35 votes

What games would you consider "expired classics"?

If there's a better or more commonly used term for this let me know, but my idea of an "expired classic" is a game that was acclaimed and beloved at the time of its release but that would be nearly unplayable or unacceptable by modern standards. Not just less impressive or weaker, mind you, but outright bad. Think "aged poorly" but like, REALLY poorly.

The quintessential example is Goldeneye 007. While absolutely landmark for its time, gamers that pick it up now would likely be baffled by its controls and appalled by its significant, unforgivable framerate issues. Even some people that used to love playing it have a hard time enjoying it now (myself included). It is a game that has "expired" over time.

The expiration doesn't have to be due to technical issues either. It could be due to cultural issues, design issues, or any other factor that makes the same significantly less palatable today, even to those that want to play it!

What are some other examples, and why have they expired?

61 comments

  1. [9]
    NaraVara
    Link
    I actually think most of the games from the first generation of 3D gaming fall into this. This includes the much beloved classics like Ico, and Shadow of the Colossus as well as things like...

    I actually think most of the games from the first generation of 3D gaming fall into this. This includes the much beloved classics like Ico, and Shadow of the Colossus as well as things like Resident Evil. It’s the cameras. They hadn’t figured out best practices for how to frame and control the cameras yet and it’s just awful for anyone who has gotten used to not having to think about it as with most modern games.

    Some can manage okay, like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time hold up. But anything with fixed camera angles are unbearable and even most games that didn’t have them feel really klunky.

    26 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Especially sudden camera angle switching combined with controls that are based on the camera perspective. I remember a spot in Parasite Eve where if you held "up" you could enter a screen and then...

      Especially sudden camera angle switching combined with controls that are based on the camera perspective. I remember a spot in Parasite Eve where if you held "up" you could enter a screen and then immediately move back to the other one over and over again.

      13 votes
    2. [3]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I played Shadow of the Colossus for the first first time in my life in like 2017, on a used PS2 I bought online. It was one of my favorite gaming experiences to date. All this brouhaha about...

      Shadow of the Colossus

      I played Shadow of the Colossus for the first first time in my life in like 2017, on a used PS2 I bought online. It was one of my favorite gaming experiences to date.

      All this brouhaha about "camera issues", framerates and resolution is alien to me. Like, who cares? The games clearly are playable, you see some unwanted artifacts in every game, whether that is Red Dead Redemption 2 or Super Mario 64 (actually, if we're talking camera, don't get me started on RDR2).

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        tesseractcat
        Link Parent
        I agree, I played Shadow of the Colossus on pcsx2 a year ago, also for the first time in my life. You can tweak it a bit to run at 1080p, and to run at higher frame-rates. I don't remember the...

        I agree, I played Shadow of the Colossus on pcsx2 a year ago, also for the first time in my life. You can tweak it a bit to run at 1080p, and to run at higher frame-rates. I don't remember the camera ever being a big issue, and I think it holds up spectacularly (although I never played it originally).

        4 votes
        1. nothis
          Link Parent
          I have to go further (sorry): I actually think it looks worse in 1080p. The game's assets, textures, framing and general art style were carefully constructed around the original PS2 hardware and,...

          I have to go further (sorry): I actually think it looks worse in 1080p. The game's assets, textures, framing and general art style were carefully constructed around the original PS2 hardware and, while "blurry", the visuals are plain spectacular if taken in without worrying about tech benchmarks. This is a pet peeve of mine with "high res emulation" and even official ports and remakes. I believe you often gain nothing, visually, from seeing polygons as sharper lines, to the contrary: It makes edges look more unnatural and exposes artifacts that would otherwise be hidden in sub-pixel noise.

          1 vote
    3. [2]
      balooga
      Link Parent
      My go-to example in this category would be the Sonic Adventure games. In my memory, when they were released they were awesome. They had some of the best graphics I'd ever seen, and the gameplay...

      My go-to example in this category would be the Sonic Adventure games. In my memory, when they were released they were awesome. They had some of the best graphics I'd ever seen, and the gameplay was great. I acknowledged the awful voice acting and cheesy music at the time, but probably would've considered those things as the only real bad parts. Now (20 years later) I've attempted to get back into them and they are nearly unplayable and barely fun at all. The controls and camera are maddening.

