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Generations of Gamers


XZero
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Over the last few days, I've been doing some general internet browsing (not really looking for anything in particular), and I've noticed a trend in comments sections on several game-related pages. There seems to be a generational gap between younger gamers (under eighteen) and older gamers (18+) in terms of what it means for a game to be good.

Let me give an example. On a recent IGN posting, they named Mega Man 10 as having the best something on the Wii this year. I don't remember what the award was for, but the point is that a comment down below indicated that gamers these days don't care about Pac Man and Megaman.

This was a bit disheartening. I can understand the sentiment that characters like Pac Man or Megaman may not be as relevant today as they were back in the 80s (and 90s, in Megaman's case), but it's very dismissive of the games as a whole. I understand that it was probably some jackass kid, so I'm not reading too much into the individual comment; it's more of an example.

My question, then, is whether the OCR community thinks that young gamers (under eighteen) are too close-minded when it comes to fairly evaluating quality games. I'm particularly interested in the well-reasoned opinions of younger gamers on this forum.

I'd be willing to bet that if you polled a group of 14-17 y/o gamers, they'd quickly rank Halo above Super Mario Bros. 3, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Megaman 2, or any of the games frequently cited as being among the best of all time.

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I can't get into a lot of newer games. I grew up on NES and SNES, but with a lot of newer games, it's more about graphics than usability and game play.

I have a really hard time getting into most 3D games, and I tend to gravitate more 2D games. The games I've really liked in this current generation of PS3, 360, and Wii, are games like Kirby Epic Yarn, Muramasa, Super Paper Mario. Yeah all Wii games. I believe the Wii is the best console for gamers like me that appreciate the times gone by of games that cared less about graphics and more about providing a good experience overall.

But the younger generation grew up with fancy CGI and fully 3D graphics. They don't realize how far games have come in the past few decades. They are also turned off by anything with almost any sort of difficulty level, and 2D graphics.

It has to do a lot with society, where as American society has turned into a place where you get instant gratification for everything you do, and even the losers get trophies. The younger generation just wants something that gives them instant gratification, hence why games have become shorter, easier, less involved, and now include these achievements they can use to brag to their friends about how good they are.

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On the SMB3 point, I can provide several justifications (you can evaluate their validity yourself).

Mario 3 had a flawless gameplay system. Its platforming controls worked perfectly, and its level design was brilliant. It also featured countless hidden areas and secrets. Moreover, Mario 3 had some of the best graphics for its time given the console it was released for, and a very memorable soundtrack, which I suppose is more subjective.

I acknowledge that modern games can have largely similar praise. Modern games can have brilliant level design, flawless gameplay, etc. Thus, the point is that if a PS3/Wii/360 game has all of these features combined into one package, SMB3 and that game should be viewed as being equals.

Many younger gamers, it seems to me, are disinterested in the older games solely because of their technical limitations. They fail to appreciate the quality of these games. Older gamers, on the other hand, are more likely to acknowledge that a game is good if it is good, regardless of graphics and other technical limitations. They might express a preference for older games, but they seem less likely to wholistically dismiss a new game as sucking just because of their preference for the nostalgic classics.

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(This is mostly my opinion on what's going on with gaming, so take this with a grain of salt please)

I've been playing games since the Super NES, and I have to say, this generation of gaming has been a disappointment for me. The focus has changed drastically, and not for the better.

I see too much focus on narrative, the technology, the cinematics, blah blah blah. The one thing that doesn't seem to be focused on? The gameplay, and most importantly, if the game is any fun to play. Every time that I look at potential games for my 360, all I see is Call of Halo "Cinematic Deep Story" Gore fest 5. Or, Indiana Jones rip off 3, and, unnecessarily rebooted franchise 7!

I'm sick to death of every game trying to be "mature", and I'm sick of "engrossing" storyline. Half the stories in games could barely cut it as a SyFy original movie. I think it speaks volumes when I find games on XBOX Arcade to be BETTER than 3/4 of what's been released physically on the console.

