Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Past and Times of Yore: To all the games I've played before‏

Just a note on the new post title: The past and times of yore will refer to any post I make related to a topic that would be considered in any way old so in regards games that I review under this title be could be as far ranging as the 90’s shock horror! 

This minor change to post titles comes from when I decided I would do reviews of my older games that I have come back and re-played which is a large part of my gaming experience. I think I played through Grand Theft Auto 3 about 6 times I was that infatuated with it, another of my favourites was Star Wars: Jedi Academy which as the only game I have played of the whole Jedi Knight series but for good reason, the gameplay features and storyline speak for themselves and not to mention the modifications you could download that made it that much more fun.

GTA3: a timeless classic
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: you're the new Jedi, go have some fun with lightsabres
 I’ve never understood people who rush to beat a game then exchange it for another at the store, though I would suppose you could save a bit of money that way. I prefer to keep my games around whenever I might want to play them again, often multiple times as sort of a way of feeling I have got my money’s worth, though I digress that this is some games rather then others for example as much as I liked Driver 2 when I played it on the original Playstation. I’m not really able to play through it again partly because of the now quite pixelated graphics, partly because I have played it through one or two times before and partly because it’s a PS1 game that runs on a PS1 which is old and slower then newer consoles. The latter excuse can be forgiven as it was a very good PS1 game but the main thing is the graphics and graphical interface.

Driver 2: How was it for you?
There’s some imaginary threshold with console and PC game graphics over the years (on a side note I can’t talk for handheld devices cause I don’t use them and I don’t know whether I will in the future, I don’t travel far much at all and time on the train is usually spent with music, the newspaper or a book, I’m happy where I am and any handheld device would be an additional expenditure). It seems that I can accept one old games graphics but not the other. I think the reason for this is what type of game it is for example with Driver 2 or Metal Gear Solid, their games set in the (supposed) real world so back then we wowed at the realism of the graphics, but now it seems what we accepted or even praised before now makes us cringe with repulsion, however this is only true if the game is promoting realism such as a driving or shooting simulator, things that are set in a fantasy cartoony world change our view entirely.

Bomberman Ultra
The original Spyro the Dragon
Games such as Bomberman and Spyro the Dragon are both based firmly in fantasy not realism so our views the quality of for example an elemental water monster or a troll are not skeptical because these things don’t exist in real life, but this isn’t the only reason. In cartoon fantasy world we don’t expect water to look or behave correctly, we don’t expect human characters to have proper bone structures and move realistically and when we look at the level of detail of the environment and characters we accept that they may only be plain or pixelated textures because that is just the ‘look and feel’ of the game, I can remember when I thought “hey I should play Tenchu 2 again because I gave it so much love in the past”, but when I actually start it up and gaze upon it with my modern-computer-graphics-and-speed-appreciating eyes my brain (or emotions tell me that maybe I don’t want to after all , not counting the fact that there was Tenchu 3 on the PS2 at the time.

Tenchu 2: You can be a ninja, how could I resist?
This makes an interesting view that I have even more interesting. I still regard certain Super Nintendo games such as Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country as still having great graphics despite their considerable age, it’s probably because that particular Mario Bros. game (as well as the revamped older ones from Mario All-stars just looked so crisp and clean sure it was pixels but the pixels were great too look at compared to the pixellated human figures we saw on the Playstation 1 games. Not being an owner of a Nintendo 64 I can’t really speak for that side of things but it did take quite a different approach to the Playstation and most prominent being the 64-bit aspect giving a quite blocky feel to the whole thing but otherwise a cleaner way of putting the pixels out there. 

Super Mario World, how do I love thee?

Donkey Kong Country: A gorilla riding a rhino? check
It’s hard to say that I prefer the graphics of some Super Nintendo games to ones that came years after its prime, but it’s just a matter of what looks good to our eyes. Doom and Quake were examples of PC games that just never get old, I have been playing them at home, school, tafe and LANs throughout most of my life it didn't matter that the graphics were outdated, the fact was that they were awesome, will always be awesome, they worked well, played well and most importantly were easy to copy and distribute much less to today's standards of copy protection thesame goes for Warcraft 3 a major player in the RTS genre which as well as it's Starcraft counterpart, held a brilliant storyline which made for a very enjoyable singleplayer not to mention multiplayer with not only an excellect basic multiplay but an incredibly versatile editor invoking the rise of custom maps which became very popular, namely tower defense, naval combat and Defence of the Ancients the single most popular Warcraft 3 custom map which spawned it's own clones. Another prime example is Minecraft, some people who don’t play say they agree that it’s an awesome and somewhat original concept, but can’t get over the the pixellated graphics and blocky nature of the game whereas some are deterred by the graphics at first but then are reeled in once they start to play the game .

Doom and Quake, ultra playable classics for the PC

Warcraft 3: Great singleplayer, great multiplayer, great game

 I feel that this is the major factor attributing whether I myself go back for another foray into one of my old games as I’ve stated before it could also be the amount of times I have played the game as you can only play it so much before losing interest, it could be that the game is mostly multiplayer and there’s a newer better version or not enough people playing which brings me to another topic. “Multiplayer” as it is most commonly known or the multiplayer aspect of a game most of the time, has a limited life, one of my friends is an avid fan of Battlefield 1942 (and the two world wars in general) and enjoyed playing on a certain 3FL server, but after six years of the game being released (which is quite a decent amount of time) the interest has eventually died off. With today’s latest and greatest special price indie steam etc games available and with more and more being churned out each month, there are plenty which have an online multiplayer aspect (which is almost mandatory these days). it often seems that unless a particular games multiplayer aspect is a major hit, it can die out after the initial buzz in quite a short time even after only a month or two or sometimes even less and you will have a smaller base of players to play with. But often this is of little worry cause these types of games akin to Motostorm and Magicka while not always having a strong singleplayer base, will still have legs to stand on with splitscreen and LAN based multiplayer.

Battlefield 1942: Oldschool FPS at it's multiplayer best
I will always be a supporter of playing old games, not just for the whole "get my money's worth" argument, a very wise friend said to me recently that you should never play a game out of spite neglecting the one you truly want to play for fun, as this was once the case for me with World of Warcaft and Minecraft (yes they both end with craft). I will also be reviewing my old games too maybe not being as skeptical as I would usually.

Well that was one longwinded post, so dust off those old games and machines and get playing not matter how old they may be, you might just have some old-school fun.


And so the journey continues....