Games Do Not Age

Any conversation related to games or gaming.
Velvet Crowe
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Games Do Not Age

Post by Velvet Crowe »

If there's ever a talking point that ever annoyed me about gaming discourse is the argument that "games age". Often times I get the sense this sort of criticism is tossed out by people who:

1. Don't actually understand the capabilities of gaming at the time

2. Are unaware of games that did similar things better to what is alleged to have "aged poorly"

3. Don't understand why certain mechanics are implemented within a game's design

4. Can't actually argue why these "aged poorly" mechanics are bad or obsolete and assumed they've "aged poorly" because they're used to modern convention

5. Assume these flaws were necessary and not an active decision made by the developers

While there are certainly limitations to what older games could have done, the critique is not generally based on the limitations of a given title. It's usually done with the attitude that certain tropes within a certain era are "bad but good for its time" rather than just flat out "bad." I hate this reasoning because it's completely unfair to older titles - why should I think stale RPG mechanics "aged poorly" rather than thinking "this game has always been absolute shit even for its time?" Let's take for example the popular cover shooters of the mid to late 00's such as Call of Duty or Uncharted. Many of these games were highly praised for their time but even then there were people like myself who saw these titles as being shallow and boring. Conventional wisdom would say these games "aged poorly," but this would be an extremely stupid thing to say because these design decisions were ALWAYS bad.

There's also the factor that "aged poorly" is so nebulous to be meaningless. People toss it out at mechanics and concepts where the term doesn't even make sense, and when used as a general critique of a game I can't discern at all what someone is even referring to. The argument of "aged poorly" is a bad argument made by hacks who don't get game design. Games don't age poorly because game mechanics are often intentional design decisions which ought to be evaluated based on their intent than the era it was made in.

ShogunRua
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Re: Games Do Not Age

Post by ShogunRua »

Games are utterly unique in that they're an iterative piece of art.

You can't, for instance, release a movie sequel which is just 100 minutes of reused footage from the first film with 10 new minutes added in.

And yet, that's exactly what games are. Take what worked in a previous entry in a franchise, or even what was popular/successful in the genre, and then add some new elements, often times reusing large swathes of code.

And yes, you absolutely have to take into account what era a game was released in. If you put out the equivalent of Super Mario Bros nowadays, it would be considered a very average, simplistic platformer lacking mechanics, movement options, and enemies, with some wonky physics.

In 1985? It was a freaking masterpiece. That's because in the 35 years since its release, we've had thousands upon thousands of platformers that took the gold standard of SMB1 and iteratively built upon it.

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Re: Games Do Not Age

Post by CosmicMonkey »

ShogunRua wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:21 pm
Games are utterly unique in that they're an iterative piece of art.

You can't, for instance, release a movie sequel which is just 100 minutes of reused footage from the first film with 10 new minutes added in.

And yet, that's exactly what games are. Take what worked in a previous entry in a franchise, or even what was popular/successful in the genre, and then add some new elements, often times reusing large swathes of code.

And yes, you absolutely have to take into account what era a game was released in. If you put out the equivalent of Super Mario Bros nowadays, it would be considered a very average, simplistic platformer lacking mechanics, movement options, and enemies, with some wonky physics.

In 1985? It was a freaking masterpiece. That's because in the 35 years since its release, we've had thousands upon thousands of platformers that took the gold standard of SMB1 and iteratively built upon it.
Yeah, this articulated what I wanted to say better than I could.

I think the early days of silent film were iterative like this as well. Someone came up with a piece of basic film grammar like shot-reverse shot or POV shots, and then everyone else recycled and improved upon it, so that within a few years the original work seemed out of date. The difference is, filmmakers more or less figured out to use the technology to its maximum story-telling potential very early on, within say... 20 years of the very first short films, whereas with video games, 50 years into the medium and we are still in the middle of this iterative learning process. (Maybe the process will end one day, maybe it never will, who knows?)

ShogunRua
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Re: Games Do Not Age

Post by ShogunRua »

CosmicMonkey wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:12 pm
ShogunRua wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:21 pm
Games are utterly unique in that they're an iterative piece of art.

You can't, for instance, release a movie sequel which is just 100 minutes of reused footage from the first film with 10 new minutes added in.

And yet, that's exactly what games are. Take what worked in a previous entry in a franchise, or even what was popular/successful in the genre, and then add some new elements, often times reusing large swathes of code.

And yes, you absolutely have to take into account what era a game was released in. If you put out the equivalent of Super Mario Bros nowadays, it would be considered a very average, simplistic platformer lacking mechanics, movement options, and enemies, with some wonky physics.

In 1985? It was a freaking masterpiece. That's because in the 35 years since its release, we've had thousands upon thousands of platformers that took the gold standard of SMB1 and iteratively built upon it.
Yeah, this articulated what I wanted to say better than I could.