      It's not really fair to judge the graphics against today's standards, but I feel like a lot of games from that era are just unpleasant to look at now. It's probably because they were rendering at a low resolution and originally viewed on CRT displays at the time. I still have my original Dreamcast to play SA1 on but I'm using the VGA cable and upscaling it HD. I play SA2: Team Battle for Gamecube on a Wii with an HDMI converter. In both cases polygons are overly crisp with jaggy edges, but textures, text, and menus are a muddy mess. The prerendered cutscenes are being stretched to something like 4x their intended size. It just isn't good... but on the other hand, plenty of older, 2D titles like Chrono Trigger or the original Sonic platformers still look great on modern hardware. This is a problem mostly isolated to that particular first couple generations of 3D games, I think.

      Also, the introduction of a dedicated analog stick for camera control revolutionized 3D console games. I don't think that point can be emphasized enough.

      5 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Great examples. I loved and played through both Sonic Adventure games multiple times back in the early 2000s. They were so fresh and exciting at the time! I eagerly picked up the Steam re-releases...

        Great examples.

        I loved and played through both Sonic Adventure games multiple times back in the early 2000s. They were so fresh and exciting at the time!

        I eagerly picked up the Steam re-releases when they came out, and it's like I was blind to every issue the games had at the time. Glitches, inconsistent controls, non-sensical stories, baffling level design, strange ideas. I still think the games have some great moments, but on the whole there's a lot of clunkiness filling time between the much more rare good stuff.

        1 vote
    4. Micycle_the_Bichael
      Link Parent
      This comment inspired me to go replay the original RE (ok fine the remastered but with original display and controls). I died to the first enemy. Fuck this game is so much goddamn harder than I...

      This comment inspired me to go replay the original RE (ok fine the remastered but with original display and controls). I died to the first enemy. Fuck this game is so much goddamn harder than I remembered.

      1 vote
    5. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      The old Tomb Raider games are a nightmare to play these days.

      The old Tomb Raider games are a nightmare to play these days.

      1 vote
  2. [5]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    I can't play any of the old Elder Scrolls games, like Morrowind, and especially not Arena or Daggerfall. Which is a shame, because those games are really neat and Daggerfall has some very...

    I can't play any of the old Elder Scrolls games, like Morrowind, and especially not Arena or Daggerfall.

    Which is a shame, because those games are really neat and Daggerfall has some very interesting game design choices. For instance, in Daggerfall, the player can opt to earn experience points faster, but have fewer points available to them at the beginning, during character creation. Or, the player can level slower, but build a beefier character right at the beginning.

    This video covers some of the neat stuff about the game:

    What Daggerfall Could Teach Future Elder Scrolls Games

    Also, there's apparently a Unity remaster of the game that I literally just found out about while writing this comment so...

    Gonna have something to do with that this weekend.

    But yeah, I really hope the efforts to remaster Morrowind (and apparently Daggerfall and hopefully Arena) end up being successful, because these are games that don't deserve to be forgotten.

    Also, if I can just go on a tangent real quick, video games are like, the biggest tragedy of copyright/proprietary software. So many games are pretty much lost forever. I wish there was a real push for developers and companies to release the source code of old games, that way fans and communities could patch and preserve them.

    Instead, we get lawsuits from Nintendo.

    /tangent

    Anyways, some other games that I consider borderline unplayable these days are KOTOR I & II, all the Fallout games before Fallout 4 (yes, even New Vegas), and probably Oblivion as well.

    I mean, I could force myself to slog through those games today, if I wanted to, but they're really showing their age.

    Total Annihilation, while standing up incredibly well for a game that was released in 1997, could also desperately use a remaster.

    16 votes
    1. edenist
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah, the first one which pops to mind when this question is asked is oblivion, mainly because I recall vividly at the time how people were in awe at the quality of the graphics, and the sort of...

      Yeah, the first one which pops to mind when this question is asked is oblivion, mainly because I recall vividly at the time how people were in awe at the quality of the graphics, and the sort of GPU you needed to run it with all the shiney turned on.

      Today it looks like the effects themselves were what was impressive, because all together it simply looks.... overdone.

      And chalk up my support regarding archival of old games. And any old media in general. Once they are in the wild, they become part of the social fabric and our collective memories. To try to maintain control in the manner most companies currently do is immoral. This goes for companies releasing new versions with different music or inserting new product placements or whatnot. It's needless greed.
      On the games front though, it's particularly frustrating seeing nintendo's behavior. I'm heavily invested in retro gaming, and I've got flash carts for all my old systems. I still buy physical carts too, but roms on an SD card puts way less strain on old hardware when you're switching between games. Plus it's nice to have modern features like save states and patching etc, but that's besides the point.
      With the loss of physical media though, we're going to lose our ability to archive our media identity, however. I'm unsure how things will look in a few decades time....

