Remembering games fondly... Why some more than others?

Nah, it’s because X-COM was great and has never been equaled for game play.

When you can list a modern combat game better than X-COM, I’ll believe it’s nostalgia.

Nostalgia and appreciation for genuine quality are not mutually exclusive. KRAFTWERK was a good (and important) band, and can be defended in musical terms without misty-eyed remembrances. Nevertheless, part of the reason I smile at the first notes of “The Model” is because the audio memory trigger invokes my earliest days as a music fan.

I’d put Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord up there. Near perfect combat model. And it doesn’t even have destructible terrain!

Still, thousands wonder why no one can make a squad-based tactical game with destructible scenery. With a strategic layer of sorts.

Why can no one make a new X-COM?

It’s the unicorn of modern game design.

The feeling of nostalgia I feel for Full Throttle was matched by the feeling I had when I played Psychonauts (until I hit meat circus). I don’t believe it’s some warm, rosy look at the past that makes these games better. I think it’s that personal sauce the developers pour into the games as they are working on them. In an industry where there is still creativity and innovation, but it’s hidden behind games made for big money, that developer sauce is missing. It’s bland now, because they’re just biding their time until they either move to a game they want their sauce on or until they leave the industry. There are still a few games that are saucy, that remind you of that flavor the old games had, but in the past more games had sauce.

I recently came across a couple of discs in my collection that I don’t even remember purchasing: X-Wing Collectors’ Edition. It has “updated” versions of X-Wing and TIE Fighter, using the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter engine.

I’ve had such a blast playing TF again these past few days that it’s difficult to describe. Since I replay my old favorites pretty regularly, but haven’t played X-Wing or TIE Fighter since I had a 486, there was a pretty strong jolt of nostalgia. It was very much as if I were back in the early 90s, playing a great game and being young.

I have a semi-theory that it’s the interactivity along with the associated memories of where we were in our lives when we played a particular game that evokes such a strong sense of connection and nostalgia. Much as the sense of smell is the sense most strongly linked to memory, and catching a whiff of a long-forgotten scent can instantly take you back in time, I suspect that the very nature of the interactivity of gaming allows for much the same thing to happen when you rediscover a past favorite.

Or maybe TIE Fighter’s just a damned fine game. Who knows?

Wasn’t CM:BO released almost six years ago? How come you get to avoid the nostalgia rap?

I’m a bit incredulous about some of these posts. I love classic games and firmly believe that graphics do not make a game but gameplay is king. I have a number of favorite titles from the past that I think have no modern equal. But to hear some of you wax on about how Civ 1, MoM, TIE Fighter, DOOM, and Duke3D are still the better games than their modern counterparts and competitions? I question whether you actually play those games today. I think this is purely a thread of rosy nostalgia.

I do still play classic games. Some of them have never found a replacement. But the titles thrown around so far? (excepting X-COM) Do you not like games anymore? There are great modern replacements for these titles. So I want to see a show of hands. If you think Civ1 is better than Civ4, tell me that’s what you still play. If you still play DOOM over DOOM3, Painkiller, Serious Sam, etc., say so.

Well, I’ve been playing TIE Fighter over the latest great space combat sim…oh wait, there hasn’t been a great space combat sim since Freespace 2, which doesn’t count because its graphics are still impressive even without adding the newfangled enhancements from FS2Open.

I have a fairly lengthy list of classic titles that I replay at least once every year, if not more. It goes back as far as Ultima 2 and includes titles from every conceivable genre.

That said, I get what ceasarbear is saying and I agree with him to an extent. Unless you’re actually going back and playing the “superior” versions of these games, then you likely need to take off the rose glasses and give them a whirl today.

I completed the original System Shock two or three times back in the day when it came out. I sweat just thinking about it. But I tried to load it up a few years ago – erg. The interface stopped me after one minute. I loved the sequel too but I think at the time I played it, I liked the original more. There’s just something about seeing things for the first time.

Ultima 5 was the first big role-playing game I played, and it was also a formative experience for me. The excitement and dread of the underworld part of it was amazing – I think only BG2 managed to capture that feeling again for me. But again, there’s no way in hell I’d go back and fight with the clunky old interface these days.

I agree that a proper X-Com sequel would totally hit the spot. It could have 2D graphics and be completely turn-based, but as long as it put a new twist on the game while maintaining the fear factor (and preferably the destructibility of the environment in Apocalypse), I’d be totally up for it. Hell, there’s gotta be an indie game like that out there somewhere, right?