Where Have All The Good Games Gone?

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles' started by Adrian Wong, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Seawolf

    Seawolf Newbie

    The problem with adventure games is pretty simple. People don't want adventure games. In my opinion, they offer too limited gameplay to be interesting.
    Every time I get an adventure game with an interesting story I go straight to a walkthrough because otherwise it'd take me five hours if not more to figure out that object A is used with object B in area C. Is that compelling? Not to me, at least.
    (As for flight sims, well...Crimson Skies is supposedly good. Hell if I know. IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles was released last year. I'm sure there're more.)

    I have no idea what you mean by 'no adventure games'...I just listed several I doubt most of you've played (in the email)

    And yes, gaming is for those piviledged with the ability. IMO it always has been such on the PC. Anyone without the money to invest in a PC should go with consoles.

    As for 'tactical comat'....hell, I never even played UFO so whatever I'm missing, I'll just have to deal with that.

    Out of curiousity, has anyone here even played Kohan or GalCiv? Heck, Kohan 2 just came out, I plan on buyin it.
  2. myne

    myne Newbie

    A couple of the games I remember having the most fun in were Dark Reign (original) and the Mechwarrior2 trilogy. Even at their release, way back in '94 they were both behind the ball graphically. Mechwarrior2 for example was DOS only, it crashed a lot in Win95 and it had very very simple environments. I played almost the entire game in wireframe mode because my 486 couldnt handle colouring in the polygons yet it was epic fun.

    Darkreign was similar. 640x480 only and directx3. It was blocky, 2d, and only a mere 256 colours. Despite that they managed to put a lot of work into the AI. There are AI features in this game that are still unique amoung real time strategy games. A mate and I still dig it out occasionally for a laugh. The maps were challenging and the story was great. It's expansion pack was good too. It's sequal, Darkreign 2 went in search of better graphics and flopped miserably.

    Ohh there I said it. The story. One thing both these games had in common was that they had pages and pages of fascinating story witten in their manual. I can tell you now that DarkReign was a time machine left adrift in space long after an epic war. You find it, you must beat the historical challenges inorder to become the one sent back to change history.
    Mechwarrior2 had a great story too. Two clans struggle for power, territory and honour. You must lead upto 2 allies in raids against your enemys for the greater honour of your clan.
    MW2 Ghostbears legacy, part 2 of the trilogy was a genuine expansion pack. None of this 3 new levels and 8 units crap that some people try to pass off today. MW2 Mercenaries was, in my opinion, the pinnicle of Mechwarrior. Something about mw3 just put me off - permanantly. Mercs was great, you had to manage your money aswell as fight and that only made it more challenging.
    Neither of these games were simple either. They werent just reheated and served. No. They were quite complex to learn properly. Mechwarrior used about 80% of the keyboard. Because of that, I prettymuch learned the keyboard backwards while blindfolded. I almost learned to touchtype from a 3d game.

    Anyway, In my opinion those are 2 forgotten classics. DarkReign lived in the shadow of the graphically superior Total Annihilation and Mechwarrior 2 trilogy was perhaps too complex for some.

    My current addiction, lasting over a year has been Desert Combat. It's a Mod of Battlefield 1942 and it is basically a good chunk of the game I imagined while playing MW2. Large outdoor environments, many modern vehicles+infantry and great deep/shallow gameplay (it looks shallow but the more you dig...) . It has it's problems but I still think it's more fun than anything I've played.

    Anyway, I have no idea why I dribbled all that but I cbf'd editing it. I too, genuinely hope for better gameplay and less effex
  3. peaz

    peaz ARP Webmaster Staff Member

    Yes. Mechwarrior was indeed one of the best games ever IMHO. No groundbreaking graphics, even at it's time. But superb gameplay even on a Pentium 100 with no 3D accelerator!

    Thanks for reminding me about the game. .... :arp:
  4. Papercut

    Papercut Newbie

    Ahh yes good ol' Mechwarrior 2. Come to think of it, the original Command & Conquer game is worth a notable mention for me. Didn't play Dune, so C&C was what introduced me to the strategy genre.

    A recent game that has also had a huge impact for me was Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Honestly, I don't know much about the Single player mode - didn't play more than 20 minutes of it. But I've been addicted to JKII multiplayer ever since my best friend introduced me to it in 2002. The saber combat (not in the early stages, but now in the final patch 1.04) is extremely well-balanced, unlike its successor - Jedi Academy. Techniques require lots of practise to master, and the damage scaling is perfect; no ridiculous 1-hit kills. The other good point is that there is so much more to the Multiplayer mode than just saber combat. There's guns, Force powers, different gametypes like CTF and team FFA (which spawned its own sub-gametype here in Australia/NZ, based on the CS style of rounds).