      9 votes
    2. rogue_cricket
      Link Parent
      For me, Oblivion still holds up! The graphics are absolutely abysmal, of course, and the levelling system is bizarre, and the randomly-generated caves are hit-or-miss. But in many ways it hits a...

      For me, Oblivion still holds up! The graphics are absolutely abysmal, of course, and the levelling system is bizarre, and the randomly-generated caves are hit-or-miss. But in many ways it hits a sweet spot for me between Morrowind and Skyrim with regards to tedium and complexity (especially the spells and equipment). It also has some of the most memorable quest lines in the series for me, the Thieves' Guild and the Dark Brotherhood in particular. I still come back to it sometimes.

      One feature I like that I think is being considered a lot more "old school" now is that the character can't really be "maxed out" (at least not easily) or reset. You commit!

      Honestly - as someone who was in her early teens around that time - I find a lot of the wonkiness of early 2000s computer graphics and design to be kind of charming. I know that pixel graphics have made a huge comeback just from an aesthetic standpoint and I'm hoping that people start experimenting more with early 3d as an aesthetic choice too. I think it could be cool.

      7 votes
    3. krg
      Link Parent
      Morrowind still holds up, for me! I started a new game not too long ago... I first played it on Xbox after convincing my mom to spend $20 (it was one of those 'platinum hit' by then) on a game I...

      Morrowind still holds up, for me! I started a new game not too long ago...

      I first played it on Xbox after convincing my mom to spend $20 (it was one of those 'platinum hit' by then) on a game I knew would keep me busy for hours and out of her hair for the summer. I remember being so wowed by the water effects..I'd sometimes just hang around the shores for the sunrise. Better than real life!

      Anyway, I think Morrowind has a lot of positives versus some of the later series, including greater character customization for both abilities and gear. Mismatched pauldrons rule!

      7 votes
    4. cwagner
      Link Parent
      I played KOTOR I & II for the first time about 5 years ago, and my last FNV replay was just 2 or 3 years ago (and I’ll play it again after FNC reaches 1.0). I’d rather play either of those several...

      I played KOTOR I & II for the first time about 5 years ago, and my last FNV replay was just 2 or 3 years ago (and I’ll play it again after FNC reaches 1.0). I’d rather play either of those several times more than playing FO4.

      But I guess it depends on what you want, I like isometric turnbased games and both of those are close to the upper limit of how much action I can accept. I guess if you come from the other side (action), I can see how one would prefer FO4.

      And generally, hell, it even changes. I played NWN2 on release, couldn’t get into NWN1 because of the UI, some years later I tried replaying NWN2 and the camera controls killed me, so I played NWN1, then again a few years later it was back to only being able to play 2 again.

      But looking at this thread, it seems no one really agrees on anything regarding this topic ;)

      3 votes
  3. [6]
    Adys
    Link
    Urgh… yeah, King's Quest. ANY of them. Most of them were incredibly highly praised for their time, but they're atrocious to play through by modern standards. Random deaths. Random dead-ends, which...

    Urgh… yeah, King's Quest. ANY of them. Most of them were incredibly highly praised for their time, but they're atrocious to play through by modern standards.

    Random deaths. Random dead-ends, which you don't even know are dead ends until you've played for hours upon hours and then get mysteriously stuck. Not to mention awful sfx/gfx (but picking on 80s games for that feels like cheating).

    Here's Mostly Walking playing King's Quest VI. I can't believe they finished it. Oh god that was awful.

    15 votes
    1. [3]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Oh man, let me tell you about King's Quest VI. My memory is spotty, so some of my details might be off, but I believe a copy of it came bundled with my family's first home computer, or we bought...

      Oh man, let me tell you about King's Quest VI.

      My memory is spotty, so some of my details might be off, but I believe a copy of it came bundled with my family's first home computer, or we bought it shortly after getting the PC.

      My brother and I had only really played NES games prior to getting the computer, so King's Quest VI was like a whole new world. We could use the mouse to click on things! The graphics were detailed! It had voice acting! The whole thing was like a wonderful, playable cartoon.

      Or it was at first. But then we started to get stuck on things. We would hit points past which we could never progress, and we would scour the game for hints or clues, replaying scenes, restarting it, and running through different permutations of clicking on certain things in certain orders to try and get different outcomes or more information.

