Monday, July 15, 2024

Which types of computer games do you like? What about older games?

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
"Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate."

If you like playing computer games it likely means recent games, not older ones. But here I will describe some categories and a few examples of older games that are just as good as new games and may be a good diversion for you. Another option is to play games in a way that they are not meant to be played, such as speed running.

Current computer games are visually spectacular, but often don’t have much depth, certainly not more than older games, even old style 1980s arcade games. I mean it in this sense: You are often forced to go a certain route, or do certain things that don’t give actual freedom to play. A lot of the freedom of the game is perceived freedom, not freedom to do something in your own way.

Another issue is that realism is often a detriment rather than something that adds value. The game “Far cry” from 2004 for example is already fairly realistic, far more so than say “Doom” (1993) or “Duke Nukem 3D” (1995). This is an issue because the opponents are humans, rather than monsters as in such older games. The issue here is the realism made me feel it was not cool to just kill people here and therefore no good reason (using a sniper gun), as you didn’t know what the actual situation was and why they might be hostile to you, and yet the game expected you to shoot first (and ask no questions later).

This happened differently in “Tomb raider” (1996) and its sequels, as the adversaries were always shooting at you first. So even if you didn’t know why they might be shooting at you, the fact that they were shooting at you made it ok to shoot back.

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Even with justified shooting back, it doesn’t feel the same as killing monsters as in Doom or Duke Nukem 3D. For this reason I prefer older, less realistic games to games such as Far cry.

The style of computer games is also very different these days. Racing games have existed for decades, in the 1980s there were such games on almost all home computers, they became quite realistic in the sense of having good 3D graphics even if they were fairly low resolution, in the mid to late 1990s, and not much has changed except for more options and better graphics. The way racing games are better is about all the selections you can make such as tyres, and that circuits are 3D in having hills and jumps when rallying. I would say that from the late 1990s with e.g. Sega Rally 2, in essence not much has improved in later racing games. The difference with the 1980s versions is however very clear, and though it’s fun to play the old games, the new ones are clearly better.

Some years ago I prepared an old 1980s home computer with a disk full of games, and let 2 children play with them. They were used for 3D computer games, and these games were of the type of Defender (1980), Donkey Kong, etc. These children really liked playing with these games which showed that the essence of these games was good and that does not get changed by later, ‘better’, more complex games with far better graphics.

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This is what I experience too. I like games of most eras, from the 1980s up to now, and if you are tired of playing the current games, or of alternative games and time sinks such as web games, games on your phone, or even gambling games that are free to play (such as on your mobile phone), or that have financial interests, for example as on PlayAmo Canada, then you may be pleasantly surprised by the fun in old games from the 1980s. There is a fairly skill level required to progress far into such games, which is very different from non-high-score oriented games that have become the standard since the mid 1990s, such as Doom, Descent, Duke Nukem 3D, Tomb raider, etc. With some practice you can usually get far enough to get a taste of the game, the type of play, and the skill level required to progress further. You can try out a bunch of games using emulators these days, such as MAME (used with a pack of ROMs, which are usually ROM dumps from the EPROMs that were used to store the game core in the originals). 

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