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Reply 20 of 29, by 386SX

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Imho one difference (maybe a bit off topic) is in that in the past maybe there wasn't exactly the need or even the concept of "wasting time". As said I've never been one of those all-day serious gamers that would finish every games in few time, quite the opposite, I had very few game titles to play and often didn't even finish them. I remember I got annoyed and often switching off the game console/PC cause the game session was becoming too difficult / boring.
But I don't think it was a "waste of time" back then. I suppose this is a modern idea of the time itself. Let's see for example to the number of outdoor places where it's possible to freely just sit down to read or talk compared to some decades ago or the number of fountains for who lives in the countryside. Nowdays they seems to be mostly gone who knows maybe to push the local economy to even drink some water I don't know. Nowdays is like, people if walk have to go somewhere but the only times someone want to stop (as said for reading a book or whatever) you have to enter some place even to buy a bottle of water... the concept of "just sit down and do nothing" seems like a waste of time nowdays more or less like in the workplace when the "coffe time" become something that must be counted in minutes for productivity reasons..

Reply 21 of 29, by MrFlibble

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386SX wrote on 2021-07-03, 09:49:

Imho one difference (maybe a bit off topic) is in that in the past maybe there wasn't exactly the need or even the concept of "wasting time".

I think it would not be way too off to say that games are, in many aspects, like books. Some you like and want to go back to, others you've read and maybe enjoyed but there's little reason to ever re-read them. Sometimes I pick a book I've read several times already, open it on a random page and read for a while; or remember a scene or a passage and re-read specifically that scene/passage and then some.

One could also say that the perception of fiction in books gets different as one grows older. Maybe in some details, the magic of video games was different and more vivid due to its stark novelty, but fundamentally they are quite similar in how they affect the reader/player.

Back on the original topic (hopefully), in the 90s as a kid/teen I did not have a lot of games, but would borrow gaming mags from friends and had some of my own too. I remember often trying to picture how a game would play from screenshots and whatever the reviewer had to say, and I think that quite often my ideas of gameplay were quite incorrect due to the limited experience with actually playing the types of games as I'd try to imagine. In fact, even after playing a bit of Warcraft II for the first time at my friend's (upon which I fell in love with the game), for some time I had a rather distorted image of what (and how) could or could not happen within the game - my mind pictured a much grander, living world for what is effectively some quite strict set of game rules dressed in pretty decorations. But I cannot say I had any disappointment as I finally got ahold of a copy and played it myself.

I believe that good games have a great advantage in that, even when the novelty and "magic" wear off, the solid gameplay, and often very good art/music/writing remain to be appreciated, unaffected by the above. But some games definitely fall prey to the march of history, that is, going back to them after having experienced more advanced, more well thought-out titles (or even simply better equipped with QoL stuff) just exposes the flaws or deficiencies in design that would be overlooked at the time the game originally came out because there was nothing to compare it to back then.

Sometimes you just need to rationally weigh the advantages and disadvantages in design and decide whether it's worth playing or not. If we take the Dune II example discussed above, there is no denying that it has many limitations compared to even slightly more recent titles from the 90s like its successor Command & Conquer, to say nothing of much newer RTS games. But if you're willing to accept these limitations and take it for what it is, the game is quite playable and enjoyable, if only as a historical curiosity (that you can play an enhanced port/remake in this case is another matter).

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Reply 22 of 29, by VannevarKush

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TIE Fighter originally me a couple years to learn how to play it correctly. When I was a kid I would turn on invincibility and infinite ammo like OP was mentioning and just fly around and blast things, but eventually i learned how to use the targeting and the HUD and ship energy management.

It does get more fun with some patience to learn the keyboard:

arZYl1t.jpeg

And the fragility and expendability of your starfighter is a lot of what makes the game interesting; you have to figure out how to accomplish goals and manage the battlefield without getting blown up in 2 seconds.

IMO OP's 20 hours setting up TIE Fighter could still be worth it 😀

Reply 23 of 29, by VannevarKush

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-07-03, 19:17:
I think it would not be way too off to say that games are, in many aspects, like books. Some you like and want to go back to, ot […]
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386SX wrote on 2021-07-03, 09:49:

Imho one difference (maybe a bit off topic) is in that in the past maybe there wasn't exactly the need or even the concept of "wasting time".

I think it would not be way too off to say that games are, in many aspects, like books. Some you like and want to go back to, others you've read and maybe enjoyed but there's little reason to ever re-read them. Sometimes I pick a book I've read several times already, open it on a random page and read for a while; or remember a scene or a passage and re-read specifically that scene/passage and then some.

One could also say that the perception of fiction in books gets different as one grows older. Maybe in some details, the magic of video games was different and more vivid due to its stark novelty, but fundamentally they are quite similar in how they affect the reader/player.