      At one point there's a cliff in the game that you have to climb. My memory of this bit is spotty as in I don't recall the exact mechanics of it, but I believe there were questions that you had to answer by clicking on certain stones, and if you answered correctly you would be able to traverse the stones to rise up the cliff. Though I don't remember the mechanics, I can specifically remember the prompt to one of the questions: "A MASTER OF LANGUAGES WILL _ _ _ _." The game then pulls up a series of incomprehensible symbols that you're supposed to answer with.

      We. Tried. Everything. Over and over again, to get past that ridiculous riddle. We started by trying to convey some sort of meaning with the symbols themselves, and then we eventually guessed at a transliteration for the symbols to represent the alphabet based on how they looked. With our spotty symbol-to-letter map we would guess at answers like "T A L K" or "S A Y" or "S A Y Y" (to fit the four blanks), and so on. Because we weren't convinced that what we chose as "T" was actually "T", we would spell "T A L K" ten, twenty, thirty different ways using different combinations of the ones that seemed closest to it.

      We tried everything we could possibly think of, and then we also tried random combinations over and over again. If you get the answer wrong, your character falls, and you have to reload a save, and I think you might not have even been able to save mid-cliff so you had to climb them over and over again each time (though I could be wrong on this).

      Eventually we gave up on the game, and I only returned to it years later after I found a walkthrough online. Turns out we were missing a key piece of information: the game's manual! The cliffs were actually a copy protection mechanism and were completely unsolvable without information from a book that came with the game. Weirdly enough, our copy was not pirated, but for whatever reason it simply didn't have the book, making our efforts to get past that point completely futile.

      After finding the online walkthrough (I think it was shortly after GameFAQs got up and running, but again, I don't remember precisely), I eagerly played through the game start to finish perfectly, finally getting to see the ending that had been denied to me and my brother across dozens of hours of gameplay and years of time. This was when I learned that the game was outright hostile to the player. Again, I can't remember the exact details, but there were plenty of "how was I supposed to know THAT?" moments.

      In a particularly insidious design choice, there's a tiny, easily missable item in the opening screen of the game that, if you fail to collect, locks you out of the ending section of the game. Again, the details are spotty, but I also seem to recall that there's a "point of no return" in the game where, if you don't pick up the item, you'll never be able to get it, yet the game will let you continue to play far past that point with no warning that you're heading towards an unbeatable situation and an incomplete ending.

      At the time I didn't really have an appreciation that games could have bad design. To me, the game was what it was, and my experience with it was determined entirely by my involvement with it. I fully accepted the game on its own terms and molded myself to fit it.

      As I've grown, as games have grown, and as society has changed, I feel like the situation is now inverted: I rarely accept a game on its own terms and often expect it to conform to my wants and needs. If it doesn't, I simply stop playing it and move on. You can also see this phenomenon in gaming discussions at large, with players outright pushing developers to make the changes they want to the games they like.

      As such, games like King's Quest VI (and the whole series, apparently, though I'm only familiar with VI) feel like outright relics worthy of museum space and little else. The game gives nothing to players and demands monk-like patience and forgiveness. I didn't have the language to call it "bad design" at the time, but I also only have that language because games have been streamlined to the point that there are some default assumptions that are foundational to modern play. We expect games to make sense, reward us, respect our time, and give to us more than they take from us. Breaking any of these conventions makes the game either "bad" or at the very least "experimental," but it's hard to apply that framework to games of the past, where the expectations were so different and play was still so unexplored.

      That said, for the purposes of the question I asked, I think it's safe to say that, yes, the King's Quest games are absolutely expired classics. I think there are very few gamers out there today who could sit down and enjoy them as originally intended.

      9 votes
      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        Hahaha, you just recapped the Mostly Walking KQ6 series :) I hope you watch it, it's fun!

        Hahaha, you just recapped the Mostly Walking KQ6 series :) I hope you watch it, it's fun!

        2 votes
      2. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I played through the original Kings Quest last year on an old 486 Thinkpad. I was smart enough to do some research first and learned that the developers intentionally made the game stupidly...

        I played through the original Kings Quest last year on an old 486 Thinkpad. I was smart enough to do some research first and learned that the developers intentionally made the game stupidly difficult to artificially increase its playtime. They assumed (maybe correctly, I have no idea what expectations people had) that players wanted to get their money's worth and it was acceptable for Sierra to do that by any means.

