younger friends to games they've never experienced, and I'm still buying SNES and Genesis games I've never tried before. Just get rid of your PS4 and don't buy mobile games and I think you'll do fine. 8-)

GTS
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby GTS » April 14th, 2017, 5:44 pm

When you open an old gaming magazine, you'll see letters to the editor about how the newest generation of games are not that good. The current generation is never highly revered, no matter which generation it is. 15 years from now, PS4 will be reflected upon, and people will be able to point out how awesome it was. That being said, I think you do touch on something negative that happened in the mid-90s. We saw whole genres (like sidescrolling platformers) fall to the waste side to give way to 3D games. We did get new genres in return though, like survival horror, 3D platforming, and stealth.

rockofhysteria
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby rockofhysteria » April 14th, 2017, 7:17 pm

While I do like modern gaming I LOVE that era you talk about back when games had real soul to them. You had little crews that would make a game and because there were so few people working on a particular game they would be able to add their own personal flair to it whether grahically or in the gameplay department.



I too see the PS1 as a turning point as well when the PS1 hit it became more about catering to the hardcore crowd in terms of the types of games and genres being made. And they focused less and less on casual gamers and games that can draw all sorts of different people into it. Even Nintendo tried to go that route a bit with the N64 and some of those games. Right around that time is when the Video Game Industry became corporatized and just about Profit instead of making truly unique games. The Biggest examples of this that I can think of are EA's Sports franchises and the Call of Duty Series where they just pump out game after game not really caring about quality of gameplay instead just graphical updates.



That's not saying that some beautiful and unique games don't get made anymore they do but those games typically aren't very popular in terms of Sales take Okami by Clover Studios for the PS2 that game was a gorgeous work of art and was truly unique but to my knowledge despite critical success it didn't sell very well and a contributing factor to clover studios closing down.



Even gaming conventions like E3 became totally corporate instead of a great place for fans to experience this great medium of entertainment.



I believe that while there is a ever growing interest in classic gaming worldwide the industry as a whole will never go back to the good old days where games were about unique playing experiences and will forever be just about Profit and Regurgitation year after year.

Arnold
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby Arnold » April 14th, 2017, 8:52 pm

jon wrote:I've really been missing the old days lately because I feel like things were very fair. I was too young for the first and second generations. But for me the most important and interesting time in my time following video games was from like 1992-1995. There was so much going on. And most importantly, there was something for everyone. There was computers, arcades, SNES. Genesis, 32x, Sega CD, 3do, Turbographx, Jaguar, Neo Geo. Nowadays, if you don't like the PS4, you're screwed. Because the XBone is the same system. There's basically one system. And there's no variety in publishers or types of game genres. A ton of genres have gotten screwed, and don't even exist anymore. I feel like 1995 was the year video games went downhill and by 1997 it was over. I literally remember reading Gamepro magazines from mid 1995 and there were reviews for a "ton" of consoles and all sorts of publishers. Then by the end of that same year, almost all of the consoles and publishers had folded. And also, computer games went downhill so badly, it's not even funny. All the ingenuity was sucked out and it seemed like there weren't as many games being made. By 1997 it was basically the PS1 or no video games. Because the N64 couldn't compete. And the pathetic graphics and soul crushing load times made me wonder if it was even worth it. Suddenly, all the amazing systems and publishers and graphics all came crashing down like it didn't even happen. And 20 years later it's still the Playstation or nothing. I'd just assume pretend the last 20 years never happened.


I totally agree with you. Specially about Sega Genesis and arcades.


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