I am not a big console gamer myself, but I’ve noticed the same trend with PC games. In fact, I thought that it was only happening with PC games, but it looks like the same thing is happening across the board as developers sell their soul to publishers who in turn try to squeeze every customer out of their money.
I must say I have to agree with this person with pretty much everything… I play Chrono Trigger from time to time on my Zsnes or PocketSNES, and I find it easily to be just as fun as the latest games like Dungeon Siege II (if not more fun). Newer games like Doom 3 get played and get deleted in a few days. What happened to all the classics? Tsk.
The author mentions that the only way things will change is if there is less profits to go around… and I doubt that will happen for consoles – but I am counting it will happen on the PCs. As long as consoles go more and more mainstream, console ports will probably become too mainstream for a PC user. I just hope when that happens the pc game market starts contracting until only games with good gameplay start being produced.
I didn’t get past the first page of this article, so I don’t know if its thesis evolves later on, but this tired horse gets trotted out every few months or so. The basic idea that “it’s all about the gameplay” is true for a significant portion of the gaming audience, but an equally significant portion is more interested in making lots of stuff blow up, going really fast, looking at pretty reflections on pretty cars, wanting better draw distance, living the illicit life of a criminal, and so on. Like it or not, a lot of people prefer the shallow thrills of Burnout 3 to the “depth” of TD Eve of Destruction.
I weep for this industry if the SNES is as good as it gets, not because there aren’t some all-time classics on the SNES – there are – but because this industry is growing so much broader that what was possible on such basic hardware. Think Nintendogs is a cool idea that is broadening the market? Thank advances in technology like touchscreen and voice recognition. Like WoW? That wasn’t possible in the SNES era. Enjoy making carskins in Forza? No way on the SNES. At the risk of running a Whig theory of history, I actually do think the industry is getting better, in lots of ways.
Finally, most of these Costikyan-style rants usually involve an idealistic memory of the past along with ignoring the fact that during most eras 10% of the content is classic, another 10% is quite good, and the rest is just forgettable filler.
One of the theories that I have held is that the advent of 3d led to the conglomeration of the games industry.
A good 2d game can be created by a small team, even a couple of people if you give them long enough. 3d games up the programming, and they especially up the amount of art needed to make a game, for it to be seen as good by a majority of the game buying public.
That’s also my understanding why the DS has been successful. It is much less of a risk in terms of money, to create a DS game than a PSP game. Game companies were used to GBA levels of funding for portable games: that is to say, not much. Large companies could easily make a lot of profit off a branded game, and small companies could make a game with the smaller development costs.
As for the article: Snes is good, everything now sucks. Jeez. Complains about the lack of niche games. My God. The Nippon Ichi series. Culdecept. Katamari Damashi. Rez. Donkey Konga. Pikmin. Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics. Phantom Dust. Compare and constrast the chance of any of these games coming out when the big ol N had an iron grip on the market.
Part of being the successor of the NES meant that consumers would be expecting new versions of their favorite titles. They were not disappointed with games like Super Contra, Final Fantasy 3, Mega Man X, or the new Zelda, A Link to the Past. These games had updated graphics and a few new moves, but did not completely forsake the game play or the spirit of the originals to which people had become attached.
Even worse, innovation is now no longer a priority compared to marketability and profitability. This explains why some many games are simply regurgitated versions of previously successful games
For instance, where is the Xbox version SNES’ Harvest Moon, a farming RPG/sim? Though this game is an oddity, even for systems was prolific as SNES or NES, there are no current counterparts for it.
We romanticize old games…they bring back a feeling of nostalgia and give us warm fuzzies about those days back when we played them. Life was simpler when we were 14, and “the videogames were better.”
Truly, the games today are better than they were then in almost every concievable way. Yeah, you can compare an old classic to a mediocre new game (Chrono Trigger vs. Dungeon Siege 2), but that’s hardly reasonable. We think we want games to be “great again” like they were in our youth, but really we just want those days back. We don’t want modern games to be like the old games, we want them to be like our memories of old games.
This was the magic of the Pirates! remake. The control, music, graphics, and personality of the game is light years beyond the old game it’s based on. But it captured that same feeling - it’s the Pirates! we remember, not the game that actually was.
In 20 years, the thirty-somethings of the world will go back and play antique Xbox and PS2 games on emulators or whatever, and write editorial diatribes about how much better the games were back in 2004. And they’ll be wrong, too.
I agree with Mr Cross. Games were only “better” back in those days because that’s when a lot of us were kids. The only reason I still play those old games is to recall a little of the feeling I got when I first played them as a teenager. Many of them I play now and think “Wow, I remember this!” while just as many make me think “Wow, why in the hell did I love this game so much?”.
So no, games weren’t better back then. They were newer. There are a lot that will always be genuine classics regardless of the amount of nostalgia attached to them, but there have been quite a few games that have come out in recent years that I would regard as classics as well.
There was a TON of crap games for the SNES as well. People only tend to remember that top 5-10% of games from that era. I’d have to say that the cream of the crop percentage has gone up with this last generation, and will continue to go up (slightly). Because the market is pretty crowded, more developers need to make better games in order to make any money. They just can’t throw out 5 games a year and hope they stick.
Just by way of example, God of War, was easily up to the standards of the best SNES games in my opinion.
We’ve definitely dropped out of a period of heavy innovation on some level, although if you look at the way mini-games are included within a larger framework, I think the innovation is happening through dynamics within the game rather than than entire games being different.
Taking a look at the sandbox genre in particular, there’s a huge diffrerence between games that get it right, or push the dynamic forward, and those that screw it up because they don’t understand that what they’re creating is a synergy of smaller games.
My point is they could have made it an epic battle of a tiny man versus a huge gigantic god, in the same vein as all the other battles versus bosses in the game (the minotaur/cerberus type one comes to mind), instead of becoming a completely different game.