    It's also not a serious game like CS, where people play with the intention of killing other people and then maybe do some chatting when they're dead. JK2 MP lets players do whatever the hell they want, which of course leads to friendships and communities being formed amongst the regular players.

    And to relate it back to the discussion at hand, JK2 does not require top-end hardware. 2 of the best saber duellers I know are running it on Pentium III systems, one with a TNT2 graphics card and the other with a GF2MX. So I think it's a really good example of a new game that focuses more on gameplay than graphics, and they have done a fantastic job on it.

    Anyway, some other points I want to make...

    I think that most game publishers are still doing the best they can to make games playable on less powerful systems. Take Doom 3 for example, it's still playable on a 3 or 4 year old system. Well you can ask, what about those people with Pentium III systems and a GeForce 2? I would say this: technology is always about change and improvement. If you buy a computer, it's common sense/knowledge that you're going to have to either upgrade some parts in a few years' time, or buy a completely new system. This holds true even more so if the computer user plays games. Realistically, how many gamers (regardless of how often they play or buy games) are still using a pre-P4 or pre-Athlon system? There aren't enough of these people to justify toning down the system requirements of new games, and I think it's fair to say that the game developers have already done all they can. Or almost all.

    Haha good one :haha:

    I'm going to have to disagree with you about NFSU. Yes, there is nothing new about the car racing genre (or sub-genre) and it does depend a lot on the graphics. However, the new attraction is that it caters to the fans of tuner cars, rice burners, etc. I'm not too well-versed with racing games but I found NFSU really enjoyable. Before NFSU, I really don't think there was any other car racing game that allowed players to have so much involvement with their cars, and the amount of variety available in the external appearance - spoilers, rims, vinyl, body kits, etc.
    But if I'm wrong about that, then please let me know.

    Wow, I just wrote an essay :shock:
  5. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    Actually, there are, NFSU just made everything better. NFSU is the only NFS series I didn't bother looking at all. I've played all since the TNFS, till NFS:HP2. I'm looking for realism and so far, the best is still first TNFS, one of my favourite games!
  6. I have to disagree on NFSU, but only if you play on a console. Great if you've got lots of people there to join on, take turns trying the challenges, drift competitions, etc. I haven't had this much fun on a console, well, since I owned one.(SNES) On the PC, NFSU definatelly lacked realism, it was dry, including the GFX department, poor control setup even with a joystick(sorry no wheel, but it wouldn't have helped). Realism was something the NFS series carried through on the PC versions, and on consoles, it was stripped down to nothing more then a arcade game. The playstation versions were nothing more then lots of tap left/tap right and hold down x for GAS! Though once again, with a friend, it's entertainment on another level.

    Nothing beats the original TNFS, countless hours on that game!!! If you let the game teach you each every distinct characteristic of each car, you'd understand it as if you trully drove one before! Each car had personality you could relate to the actuall car, and say... "ohh yea!!! that Porsche likes to get its tail out of line due to the loads of HP on tap!, or how well the chassis is balanced on a Mazda RX7 in regards to grip/power making it stick like chewing gum to asphalt" This is unlike many racing sims, where thresholds on grip/acceleration values is all that is taken into consideration, and those are mostly just tweaked in by programmers and not people enthusiastic about driving. These games sometimes even let you play teh slowest car, and pair it up to the fastest car out of it's class and still finish a race close, ehem PS2 version of NFS:HP2
  7. peaz

    peaz ARP Webmaster Staff Member

    Urm.. well, a good CRPG isn't just about killing mosters only... Take Fallout for example.. that's one hell of an RPG game. Planscape: Torment? That's another one with superb story telling. NeverWinter Nights is also one of the best I've played thus far. And there are a lot more classics that I've played before during the 486 days. all those dungeon and dragon based RPGs... loads of fun and strong in the storyline as well.

    In fact, RPG's all about the storyline... that's all that matters ;) THis is why I love a good RPG game.
    And no.. Diablo does not justify as an icon of RPGs.... :)
  8. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Anyone remember Darklands? :mrgreen:

    Man, that was one really good RPG. That was the first game I bought. :shock:

    I still have the original manual as well as the hints guide. :thumb:

    One thing about the old games is that they come with FANTASTIC manuals!

    Look at the Darklands manual. Full of interesting background info. Or the manuals of flight simulators. Incredible details on plane specs, tactics, history, etc. The manual I have of the Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe is about as thick as my BOG book! :think:

    You can tell that they have done a LOT of research into the subject before designing the game. The amount of material.. really amazing. Even games that are based on fictional storylines have manuals with amazing details.

