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Reply 3480 of 3791, by Sombrero

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Namrok wrote on 2021-11-10, 19:55:

On the other hand, I always found System Shock 2 so much more atmospheric. I think maybe it was the lighting and the excellent sound engine. The sights and sounds of the Von Braun are for more permanently ingrained in my aging memory than the streets of New York in Deus Ex. Or Hong Kong. Or Paris. Or Area 51.

System Shock 2, the non-horror game that has found its way on many "most frightening games" lists. I don't know how it manages to create such immersive and thick atmosphere, but it does. You just don't feel safe anywhere.

I can't put one game above the other, they are different enough and I absolutely love both.

Reply 3481 of 3791, by Joseph_Joestar

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-11-10, 19:46:

Ok, time to stir the pot.

System Shock 2 > Deus Ex

I prefer Deus Ex only because System Shock 2 has endlessly respawning enemies. If it didn't, it would be a tie for me.

Talking about unaltered, original games here. I'm aware that this can be disabled through mods and such.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 3482 of 3791, by clueless1

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-11-10, 19:46:

Ok, time to stir the pot.

System Shock 2 > Deus Ex

Having never played Deus Ex beyond the first section, technically I can't agree. But SS2 is one of my all-time favorite games and the couple of times I started Deus Ex, I haven't been sucked in enough to keep going. So I guess I do agree.

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Reply 3483 of 3791, by Namrok

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Well, wrapped up another night with Zork: Nemesis. Did the fire world first, chosen quite randomly.

All in all it was rather straight forward. Only really had 3 or 4 "puzzles" in the strictest sense. If I took notes on every clue I saw, and scoured every nook and cranny, I had all the answers at hand. Scouring every nook and cranny may have been the hardest part. But at least it wasn't "hunt the pixel" in any truly over the top fashion.

I'm remembering now, I first heard about this game watching C-Net Central or some companion show on Sci-Fi channel Saturday mornings. They gushed about it's FMVs and 360 degree viewing. Which was enough for me as a kid. I got curious and looked up the CGW review, and they are mostly salty it's not an Infocom game. Feels like "Zork" got slapped onto an Activision knockoff of Myst or The 7Th Guest. I can vibe with that I suppose.

I can also understand why I struggled with this game so much as a kid. I would never, ever, under any circumstances had taken notes in a game when I was 13 playing this. I was one of those mindless click zombies wall humping every surface in Doom to find secrets. Puzzles, no matter how simple, that required writing something down were simply not going to happen for me.

I suspect this will be a short play session all things considered. If I keep beating a world a night, I should easily be done inside a week.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 3484 of 3791, by Shreddoc

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From my perhaps selective memory, the games media weren't overly enamoured with many of the early CDROM games, at the time. A sentiment even then that it was often about the "we can pack tons of graphics and music into this" quest, rather than highly nuanced gameplay.

And indeed, as young people we were ripe for the other side, the positive marketing. We heard about fancy graphics and sound, and we wanted in, hard.

"Rebel Assault really sucks to play", the magazines would say.

"Yeah, but real Star Wars sounds in CD Quality!", we'd freak.

Reply 3485 of 3791, by Sombrero

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clueless1 wrote on 2021-11-11, 00:32:

Having never played Deus Ex beyond the first section, technically I can't agree. But SS2 is one of my all-time favorite games and the couple of times I started Deus Ex, I haven't been sucked in enough to keep going. So I guess I do agree.

Deus Ex has a boring start and the first level is the worst. I did too originally nope out from the game wondering why the hell people like this game so much. Later I came back to it, forced myself through the beginning and now the game is one of my all time favorites.

I strongly recommend giving it a chance.

Reply 3486 of 3791, by Namrok

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Well, wrapped up the earth themed world of Zork Nemesis. It was very meh. I enjoyed it a great deal less than the fire themed world. Had basically 2 puzzles, all essentially code breaking. I had to look up the solution to one of them, because while I had the pieces to work it out through trial and error, apparently the answer was printed on the inside cover of the manual. Which I actually still have from way back when, but still. I hate that shit. I attempted to use the in game hint system first, but pressing the '?' key just had a generic message about not giving up, I was so close. So thanks for nothing.

Ok, scratch that last bit, did a bit more research and the proper order of the pieces I had was in an area I didn't unlock. So I guess it wasn't completely bullshit.