I think the early days of silent film were iterative like this as well. Someone came up with a piece of basic film grammar like shot-reverse shot or POV shots, and then everyone else recycled and improved upon it, so that within a few years the original work seemed out of date. The difference is, filmmakers more or less figured out to use the technology to its maximum story-telling potential very early on, within say... 20 years of the very first short films, whereas with video games, 50 years into the medium and we are still in the middle of this iterative learning process. (Maybe the process will end one day, maybe it never will, who knows?)
As games become more complex and genres more well-developed, we're going to see more reliance on past design, not less.

For instance, Super Metroid is a brilliant, novel game, being the first Metroidvania. It got to implement a lot of elements of the genre for the very first time. There was some iteration on past Metroid titles, but much of it was brand-new.

Compare that to modern Metroidvanias. You can't even make a halfway competent game in the genre anymore without not only being familiar with Super Metroid and its strengths and weaknesses, but the various Iga Castlevania titles beginning with Symphony of the Night, a game like Cave Story, and especially Hollow Knight. Even the latter game, which was a huge revelation and pushed the genre much further, offered less that was wholly original than games in the genre 20 years prior to its release.

There is an element of this with films, where it helps to have seen earlier great films in the genre one wishes to work in, but it's nowhere near as prevalent or necessary.

And yes, that means films age a lot better than games do.

If I want to release a film, I can't just take Citizen Kane, add some of my own footage to it, and say I have improved upon it.

But I can absolutely take Super Mario Bros, change the sprites, update the graphics, implement many of the cool level designs one has seen in Mario games since, introduce a dash mechanic, and voila! I actually do have an improved game.

Velvet Crowe
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Re: Games Do Not Age

Post by Velvet Crowe »

ShogunRua wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:21 pm
And yes, you absolutely have to take into account what era a game was released in. If you put out the equivalent of Super Mario Bros nowadays, it would be considered a very average, simplistic platformer lacking mechanics, movement options, and enemies, with some wonky physics.
I don't really agree with this because plenty of people go back to play Mario Bros and think it's an astoundingly good game with great use of physics and momentum. I can think of a lot 2D platforms released decades later that didn't utilize momentum and physics as well as that game did. Movement options in the game are very good and enemy design is solid in terms of how they control space. It's not diverse in its mechanics, but who cares? Having a multitude of mechanics does not make a game good. I feel the desire for more mechanics rather than well-designed mechanics is what made 3D platformers so stale. Mario 64 lives on as a game people still play all the time because its mechanics are top of the line and movement options are still consider the peak of the series 25 years after its release. Whereas a game like DK64 or Banjo, which had far more mechanics than Mario 64, are considered far weaker games that are more limited in what can be done with level design and speedruns. I personally go back and play plenty of SNES and NES games and the thought that goes through my mind is never "this aged poorly" so much as it is I'm either hating the game's design or admiring how well-made it is. I never once think they're lacking compared to modern titles or its faults couldn't have been mended by the technology of its time.

I really don't think it's accurate to say people consider Mario Bros to be an "average" platformer when it's still being played by a lot of people. Hell, Nintendo even made Mario 35 and Mario Maker which both utilize that game's mechanics in creative ways and the playerbase for those games are very large. Not to mention the huge number of hacks that were made for the game years before that which maintained the game's core mechanics. If the game were released today, it may be overshadowed by other platformers but if we're judging the game based on its own merits I would still say it's pretty good based on my 2021 perception of game design.

There's plenty of other games I could bring up that are still damn impressive and still sees play today - original Doom, Rise of Nations, a multitude of Megaman games, Devil May Cry 3, Quake, Half-Life, 3rd Strike, Guilty Gear XX, classicvania, Starcraft, Melee, WWF No Mercy, Tetris, Tony Hawk games, etc. Hell, there are people who actually think gaming got worse after the NES era. While I don't agree with this sentiment, I feel it signifies that people don't look back at NES games as obsolete or lacking compared to modern game design. Speaking personally, I remember there was a time where people in FGC after SFIV's release hated newer fighting games and thought they were inherently shallow compared to the stuff made in the 00's and 90's. In the case of Melee specifically, you can make a very good case that newer Smash games are far more sloppily designed for competitive play. The assumption that "games age badly" assumes that newer games are just inherently better design which is not a case everyone actually agrees with and there are countless counter examples to prove this.

You argue that you can just take older games and "add stuff to it" to improve it, but I really don't buy that. If I added extra mechanics to, say, Rondo of Blood such as an overpowered sub weapon or a really subpar level I'm not really making improvements to the game. You have to consider that a lot of games are designed around a specific set of mechanics and also have a semblance of pacing and balance around that. Doom wouldn't have been improved by giving you diagonal aiming because it's not a game designed around that nor would it be made better for implementing that mechanic. Making the game obscenely long with a bunch of random shit may attract players with a certain mindset but it does not actually improve the quality of the game if said content is not actually good and hurts the pacing. A lot of games like Chrono Trigger and Pathologic are defined by their pacing, and just randomly adding shit to those games could hurt that. Hell, I don't even think changing the visuals is an improvement - a lot of people argue that the visual design for Crash N.Sane trilogy is inferior to the original PS1 titles for a variety of reasons regarding art design. Also, Mario Bros does have a dash mechanic, I have no idea why you'd think some other "dash mechanic" would improve the game when what it has is already substantial.