    These are not just for eye candy. They really help immerse the player in the game world. And best of all, you can essentially play the game away from the computer! :thumb:

    DYKT : I spent many hours working out the best stats for my characters in Darklands? Or training in my mind the flight tactics in TIE-Fighter? :haha:
  9. peaz

    peaz ARP Webmaster Staff Member

    hmm, never played darklands. There was this one D&D RPG game that me and my friends would cramp up in his room and play each of our charaters there everyday after school.. sigh.. it's so long ago, I can't even remember the name of the game!

    I remembered the manual for EF2000. It had dogfighting tactics! A REAL dogfighting tactic with graphs and all that I didn't even understand back then! :)

    Wow. those were the days... Some RPGs even came with a novel along with them!
  10. myne

    myne Newbie

    I just realised something when I saw that the doom3 demo came out.
    What happened to shareware?!
    Doom, Duke, Quake, a squillion other games, had a cut down version that didnt need a key or disc to play and could be installed from a legit disc.
    I guess the net got them replaced with 'demos' and 'previews' but a lot of games dont have demos, there is no shareware install and previews usually arent enough to make you want to buy it. This ofcourse encourages piracy :/
  11. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    I'm sorry, I have to disagree with you on realism. How can you enjoy realism on a gamepad? How can you drift a car so easily? Watching too much Initial D I suppose. :p

    If you want realism, try something like Grand Prix Legend, Live For Speed (not Need For Speed) etc...
  12. omi5cron

    omi5cron Newbie

    i do agree that there is a lack of different types of games to be found today. i myself only got into gaming last year, when i got my first PC. (i do not like console gaming). because the price of new games is so outrageous, i started collecting old or outdated games. some of my favorites are in this group- Panzer General 2 leads the pack, followed by Diablo and Diablo II, Quake II, and Sid Meiers Civil War. these are still quite enjoyable. however, i also have to admit falling for the 3D FPS games available today. Call of Duty, Deus Ex , Medal of Honor, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and the Battlefield series. i even got myself a new AMD 64 computer to handle them. (yes, i have fallen to the dark forces of the graphics card industry) :shock: i guess it comes down to what you really enjoy, and the actual playability of games. it is true that much of todays stuff might do with more story and/or less eye candy. i just play as many as i can afford and weed out the less enjoyable. i have about 200 games, but only a relative few draw me back again and again. i believe that will always be so, for everyone. tastes vary, and also evolve.(btw, for flight sims, Microsoft's Combat Flight Sim and Flight Sim 98, Crimson Skies, and F-22 Lightning- love 'em!) just my two cents- i could ramble on but i'll spare you!
  13. d_magnitude

    d_magnitude Newbie

    The best games I've ever played.... are.... Hi-Octane... very simple racing car game... and you get to shoot the ass of other players... simple and not so realistic.. graphics are not ultra-real.. but the game play really rocks the world... I don't care about gravity, I don't care about momentum.. I just care about outdoing my competitors.... in this game, you don't hav to worry about gear-lock, overswing, skidding, tail fling and whatever other "real world physics"...

    Another game, using the same engine... is Magic Carpet 2... it's such a nice game.. would have been really nice if I could play it against other people.. the computer is really stupid... but it provides so much variety to the game.. so many spells and so many powers... :D

    Mech Warrior... great game... love it so much...
    Those were the days.. :D games were good....

    i'm thinking.... would rojakpot be able to organise a project...??
  14. peaz

    peaz ARP Webmaster Staff Member

    Yes, I do remember Hi Octane. One of bullfrog's best games IMHO too.


    organise a project? what kind of project?
  15. Olle P

    Olle P Newbie

    Good Games!

    Hi all!
    This is my first post on this forum, and it digs up an old thread I just found out about...

    I've played computer and video games more or less since the mid 70ies (starting with the famous Pong, owned by my uncle).
    I have not played that many different games, partly because I didn't own any required hardware until ten years ago but mostly since I'm picky about what to buy and don't want to use pirate copies.

    I agree with most of the posts above, but feel there are some points missing.

    1) Most new games not only require a fairly new graphics card to run nicely, they also require lots of space on the HDD!
    20 years ago you could fit ten average games on one floppy (720kB) and play them from there. Now most games require more than 1 GB HDD for installation, typically 1-3 GB is needed!

    2) Although most well known games do have profit as the major incentive for existance and use up large resources for their production and development, there are some really good (*) games from small developers that are exceptions from this. Unfortunately the small companies don't have the marketing resources of Hasbro or EA...