Anyways, I'm optimistic about the other two worlds. Even as a kid, I recall Irondune being the weakest. Perhaps the water themed zone was weak as well, we'll see.

I've been reading more older impressions, as well as some modern impressions of Zork Nemesis. I can't really find any consistency of reviewers opinions about puzzle difficulty. Some thing they are too simple, others too difficult. I guess you'd have to know the reviewer to calibrate their opinion with your own skill level.

I saw a lot of complaints about how gruesome the game is. One review basically put a trigger warning on the entirety of the wind zone, as well as a few more recent youtube videos I watched.

I saw some reviews complaining that the game lacked it's distinctly Zorky humor, and I saw others complaining about the tonal clash of some of the irreverent humor with the darker tone. Personally what humor I find in the game is often subtle, and while it pushes back against the darker tone, a lot of the humor is on the darker side as well. Like the bottle of "Prozork" in a priest's quarters. Or an organization testing fissile material in the desert blaming a massive explosion on the fact that no virgins have been sacrificed to the fire gods in 1000 years. But I guess if you were a lover of the text based Zork and it's amazing whit, this is all coming up short.

Still mostly enjoying it. It has an atmosphere I'm really digging. Though the low resolution of the game makes it a little tricky to truly immerse myself, since I'm squinting at pixels so much trying to figure out what I'm looking at and if I should care about it. I think I'm just looking forward to replaying Zork Grand Inquisitor after this, since I truly loved it's humor as a young teen.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 3487 of 3791, by NovaCN

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-11-10, 13:56:

Agreed. It's funny how games that came out in say '97 needed hardware from one or two years later to run optimally. Then again, people's standards have changed over the years too. Back in the day, having around 30 FPS was considered fairly playable.

That said, there are a ton of ways to play Deus Ex on modern hardware using improved, community-made renderers nowadays. I wanted to go down the memory lane mainly because I first played the game on this very system around 2001, though with a slower Thunderbird CPU and a TNT2. I remember wishing I had a Voodoo card back then, so here it is now.

30 FPS is perfectly playable depending on the game. For a puzzle game or slow-paced RPG, 30 vs. 60 doesn't really make that big a difference as long as it's consistent. It's for fast-paced twitch action games where you really need that increased framerate. Like, before it was ported to Steam, I played through the original Bayonetta on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. What I didn't know until afterward is that the Xbox version ran at 60 FPS and the PS3 at 30. But even without knowing about the difference in framerate, without necessarily being able to see any difference, I could still feel it. The game was noticeably more sluggish and unresponsive on PS3, which... I don't know if you've played Bayonetta or seen footage, but that's a game where being able to react with split-second precision is vital on higher difficulties, so a lower framerate is a massive problem. Of course now I can play it on my PC with maxed out settings and a buttery-smooth framerate so that's moot.

I absolutely sympathize with wanting to go back to the original hardware for a nostalgic game sometimes, though. I've got a handful of games that have received re-releases or remasters or whatever over the years but where I always find myself gravitating toward the original version I played, instead (assuming I still have it, of course). It'll be a tragic day when all this old hardware starts to reach its end of life and things like emulation become the only viable option for re-experiencing older games.

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Reply 3488 of 3791, by Shagittarius

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Hopefully emulation will continue to get better and better or we will see a surge in do it yourself boards based on reconfigurable chips that are recreations of that old hardware. As you say none of this stuff is going to last forever.

Personally I stock up on items while I can. I hope things are still around for the world after I'm gone but that's not my problem.

Last edited by Shagittarius on 2021-11-12, 16:44. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3489 of 3791, by RandomStranger

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I don't think it's true that you needed two years newer PC than the game itself to play optimally. I think our memories about 'gaming back then' is a little distorted by the decades. Even if we routinely deal with old hardware. Back then you absolutely needed the hardware aimed at enthusiasts and you had to upgrade your gaming rig more often than today, but that enthusiast's hardware could perfectly (optimally) run the games from the same year.

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Reply 3490 of 3791, by Shagittarius

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:43:

I don't think it's true that you needed two years newer PC than the game itself to play optimally. I think our memories about 'gaming back then' is a little distorted by the decades. Even if we routinely deal with old hardware. Back then you absolutely needed the hardware aimed at enthusiasts and you had to upgrade your gaming rig more often than today, but that enthusiast's hardware could perfectly (optimally) run the games from the same year.