        So I played it with a guide-book handy to skip past any of the more ridiculous sections. It was fun drawing up my own maps and figuring out the game as long as I knew I'd never get permanently stuck. Also, the VGA remake is gorgeous.

        1 vote
    2. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      I tried playing King's Quest, and figuring out the appropriate command to search a hole for a dagger was intolerable.

      I tried playing King's Quest, and figuring out the appropriate command to search a hole for a dagger was intolerable.

      2 votes
    3. krg
      Link Parent
      King's Quest V was one of the first (if not the first) computer games I owned. Never made it past the desert...😢

      King's Quest V was one of the first (if not the first) computer games I owned. Never made it past the desert...😢

      1 vote
  4. tunneljumper
    Link
    Don't hate me but....I think most people like the first-gen Pokemon games for the nostalgia and not necessarily for the quality of the game itself because, good god, there's more grinding in those...

    Don't hate me but....I think most people like the first-gen Pokemon games for the nostalgia and not necessarily for the quality of the game itself because, good god, there's more grinding in those games than a high school dance.

    14 votes
  5. [8]
    Seven
    Link
    Super Mario Kart. The original. It looks terrible, it controls really badly, the CPUs not only have bad rubberbanding but also use items that the player cannot use. The tracks are all pretty much...

    Super Mario Kart. The original. It looks terrible, it controls really badly, the CPUs not only have bad rubberbanding but also use items that the player cannot use. The tracks are all pretty much the same and are uninspired overall. And don't get me started on how the screen is split in half horizontally to show and entirely unhelpful map on the lower half. It was pretty okay at the time considering how it was the first kart racer, but today it is absolutely unplayable.

    11 votes
    1. [3]
      KilledByAPixel
      Link Parent
      Really? I think both Super Mario Kart and F Zero hold up really well and are still some of the funnest games on the snes. Especially compared with other early 3d games, I would still play 2 player...

      Really? I think both Super Mario Kart and F Zero hold up really well and are still some of the funnest games on the snes. Especially compared with other early 3d games, I would still play 2 player mario kart any day.

      3 votes
      1. Seven
        Link Parent
        Personally, I think F Zero is a really good SNES racer, but to me, SMK really doesn't hold up any more. But to each his own.

        Personally, I think F Zero is a really good SNES racer, but to me, SMK really doesn't hold up any more. But to each his own.

        2 votes
      2. the_walrus
        Link Parent
        I never played the OG Mario Kart when it was released. I picked it up years later at a flea market for a couple bucks, and originally, I too felt that it was unplayable. I popped it back in more...

        I never played the OG Mario Kart when it was released. I picked it up years later at a flea market for a couple bucks, and originally, I too felt that it was unplayable. I popped it back in more recently and gave it another shot, and I think it does hold up really well. The biggest trouble is getting used to the graphics. There's so much pixelation that you really have to know what you're looking at. Once you get a hang of that, I think the game does hold up really well.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      cwagner
      Link Parent
      Ever since I started playing Mario Kart 64 I stopped being able to go back to the original.

      Ever since I started playing Mario Kart 64 I stopped being able to go back to the original.

      3 votes
      1. balooga
        Link Parent
        Agreed! MK64 aged pretty poorly itself, visually anyway. But it's still great fun to play, which of course is the most important thing.

        Agreed! MK64 aged pretty poorly itself, visually anyway. But it's still great fun to play, which of course is the most important thing.

    3. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      I find it hard to understand how Super Mario Kart turned out the way it did when Nintendo had already perfected the Mode 7 racer with F-Zero, to which time has been far more forgiving.

      I find it hard to understand how Super Mario Kart turned out the way it did when Nintendo had already perfected the Mode 7 racer with F-Zero, to which time has been far more forgiving.

      2 votes
    4. ReapersGale
      Link Parent
      I was at a brewery this afternoon that that has MK64 and damn is that thing an eyesore on a modern screen.

      I was at a brewery this afternoon that that has MK64 and damn is that thing an eyesore on a modern screen.

      2 votes
  6. [4]
    edenist
    Link
    This one is sure to be controversial, and I'm happy to admit is rather subjective, but it is one which I've experienced personally recently. Grim Fandango [and many of its other contemporary...

    This one is sure to be controversial, and I'm happy to admit is rather subjective, but it is one which I've experienced personally recently.

    Grim Fandango [and many of its other contemporary adventure games from the time].