It's also important to consider that for many of these "upgrades" it's quite possible for something to be loss. For example, in DMC4:SE a lot of high level players complained that the game butchered input delay among a beefy of other technical issues. Despite SE having more content, plenty of players still go back to the original version of the game. DMC4:SE, by your argument, would be an improvement simply because it added more but that's not quite the case for the diehard playerbase of this game. Don't even get me started on how Fighting game players would react to the argument - a lot of people think it'd be sacrilegious to make any changes to 3rd Strike and that the game is perfectly fine as is. There are people who still argue that Blazblue got worse after Calamity Trigger despite having the least amount of content and mechanics. There's a good many who argue that Alpha 3 is a substantially worse game than Alpha 2. A lot of Melee players have no love for Smash Ultimate's roster under the pretense they argue that most of the characters don't actually offer anything interesting and that the cast of Melee has a lot more to offer individually than what Ultimate's roster does. Just adding things is not going to impress players or improve the game necessarily. You can't just assume the game will be better by adding new things to it. For certain games adding new content and mechanics can be beneficial for sure, but it doesn't mean it's necessarily an improvement.

I don't really care for comparisons between games and film, but I don't really think you can assume a game is obsolete because it can be improved no less than can be the case with a film. I also don't think you're inherently improving a game by doing this either as I've explained.

I think taking into the account the era is only useful insofar as it is you understand the limitations of a game and what the design trends were of that time period. I don't think it's useful insofar as evaluating the game based on mechanics, level design, or even visuals beyond fidelity. Probably the only type of games where it's fair to say it "aged poorly" are pre-NES era stuff like Atari games and various arcade games, but even then I think there's some notable outliers like Pong and Pac-Man. However, anything in the NES era and beyond I don't think can in good faith be argued to have "aged poorly" and instead can just be deemed "badly designed."

https://critpoints.net/2017/04/25/compa ... new-games/

For another perspective, here's an article on this topic.

ShogunRua
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Re: Games Do Not Age

Post by ShogunRua »

Velvet Crowe wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:03 am
ShogunRua wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:21 pm
And yes, you absolutely have to take into account what era a game was released in. If you put out the equivalent of Super Mario Bros nowadays, it would be considered a very average, simplistic platformer lacking mechanics, movement options, and enemies, with some wonky physics.
I don't really agree with this because plenty of people go back to play Mario Bros and think it's an astoundingly good game with great use of physics and momentum.
Really, who? Kosmic, who used to hold the speedrun world record for both any% and all levels for SMB1, knows more about the game and mechanics than the developers themselves, and obviously has a huge soft spot for the title, recently released his tier lists for the Mario games, both for casual play as well as speedrunning.



He rated SMB1 at the bottom of his C-tier, the 5th lowest of the 18 mainstream Mario games. And note that two of the four games lower were from that same time period, namely the first Mario title on Gameboy, Super Mario Land, as well as the SMB1 sequel Lost Levels. He rated most later Mario games, 2D and 3D, much higher.

As for "great use of physics and momentum", SMB1 Mario feels terrible to abruptly change direction with, loses too much horizontal distance on his jump when he can't get enough running speed, and can't even turn around backwards. The screen permanently scrolls right, too.

ALL of these were problems either solved or vastly improved upon by Super Mario Bros 3 just 3 years later. Which is a vastly better game precisely because it iterates upon the initial gold standard set by SMB1.
Mario 64 lives on as a game people still play all the time because its mechanics are top of the line and movement options are still consider the peak of the series 25 years after its release. Whereas a game like DK64 or Banjo, which had far more mechanics than Mario 64, are considered far weaker games that are more limited in what can be done with level design and speedruns.


Movement options? They were excellent, obviously, but the ones in the very next 3D Mario, Sunshine, were even better. Now, Sunshine was a rushed game which had its fair share of other problems, which is why a lot of people prefer SM64. However, it shows that even a masterpiece like SM64 can be improved through this iterative process.

Furthermore, DK64 and Banjo were very much part of that same era. A better comparison would be SM64 to Galaxy 1 and 2, and yeah, the latter two games feature a lot of improvements.
I personally go back and play plenty of SNES and NES games
Same here, obviously. However, when I go back and play Super Metroid, I don't pretend that it's nearly as great, without taking into account era, as Hollow Knight. Nor is Contra 3, as much as I've loved it since childhood, nearly as good as Cuphead.
Hell, Nintendo even made Mario 35 and Mario Maker which both utilize that game's mechanics in creative ways
Oh man, the Mario Maker games and Mario 35 have very, VERY different physics and mechanics than the original SMB1, something that Kosmic has detailed at length. Just because they use the same 8-bit sprites doesn't mean the actual code underneath is remotely the same. They play and control very differently.
Not to mention the huge number of hacks that were made for the game years before that which maintained the game's core mechanics. If the game were released today, it may be overshadowed by other platformers but if we're judging the game based on its own merits I would still say it's pretty good based on my 2021 perception of game design.
There is a very tiny community around SMB1 hacks.