The Wii? I loved it, and I still love playing it. But Nintendo has squandered it, as did any other companies that made or still make games for it. I loved how when I first played it, that it was making the games on the core basis of fun. It felt like the days of the Super NES, nothing complex, just play it, and have fun. But now, "Let's make cinematic games!!! We don't like making 2D Mario! Here! Let's shove more 3D Mario down your throat!"

I guess I've become a very grumpy old gamer. I feel less and less interested in games anymore, and it's because the games don't have the appeal they used to have for me...

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On the SMB3 point, I can provide several justifications (you can evaluate their validity yourself).

Mario 3 had a flawless gameplay system. Its platforming controls worked perfectly, and its level design was brilliant. It also featured countless hidden areas and secrets. Moreover, Mario 3 had some of the best graphics for its time given the console it was released for, and a very memorable soundtrack, which I suppose is more subjective.

I acknowledge that modern games can have largely similar praise. Modern games can have brilliant level design, flawless gameplay, etc. Thus, the point is that if a PS3/Wii/360 game has all of these features combined into one package, SMB3 and that game should be viewed as being equals.

Many younger gamers, it seems to me, are disinterested in the older games solely because of their technical limitations. They fail to appreciate the quality of these games. Older gamers, on the other hand, are more likely to acknowledge that a game is good if it is good, regardless of graphics and other technical limitations. They might express a preference for older games, but they seem less likely to wholistically dismiss a new game as sucking just because of their preference for the nostalgic classics.

Dead on the money. Thankfully its us driving the market to no small extent and force the industry to create gaming masterpieces. KOTOR Mass Effect Left 4 Dead 2 Half-life 2 Team Fortress 2 there is a consistent level of high quallity games out there that make us look at the past with a bit of...disappointment i think is the best word. FF7 is the most clamored after remake for a reason.

I feel the need to add this in general. The next year of gaming is filled with titles that are going to be worth buying on launch

This is only a sample.

ME3

Portal 2

Homeland actually is beginning to look sick in multiplayer

Warhammer 40k Space Marine. (DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS ONE!)

Deus Ex: Human Evolution

This doesnt include the stacked MMO lineup which is going to have the fiercest competition in a decade.

SW:TOR

The Agency

DC universe

EVE: Incarna. (Current estimates suggest this will be the summer/spring rollout)

Expect something out of WoW as well.

There are two announcements from Valve still in the bag of tricks that are going to have a huge effect on next year. Solid money is on one of them dealing with the unfinished Half Life franchise.

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To be quite honest, no.

Why? I'm 15. I love Ocarina of Time.

There. :lmassoff:

In all seriousness, though, no again. Because there are guys like me that enjoy Halo but understand the appeal and fun and appreciate the design, concepts and music that go into and play games like Ocarina of Time and Sonic 3 (i hate sonic 4. hate it hate it hate it)

I see too much focus on narrative, the technology, the cinematics, blah blah blah. The one thing that doesn't seem to be focused on? The gameplay, and most importantly, if the game is any fun to play. Every time that I look at potential games for my 360, all I see is Call of Halo "Cinematic Deep Story" Gore fest 5. Or, Indiana Jones rip off 3
I disagree with your potshots at Halo and Uncharted. Halo I can see being considered being rebooted, but the fact that every game has a different storyline I can play through makes me not care as much. That doesn't mean I prefer it over older games, it just means I like Halo, and I'm allowed to like it without having my opinion be considered "immature".

However, the Uncharted games aren't at all feeling like they are the same with a different story. The concepts and even the style of the chapters are different in both games, and i have high hopes for Uncharted 3.

My main point? There ARE guys like me that enjoy both eras.

