How well have NES games aged?

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How well have NES games aged?

Postby scotland » February 8th, 2017, 5:21 pm

With a new Zelda game forthcoming, I was surprised that the original 1987 Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) being pretty low on ranking the games on two lists (Kotaku and Digital Spy). The authors both gave the same reason - "It hasn't aged well". The authors both acknowledge that the game was special at time, even using the word 'masterpiece', but not any more.

If the original Legend of Zelda (Dave gave it an A-) hasn't aged well, how about the rest of the NES catalog? Neither list went into what they meant by 'hasn't aged well', but I don't think it was graphics so much as gameplay. After all, 8 bit sprites are considered kinda cute and are common in mobile games.

Despite the interest and sales of the NES Classic Mini (which includes Legend of Zelda), are NES games quickly being tossed aside as unworthy, archaic, ugly, not fun, etc with the phrase 'hasn't aged well'?

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby Voor » February 8th, 2017, 7:09 pm

I got a Classic a couple of weeks ago, haven't played most of these games in over 20 years. Some have aged well, some terribly. Part of that is how fondly you remember the game from your youth. If this was the first time I've played some of these, I would think they suck...hard.

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby Rev » February 8th, 2017, 7:23 pm

Yeah, it totally depends on the game. If a game is something that the NES did very well (such as platforming and beat'm up) then a lot of those games have aged pretty well. A lot of the classics such as the Super Mario Bros series started still apply today so those games aren't as hard to go back. Games like RPGs or Action/Adventure games have seen huge changes/improvements to the classic formula- such as maps, item management, level up systems that make sense, less grinding, and so forth. A lot of these things weren't staples until the 4th-5th generation (2D games).

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby eneuman96 » February 8th, 2017, 11:32 pm

Again, it definitely depends on the game. Zelda in particular has gone through so many iterations over the years that it only makes sense that the first one (which is a lot more basic and cryptic in comparison to the others) would be showing its age at least a little bit comparison. Plenty of NES games, like SMB3, have aged magnificently, and there are tons of underrated titles covered on sites like Hardcore Gaming 101 that are a testament to how dense its library is. Even if the first Zelda feels dated compared to, say, A Link Between Worlds, there are many timeless NES titles that will appeal to anyone who plays games and doesn't mind pixel graphics.

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby MrLuck87 » February 9th, 2017, 4:43 am

I actually played through Zelda 2, Super C, and Castlevania for the first time about 2 years ago and I had a lot of fun with all of them. I liked that they were difficult and didn't waste any time getting into the action. I don't think those titles have aged poorly at all.

But then I tried playing Ocarina of Time about a week ago and just couldn't get over how slow paced it was. The text moved sooooo slow and the game was soooo easy. It's not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination but it certainly isn't as fun as it was 20 years ago.

I just read that Kotaku list too and man what a joke!

27. Super C (aka Super Contra)

I know a lot of people have fond memories of Contra, but today it’s just kinda boring. The Konami code is still fun, though.

So the game is boring but typing in a cheat code is fun?!?! There's not even the slightest attempt to explain why it hasn't aged well. You can do that with literally any game ever made.

Here's my facetious list of the top 5 most overrated games of all time.

5. Super Mario Kart
It used to be fun driving in Go Karts but as graphics progressed we can drive in real cars now. Waste of time.

4. Pac Man
Eating virtual pills was fun in the 80's but now we're adults who have to take real ones. Need I say more?

3. Resident Evil
The bad graphics just make this game hilarious instead of scary.

2. Half Life 2
Without Half Life 3 explaining the story it's just mediocre by today's standards.

1. Dark Souls
A lot of Ninja Gaiden, I mean Dark Souls, difficulty comes more from imprecise controls and unfair enemy positioning than any sort of real challenge.

Can Kotaku pay me to write bad click bait articles?

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby Gentlegamer » February 9th, 2017, 7:58 am

Games don't age.

Legend of Zelda is as good today as the day it came out. Which is among the best games of all time.

Stop reading Kotaku for any reason.

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby Stalvern » February 9th, 2017, 11:19 am

Gentlegamer wrote:Games don't age.

Games stay the same, but people's tastes and standards change, and a lot of classics are classics because they did what they did first (or among the first), not best - people are much more generously patient with games that don't yet have any competition. What happens is that, once an actual basis for comparison eventually develops, people are less charitable toward tests of their patience. For example, the original Metroid made a name for itself by offering a kind of open-ended gameplay that almost nothing else had in 1986, but I can't play it today for more than 10 minutes without getting sick of the endless indistinguishable (often identical) tunnels and the need to draw my own map to have a clue where I am (for comparison, I can get by without a map in Metroid II because it has discernible landmarks and areas that aren't copied and pasted to death). I don't agree with the blanket label of "NES games" in the thread title, though, because hardware has almost nothing to do with this kind of thing: the NES also has Blaster Master, which is essentially a Metroid that doesn't feel like pulling my own teeth to play.

(This is in no way meant as a defense of that ridiculous Kotaku list.)

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby Sut » February 9th, 2017, 11:52 am

I've always found the Zelda games far to cryptic to be fun so I gave up with them after Zelda 1 and Links Awakening.

However I think the NES and the third generation as a whole still dates well if you play the right games.

Contra, Batman and Super Mario are still fun along with Double Dragon and Micro Machines.

I think many top tier games still hold up, but the middle to bottom tier games are more difficult to stomach these days.

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby scotland » February 9th, 2017, 12:38 pm

Sut wrote:I think many top tier games still hold up, but the middle to bottom tier games are more difficult to stomach these days.

The original Legend of Zelda is a top tier NES game, which is part of what surprised me.

Certainly the lower tier NES games will suffer with time, and AVGN kinda made his name trashing them. Lots of older games are hard, because these are still small games that need to deliver hours of entertainment yet not be like an arcade game.

Its interesting that games like the 2nd generation Imagic games still stand on their own because they are fun and are only played by people already agreeable to their limitations, but a game like the original Zelda suffers by comparison with its own spawn by fans of those later games. There is probably a moral in there somewhere.

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Re: How well have NES games aged?

Postby Rookie1 » February 10th, 2017, 11:10 am

A good game is timeless. NES games are just that. I get more fun out of playing most NES games thant I do any massive AAA release.

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