There is, however, a very rich and exceptionally popular community to this very day around Super Mario World hacks, and the creations in that game rival or surpass what we see in Super Mario Maker 2. Again, SMW is yet another game that improved upon what was initially established in SMB1 as well as the hundreds upon hundreds of 2D platformers that preceded it.
a multitude of Megaman games
Megaman 1, while a huge achievement for its time, is a flawed and mediocre game compared to even Megaman 2, let alone Megaman 3.
3rd Strike,
But notably, not New Generation or 2nd Impact, which again proves my point. Nevermind how advanced in the lifespan of 2D fighters 3rd Stike or Super Turbo came out.
classicvania,
I literally have yet to meet a single person who doesn't think Castlevania 3 is a massive, massive improvement, in every way, over Castlevania 1. (Personally, I think SCV4, Rondo of Blood, and probably even Bloodlines are better than CV3, but there is at least some subjectivity there)
Melee,
Which built upon the far inferior, original Super Smash Brothers. And if it wasn't for Nintendo's hatred of Meelee becoming, against all reason and expectation, a well-regarded competitive fighter, which they sought to gimp in Brawl, the series would have continued improving more and more.
Hell, there are people who actually think gaming got worse after the NES era.
Yeah, I knew a few people like that. They were insufferable hipster douchebags who knew about as little about gaming as the average modern-day gaming journalist with a hard-on for walking simulators.
If I added extra mechanics to, say, Rondo of Blood such as an overpowered sub weapon or a really subpar level I'm not really making improvements to the game. You have to consider that a lot of games are designed around a specific set of mechanics and also have a semblance of pacing and balance around that.
Weird that you use Rondo of Blood as an example of "balance", as Maria is easy mode in that game, and her Guardian Knuckle is the most disgustingly broken move in Castlevania history, annihliating any boss in seconds.

Or that Rondo of Blood came out very late in the lifespan of 2D action platformers.
Rest of Post
The main difference here, and why you're missing the point is that you're simply looking at video games in terms of age. How many years have gone by since release.

I'm looking at "age" in a different way, namely how far along in a genre's lifespan was the game released.

So while SMB1 is 36 years old and SMW is 31 years old, SMW is a far more mature, advanced game made much further along in the development of 2D platformers, which is why it hasn't been obsoleted the way SMB1 has.

Meanwhile, Super Metroid is 27 years old, so technically "younger" than SMW, but in terms of the development of its genre, it's actually older and more primitive, as it was the first real Metroidvania, and the genre has seen so much improvement since.
https://critpoints.net/2017/04/25/compa ... new-games/

For another perspective, here's an article on this topic.
The article suffers from being very vague and general, to the point of absurdity. There are literally hundreds of exceptions to his comments about modern games, and coming out in April of 2017, with the wealth of phenomenal retro indie games that were being released at that time (as well as 2 months after Hollow Knight came out), it's painfully out of touch, like he thinks modern gaming begins and ends with Triple A releases, and hasn't bothered to investigate any further than that.

On a specific note, while I like the mention of Demon's Crest, probably my favorite game of all time, it also came out fairly late in the lifespan of 2D action platformers, 1994, with a solid decade of thousands of previous titles to build upon, not to mention 2 previous entries in the Gargoyle's Quest series.

Velvet Crowe
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Re: Games Do Not Age

Post by Velvet Crowe »

ShogunRua wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:21 pm
Really, who? Kosmic, who used to hold the speedrun world record for both any% and all levels for SMB1, knows more about the game and mechanics than the developers themselves, and obviously has a huge soft spot for the title, recently released his tier lists for the Mario games, both for casual play as well as speedrunning.



He rated SMB1 at the bottom of his C-tier, the 5th lowest of the 18 mainstream Mario games. And note that two of the four games lower were from that same time period, namely the first Mario title on Gameboy, Super Mario Land, as well as the SMB1 sequel Lost Levels. He rated most later Mario games, 2D and 3D, much higher.
This is literally just one person. There are plenty of people I can find who also ranked Mario Bros as among the best game in the series such as RabbidLuigi and RGT below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DJ-n0w_VgM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlJiJGmSJrY

However, I am not going to claim that it's the best game in the series nor was that ever my point to begin with. My point is that it's a game that can easily be argued to be far better than platformers made decades after its launch and even within the Mario series holds a lot of value over other games. I am not arguing it's the best in the series or that there are no newer platformers that are better, I am arguing that it is still a very strong game when compared to a variety of different games from various different generations. I could reference plenty of other NES games I think are extremely high quality such as Shatterhand, Ninja Gaiden, and Gimmick! that blow a lot of newer games out of the water.

Kosmic also isn't validating your argument - he ranks Mario 64 and Super Mario World in S tier, higher than a great many games made decades after those titles. He even states that Mario 64 is "perfect" while other 3D Mario games are "good, but have flaws." If we're to take the iterative argument at face value, both of those games would be ranked lower than Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. You're also ignoring the fact he made two tier lists - casual and speedrunning. His speedrun tier list puts Mario Bros at A, and if you noticed more older games rank higher in this category than newer. Not to mention he makes a lot of oddball critiques many people would not agree with, such as how he states Galaxy 1 is better than Galaxy 2 because it's "less linear." I'd say if more speedrunners made a tier list like this, you certainly wouldn't be seeing the same rankings.
ShogunRua wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:21 pm
As for "great use of physics and momentum", SMB1 Mario feels terrible to abruptly change direction with, loses too much horizontal distance on his jump when he can't get enough running speed, and can't even turn around backwards. The screen permanently scrolls right, too.

