Games that age well?

It’s not very long ago that scalable graphics engines started appearing in games. But it’s long enough ago that there are a few older games which were intended to take advantage of machines that didn’t yet exist. And now, those games are sometimes even more fun to play than they were at the time.

The two games I plan on keeping for a long time to come, and playing anew on each upgrade just to see how smoothly it moves now, are Total Annihilation and Sacrifice. Both of these have the ability to absorb a lot of CPU and graphics horsepower, particularly if pushed to their limits (which is the whole point, rightt??? :-). Plus, they are good games to begin with.

What other games, past present or near future, have this quality? Obviously Doom III and Half-Life 2 will have it in spades. What other games are likely to age well, or badly? (Warcraft III, for instance, has a built in unit cap, which isn’t very future-friendly.)

(And… and… I wonder… Anyone got a copy of Trespasser? Maybe on a 3.06Ghz P4 it’s…



Why would WC3’s cap limit its future potential?

Maybe because it limits its present potential?

What I meant by that was that WCIII will only ever put so many units on the screen, and it will only render them with so much detail. And the maximum units x detail level you can have runs OK on modern computers. So there will not be a huge advance if you run WCIII on a 2005 system… maybe better resolutions but that’s it.

However, when Total Annihilation shipped it could max out a 300Mhz P2 (the going processor at the time) with a not very big battle. But now you can run it and it can have battles with ten times the units. That’s future-friendly.

Or Sacrifice – when it shipped you couldn’t run it on any better than medium detail at 800x600x16, and even then it was blocky and choppy. Now you can run it at super high antialiased resolution with super high model detail and glassy smooth speed, and it really looks like a whole different game. (IMO.)

That’s the key, I guess… will this game look like a whole different game in three years? or six? If so, it’s future-friendly. (In my original posting I was talking about “the game aging well” but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it using more of the hardware in the future.)

I gotta give it to the original Unreal. That game still looks good, and even better, it runs good on todays hardware.

Well, I can tell you that a game that aged really well for me is the original Hexen, because I’m playing it through again, and it’s a blast. Good mindless fun.

Oh, I’m also still playing Diablo II - LOD.

Dude, sims where made for testing out a new rigs capabilities. Here are a few that, with full gfx options selected, will still bring your system to its knees:

Flanker 2 (although I imagine LOMAC is going to take the crown here)
Jane’s F/A-18
GPL (with all the car and track mods)


Industry Dwarf

TA, Tetris, and Pirates Gold are regular pc installs for me and have aged pretty well. another one I played recently that came out at about the same time as TA was Dark Reign. Actually its still not that bad. It actually has some cool artillery units in it (annoying how popular RTS games DON’T use artillery enough).


Is this meant to a be a scalability discussion, or are we talking about gameplay?

I remember the good old days of Origin titles that required the fastest available hardware at the time of release. Interestingly, those games were best enjoyed about two years later when the hardware was fast enough to allow the games to be played with all of the graphics maxed out.

Interestingly, I find that some of the games that age the best are the ones with stylized graphics, e.g. Shadow Watch (except that I can’t get it to run under XP sniff) and The Curse of Monkey Island.

  • Alan

[EDIT] Origin Systems Inc. - RIP

Maybe because it limits its present potential?[/quote]
I’m sorry to disagree, but that makes no sense.

WC3 works fine as the game it is right now, especially after the expansion pack. As much as I may bitch that it doesn’t have the strategic depth of StarCraft, with the expansion it’s light years ahead of any other RTS.

The potential of a game isn’t judged by the number of units you can put on the screen. In fact, in many ways WC3 worked better back in the early patch days because you had less units. Then, the focus was clearly on micromanagement, on saving every ghoul and grunt and footman.

Now, with much higher tolerances for upkeep and a higher food limit overall, the game has lost that focus. Micromanagement is still important, especially with heroes and spellcasters, but it’s not as important as it used to be. On the other hand, the food limit hasn’t quite reached the level yet where you can split your forces and still stand a reasonable chance of success in a base assault while fighting a delaying action or doing something else.

I’m having a lot of fun playing WBC2 with the 1.04b patch, no more immortal demon titan bug!
Still tosses the lowspec machine from the lan so it way well benefit from better hardware.

Yeah, I still play Dialblo 2 once or twice a week, though I also use the Hell On Earth mod when playing now. I was never a big guy.

That’s about the only older title I’ve been playing lately, though I intend to return to Morrowind when the XBOX pack comes out later this year ;-)

Ack I’m sorry. I derailed the scalability discussion with a stupid joke.

Industry Dwarf

Total Annilhilation
Quake I for some reason, still play it, and still the look doesn’t bother me
Civ II
Dungeon Keeper II
Half Life- playing through it again, and other than everyone having clenched fists It doesn’t look all that bad.
Diablo II

In 5 years, Doom3 will look dated.

Rez will not. I’ve the feeling Zelda: the Wind Waker won’t either.

Roofle Owned Representationalism.

Monkey Island I&II, Indiana Jones IV. They still look and sound great to me.

Well Monkey Island I & II are two of the best games ever made.

GAH, I just ordered monkey island madness. I’ve owned these games like 5 times now.

I still have the original games sitting around here ever since I bought them the time they were released. I have to admit though that I had to download MI1&2 from the 'net though a while ago, too, because I wanted to play them again and the only 5.25" floppy drive I have somewhere around here doesn’t work properly anymore.