Back on the original topic (hopefully), in the 90s as a kid/teen I did not have a lot of games, but would borrow gaming mags from friends and had some of my own too. I remember often trying to picture how a game would play from screenshots and whatever the reviewer had to say, and I think that quite often my ideas of gameplay were quite incorrect due to the limited experience with actually playing the types of games as I'd try to imagine. In fact, even after playing a bit of Warcraft II for the first time at my friend's (upon which I fell in love with the game), for some time I had a rather distorted image of what (and how) could or could not happen within the game - my mind pictured a much grander, living world for what is effectively some quite strict set of game rules dressed in pretty decorations. But I cannot say I had any disappointment as I finally got ahold of a copy and played it myself.

I believe that good games have a great advantage in that, even when the novelty and "magic" wear off, the solid gameplay, and often very good art/music/writing remain to be appreciated, unaffected by the above. But some games definitely fall prey to the march of history, that is, going back to them after having experienced more advanced, more well thought-out titles (or even simply better equipped with QoL stuff) just exposes the flaws or deficiencies in design that would be overlooked at the time the game originally came out because there was nothing to compare it to back then.

Sometimes you just need to rationally weigh the advantages and disadvantages in design and decide whether it's worth playing or not. If we take the Dune II example discussed above, there is no denying that it has many limitations compared to even slightly more recent titles from the 90s like its successor Command & Conquer, to say nothing of much newer RTS games. But if you're willing to accept these limitations and take it for what it is, the game is quite playable and enjoyable, if only as a historical curiosity (that you can play an enhanced port/remake in this case is another matter).

Excellent post IMO

When my family received an Apple IIgs from some relatives we got the manuals in the mail a week before we got the computer. I spend the week reading the usually text-only manuals and thinking about what these games must look like. Of course my imagination was far ahead of the reality, not that I was going to let that get in the way of enjoying these games when we finally got the computer.

Temple of Apshai (the Apple II collection) was a bit of a disaapointment at first though 😀 (this was a game that included "paragraphs" in the manual to describe areas of the game like a dungeon master, but the game itself was pretty stark.) But, I even learned to enjoy Temple of Apshai as a kid, after I got stumped enough with King's Quest to dig ToA out of the pile and learn how the RPG mechanics worked.

Another thought, finding stuff like easter eggs and secrets in games, now I think "how nice of them to put it in there". As a kid it was like actually discovering something secret. Maybe there's a whole world hidden behind another secret door!

Reply 24 of 29, by gaffa2002

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Yes, don't know exactly when (I think it was a gradual thing), but I'm aware that a lot of the reasons for enjoying retro gaming is not related to the actual quality of the games you played back then, but about the context of the time they were released and what they meant to you.
Personally, when I'm playing a retro game or messing with retro computers, I tend to put my mind in the context of the time of such game/computer. I try not to compare it with things that came after it and instead compare it with whatever was available at the time.
In the context of graphics, I'm far more impressed by older games that uses its base hardware very well than by any current AAA game. Yeah, today games look "better", but the fact is that most of the work is being done by brute force by the hardware. There is less and less creativity involved and a lot of games look the same as they all tend to look photorealistic.
Games back then were more contained, and thus more "personal", it was usually made by fewer people and the result was more personal, even if they were working for a company. Nowadays a game is made by hundreds of people, working for a company that decides how the game must play and look like. Its almost like comparing a painting or sculpture (much simpler, made by fewer people, but more personal) to a plain building (lots of work and people involved, but boring).
There are the indie games as well, but even those don't impress me simply because they aren't actually limited by the hardware. It's not the game's fault in that case, but mostly mine as I like observing what people can do with the console or PC limitations.
Another reason for enjoying some retro games, even without putting myself in context, is that they have some gameplay mechanics that are not used anymore which I enjoy, like allowing you to lose the game: Really, which modern game allows you to truly lose? I mean, not just returning to some checkpoint, but having to start from scratch?
Nowadays a game like this would be bashed for being "too frustrating", so every current game is kind of forced to give you some safety net that will never let you go back beyond a certain point. It may have tough enemies or an almost impossible boss to beat, but you only need to do it once and never again (unless you want to) as the game will "lock" you past that point forever.
Recently I played the first two Tomb Raider games from start to end, and part of the fun was being able to master the character movement: You had to learn how to run, jump, walk, look around, sidestep, roll, draw weapons and learn the appropriate time to use each movement. Current games usually have a "context button" that does whatever is required for you, plus, there are lots of invisible walls preventing you to do anything stupid (if I want to swan dive head first in concrete, just *** let me, damn it!).
My first disappointment with gameplay becoming automatic was with the first Assassins Creed (I hate the series, as for me it embraces all things I despise in gaming industry 🤣). After playing the great Sands of Time trilogy, I wanted to see the game that succeeded it, and then this boring POS came... the character was doing many impressive things on screen, but in real life I was just holding a button and moving the stick to whatever direction the character was going. Then the combat consisted in waiting an enemy to perform a telegraphed attack and press another button to win, I tried to play the second game, but got so bored I couldn't get to the end.