ALL of these were problems either solved or vastly improved upon by Super Mario Bros 3 just 3 years later. Which is a vastly better game precisely because it iterates upon the initial gold standard set by SMB1.
I like the physics in Mario Bros because mobility is playing off of your momentum and a lot of the trajectory of your jumps function off of how you control that momentum. This makes mobility substantially more interesting than many games in the genre within and beyond the era it was released in. I won't make the case that it's perfect or better than future Mario games, but I will make the case it is better than many games years after within the same genre and on different systems.

There's another discussion that can be made about how much a game needs these sort of mechanics. Castlevania functions around its more limited mobility fine and I don't think it'd be elevated if Simon could move like Mario. But even then, I think SMB1 still has a lot more interesting going on mechanically than a lot of platformers then and now.

Movement options? They were excellent, obviously, but the ones in the very next 3D Mario, Sunshine, were even better. Now, Sunshine was a rushed game which had its fair share of other problems, which is why a lot of people prefer SM64. However, it shows that even a masterpiece like SM64 can be improved through this iterative process.

Furthermore, DK64 and Banjo were very much part of that same era. A better comparison would be SM64 to Galaxy 1 and 2, and yeah, the latter two games feature a lot of improvements.


I think it's a valid comparison because DK64 and Banjo were released on the same platform as Mario 64 within the same genre and using a very similar structure. I really don't get the logic here that the Galaxy games are better comparisons as they're titles made over a decade after the former two examples and honestly shares even less similarities.

Speaking of which, if we ARE going to make those comparisons, there are a lot of people (myself included) who thought Galaxy 1 and 2 were nowhere near as good as Mario 64 in terms of mechanics. You could say Galaxy did this because it wanted to sacrifice those mechanics to justify a lot of its gimmicks, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone reasonably arguing that the Galaxy games have more complex or deeper movement options than 64.

Furthermore, a lot of people still prefer 64's mechanics over Sunshine due to 64's unique gimmicks and how the flood mechanic is utilized as a replacement for some of 64's conventions like the long jump. You could make the case some mechanics were better in Sunshine, but I really don't see how Sunshine obsoleted 64 or did everything better mechanically. There is still a lot of unique value in 64 for its mechanics in comparison to Sunshine and I don't think it was purely level design or structure that made people prefer the former over the latter.
Same here, obviously. However, when I go back and play Super Metroid, I don't pretend that it's nearly as great, without taking into account era, as Hollow Knight. Nor is Contra 3, as much as I've loved it since childhood, nearly as good as Cuphead.
Yet I can think of many recent games that Super Metroid is superior to. I sure as hell wouldn't rate something like Axiom Verge, Shantae, or Bloodstained over it. When I play these 3 games, I don't pretend they're nearly as good as Super Metroid. On that token, I can also think of a lot of people who'd argue Contra 3 is a better game than Cuphead. I don't think that's some widely held consensus.
Oh man, the Mario Maker games and Mario 35 have very, VERY different physics and mechanics than the original SMB1, something that Kosmic has detailed at length. Just because they use the same 8-bit sprites doesn't mean the actual code underneath is remotely the same. They play and control very differently.
You're right about this and I do think that was a bad example in hindsight. However, I do think that Mario Maker still retains a lot of the foundation of those older games and some could argue for preferring the old physics more.
There is a very tiny community around SMB1 hacks.

There is, however, a very rich and exceptionally popular community to this very day around Super Mario World hacks, and the creations in that game rival or surpass what we see in Super Mario Maker 2. Again, SMW is yet another game that improved upon what was initially established in SMB1 as well as the hundreds upon hundreds of 2D platformers that preceded it.
I don't disagree that World is larger, but SMB1's hacking community is not tiny at all. The game gets far more hacks than what most games do, let alone games from that era. I think most NES games wish they could have the size of SMB1's "tiny" hacking community.

http://nesninja.com/game/nes/super-mari ... ction/roms

How can you look at a list like this and say it's tiny? By contrast, compare that to Metroid or Contra:

