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Are games as good as they used to be?

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I'd say that games are mostly better now.

I used to rent most of my games during the NES/SNES/PS1/PS2 eras because they were so expensive. People like to pretend otherwise but there was a high percentage of garbage games on all those systems. Licensed games and knock-off mascot games were the worst. Back then, you were mostly picking stuff up without knowing anything about it, so it was easy to sell bad games with good marketing.

Also, a lot of games used ratty conventions. Many of them had low amounts of overall content and would mask that by making you die a lot and thus repeating entire sections. One of the worst tactics of all, where you basically had to die to see how to win, was also used a lot. There are a lot of things about gaming that I'm glad have faded away.

Other than that, I guess it kind of depends on genre:

Platforming? I don't know and don't care.

FPP games? They've absolutely improved for the better. Technology advancing has been a real boon for FPP. Corridor shooters haven't aged well.

RPG games? Personally, I like turn based, so I'm not very enthused about "action" rpgs. That's a personal preference, though, so I won't say they're worse.

Racing games? Better, though they've reach a point where improvement is minimal.

Sports? Don't know and don't care.

Quite honestly, there ratio of good-to-bad is much better now among professionally developed games. There is an absolute ton of bad indie content but the best indie games can be simply incredible.



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There are a few games that are better now than previous generations, but the average game keeps getting worse and worse. Making a game fun got lost somewhere along the way to save time and money.



As games became integrated into main steam media, just like any other form of medium, the flood gates were open to politics.

I've lived through mainly all generations and seen it all.

Marketing is everything in today's world of gaming. More so now than ever. When you take all things into consideration, although the question is vague, the answer is, no.

Fundamentally speaking games have obviously evolved into a form of art but the core of what I consider an "actual video game," remains the same.

Space and time.

How well can the developer utilize those two components? Call of Duty did it and did it well with guns, grenades, knives, rockets, multi-player, online, customization and all the amenities.

Tetris did it too. With blocks.

The 2d-16bit era was a special time in gaming. Comparing it to any other era is somewhat unfair...to any other era...and I say that with all sincerity.



Insert Coin. Press START. You Died. Continue?

Those special 2D 16 bit era games are still being made


Beating Fez and The way felt every bit as satisfying as the older era games. Actually more as back then there was no internet to share the experience with like minded people.

Sure marketing only screams about the big AAA blockbuster games. No different from the past.



Games are more expensive nowadays. Outside of indies, maybe, I feel like ideas of games taking risks, creatively exploring and forcing boundaries are far less likely to get grenlighted than, say, two or three decades ago. The same applies to movies and books, to an extent. The risk and marketing factor is essential.

Like modern Hollywood movies, most game developers today bet and thrive in slam-bam seductiveness, readily gobbled up by kids, teenagers etc. You aren't challenged, you aren't mentally stimulated, you don't acquire anything from it but cheap, safe thrills.

Of course, though, there are exceptions. Plenty of them, if you have the patience to look. That doesn't necessarily mean they're the best games ever, of course, despite their amazing graphics. For even a cretin could creatively compete with what's out there.



 

 

 

 

 

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Wow, a 6 year necrobump. Kind of a topic worth revisiting though. Except that I think now it's less that the games being made today are inherently inferior to the games of yesteryear, so much as the modern AAA game industry ruins games with their monetization practices and focus on making money over a quality product and trend chasing over creativity. There are still plenty of good games to be found every year, both in the AAA space (Super Mario Odyssey, Zelda BotW, Red Dead Redemption 2, Spiderman) and the indie space (Dead Cells, Undertale, Celeste). However, tons of major blockbuster games have been disappointments, like Anthem, Fallout 76, Star Wars Battlefront etc, either because the company rushed them to market, was only making a game because it was the popular thing to do (like with the Battle Royale trend), make the games super grindy and unrewarding in order to incentivize buying microtransactions or worse yet lootboxes, or some combination of those (Anthem being a prime example as a grindfest Destiny clone with very little real content). On top of this, the AA games in between indies and AAA, like Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice, are becoming very scarce, as the game business becomes an all or nothing thing with either an indie game that can thrive on very few sales or a AAA game that needs massive marketing to be successful. There's no room for all the little AA gems that fill our memories of past console gens. What you end up with is a sea of indies where very few things stand out, several high profile failures that do stand out, nothing in between, so only one or two games a year truly feel great, and you get the sense that games are getting worse. Really though, there are tons of good games, but most of them are quickly forgotten indies, while the games that stick out in your mind, the heavily marketed AAA ones, are hit or miss.



I feel like i'm having just as much fun playing games these days as ever, if not more since I understand way more now than I ever did before. Though back in the day 80's/90's I played a wider variety of games. Now I pretty much only play RPGs (of various types) and 4x games.

Also I am one of those players that feel that the move to 3D killed many game series that I used to like (mario, zelda, metroid, etc).



A warrior keeps death on the mind from the moment of his first breath to the moment of his last.



I'd say games are better now, but the average game feels worse because there are fewer really great top tier titles.  

To say that a different way, the average AAA game today is better than the average AAA game 10 years ago, but on the other hand there are fewer AAA titles.  

And indie games are largely better than they've ever been, and there are more of them, but there aren't very many that can compare positively to a top tier title.  

Games like Bloodborne, BotW are incredible experiences, with lots of polish, and are some of the best games ever made, but there's fewer games in that category being made today.  So much time and energy is being spent into making these experiences bigger and better, that there are fewer of them being made. 

During the PS1 era, it was possible to have a big budget game release in a year with just a few people.  

Today, we're definitely making better games, but now it takes 100's of people, and often times it takes 4 or 5 years to do it.  

I think the PS2 era was the best average of those two trends.  We had lots of games, and we also had lots of high quality games.  



Yeeeeeessss! The only things about gaming that are worse now are the unsavory elements that have been introduced buy certain publishers. I know that's vague, but you know what things. And you know the whos.



Chinese food for breakfast

 

Maybe technically they are better. There’s a higher production value, they look, play and sound better. They’re bigger and more elaborate. On average they have more of a story and there’s way more options.

But, that all means jack if they’re not as fun. And on average they aren’t. There’s a reason my Top 50 list from the end of the year event here on VGC is mostly ‘90s/early ‘00s games with a handful of modern games thrown in; they aren’t as fun as games used to be. They aren’t as imaginitive. Most games feel like I already played them before and innovation has gotten stale for the most part. And since ‘fun’ is the most important thing, I can’t say gaming is better now, it’s the opposite.

EDIT: And then I want to play a game right as we speak. 20 minute install time and update. Remember when you could just pop in something, flick a switch and you were in the game? Just like that? Now a console needs to boot up all kinds of pointless cr*p, take forever to navigate all kinds of pointless menus, install god knows what and update literally everything. Suddenly I don’t feel like playing anything anymore.

Last edited by S.Peelman - on 07 April 2019