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Many younger gamers, it seems to me, are disinterested in the older games solely because of their technical limitations. They fail to appreciate the quality of these games. Older gamers, on the other hand, are more likely to acknowledge that a game is good if it is good, regardless of graphics and other technical limitations. They might express a preference for older games, but they seem less likely to wholistically dismiss a new game as sucking just because of their preference for the nostalgic classics.

I blame some of that on game critics and journalists that try to either harshly criticize a game, or describe it's "beauty"...

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Game devs are kind'a to blame for this too. Not saying there's nothing wrong with pushing the envelope of audio and video, but the focus does kind'a stray from the core of what games are. Back in teh day ppl had games that focused on game mechanics and the act of playing was key. Then we started getting stories that weren't just a justification for gameplay but something in themselves. Anyone who's accustomed to just playing might be bothered by the story, and someone accustomed to stories might be irked by the lack thereof. Now we have interactive cinema where you play a little so you can watch the next bit of story. And with that emphasis of graphics comes the consumers' expectations of higher-end graphics. The graphics and story emphasis conditions you to work for a cinematic reward and a continued narrative rather than to enjoy the gameplay itself, and that's probably part of why younger gamers have difficulty appreciating older games. That and "it's so ugly".

I have a post on my blog about what makes a game good, and the first point I have there is control. Modern games feel different because they control different. Too different for some to appreciate? Maybe.

But ultimately I think it comes down to how younger gamers simply aren't exposed to the old games in the same light as we were. To us, they were the best technology had to offer, to them they're archaic hand-me-downs. They're just not cool.

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You know what I'm hearing? A bunch of people who have grown old and are afraid of the current generation taking over.

These arguments: "...it's more about graphics than usability and game play." "...I see too much focus on ...the technology..." "I'm sick of seeing constant clones of those games."

Are just the same tired arguments from generations past. I guarantee if you scour older video game magazines you will see the same complaints from older gamers. You will see advertisements pushing for 'realistic' graphics, when we know that is certainly not the case. You will see sequel after clone after sequel. The best game cited here? A second sequel: Super Mario Bros. 3.

How many sequels do we really need? How many rehashes do we need? This is not a new generational development. This is a systemic problem. It's only going to get worse thanks to the rising costs of development. Actually, I take that back. It's going to get better.

Why? Because developers are no longer constrained to the dictatorship that is a video game console. The developer can make games for the iPhone. The internet. The PC. A developer can create what they want in a cheap manner, yet they still produce many of the same thing.

Really, a lot of the older games do not hold up to modern standards. Early games were built on the arcade mindset of squeezing every last quarter out of you. You had to develop a good memory and reflexes in order to enjoy any of the games. It was a high barrier of entry and many of the games with that high barrier frankly just sucked. What you are remembering are memories through rose tinted glasses. And unless you've never explored beyond those style of games you're only going to scoff at anything new and stick with the old.

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Back in my day, we had 2 white platforms on either side of the screen and a ball floating in between them and WE LIKED IT! None of this artsy-fartsy 3D(isn't that a kind of dorito?) crap! Super Mario? Only Mario I ever knew worked at the cleaners and there was nothin' super about him!

But on a serious note, there's obviously a disconnect between generations. Most of us above the age of 22 grew up during the "glory days" of gaming where there were plenty of rotten lemons, but innovation was king. This had to be the case simply because presentation outside of a Squaresoft RPG was at a point where the only way you could differentiate your game was by creating gameplay mechanics unique to it.

War has changed. Now that orchestral scores and huge budgets worthy of summer blockbusters, you have an environment in which you can pretty much create a similar game, but with subtle to large differences in presentation. I think saying that gameplay takes a backseat is a bit unfair to a lot of games, but it's true that there's a lot of repetitive and derivative stuff being released lately. With the recent prominence of so many genres and platforms however, you don't have to worry about "samey" games anyway.