http://nesninja.com/game/nes/metroid/roms

http://nesninja.com/game/nes/contra/roms
Megaman 1, while a huge achievement for its time, is a flawed and mediocre game compared to even Megaman 2, let alone Megaman 3.
Megaman 2/3 are often seen as being better games than the majority of the classic games that came after them. Megaman 1 itself is also seen as better than many titles after it, and in many cases that can be easily justified.
But notably, not New Generation or 2nd Impact, which again proves my point. Nevermind how advanced in the lifespan of 2D fighters 3rd Strike or Super Turbo came out.
My point with referencing 3rd Strike is that it's an example of a game people stuck to despite multiple iterations coming after the fact. People preferred 3rd Strike's mechanics far more than the balance and user friendliness of its sequels. And there are MANY examples of this being true in the FGC for other games.
I literally have yet to meet a single person who doesn't think Castlevania 3 is a massive, massive improvement, in every way, over Castlevania 1. (Personally, I think SCV4, Rondo of Blood, and probably even Bloodlines are better than CV3, but there is at least some subjectivity there)
I have known people who claimed that, but admittedly that's an unpopular take. Even then, I don't think it's not too uncommon to argue that CV1 is better than SCV4 or any of the Igavania's. I also don't think any of those games make CV1 invalid or somehow a bad game in its own right. CV1 is still league's better than a lot of games that came after it.
Which built upon the far inferior, original Super Smash Brothers. And if it wasn't for Nintendo's hatred of Melee becoming, against all reason and expectation, a well-regarded competitive fighter, which they sought to gimp in Brawl, the series would have continued improving more and more.
You say that as if people aren't still playing 64 when we've been having tournaments for the game as recently as 2019:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGMyOMQ9Rlo

While people generally hold more value for Melee competitively, that doesn't mean it obsoleted 64. 64 offers a lot of unique things that make it stand out from Melee and gives it its own unique identity, which is why people still enjoy playing the game to this day and are even making hacks for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdhRIZrjOl0

In the case of a true Melee sequel, I don't think you can act like it's cut in stone that everyone would prefer it. Project M is basically Brawl if Nintendo didn't hate Melee, yet a lot of people getting into the game weren't necessarily completely on board with it.

https://www.reddit.com/r/SSBM/comments/ ... project_m/

Admittedly this topic is very old and doesn't take into account Project M's updates, but I think it's still valid because Brawl with Melee mechanics would have likely never been updated to begin with. I'm sure many people would have moved on to it and it might have gotten a bigger audience than Melee, but that doesn't mean it would obsolete Melee completely.

I think this can go further into a different discussion. You can make the case that 3rd Strike is a better game than ST, but that doesn't mean people are going to stop playing ST or even prefer it over 3rd Strike. Hell, I myself could make a case why I like ST more than 3rd Strike or a plethora of other fighters including other SF titles. Even if we're talking within the void of SFII there can be some value to be found in earlier versions of the game. I don't think the existence of these newer games devoid older games of value or merit, or prevents people from playing them. ST is not obsolete. 3rd Strike is not obsolete. Hell, the Alpha games have even seen a resurgence in playerbase recently. By all metrics, these games have not "aged" at all.

This also begs the question of whether or not a bigger playerbase for something newer necessarily makes something older worse. Like are we going to say Blazblue is a better game than Accent Core because it had a much larger playerbase in the early 10's? You can make the case you're better off learning the game due to the fact you have a much broader range of competition to be involved in. But I can think of plenty of games that get a lot of players that are worse than games that barely have any such as The Last Blade 2 or Arcana Heart 3. I don't think this is a good metric for evaluating or placing value in fighting games, at least in terms of saying whether or not they're actually good.
Yeah, I knew a few people like that. They were insufferable hipster douchebags who knew about as little about gaming as the average modern-day gaming journalist with a hard-on for walking simulators.
I don't disagree with this but I'm just referring to them as an example of people who don't necessarily believe future games are necessarily better.
Weird that you use Rondo of Blood as an example of "balance", as Maria is easy mode in that game, and her Guardian Knuckle is the most disgustingly broken move in Castlevania history, annihliating any boss in seconds.

Or that Rondo of Blood came out very late in the lifespan of 2D action platformers.
This is true, but my main point is that simply adding content doesn't improve a game. Admittedly when I stated that the game was "designed around a specific set of mechanics" I was thinking specifically Richter and hadn't considered Maria. But I think this ironically proves my point in that something like Maria doesn't really elevate Rondo or make it better in any meaningful way. At best it's just amusing to plow through the game on easy mode as an underage girl, but I don't think the game would have suffered if she wasn't available. Hell, some versions of Rondo don't even have her which shows how expendable she is.

I don't get how Rondo was "late" in the lifespan of 2D action platformers. They're still being made and they were never completely dead. Rondo came out many years before titles like Strider 2, Lady Sia, The Legend of Kage (DS), The Messenger, Momodora, Wings of Vi, etc. What makes Rondo a "late" game in the genre?
The main difference here, and why you're missing the point is that you're simply looking at video games in terms of age. How many years have gone by since release.

I'm looking at "age" in a different way, namely how far along in a genre's lifespan was the game released.

So while SMB1 is 36 years old and SMW is 31 years old, SMW is a far more mature, advanced game made much further along in the development of 2D platformers, which is why it hasn't been obsoleted the way SMB1 has.

Meanwhile, Super Metroid is 27 years old, so technically "younger" than SMW, but in terms of the development of its genre, it's actually older and more primitive, as it was the first real Metroidvania, and the genre has seen so much improvement since.
This is a valid way of viewing how genres evolve but I also don't think it's really useful in terms of evaluating games individually. A game can be seen as a "product of its time," but being a "product of its time" doesn't mean that it's better than what came before it. You also shouldn't assume what it does is worse than what came after it. Frankly, I feel the distinction of chronology is a moot point. Especially since most people aren't making this distinction when say "games aged badly". Which leads to another reason why I don't like the term - the term is overly vague and can mean so many different things that I don't think it's useful for discourse.