    (*) "Good" wrt both gameplay and hardware requirements.

    Some of my more recent favourites:
    Steel Beasts (SB, eSimgames, 2000)
    Not as much of a game as a tank combat simulator (similar to a FPS where the player acts gunner and/or TC), the software was written by one single programmer! Since it's a sim it is focused on realism, and it's by far the most realistic tank sim available to the public. In spite of this it's graphics have more in common with Wolfenstein 3D than any of the more recent 3D games. All CPU rendered graphics in 640x480x256! No 3D card required, and the other hardware requirements are very modest, at least as long as you don't play any larger battles.
    This game was awarded "Best Simulation Game 2000".

    Currently three(!) successors (SB Pro, SB Pro PE and SB2) are in development, and they've been delayed quite a while, partially due to the fact that the developers have rewritten the graphics engine a couple of times.
    They started with a spanking new engine written by the by then latest Direct3D 7 standards. Then they changed it to Direct3D 8, 8.1 and finally(?) 9! Why, I don't know. Personally I'd prefer they'd stuck to Direct3D 7 because that would a) not use up resources to rewrite the engine, and b) make older generations graphics cards work better with the final product.
    SB2 will be a very good computer game when it's released in 2006 or so (EDIT: Not yet released by 2008, and not expected out until, at best, X-mas 2009) but it will require a moderate gaming computer rather than an old office one. (The "Pro" versions are just that, simulator software designed for governmental military forces around the world.)

    Another competitor for the "Best Simulation Game 2000" award was Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord (CMBO, Battlefront.com, 2000).
    Developed by the two guys at Big Time Software this is more of a tactical/operational level turn based strategy game, that took all the dice rolls and tables from board/miniatures wargames and let the computer handle it in a full 3D landscape. Compared to FPS games at the time the graphics in CMBO wasn't very good. Lots of third party skin mods quickly emerged and made the game look quite stunning! Still, even with the original skins the game was a quantum leap forward from the until then plain 2D graphics used by all strategy games.
    In CMBO you had almost full freedom to move the "camera" around on the battlefield, getting everything from a satellite view straight down to looking over the shoulder of your troops as they moved along.
    The mathematical models for armour penetration were based on the very latest research and incorporate just about any relevant factor imaginable (such as impact angle and velocity, shot type (AP, APC, APHE, APDS, APBC, etc.), armour type (homogenious or face hardened, cast or rolled, single or layered, and actual hardness), armour quality, etc.).
    The game have a fairly straightforward user interface that allow you to plot orders for the troops in a simple but effective manner.
    The AI is also outstanding.

    CMBO have fairly low "official" hardware requirements, but is fully playable on computers well below those specs!

    CMBO was later followed by
    Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin (CMBB, 2002)
    that came with upgraded graphics, a generally better orders system and improved simulation effects of MG and direct HE fire.
    Combat Mission: Afrika Korps (CMAK, dec 2003)
    introduced dust clouds and tanks with multiple turrets, otherwise similar to CMBB but in a different set of locations.

    Then there's a small Australian company that made Airborne Assault, Red Devils over Arnhem which is a RTS game.
    No fancy graphics, just a plain map with the troops represented by "counters" looking just like a classic AH board game. The Big thing with this game is the AI, which is the very best and most complex I've come across, ever!
    You can select a couple of units and give them a collective "mission" (attack point X, move to point Y, defend position Z, or something like that). The AI then figure out which of the selected units will act HQ and figure out a sound tactical plan to carry out the mission, with proper allocation of artillery and reserves!


    (Edit 2008-03-26: Updated SB2 release date and corrected a typo.)
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  16. hyper_raider

    hyper_raider shutdown -h now

    you guys are forgetting tetris...or has it already been mentioned?
  17. wodenus

    wodenus Banned

    Same here. Pong ruled. It just did. Those paddles.. :) and then we had an Atari CX2600.. Pac Man was just great :) Yeah, and there was innovation. This was mainly because people wrote games those days, and didn't rely on "engines". Now games are more assembled than made :) the early ones (Infocom :) ) were great because they relied on the plot to move the game along (since the gfx weren't all that great.)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2005
  18. peaz

    peaz ARP Webmaster Staff Member

    LOL. yeah Pong was super great. and some of my memorable games on the Atari was Dig Dug... super fun!
  19. hyper_raider

    hyper_raider shutdown -h now

    you can get those classic atari game consoles now..they are coming back again http://www.atari.com/us/games/atari_flashback/7800
  20. PsYkHoTiK

    PsYkHoTiK Admin nerd

    I kinda liked the second one... :shifty:

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