Early to Mid 90's gaming

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scotland
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby scotland » April 14th, 2017, 10:41 pm

GTS wrote: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.


Can you dig up some of those letters to the editor?

I really don't recall that attitude in the early generations, but if you find some scans they would be interesting to read.

The earliest I can recall is the decline of text adventures causing some nostalgia in the mid to late 80s, and that was overwhelmed by the incredible advances going on. Text adventures and Pong were two of earliest genres to be mostly lost, but I think the number of gamers who thought gaming was losing more than it was keeping were small.

I think retrogaming kinda began in the mid 90s with emulation of systems like the Speccy on the Amiga, and later on PCs. The Speccy and C64 might be the first systems to have such popularity that some gamers began using contemporary tech to play old games alongside of new ones. Even then, I don't recall disdain or a lack of respect for the then modern systems (and systems like the Amiga seemed awesome), but rather a desire to keep enjoying the older and vast library of games, especially if those games could be acquired so easily.

eneuman96
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby eneuman96 » April 14th, 2017, 11:01 pm

Wow, there is a ton of misplaced cynicism in the original post in this thread.

"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."

Firstly, PC gaming still exists and is arguably more popular than it was back then. Secondly, half of the systems mentioned above had mediocre or even outright terrible game libraries, not to mention the NeoGeo and its titles were prohibitively expensive even by today's standards. Thirdly, I do agree with the Xbox One basically being a PS4 with fewer games worth playing, but Nintendo consistently offers quality first-party titles and really doesn't deserve to be pushed aside even if they do sometimes make completely baffling decisions.

You go on to say there's "no variety in publishers or types of game genres." I don't understand this. If you look solely at the output of companies like EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft, and Activision, then yes, it'll seem like every game is the same, but this comment completely overlooks the absolutely massive amount of independent developers that break the mold by releasing titles with gameplay and level design far more inventive than anything an AAA company can crank out. I won't claim that every indie game is a masterpiece, but there are a LOT more of them worth playing than people like to claim. Hell, the PS4 is a treasure trove of indie titles.

Also, if you really miss gaming in the early-to-mid-90's, there's more options for revisiting it than ever. There are emulators for pretty much every system from that era that you can get for free on your computer, or you can alternatively shell out money for a device like a Retro Freak or a Retron 5 that costs less than any of the systems they support did back in their heyday.

There certainly exist legitimate complaints about this generation of gaming (microtransactions, day-one DLC, always-online requirements for singleplayer games, other types of abusive DRM, using patches as an excuse to ship out a broken game and fix it later), but I strongly disagree that it's all doom and gloom like you make it out to be. I'm basically parroting what others have already said by posting this, but I think there are many games released in the past few years worth checking out. You may be surprised with what you find if you look hard enough.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby VideoGameCritic » April 15th, 2017, 1:21 pm

Yeah there's a lot of cynicism in this thread but also many valid points.

In the 90's each system had its own personality and was a unique experience. The graphics were all a bit different and some could do certain effects better than others. Think about the mode 7 effect in the SNES Mario Kart. The full-screen FMV of the 3DO. The controllers were unique. I think most classic gamers can recognize a Genesis game just by listening to the music.

Today all games look the same no matter what system they are on. That's partly because there's no real graphical limitations anymore - everything is HD. Also, all the developers are using the same tools (Unreal Engine x.x) to make them. Today's controllers all have the same basic design. Despite the fact they can have fully orchestrated scores, how many people find themselves humming the tunes of today's games?

What we've gained is depth of play. You could play Skyrim or the latest GTA for the rest of your life without seeing everything it has to offer. If that's your game, it's a great deal. But if you like more variety, it's a little hard to find.

jon
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby jon » April 17th, 2017, 12:59 am

I disagree with certain criticism of my original post. Sure there's independent games being made. But they have no money behind them. And these developers need well funded project after project to really get good. I'm sorry but playing a 2d game with a sprite here and there that I know could've been way better is not my idea of a good time. I'm talking about my desire to see these old game genres, but with big budgets. One "huge" criticism I have is that there aren't any simple 3d games. The first wave of PS1 and N64 titles (for that matter every 3d Jaguar, 32x, 3do game) were fun to me because they weren't too complicated. The worlds weren't too huge. Once it got big, in like 1997, maybe a little later for the N64 like 1999, it was just too much. It wasn't worth it for me. Perhaps I get pegged as a 2d guy, lol. But I love 3d as well, just within limits. And obviously, no one's making any relatively simple 3d games with big budgets. And a relatively simple 3d game wouldn't need an astronomical budget, but certainly somewhere in between indie games and AAA titles.

CharlieR
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby CharlieR » April 17th, 2017, 8:43 am

We have a topic like this every once in a while, and it's always fun to read posts and reminisce. Thanks.