I'm not trying to argue that iteration doesn't exist or can't improve a game. I can think of remakes that improved older games like Heart Gold/Soul Silver, AM2R, and Odin Sphere Leifthrasir are great remakes that undoubtedly enhanced the original games. However, my point is that iteration does not necessarily improve any game and I've listed various examples why and when it didn't. There are cases where a game is remade but isn't necessarily better. You can look at FFVIIR, Crash N.Sane Trilogy, and Twin Snakes as "good games" but they're not necessarily the same experience as the original titles or making what they achieved obsolete. There's plenty of reason why you'd prefer the originals over these titles. I don't think we can just flatly assume that just because a game is receiving iteration it's somehow going to be improved.

I also don't buy the idea that games as a whole being inherently iterative. There's various examples of games that can't be defined as such. What are games like Umurangi Generation, Disco Elysium, Shatterhand, Among Us, Shadow of Rome, Klonoa, VA-11 Hall-A, Planescape, or whatever David Cage does supposed to be iterative of? At best you can say that they're iterative of very surface level conventions of game design, but I feel if you want to be that reductionist you can say the same about any medium including film and literature.
The article suffers from being very vague and general, to the point of absurdity. There are literally hundreds of exceptions to his comments about modern games, and coming out in April of 2017, with the wealth of phenomenal retro indie games that were being released at that time (as well as 2 months after Hollow Knight came out), it's painfully out of touch, like he thinks modern gaming begins and ends with Triple A releases, and hasn't bothered to investigate any further than that.
By 2017, there already were plenty of notable retro indie games that came out such as Freedom Planet, Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley, Axiom Verge, Undertale, Broken Age, Rogue Legacy, etc. It's not like indie games weren't already making huge waves at this point. Indies didn't start becoming relevant in the last 4 years. I do think you make a valid case that she overgeneralizes modern games but I don't that's her main point anyway. Her argument is more on the fact that older games were still capable of doing impressive things and that the principles of good game design hasn't changed so much that older games should be outright discredited. Wagar isn't trying to say newer games are bad, but that we shouldn't think comparing newer games to older games is unfair. If something is seen as bad today, it can be seen as bad back in the day too. Which is something I agree with. If Super Metroid's design is "primitive," then something like Shantae or Axiom Verge are ancient, despite coming out many years later.

That said, I don't see why it's invalid to compare them to non-indies anyway. It's not like a lot of these games aren't within the same genre older games were. Comparing a Call of a Duty game to various 90's shooters like Quake or Half-Life is totally valid, for example. Triple A titles are a much bigger part of the industry than what most indies are so I don't think we should act like these comparisons shouldn't be made, especially if we're considering something as broad as "old game design trends vs New design trends". Frankly, there are many examples of what she says being true, which can even be said of various indie titles. We shouldn't act like stand out examples are the norm for indies and that they're all necessarily taking old design tropes and making them better.

ShogunRua
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Re: Games Do Not Age

Post by ShogunRua »

I'll reply to certain points specifically, but I just want to note what is actually being argued, as you're mostly responding to a strawman.

No one is claiming that great games of the past suddenly become awful or unplayable at some future date.

However, do great games become less exciting, immersive, or unique over the years, as they're refined and iterated upon? That is, do they "age", even if, in quantitative terms, it's minor, and a game you would have rated a 9 out of 10 is now 8 out of 10? Yes.

And when I discuss age, it's not purely temporal, but based on how developed the specific genre was. Platformers were a very well-developed genre by even the early to mid 90's, whereas first-person shooters were not.
Velvet Crowe wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:48 am
ShogunRua wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:21 pm
Really, who? Kosmic, who used to hold the speedrun world record for both any% and all levels for SMB1, knows more about the game and mechanics than the developers themselves, and obviously has a huge soft spot for the title, recently released his tier lists for the Mario games, both for casual play as well as speedrunning.



He rated SMB1 at the bottom of his C-tier, the 5th lowest of the 18 mainstream Mario games. And note that two of the four games lower were from that same time period, namely the first Mario title on Gameboy, Super Mario Land, as well as the SMB1 sequel Lost Levels. He rated most later Mario games, 2D and 3D, much higher.
This is literally just one person. There are plenty of people I can find who also ranked Mario Bros as among the best game in the series such as RabbidLuigi and RGT below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DJ-n0w_VgM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlJiJGmSJrY
You're missing the context. I myself ranked SMB1 a 95 on Criticker, an insanely high score, but that's largely because of what a landmark, pioneering game it is, the gold standard for its time. If that game came out today, I would rate it a 50.
I could reference plenty of other NES games I think are extremely high quality such as Shatterhand, Ninja Gaiden, and Gimmick! that blow a lot of newer games out of the water.
All games that came much later in the respective timelines of their genres. Although I always thought Gimmick, while an excellent game, is painfully overrated for the hipster factor; few people had heard about it before Youtube, and fewer still have played the Japan-exclusive platformer late in the NES/Famicom life cycle.

