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I was thinking about how games age today and these five words are an easy way to sum up the concept. Basically, this argument is sometimes used to object to someone's opinion that a particular game is not as good as it is often praised to be. The game in question is normally old and was highly influential at the time of its release. The crux of the argument is that the person did not play the game at the time of its release when it was still new and impressive for its time, therefore said person wouldn't be able to fully appreciate it and thus, their opinion sucks. The question is: is this really a valid argument? Does a game "not hold up" simply because it's old and has been outdone, or is it because it just inherently was not as great as it is often made out to be?

A good example would be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: possibly the most highly praised game of all time. Of course, with all that hype behind it, it would be expected that someone playing the game today would feel a little underwhelmed by the experience. Certain aspects that would've have been big news at the time, such as Hyrule Field, have undoubtedly aged poorly. This person would probably already have a basic outline of what to expect purely from being in "gaming circles", such as already knowing the real identity of Sheik. Of course, the core gameplay is still something that he would be experiencing for the first time. Now let's say he beats game and, for arguments sake, let's say he even played the game on original hardware. If this person were to say he thought the game was "pretty good", could we pin that lousy reception to the circumstance and time in which he played the game, or could we say that the game simply was not good enough to knock his socks off? Obviously, there are many things that influence one's enjoyment with a game such as their taste and such, but certain corners must be cut and points ignored in this hypothetical scenario.

For me personally, I don't think Half-Life 2 is all that good. I found it be alright, in fact I certainly enjoyed parts of it, but far from "The best PC game evah made". Now, I might think to myself that maybe I missed out on the "true" experience because I played it many years after the fact, but, at the same time, I've enjoyed games from around the same time and even older more so than I did Half-Life 2. This is what makes me think that games don't "age" worse than others because their tech is outdated, but rather because their design is worse (for the most part).

So, what do you think? How do you believe games age? Are there games that are relevant now that you think will be looked back on as "You had to be there" games? Do you think your favourites will still "hold up" even 10, 20 or even 30 years from now?

[spoiler] Just to clarify, I'm not referring to games that very obviously would require you to have played them at the time of their prime, such as online games that have shut down or simply don't have the community they used to or games that require certain hardware that will be difficult to find in due time. Certainly, there is still a discussion to be had about game preservation in these situations, though. [/spoiler]


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I think being a part of the hype certainly could add a lot to a video game but a well made game ages like fine wine. There are countless old games I've played that I've enjoyed much more than modern titles. I'm not saying that new = bad but that a video game doesn't necessarily need fancy graphics or advanced features to be enjoyable. Because both those things age terribly. Graphics age like fucking milk in most cases and "advanced features" are often just pointless bullshit to show off how cool the game is, like the cinema in Red Dead Redemption. A good plot, design and enjoyable gameplay trumps both those things any day of the week because they are timeless.
A good example is my favorite game of all time, Planescape: Torment. It's over 20 years old with DOS-style graphics but that doesn't matter because the story and gameplay are unmatched. This game is so intricate, there are so many possibilities available to the player. There are so many outcomes for every choice, so many methods the player can use to advance the story. The main character is intriguing, his backstory is gripping and all the other characters are very interesting as well. They make you want to know more about them. The game's twisted dark fantasy setting, the atmosphere and level design are all highlights as well. I don't think I'll ever forget the Pillar of Skulls.
Other good examples of this are S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl, Silent Hill 1-4, Duke Nukem 3D, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain... The list goes on. No amount of graphical enhancements or fancy features will ever triumph over a memorable experience.


The issue for me is, the tricks and gimmicks developers use when making games are telling on how the game will hold up in the future. Not only that, but you have to consider the values and the tricks of that era overall. Nowadays, the games being made are sanitized so it doesn't offend people, There's a focus on rewards and loot crates/cosmetics to reward the player and they want people to grind for hours to get what they want. Theres a focus on multiplayer combat overall and they made sure to pump up the graphics as high as they can get. People don't have high attention spans so games are very short overall.
I'm not saying these features aren't availible in older games, its just its done now with a more cold marketing perspective instead of some retard collage graduate who wanted to make something fun.
When i say gimmicks, Its what makes a game "stand out for itself", and whats set it apart from other games from that era and beyond. Also interesting features and puzzlesm Spyro the dragon has the glide system. Bioshock has a simple morality system, and plasmids.
When i say tricks, i mean the stuff they use to change the players perspective or make seem longer. When a dev knows a game is way too short for its own good, they sometimes add "fetch quests" to pad out the game. In bioshock you have to go to the previous rooms you explored to get items to build a bomb or whatever bullshit to get to the next level. ALSO those "fix the radio tower" quests from the far cry games. Dead space aged like milk graphic wise and some gameplay elements aren't the best but i'll still always love it. The old PS2 spyro games still hold up and super mario 64 is also good. I dont try to overplay those games so i never get bored of them. When i played morrowind i really loved the hand drawn looking graphics and i know its less of a hack and slash game and more like a tabletop thing for combat.
Its actually funny almost that oblivion actually looks and plays better then new vegas, NV is also much more buggy but overall they both have a good story.

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