Nostalgia Vs. Gameplay

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VideoGameCritic
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Nostalgia Vs. Gameplay

Postby VideoGameCritic » August 4th, 2017, 2:56 pm

I was reading about how surprisingly well the new Crash Bandicoot remaster is selling.
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/08/ ... l-success/

The comments hit on one of my pet peeves. Namely, when a classic game has a resurgence, it's attributed to pure nostalgia. Nevermind if the game is easy to play, family-friendly, and just plain fun. No, it HAS to be nostalgia because - just look at those graphics! I heard the same argument when the NES Classic was the rage.

I think the people who frequent this site know better. Flashy high definition graphics do not equate to a good game, and simple, pixelated graphics do not mean a game is bad. However those with very little knowledge or appreciation for video games (like the media) fail to understand this and are quick to judge a game on its superficial qualities.

Am I right?

pacman000
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Re: Nostalgia Vs. Gameplay

Postby pacman000 » August 4th, 2017, 4:27 pm

You are right, tho a few commenters seemed to get it.

I must note that HD graphics are not automatically good; good graphics are a matter of style. An early 80's Imagic game can have better graphics than the latest release even if the newer game runs at 80 billion polygons per second.

Judging from videos I'd say the original Crash games had better graphics than the remakes. The old ones had more complex textures and more dramatic lighting.

One review of the Crash remakes gave them a bad review because games had "advanced," because the reviewer had trouble judging the jumps, and because the games were too challenging. Aren't games supposed to be a bit challenging?

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Stalvern
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Re: Nostalgia Vs. Gameplay

Postby Stalvern » August 4th, 2017, 4:41 pm

I think that you're reading too much into the article. That's a dichotomy that doesn't really appear anywhere, certainly not when the article refers to "classic properties" ("classic" implying some level of actual merit) and unfavorably compares Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD to the earlier Tony Hawk games.

This idea of nostalgia "vs." gameplay presumes that nostalgia is somehow inherently unfounded, as if I can only be nostalgic for Super Mario 64 because I happened to play it as a kid, rather than because it's an excellent game that I happened to play as a kid. (By contrast, I have no such attachment to the awful N64 port of Midway's Off-Road Challenge, which I also played quite a bit.) If a new Lego Racers game ever happened, I'd be excited for it because my fond memories of the original would inform my expectation that a new one would be good. I have those fond memories because the original was good. To call that nostalgia is not to deny the game's worth.

pacman000 wrote:One review of the Crash remakes gave them a bad review because games had "advanced," because the reviewer had trouble judging the jumps, and because the games were too challenging. Aren't games supposed to be a bit challenging?

The jumps are actually changed from the originals in a way that makes the games more challenging than they were designed to be, unreasonably so in some places. It's a legitimate complaint, even if the review misattributed the cause.
Last edited by Stalvern on August 4th, 2017, 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nostalgia Vs. Gameplay

Postby VideoGameCritic » August 4th, 2017, 5:23 pm

Yeah I wasn't really referring to this article in particular as much as the general perception I've noticed.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Nostalgia Vs. Gameplay

Postby Retro STrife » August 4th, 2017, 5:30 pm

I don't know.. I agree to an extent, but I do think nostalgia is a big part of the equation too. (And had a lot to do with the success of the NES Classic too.) Even though the new Crash remaster is a decent game, I think it would be just another average platformer in the pile if it was a fresh IP. I also think praise and review scores would be tempered a little, because I feel like nostalgia inflates those a bit (and that's true for a lot of games..Mario and Zelda being an easy example). Nostalgia is fun, fun means better review scores, better review scores means better sales...

As I've mentioned before, I like to say that Rule #1 of the retro gaming market is that "Every Good System Dies Twice"... i.e., a good system sells great when its new and then, years later, it has a temporary resurgence with revived demand and increased value, due to reignited interest from 20-35 year olds who played it as a kid. In that sense, as we all know, the supply and demand market in retro gaming (especially casual retro gaming) is driven largely by the whims of nostalgia for your youth. But, that theory doesn't just apply to systems - it can apply to games too...

And it just so happens that Crash Bandicoot, in terms of timing, has hit its perfect nostalgic sweetspot for 25-35 year old gamers that want to re-experience the games of their youth. And I do believe that that's a big reason for the success of the new remaster (and the success of similar remasters). If this game came out in 2009, it would not be selling this well. If this game came out in 2027, it would not sell this well. It's hitting in prime time -- and you gotta credit nostalgia for that boost, because (as you point out) the game is the same quality regardless of 1998, 2009, or 2027.


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