I think that classic games that have proven themselves to be fun through the passing of time(like Super Mario Bros. 3) will always have a place for anyone who enjoys anything outside of the dudebro set of games. If kids aren't appreciating older games, it's simply because there's a huge catalog of gaming now compared to before, and if something doesn't grab 'em, then there'll be something else waiting right around the corner. Not only that, but keep in mind that so many of the games that were amazing during our days as kids and teens are no longer in print, harder to find, or simply just aren't in the collective conscious anymore. Introduce a kid to earlier Mario, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, etc. See how they respond. You might find that they'll crave more of the same.

Also get over it, Toadofsky. Metroid Other M was a good game. Would you rather Metroid and gaming as a whole stay in a little bubble where it'll only be left to stagnate in a corner?

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Old Fogies get pissed off if you don't mention the classic games of the 2600

Gamers these days

Back in my time it was all about getting the highest score.

Not all this shit about beating the boss or some retard crap.

/thread.

But seriously though, video games are entering an exciting stage of art where there are people who "remember the good old days". Having a conversation with some of my sister's friends (who mind you are only 5 years younger than me), it blows my mind how many of them have never played a game system from before 1990 (except for the occasional old arcade machine). It definitely has an influence on how they perceive what a game is and what makes it "good".

LONG LIVE GAMING.

PS-- Why are we fighting about old vs new? I have Halo: Reach sitting right next to my copy of Robot Tanks for Atari 2600 and I play them both a lot. Games freakin rock no matter when they were made.

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Once you're spoiled, it's hard to go back. I'm 20.. grew up on N64 mostly. I had at least 70 games and remember it as a time when games entertained me immensely. I'm a lot harder to please now.. I actually went back and played Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie all the way through on XBLA because they were my favorite games of the '90s. I had some fun but in the end it just felt too simple and shallow. I remembered it being a lot more challenging.

There are games that going back and playing again is fun to me, though. And those are games that still have somewhat comparable graphics to today's games. Call me a graphics whore, but I can't help it. Games like Wind Waker, Skies of Arcadia, and Kingdom Hearts still fully captivate me. I also enjoyed Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts a TON. It reminded me that innovation still exists and that I have not transformed into a brogamer. I'm still the Rare fanboy kid I always was.

I truly do miss the more innovative days of gaming. Even Nintendo seems to be settling in to repeating formulas. I can only find one type of game anymore that satisfies my every gaming desire and that is MMOs, to me the ultimate gaming experience. Unfortunately, I had to quit MMO gaming 3 years ago because I became too addicted. Even so, the one I enjoyed most (and one that is vastly different from any other big budget MMO), Final Fantasy XI is now dead or dying. FF14 is here and horrible, but I know in a few months Square will have it to an enjoyable state. I know it. I'll play it after I graduate college.

I can't look down at newer generations of gamers because their preferences were molded by recent development trends made by less forward-thinking developers and publishers. I guess schools don't teach creativity anymore.. or less people are born with it. I don't know, but I AGREE that innovative, non-derivative games are very few and far in between, but I also acknowledge that I am MUCH harder to please due simply to the fact that I have played hundreds of games, if not thousands. Maybe I am looking through a rose-tinted glass, blaming all of this on lack of creativity when I am just bored of gaming altogether.

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Honestly I think the only way games are going to evolve is for kids to "forget" about the older games. I put forget in quotes because of course they should realize what came before, but we can't let inventions of the past dictate the future. Every generation will grow up with a different idea of what the word "video game" actually means. And it's exciting to see where the next generation will go with their definition of video games.

For me personally, a "video game" is an interactive experience where you, the player, must achieve some end goal. There may or may not be a story behind, but the important thing is you must achieve that goal. I grew up on Atari 2600, and SNES. The games for these consoles generally had multiple smaller tasks that had to be completed to "finish" the game. Even now, I am drawn to modern games that follow this formula: Mirror's Edge, Split/Second, Borderlands, etc. Even with all the modern trappings of these games, their core is still based in a do-this-get-that mentality.