I have to disagree, Unless you are talking about standard settings. Being able to run games at high resolutions usually required a graphics card 1 or 2 generations after the game release. I can't recall exactly when this started to change but I would say maybe around the GTX580. I remember using a 280 SLI to try and run the newly released Crysis and not being able to max that out. Granted Crysis is a notorious system hog but it was far from the only game that couldn't hit 60 FPS maxed out at that time.

Reply 3491 of 3791, by Joseph_Joestar

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:43:

Even if we routinely deal with old hardware. Back then you absolutely needed the hardware aimed at enthusiasts and you had to upgrade your gaming rig more often than today, but that enthusiast's hardware could perfectly (optimally) run the games from the same year.

Admittedly, my memory may be a bit fuzzy, but I don't think any CPU/graphics card combo from '97 could run Quake2 at 60 FPS. Most systems from that year struggled to get a stable 30+ FPS at 640x480.

If you wanted more than that, you needed a Voodoo2, and that wasn't released until '98. That said, it came out only a few months after Quake2. As you say, hardware made rapid progress back then.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 3492 of 3791, by RandomStranger

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:49:
RandomStranger wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:43:

Even if we routinely deal with old hardware. Back then you absolutely needed the hardware aimed at enthusiasts and you had to upgrade your gaming rig more often than today, but that enthusiast's hardware could perfectly (optimally) run the games from the same year.

Admittedly, my memory may be a bit fuzzy, but I don't think any CPU/graphics card combo from '97 could run Quake2 at 60 FPS. Most systems from that year struggled to get a stable 30+ FPS at 640x480.

If you wanted more than that, you needed a Voodoo2, and that didn't come out until '98. That said, the Voodoo2 came out only a few months after Quake2. As you say, hardware made rapid progress back then.

Yeah, if we talk about calendar year, fiscal year or two events within 12 months of each other can change a lot of things. I think the honest way to put it is hardware available at the time of the game's release.

We also didn't agree on what we mean by "optimally running" a game. It's much more debatable, most of us were perfectly happy with 20 and for most games the question didn't really make sense. At which frame rate does a 2D game like Worms 2, Diablo or Fallout starts to run optimally? Also, back then the obsession with 60fps haven't really existed. Partly because for most games it was pointless and partly because we still used CRTs and matching the frame rate with the monitor refresh rate didn't matter as much.

But regardless, there were always special cases, games that were a lot more demanding than most. Those are outliers. The same year we got 2 new build engine games which "ran optimally" on budget PCs of the same year.

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Reply 3493 of 3791, by Shagittarius

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-11-12, 17:47:
Yeah, if we talk about calendar year, fiscal year or two events within 12 months of each other can change a lot of things. I thi […]
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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:49:
RandomStranger wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:43:

Even if we routinely deal with old hardware. Back then you absolutely needed the hardware aimed at enthusiasts and you had to upgrade your gaming rig more often than today, but that enthusiast's hardware could perfectly (optimally) run the games from the same year.

Admittedly, my memory may be a bit fuzzy, but I don't think any CPU/graphics card combo from '97 could run Quake2 at 60 FPS. Most systems from that year struggled to get a stable 30+ FPS at 640x480.

If you wanted more than that, you needed a Voodoo2, and that didn't come out until '98. That said, the Voodoo2 came out only a few months after Quake2. As you say, hardware made rapid progress back then.

Yeah, if we talk about calendar year, fiscal year or two events within 12 months of each other can change a lot of things. I think the honest way to put it is hardware available at the time of the game's release.

We also didn't agree on what we mean by "optimally running" a game. It's much more debatable, most of us were perfectly happy with 20 and for most games the question didn't really make sense. At which frame rate does a 2D game like Worms 2, Diablo or Fallout starts to run optimally? Also, back then the obsession with 60fps haven't really existed. Partly because for most games it was pointless and partly because we still used CRTs and matching the frame rate with the monitor refresh rate didn't matter as much.

But regardless, there were always special cases, games that were a lot more demanding than most. Those are outliers. The same year we got 2 new build engine games which "ran optimally" on budget PCs of the same year.