    I've tried to replay it recently, both on mobile and on PC. And I just can't seem to enjoy it. The story is quirky and fun still, but the gameplay feels like such a chore. Very pixel-hunting, very little to no feedback on different attempts at solving puzzles, lots of random clicking at supposed dead ends.

    I've thought that maybe it's an attention thing. I know there's the argument that our attention spans are more limited these days. But for me, I'm more time poor and there's such a HUGE quantity of other titles available to play. I just don't feel enjoyment in slugging through something any more when there is so much other content out there I know I can try instead.

    10 votes
    1. [3]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      That's actually what I was going to post. Grim Fandango is my favorite game of all time. I play it through maybe once every other year and have every puzzle memorized. Recently, I showed it to my...

      That's actually what I was going to post. Grim Fandango is my favorite game of all time. I play it through maybe once every other year and have every puzzle memorized. Recently, I showed it to my wife because I always talk about how much I love it, and how great the atmosphere, story, and music is. She gave it a good college try, but eventually she was like "How the hell was I possibly supposed to know that I was supposed to put the balloon animal in the bird bowl?" And I realized that there was, honestly, no reasonable way that someone could have figured that out without just trying every combination of every item on every little thing, or looking it up in a guide.

      I just then remembered how incredibly frustrating it was as a 13 year old not knowing what the fuck I was supposed to do, and just spending hours pulling things out and trying them on every interactable object until I finally found the solution. The traditional Lucasarts adventure game gameplay loop is just... bad. It's amazing that a lot of them are such great games despite the actual gameplay just being unfun garbage.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        balooga
        Link Parent
        I have to agree, and I say that as a veteran LucasArts adventure gamer since the first Monkey Island. A lot of puzzles were solved by arcane, unintuitive combinations of inventory items that I...

        I have to agree, and I say that as a veteran LucasArts adventure gamer since the first Monkey Island. A lot of puzzles were solved by arcane, unintuitive combinations of inventory items that I hope you picked up on the other side of the map three hours ago, because the game's not gonna tell you what you missed. Usually there are clues in-game but they're so vague they're not actually much help for the uninitiated.

        One thing that's important to remember is that LucasArts (among other companies at the time) ran pay-by-minute phone hint lines and sold physical strategy guides. It was in their best interest to make puzzles so obtrusive that most people couldn't get through without assistance. This was actually a tenable strategy before the web became prevalent and for many, navigating with a guide was an essential part of the experience.

        4 votes
        1. Morg
          Link Parent
          On the other hand, I grew up with these adventure games (I remember playing Monkey Island 1, and Fate of Atlantis, with my dad when I was 3 years old and could barely read/write) and they greatly...

          On the other hand, I grew up with these adventure games (I remember playing Monkey Island 1, and Fate of Atlantis, with my dad when I was 3 years old and could barely read/write) and they greatly helped me develop puzzle/critical thinking and "think outside of the box" abilities that I'm sure I wouldn't otherwise have in my adult life had it not been for those games. Some puzzles were absolute bullshit, but overall if you figured out the patterns and knew how to "hunt" for clues and what combinatorial approach to have, they were all fairly simple to overcome even as a kid.

  7. [6]
    Thrabalen
    Link
    Just about any FMV game, really. Especially the ones from when CD-ROM games were just becoming popular. Critically acclaimed at the time, the hottest thing... but today? Uninspired gameplay tied...

    Just about any FMV game, really. Especially the ones from when CD-ROM games were just becoming popular. Critically acclaimed at the time, the hottest thing... but today? Uninspired gameplay tied to the most atrocious acting.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      Karunamon
      Link Parent
      I'd definitely give you that with the possible exception of Myst/Riven. They're mostly environmental puzzlers and have precious little acting.

      I'd definitely give you that with the possible exception of Myst/Riven. They're mostly environmental puzzlers and have precious little acting.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        balooga
        Link Parent
        Myst is an interesting example. When it came out in 1993, just exploring a 3D rendered virtual space was novel, let alone one so detailed. Nothing like it had ever existed. Preceding it were only...

        Myst is an interesting example. When it came out in 1993, just exploring a 3D rendered virtual space was novel, let alone one so detailed. Nothing like it had ever existed. Preceding it were only a handful of early FPS titles like Wolfenstein 3D — Doom hadn't even been released yet. Everything else on the market was crudely rendered with limited texture mapping and draw distance, and obviously flat sprites simulating object detail. By contrast, Myst offered a "photorealistic" world with exotic, dramatic locales to explore. Understanding this context is vital... in its day Myst was completely immersive, and we easily filled in any gaps with our imaginations as needed. Nothing else came close.

