Forums - Gaming Discussion - 2nd gen (Atari 2600) has aged better than 3rd gen (NES)

I realize this may be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but honestly, I feel like the 2nd generation of gaming, epitomized by the Atari 2600, has aged better than the subsequent generation typified by the NES.

The second gen was limited enough that the games were extremely simple, but that also meant there was less leeway to fuck them up. With the additional complexity of the NES however, came a flood of games that are pretty much unplayable these days thanks to cheap and sloppy game design.

Obviously the NES also brought with it great games like Mario Bros, and the 2600 also had its share of broken shovelware, but by and large, I feel like nowadays the average 2600 game is more fun and playable than the average NES game simply by virtue of being more elegantly simple.

For me it's similar to how the 4th gen (SNES/Megadive) has aged better than the subsequent N64/PS1/Saturn gen. In both cases, I feel we went from simple but more polished games to more complex but as a result messier games.



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Nah. Atari made some great games and all but I feel like they aged worse. Mostly because the NES got superior sequels to Atari games like Centipede or a good port of Pac Man. Also, I can play something like Super Mario Bros multiple times. Can't say that about Atari games. Then again you can't beat an Atari game.

Also, you had to use your imagination a whole lot more for Atari games. The beeping noises and graphics were really primitive. Also, NES had much higher highs than Atari. Nothing really compares to Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, Castlevania, Contra and on and on.



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I've said this before but the game design basis shifted between the 2600 and the NES.

Atari 2600 (and arcade) games were usually centered around reflexive action. You could pick up the mechanics in minutes, for the most part, and difficulty was most often represented by increasing enemy speed and frequency. This ages very well. I can go play Defender right now and have a blast.

At the skate shop I used to work at, we had both an Atari 2600 and a SNES; the Atari was, without a doubt, the most popular for everyone to gather around and play in small chunks. There was no need for tutorials and, most importantly, little need for memorizing.

The memorization aspect is what really came into play with the NES and something that I never really loved. Games began to lean on the mechanic of "death by not knowing what comes next". The challenge became less about reacting than knowing when to act. This made small games feel bigger and became another aspect of increasing difficulty.

I could beat most of my NES games while barely paying attention. Once I learned the timing for each one, they generally became cake. I used to beat Punch-Out and Double Dragon II, for example, with the controller behind my back in order to make it a bit more challenging. With most of my favorite Atari 2600 games, I just played until I lost.



I don't know much about atari. but NES games didn't age well because the gen after that was superior to it. genesis and snes were just doing what that did. only better



Even at the time, I wouldn't call the Atari experience the best, considering there were arcade machines around. I'd much rather play the Donkey Kong arcade machine than the almost unrecognizable 2600 port.



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Nah, I dont agree with you at all.Not all NES games hold up today obviously, but its still a joy to play a megaman game, or a castlevania game for example.

Honestly, it was with the 3rd gen that gaming actually started to get real good.



My (locked) thread about how difficulty should be a decision for the developers, not the gamers.

https://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=241866&page=1

curl-6 said:

I realize this may be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but honestly, I feel like the 2nd generation of gaming, epitomized by the Atari 2600, has aged better than the subsequent generation typified by the NES.

The second gen was limited enough that the games were extremely simple, but that also meant there was less leeway to fuck them up. With the additional complexity of the NES however, came a flood of games that are pretty much unplayable these days thanks to cheap and sloppy game design.

Obviously the NES also brought with it great games like Mario Bros, and the 2600 also had its share of broken shovelware, but by and large, I feel like nowadays the average 2600 game is more fun and playable than the average NES game simply by virtue of being more elegantly simple.

For me it's similar to how the 4th gen (SNES/Megadive) has aged better than the subsequent N64/PS1/Saturn gen. In both cases, I feel we went from simple but more polished games to more complex but as a result messier games.