60 FPS or "Double Realtime" as we use to call it back in 1995 certainly mattered to me. When you went to the arcades you could see the difference framerate made and in turn when that kind of gaming came to PCs myself and most of my friends were acutely aware of the 60 FPS target. I don't think your experience is typical though im sure not unique either.

And just a note on build engine games it took much later computers to run those at anything over standard resolutions. If we're going to talk about this you really have to consider the year of an engines release not subsequent games released years later. Even in that case though I don't think your recollection is accurate.

Reply 3494 of 3791, by Shagittarius

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:49:
RandomStranger wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:43:

Even if we routinely deal with old hardware. Back then you absolutely needed the hardware aimed at enthusiasts and you had to upgrade your gaming rig more often than today, but that enthusiast's hardware could perfectly (optimally) run the games from the same year.

Admittedly, my memory may be a bit fuzzy, but I don't think any CPU/graphics card combo from '97 could run Quake2 at 60 FPS. Most systems from that year struggled to get a stable 30+ FPS at 640x480.

If you wanted more than that, you needed a Voodoo2, and that wasn't released until '98. That said, it came out only a few months after Quake2. As you say, hardware made rapid progress back then.

Playing in a higher resolution was often the reason to go back and re-visit old games with a new video card. My monitors could do 1600X1200 years before any video card i owned could produce a playable framerate at that resolution.

Reply 3495 of 3791, by clueless1

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-11-12, 16:43:

I don't think it's true that you needed two years newer PC than the game itself to play optimally. I think our memories about 'gaming back then' is a little distorted by the decades. Even if we routinely deal with old hardware. Back then you absolutely needed the hardware aimed at enthusiasts and you had to upgrade your gaming rig more often than today, but that enthusiast's hardware could perfectly (optimally) run the games from the same year.

Yeah, I disagree too. Back in the DOS days, Origin Systems was infamous for producing games that didn't run well on the best hardware of the day. Games like Pacific Strike, Strike Commander and System Shock (640x480), ran like a slide show on the latest hardware of the time. Other DOS games that come to mind: Screamer I and II, Flight Unlimited, Magic Carpet I and II, Descent I and II, Quake (without a Voodoo).

A little later, games either required a 3D accelerator, or strongly recommended one for decent framerates and there were only a couple that did a decent job (Voodoos mainly til Nvidia). Otherwise, you were forced to run in a lower resolution to get playable framerates. Games like Motoracer, Quake II, Dark Forces II. Then even when 3D accelerators became a requirement, games like Morrowind, Deus Ex, RtCW. And later, Crysis.

Today I'm running most modern games at 1080p with medium to high details at mostly 60 fps on a cpu (i7-4770) that is 8 years old with a GTX 1650 Super.

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Reply 3497 of 3791, by clueless1

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-11-13, 12:14:

CyberMage needed hardware affordable two years into the future.

Thank you, I missed mentioning that one. I actually played that at the end of 2020 on a P200MMX/ARK2000 and it struggled at 640x480. There were areas I either dropped the res or shrunk the window to make it playable. So the cpu is 2 years older than the game and the graphics card was the fastest DOS card available when the game was released.

edit: I recall reading on here several years back that someone tested Cybermage with various cpus and it took 650Mhz P3 before it ran flawlessly at 640x480. System Shock was similar in that it needed several hundred Mhz to run 640x480 smoothly at a time when P90-P100 were the top cpus out.

Strike Commander needed a P90 or higher to run well and it came out when 486DX2 66 was the fastest cpu (Pentium 60 was just released, super expensive, and nearly unattainable by the average gamer).

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 3498 of 3791, by robertmo

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Shagittarius wrote on 2021-11-12, 20:25:

Playing in a higher resolution was often the reason to go back and re-visit old games with a new video card. My monitors could do 1600X1200 years before any video card i owned could produce a playable framerate at that resolution.

your card can do 16k now, though i guess your display cannot 😉

Reply 3499 of 3791, by xcomcmdr

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clueless1 wrote on 2021-11-13, 12:32:

ll reading on here several years back that someone tested Cybermage with various cpus and it took 650Mhz P3 before it ran flawlessly at 640x480. System Shock was similar in that it needed several hundred Mhz to run 640x480 smoothly at a time when P90-P100 were the top cpus out.

Indeed, I play it on a Slot 1 P3 at 800 MHz, and it runs very smoothly at fullscreen. 😀