Your 2022 Blast from the Past Game of the Year

Is that really what space war looked like? Seems very hi tec.

Really was ahead of its time.

Fun idea for a thread.

The oldest was certainly Quake (an FPS from too long ago known for its visually stunning use of brown). There’s been a handful of updates and the most recent was CTF with bots. It’s fun for a nostalgic match or two every so often. There’s also been a couple of level packs released (2021?) that were good and definitely worth a look.

The big one though was Zelda BOTW. I bounced off of it a few times in years prior, but I unexpectedly had some days entirely to myself (covid) and sat down anew with it. I told myself multiple times that weapons were a consumable, to be discarded and broken on whim, and eventually I managed to convince myself of the lies. An absolutely magical game that I finally now understand why it won so many GOTY back in 2017.

Quake in GearVR was one of the best uses of the platform.

Does Daggerfall Unity count? I noticed it was in Beta last year and tried it for the first time in about two years.

On the one hand, it is nice that they are “fixing” all of the bugs in the original, but the game really needs some balancing. Once you get into the teens, every spell caster can and will cast paralysis on you, and many high-level enemies have stamina/fatigue draining effects. It got to the point were I never dies from health loss; instead, I routinely got a death screen due to some enemy nuking my stamina.

This was not something I noticed previously with Unity, and in the end I fizzled out on the game in frustration. Having to stand in a corner and wait for 3.5 minutes every time a lady-vamp casts Sleep and wait for it to stop draining huge chunks of stamina every five seconds was not what I would call “fun”.

Playing around with mods some more - it’s actually not hard to make it look pretty good.

Civ IV - Pretty much dip back in once a year and try to play through each of the victory conditions; it never gets old.

Morrowind - tried it on Xbox Series S with my son, who loved Skyrim and saw MW on Gamepass. This one didn’t stick though - really loved it during its time but it had the symptoms of almost every 1996-2005ish 3D game. Just too janky.

And too buggy. How often do the heavily modded Morrowind setups crash? Is there backend work done as well? Do modern RAM sizes mitigate the problems anyway?

Modders have built an entire new engine to run Morrowind - OpenMW, which is very stable.

Playing MW5, it took me a minute to place one of the voice actors. Sure enough it was . . . I can’t remember DX protagonist’s name! JD something?

I’m a huge fan of Oblivion and Skyrim but I never played Morrowind and it’s too janky looking for me to go back to. Is it viable to play using the OpenMW engine for a first time player? Do you get a complete game experience? And if so, is there a guide as to how to set it all up (I’m an experienced user of Skyrim and Oblivion mods but like step by step instructions.)

OpenMW is not much more difficult than vanilla engine modding via the MW script extender (MWSE). You just have to be aware mods generally are either OpenMW or MWSE. There’s a slightly different folder structure for MW mods as well. Here’s the official faq, but I’m sure there is a complete noob guide on reddit somewhere.

My blast from the past is Age of Empires II. It was the first PC game I bought. I went into the local PC store in 2000 back when they had such things and they had a demo of AOE2 running. I played it and was hooked as soon a I made a villager build a house. I spent the extra coin to upgrade to the gaming PC, bought AOE2 and have always had an age game in the rotation ever since. It has an active community, great streamers and you can always get a quickmatch going. At this point it’s like the chess of RTS games (sorry Starcraft).

Funny that you mention it, but while I was back in California visiting my parents for Thanksgiving last year, I did play a few rounds of a Spacewar! clone my dad made for an event at Stanford the previous month. Maybe a decade back we played a version in the Computer History Museum with reproductions of the original controller style IIRC, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t running it on a PDP-1.

Here he is in 1972 (from this article):

Anyway, my real answer for a retro throwback is Quake. Between Arcane Dimensions, Dwell, and the map jams - eg. the 2022 Xmas jam - the quality of new Quake mod content is incredible.

It’s funny seeing them pull in textures and content from other games. In particular with monsters, AD uses the dumb hissing spider things which I think come from Unreal, and Dwell has the shear cheekiness to import the kamikaze guys directly out of Serious Sam.

That’s amazing!

I always wondered where 90s Encyclopedia Kid got his start.

Oh wow! So literally the entire backend has been redone. Does it have a more modern graphics engine as well?

The engine still uses the same assets - but it can do cool stuff like volumetric fog now.

I guess that helps replicate the claustrophobic feeling of view distance fog!

I haven’t dug into any older games as yet as I’ve not had a PC for a long time but I’ve got such a strong urge to go back to Rome: Total War. Now that I’ve a few plane rides likely coming up, I think this urge may grow too strong to be resisted.

I also pine for Caesar 3 on a regular basis but I have a feeling that might just be too old at this point.