Now an older gamer who grew up before the advent of home consoles would more than likely have different definition. Probably their definition of "video game" is an experience where you must do a task as completely and expertly as possible. Games in arcades had no ending, there was no final boss. There was a score. And the better you played the game, the higher your score.

Younger gamers who grew up with more "modern" consoles have a completely different definition of a "video game". For them, a video game is an experience that has meaning, you aren't just accomplishing a goal, you're solving a problem. There's a story and a meaning behind what you do ( however shallow or deep it may be) and in the end you will see the results and effects of your choices.

I think it's exciting to see games come from simply polishing skills to full fledged critical thinking and problem solving. Where will they go next?

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Gamed since 1985, had a slight taste for the old 2600 before jumping into the NES era. From there waited in line around 1995 to try out the SNES and my first five minutes with SMW. Between the SNES and N64 I got my first Gameboy except it was the Clear Case variety where I would not only see the intricate circuits but the grime and dust build up as I plow away at Warioland, Tetris, Castlevania: Legends, LoZ:LA ect. N64 finally came around and remembered that summer where I actually played nearly all of "Quest 64" with no save-pak before the power went out ahd essentially killed my session... Went back to it and finished it over time with a save pack but that's saying something.

The PS2 surprised me and jumped into my life as well as the GC. Both brought great times. Finally the Wii and the PS3 of today as well as the PC with its flexibility and one that I could finally call my own instead of having to sneak into the comp lab at school with copies of games I had no home pc to actually play at the time...

I don't think I could truly look down at new games as they just can't be compared to games from the past. Story, graphics, game play, they all have roles and regardless if one area is stronger than in others, if I can still derive entertainment then it's succeeded at being a fun game for me.

The new iterations of Pac-Man and Tetris are fantastic to see not because of nostalgia, but how new life were breathed into them and being able to expand the wonderful experience I had so long ago. The new Deux Ex 3 game surprised me as I'm reminded of elements from Metal Gear Solid on the PSone. Castlevania's 3d games are often frowned upon but I had a hell of a lot of fun playing C:LoD because it was trying something different with some light story thrown in. Same with C:LoI and C:CoD, both flawed but enjoyable when your mind is thrown in it.

From Chiller on the NES, to today's Splatterhouse, Gore is always welcomed because it's so fantastical. Everyone's got a little bit of bloodlust within them, why not try out a gorefest of a game?

TL:DR

I don't

ever
;

When I have kids, I'll definitely have it in mind that I'd rather share the same experience and feelings I had when I played them rather than for the sake of waxing nostalgia for myself; let their imaginations expand and play up in my library from there. From there who's to say they wouldn't find inspiration from past games and make some new IP that amazes all gamers?

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Long live Quest 64.

My nephews have a strange obsession with retro games. I mean, they turn down WII games... hell, they turn down N64 and PSX games in favor of SNES games and NES classics (they play the other systems, sure, but not as much as the older classics). I find it strange and yet heartwarming to see them replaying my youth willingly. Man, they're awesome.

I'm sure they're the exception, though, and not the rule.

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The older days really were more innovative than today. It would follow the same pattern, a single game revolutionizes something and everyone else follows suit in order to capitalize on the situation. The vast majority of games, old and new, follow the same standard recipe with some sprinkling of innovation on the icing.

Dating back to even the Atari 2600 days, there were numerous rip off games that lifted almost directly from the most popular ones. You probably don't remember them because they were nothing special. For every Super Mario Bros. there are 70 Bubsys.

I enjoy both the modern and classic games equally. I know if I was much younger and didn't have ready access to the older systems, I'd probably not appreciate the older games. And really, there are some games that are pretty archaic making it impossible to play especially if you're used to modern games. It could be that modern games utilize hand holding -- in order to reach a larger audience -- too much or it could also mean that classic games had some poor level design and game mechanics.

Either way, I never enjoyed the Mega Man series outside of the second one and don't really care for any pre-SOTN Castlevanias. I guess that's pretty blasphemous of me.

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