        It hasn't aged well. Almost every modern game has a richer, more detailed virtual world to explore than Myst offered. And you can do it in realtime, making Myst's point-and-click navigation through prerendered stills seem slow and restrictive by comparison. Not to mention how lifeless and empty Myst was. For me, it's unplayable today, and I say that as a huge fan of the game when it was new. It's a true expired classic.

        The puzzles, for their part, are fairly well designed. They don't hold your hand at all, but they're possible to reason your way through. Like many games of that era, they expect you to keep a notebook of clues (no such mechanism is built into the game). If you're not documenting everything you see, you're gonna have a bad time. On the other hand, replayability is effectively zero one you know all the solutions.

        The music is very good. Evocative and atmospheric. Some of the synthesizer tones are a bit dated but the game's audio in general still holds up well today.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          Karunamon
          Link Parent
          Of course - this applies to just about any video game. You have to moderate your expectations a bit and realize that nearly every game is a product of its time (excluding the occasional bit of...

          Almost every modern game has a richer, more detailed virtual world to explore than Myst offered.

          Of course - this applies to just about any video game. You have to moderate your expectations a bit and realize that nearly every game is a product of its time (excluding the occasional bit of dark wizardry like Factor 5 did on their Star Wars games on the N64). You can't judge retro titles by modern standards, it just doesn't work.

          Not to mention how lifeless and empty Myst was.

          That wasn't a limitation of the tech, that was an explicit design trope. Even in the newer games in the series (failed MMOs notwithstanding), human contact is very limited; most of the story is told through journals and the environment. You might not see the owner of a house much, but you can rifle through their papers, their bedroom drawers, and such. There was a lot of showing without telling. You learn a lot more about the personalities of Sirrus and Achenar going through the ages they resided in and reading Atrus' books than you do actually talking to them through the red and blue books.

          It seems your definition of "expired classic" is "doesn't look as good as modern games", and I can't really follow that logic. Myst still tells its story well (and with this kind of game, the story is the entire point), even though it's basically a HyperCard stack at the end of the day.

          2 votes
          1. balooga
            Link Parent
            But that’s the whole premise of this discussion. Per OP: That’s the judgment I’m making here. I love Myst in its context. It was a groundbreaking, important title and I have personally spent...

            You can't judge retro titles by modern standards, it just doesn't work.

            But that’s the whole premise of this discussion. Per OP:

            ...my idea of an "expired classic" is a game that was acclaimed and beloved at the time of its release but that would be nearly unplayable or unacceptable by modern standards.

            That’s the judgment I’m making here. I love Myst in its context. It was a groundbreaking, important title and I have personally spent hundreds of hours immersed in it. But it’s totally fair to say that games which have come out in the 26 years since its release have achieved and surpassed everything it attempted. It’s not a slight against the Miller brothers or their creation; modern games stand on the shoulders of giants.

            And I wasn’t just criticizing the graphics. Despite their low resolution and limited color palette, they still look pretty good. But you can’t roam freely or control the camera directly. (This is the original game I’m talking about, not realMyst or a successor.) You can open some drawers and read books but can’t really interact with most non-puzzle objects in a meaningful way. Contrast with Shenmue, which really advanced the idea of total exploration. Or even later in time, something like Skyrim where every item in a location is governed by a physics model and can be inspected, moved, hidden, or blown all over the damn place with a Fus Roh Dah.

            The empty world of Myst may have been a narrative intentionality but it was borne directly out of the limitations of HyperCard. The one exception to the rule is when you encounter FMV Atrus at the end of the game. He’s basically a prop. You can’t do much with him, and after he finishes his speech, he ignores you. If other characters were implemented the same way throughout the game world I doubt they would’ve added much to the experience.

            Honestly I’ve never played any games in the Myst series after the first; I assume they improved with each new title and addressed the points I’m making. But that beloved original one, I have no qualms about calling it an expired classic here.

            1 vote
    2. krg
      Link Parent
      I had The X-Files Game on Playstation. It was some 3 or 4 discs in length! Gotta say, though, I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Probably because I was a big fan of The X-Files...

      I had The X-Files Game on Playstation. It was some 3 or 4 discs in length! Gotta say, though, I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Probably because I was a big fan of The X-Files...

      1 vote
  8. [9]
    NeoTheFox
    Link
    Any classic PS1/PS2 game that never had a remaster, for example Ape Escape. Playstation used interlaced video output that looked amazing on a CRT TV, but turned into an afwul eye cancer on any LCD...