For my money, I'll take NES Kirby over Gimmick any day.
You're also ignoring the fact he made two tier lists - casual and speedrunning.
Speedrunning tier lists are irrelevant to the discussion. Very few people who play games are speedrunning them.

Some highly flawed games are fun to speedrun, and some of the greatest games ever make for awful speedruns. (Portrait of Ruin comes to mind, speaking of Metroidvanias)
Yet I can think of many recent games that Super Metroid is superior to. I sure as hell wouldn't rate something like Axiom Verge, Shantae, or Bloodstained over it. When I play these 3 games, I don't pretend they're nearly as good as Super Metroid. On that token, I can also think of a lot of people who'd argue Contra 3 is a better game than Cuphead. I don't think that's some widely held consensus.
Bloodstained kind of sucked. You're also missing the point.

Super Metroid is still very good today, but is it as phenomenal as it was back in 1994? No. Has it been surpassed by other titles? Absolutely. So yes, that is a game that has "aged".

As for Contra 3 being better than Cuphead, there are also people who probably prefered Bubsy 3D to Super Mario 64 back in the day, but it's a similarly dopey opinion. And this is coming from someone who absolutely loved Contra 3 as a kid, and would still have fun playing it now.
Even then, I don't think it's not too uncommon to argue that CV1 is better than SCV4 or any of the Igavania's.
WAT. I defy you to name me a single person who thinks CV1 is better than SCV4. I remember being on a Castlevania forum about 20 years ago in my early teens, where there were all sorts of bizarre opinions (calling CV2 the best in the series, Circle of the Moon the best Metroidvania, etc.), but two hot takes I never saw were anyone claiming CV1 was better than either CV3 or SCV4.
I also don't think any of those games make CV1 invalid or somehow a bad game in its own right.
Right, because this is a strawman no one claimed. What was claimed, however, is that CV1 isn't as good in 2021 as it was in 1986.
You say that as if people aren't still playing 64 when we've been having tournaments for the game as recently as 2019:
So what? Some people still play Championship Edition, mostly due to nostalgia and/or habit. That doesn't mean Super Turbo isn't massively better.
This is true, but my main point is that simply adding content doesn't improve a game. Admittedly when I stated that the game was "designed around a specific set of mechanics" I was thinking specifically Richter and hadn't considered Maria. But I think this ironically proves my point in that something like Maria doesn't really elevate Rondo or make it better in any meaningful way. At best it's just amusing to plow through the game on easy mode as an underage girl, but I don't think the game would have suffered if she wasn't available. Hell, some versions of Rondo don't even have her which shows how expendable she is.
You're kidding, right? A large part of the reason Rondo is so beloved is that you get to play a second character who controls and plays completely differently than the standard Belmont with the Vampire Killer whip. That's almost like saying the original Street Fighter 2 would be just as fun if you were only allowed to pick Guile, and every other character was "expendable".
I don't get how Rondo was "late" in the lifespan of 2D action platformers.
Because we had seen literal thousands of platformers across NES, Sega Master System, Genesis, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, MS-DOS, Commodore 64, and Amiga by the time Rondo came out? There was an awful lot to work with.
I also don't buy the idea that games as a whole being inherently iterative. There's various examples of games that can't be defined as such. What are games like Umurangi Generation, Disco Elysium, Shatterhand, Among Us, Shadow of Rome, Klonoa, VA-11 Hall-A, Planescape, or whatever David Cage does supposed to be iterative of?
I've only played Shatterhand and some David Cage, but both of those are very much influenced by previous games. I can name you dozens of similar action platformers prior to Shatterhand, and Cage is basing his efforts off earlier point-and-click FMV games, minus the puzzles.
By 2017, there already were plenty of notable retro indie games that came out such as Freedom Planet, Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley, Axiom Verge, Undertale, Broken Age, Rogue Legacy, etc. It's not like indie games weren't already making huge waves at this point. Indies didn't start becoming relevant in the last 4 years.
So you're repeating the exact same thing I wrote? And thus similarly pointing out how dumb the link is?
That said, I don't see why it's invalid to compare them to non-indies anyway. It's not like a lot of these games aren't within the same genre older games were. Comparing a Call of a Duty game to various 90's shooters like Quake or Half-Life is totally valid, for example. Triple A titles are a much bigger part of the industry than what most indies are so I don't think we should act like these comparisons shouldn't be made, especially if we're considering something as broad as "old game design trends vs New design trends". Frankly, there are many examples of what she says being true, which can even be said of various indie titles. We shouldn't act like stand out examples are the norm for indies and that they're all necessarily taking old design tropes and making them better.
More strawmanning. No one is denying that the best games of the early to mid 90's aren't much better than the bad or mediocre games of modern times. But that's a stupid comparison. Compare the best of that time to the best of today, and in genres that were still relatively new in the early to mid 90's, there is massive progress and improvement i.e. the classic game has "aged".

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