I can relate to this post, as that was when I was growing up. Genesis was the main console I had, so I played a lot of NBA jam, NHL 94, streets of Rage 2, Mortal Kombat, etc. There was a lot of variety back then. Even with the console wars videos that the critic posted a while back, you can even see that the same games that were released had differences. It was all part of the fun back then.

If you had games released today for xbox one and ps4, they are basically the same. I also think that the games being released today are too similar to each other. It just seems to me that most games that get released are shooters or some form of RPG. There are more casual game released, but it seems they are indie, downloadable titles.

twilighthotel
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby twilighthotel » April 17th, 2017, 10:10 am

I'll admit it was cool reading about fringe systems like the 3DO, Lynx, Jaguar, Turbografx 16 and Neo Geo in old issues of Gamepro and EGM. However, it doesn't mean most of us reading this (or any of us) were going to put such systems on a Christmas list ahead of the SNES and Genesis when we were kids or invest a week's worth of pay into them for those of you reading who were adults back then.

jon
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby jon » April 17th, 2017, 4:41 pm

For hardcore gamers, computer games are better now than they were in the first half of the 90's, I guess lol. But there was a pick up and play mentality that got lost as well as detailed games that didn't bog you down with a bunch of crap. And sure the Genesis and SNES was what most people had. But they were so different, polar opposites. And computers and arcades were easily accessible. And a lot of people had Sega CD and 32x as well as some of the other lesser known systems. They were available.

twilighthotel
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby twilighthotel » April 18th, 2017, 11:15 am

OP talks about systems today all having the same games and the games looking the same regardless of platform. I seem to remember SNES/Genesis having plenty of the same games back then, even if one version was usually the "preferred choice." 3DO, Saturn and PS1 had games that overlapped. Atari Jaguar was on the way to getting Mortal Kombat III and Tomb Raider if it had survived longer, according to Atari historians. How many systems received versions of NBA Jam back then by the way?

Ransom
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby Ransom » April 18th, 2017, 12:17 pm

I think an elephant in the room of this conversation is that if you came of age during the time you were playing some of these games we're talking about then there is no gaming experience that will ever compare to that. You only become an adult once, and growing as you're gaming, even growing while you're gaming, is an experience that keeps me coming back still. But to me you will never match the experience of the first time you really know what to do in an adventure game. The first time I realized in the original Legend of Zelda that I could just farm around for some Rupees, search out some heart containers, and get the white sword early was literally a powerful experience in my life. I realized that by doing something somewhat tedious I could get ahead of the game and then smash through four or five dungeons without much trouble. This is a transferable experience, and the place to now look for the mirror of that experience my not be found in gaming.

But as for the current state of gaming, I really do think that the most challenging thing for all of us right now is that there is so much of it and it's not being curated very well by those who are producing it. There are so many genres and sub-genres, graphical styles and playstyles, not to mention all the gimmicks clogging up the good gaming experiences such as day one DLC and microtransactions which were mentioned by others.

Games though, have always been a commercial enterprise. Now they're a very lucrative one, and a lot of people are getting in on it. Entertainment as a whole is shifting from large, single transactions to small transactions. Honestly I think Free to Play is a big problem in gaming, mostly because it's dishonest. It's actually "Free-to-play-to-a-point". And they don't tell you up front what point that is. I would prefer to take the risk and buy the game ahead of time.

Finally, I'd like to introduce another thought. This one's a question actually. I've gotten the feeling that certain genres and series' really do peak at a certain point, after which there's not much that company can do to build on or branch out on that gaming experience. For instance, I think Diablo 2 is simply preferable to Diablo 3 in every way. They simplified so many things in Diablo 3, from constant character respeccing to even the uniform size of items, such that the graphics upgrade is the only superior aspect in my opinion. Oh, and treasure goblins. Those are great. :)

I wonder if the same could be said for something like Final Fantasy 4 or 6 or Chrono Trigger as the pinnacle of 2D JRPG's. I wanted to bring up action platformers, but I think the thing that has supported so many of them is that you "are" that character, and so changing the character and backdrop amounts to changing the story you're reading from Fantasy (Mario) to Sci-fi (Blaster Master) to Cartoon (Looney Tunes), etc.

I know the "greatest" anything is opinion based, but regardless of your opinion on which one is the greatest, do you think a genre and theme actually objectively "peaks" at a certain point? I think this could answer some of the concerns of the original post as well.

jon
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Re: Early to Mid 90's gaming

Postby jon » April 19th, 2017, 10:54 pm

It is easy to get sucked into nostalgia and remember the good things. But my favorite publishers and genres went extinct in the late 90's. I was still young so it wasn't like I became an adult and didn't have time anymore. It just seemed to me like video games went corporate in 1995. By 1997 things had changed a lot.


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