LO-RES, HI-FUN

My DOS/ Win98 PC specs

EP-7KXA Motherboard
Athlon Thunderbird 750mhz
256Mb PC100 RAM
Geforce 4 MX440 64MB AGP
Sound Blaster AWE 64 CT4500 (ISA)
32GB HDD

Reply 25 of 29, by ncmark

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I went from a commodore 64 to a 486 DX4/100 (there WERE a few between, but shortlived).
I remember a 4th of july weekend I downloaded Radix Beyond the Void and spent like 12+ hours straight playing it. I was completely blown away - that was like catching up on 10 years all at once
But the reason I mention it - something like THAT won't happen again. As was said in a previous message, once it's gone it's gone

Reply 26 of 29, by Shreddoc

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I remember, about 1993, lusting after the talkie versions of games that I read about in gaming magazines, and saw occasionally in stores. CDROM was too expensive at first, and even after I blagged a drive one Christmas, I was still only young and did not have an adult's wage with which to purchase Sierra-etc CDROM games at >$40ea or-whatever-they-were.

Fast forward to now, when I can have them all, anytime I like. But you know what? I really struggle to have the patience to wait .. for .. each .. line .. of .. dialogue .. to .. be .. slowly .. talked .. out .. at .. real .. life .. speed .. in .. the .. talkie .. versions .. of .. classic .. games ..

I don't know why. And I know the failing is mine! It's probably related to the fact I'm significantly older now, and time generally is far more of a factor than it is when a kid.

Reply 27 of 29, by dr_st

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WDStudios wrote on 2021-07-01, 10:21:

Most DOS games are a LOT harder than I remember them being, especially platform games where you can only save your game between levels rather than mid-level.

Yes, indeed. I have become aware of it now after reminiscing a bit about The Lost Vikings (which the DOS Game Club is playing this month). Back in the day it was one of the first games I learned how to beat, without cheating (even though I was playing some levels out of order). I remember how many attempts some levels took, remember the sheer annoyance of dying inches from the end of the level and having to play the whole thing over from the beginning. And somehow I was still grinding and putting the time in. I'm not sure I'd have so much patience now.

WDStudios wrote on 2021-07-01, 10:21:

And I have no idea how I ever played first-person shooters before WASD + mouselook came along.

I still play the original DOS shooters (Mostly DOOM and Build games) keyboard-only, even if I play the advanced modern ports of these games with WASD+mouse. Somehow for the original levels keyboard only is sufficient.

chinny22 wrote on 2021-07-02, 08:53:

20 years ago me could play Doom, C&C or whatever all day.
The me of today struggles to play more then one level. I get annoyed and give up more easily now.

Same...
It took me 13 years to finish the last part of Final Doom, which I dropped in the middle. I still have a game-in-progress in GTA San Andreas that I started in 2005, resumed and dropped multiple time since then (last time in 2020, I think). I started playing StarCraft in 2010 (I think), dropped it 1/3 into Brood War, resumed earlier last year, and still have 2-3 levels to finish, which I cannot bring myself to focus on...

On the other hand, some games (mostly simple action platformers, like Rayman or Prince of Persia) I tend to "swallow" in a few sittings. I guess it is also a matter of gravitating towards one's preferred genre.

gerry wrote on 2021-07-02, 09:39:

I don't know if I could play all the way through DOOM now, I did that a few times years ago and never feel like doing so again

I did manage to play through the Sigil episode which Romero released a couple of years ago. I think that I managed to do so, because it was rather short (one 9-level episode). If it had been a full 32-map megawad, I may have not ever mustered enough motivation to even begin.

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Reply 28 of 29, by ratfink

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In 1994 I had what seemed at the time a massive Gold Star monitor which has to go back to work a few years later, so a decade or so on I bought a 21" CRT "cos it must have been that big". Er, no. It was overkill for DOS but great for WoW though.

I always feel like my first TFT was brilliant at scaling so never worried about that until I tried it on my LCD/LED screens after dumping the CRTs. Omg they are hopeless...

Reply 29 of 29, by Shreddoc

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Today, I finally found out - about 35 years after first playing Alex Kidd in Miracle World - that the enemies I'd forever thought of as "bumblebees" are in fact representations of the "Daruma doll" - a Japanese symbol or talisman of perseverance and good luck.

Which the character's name (Daruman) indicates, in obvious hindsight! but that meant nothing to me as a kid. Now I know!

I'm sure there must also be many other such missed Japanese culture references, dotted throughout the console games we played as Western kids.