I agree in both cases.  In fact, I think the 5th gen is the least playable generation at this point.  Early 3D games were cool at the time.  But, they're terrible now.  I stopped trying to go back and play them a while ago, as doing so just ruined any good memories I had of gaming at that time.  

Nautilus said:
Nah, I dont agree with you at all.Not all NES games hold up today obviously, but its still a joy to play a megaman game, or a castlevania game for example.

Honestly, it was with the 3rd gen that gaming actually started to get real good.

The fact that some NES games are still enjoyable does not mean that 2600 stuff doesn't hold up better, on average.  



VAMatt said:
curl-6 said:

I realize this may be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but honestly, I feel like the 2nd generation of gaming, epitomized by the Atari 2600, has aged better than the subsequent generation typified by the NES.

The second gen was limited enough that the games were extremely simple, but that also meant there was less leeway to fuck them up. With the additional complexity of the NES however, came a flood of games that are pretty much unplayable these days thanks to cheap and sloppy game design.

Obviously the NES also brought with it great games like Mario Bros, and the 2600 also had its share of broken shovelware, but by and large, I feel like nowadays the average 2600 game is more fun and playable than the average NES game simply by virtue of being more elegantly simple.

For me it's similar to how the 4th gen (SNES/Megadive) has aged better than the subsequent N64/PS1/Saturn gen. In both cases, I feel we went from simple but more polished games to more complex but as a result messier games.

I agree in both cases.  In fact, I think the 5th gen is the least playable generation at this point.  Early 3D games were cool at the time.  But, they're terrible now.  I stopped trying to go back and play them a while ago, as doing so just ruined any good memories I had of gaming at that time.  

Nautilus said:
Nah, I dont agree with you at all.Not all NES games hold up today obviously, but its still a joy to play a megaman game, or a castlevania game for example.

Honestly, it was with the 3rd gen that gaming actually started to get real good.

The fact that some NES games are still enjoyable does not mean that 2600 stuff doesn't hold up better, on average.  

Maybe its because I didnt grow up with an Atari, or even was born back then, but every Atari game that i do watch a video of or play with are simply horrible.Not saying that they are unplayable, but they are simply horrendous to play nowadays.Personally, the 3 gen (NES and Genesis) is when gaming became truly viable as a business(exclusing a few gems in the arcade space that came before)



My (locked) thread about how difficulty should be a decision for the developers, not the gamers.

https://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=241866&page=1

Nautilus said:
VAMatt said:

I agree in both cases.  In fact, I think the 5th gen is the least playable generation at this point.  Early 3D games were cool at the time.  But, they're terrible now.  I stopped trying to go back and play them a while ago, as doing so just ruined any good memories I had of gaming at that time.  

The fact that some NES games are still enjoyable does not mean that 2600 stuff doesn't hold up better, on average.  

Maybe its because I didnt grow up with an Atari, or even was born back then, but every Atari game that i do watch a video of or play with are simply horrible.Not saying that they are unplayable, but they are simply horrendous to play nowadays.Personally, the 3 gen (NES and Genesis) is when gaming became truly viable as a business(exclusing a few gems in the arcade space that came before)

Some of my first memories involve the Atari 2600.  So, it is certainly possible that my opinion is colored by nostalgia.  

I agree that Atari 2600 games are extremely primitive.  They are ball and stick, or stick man grabs onto swinging stick, jumps over green and brown blobs, releases stick.  The next generation (which, for me, was more about the Sega Master System than the NES) definitely represented a massive improvement over the 2600 era.  In fact, I think the 2600-era to NES-era was the biggest generational leap we've seen.  Nevertheless, I still find Pacman and Pitfall enjoyable, while most of the NES/Master System games just aren't.  



Sorry. I grew up on those consoles and own both. Atari 2600 is fun as shit but holy fuck, as you telling me Atari 2600 Astroids or Pitfall holds up better than SMB 3, Ninja Gaiden or Megaman 2?

That's insane.