    Any classic PS1/PS2 game that never had a remaster, for example Ape Escape. Playstation used interlaced video output that looked amazing on a CRT TV, but turned into an afwul eye cancer on any LCD or Plasma TV. Sony managed to see it coming at a PS2 release, so the GPU supported progressive mode for modern TVs, but most games never supported that mode, and almost none PAL versions did, even if the NTSC conterpart had it.
    This means that for some of my favorite games finding a CRT to play on is the only option, and these things are rare and hard to move. Even with emulation it's not great, because PS2 is notoriously hard to emulate and you still can't emulate it better than original hardware

    6 votes
    1. Akir
      Link Parent
      While it will probably not be 100% accurate anytime soon, PS2 emulation is already fairly easy with PCSX2. And I would argue that (at least on the well-emulated non-2D games) it offers great...

      While it will probably not be 100% accurate anytime soon, PS2 emulation is already fairly easy with PCSX2. And I would argue that (at least on the well-emulated non-2D games) it offers great improvements because you can emulate it at a much higher resolution.

      3 votes
    2. [3]
      Karunamon
      Link Parent
      So much this, and I say this as a person that gets actually upset when people harp on retro graphics. There's "retro graphics", and then there's "literally painful to look at". Some games hold up...

      So much this, and I say this as a person that gets actually upset when people harp on retro graphics. There's "retro graphics", and then there's "literally painful to look at". Some games hold up better than others - Spyro on the PS1 holds up remarkably well today, but then look at something like Vagrant Story (or really almost any RPG on the system) and the jaggies are so bad that it detracts from everything.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Interestingly enough, some of this is due to the original hardware and is actually resolved in emulation. The Playstation had limitations that caused unavoidable visual artifacts: It could only...

        Interestingly enough, some of this is due to the original hardware and is actually resolved in emulation. The Playstation had limitations that caused unavoidable visual artifacts:

        1. It could only calculate integer positions for polygons rather than decimals, giving their positions a lack of precision.

        2. It lacked adequate perspective correction on angled surfaces.

        This creates unavoidable jumpiness and strangeness in nearly every 3D game on the console that was just sort of accepted at the time. I definitely noticed it when I was younger but I never really thought much about it or considered it a problem. It's only in hindsight that it became notorious.

        PSX emulation can now correct for these issues, so we can now not only run games at higher resolutions, but we can also eliminate much of the jitter that negatively defined the system. Here's a good example. At the beginning of the video, running "native" emulation, the floor and ceiling are painfully, distractingly noisy. Everything's wobbly all over! By the end of the video, after the settings are activated, the game plays as intended, better than it ever could have been on original hardware.

        I set up an emulation station recently and have been going through some old Playstation games, and, quite coincidentally, started up Vagrant Story a couple of days ago. I was actually struck by how good it looked! Of course, that's only because I'm running it with upscaling and fixes. I have no doubt that if I ran it on regular hardware, I'd have a much different opinion.

        1. Karunamon
          Link Parent
          Wow, that is like night and day! The textures "swimming" before he flips the switch almost gives me motion sickness (and that's not something I usually have a problem with outside of VR!), but...

          Wow, that is like night and day! The textures "swimming" before he flips the switch almost gives me motion sickness (and that's not something I usually have a problem with outside of VR!), but with that setting on.. wow.

          I think you've given me something to do this afternoon :D

          2 votes
    3. [4]
      KilledByAPixel
      Link Parent
      There are some ps1 games that hold up well today without a remaster... Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo Einhander Tekken 3

      There are some ps1 games that hold up well today without a remaster...

      • Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo
      • Einhander
      • Tekken 3
      2 votes
      1. [3]
        NeoTheFox
        Link Parent
        First two are 2D, and I can see that, but Tekken 3 - just try running it on a modern TV on original hardware.

        First two are 2D, and I can see that, but Tekken 3 - just try running it on a modern TV on original hardware.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          KilledByAPixel
          Link Parent
          Ok, you might be right, but is it fair to play on a screen that it wasn't designed for? If you are going to ask for that, it's only fair to run the games in an emulator. And Tekken 3 looks pretty...

          Ok, you might be right, but is it fair to play on a screen that it wasn't designed for?

          If you are going to ask for that, it's only fair to run the games in an emulator. And Tekken 3 looks pretty nice in HD!

          Also, how could I forget... "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night"

          2 votes
          1. NeoTheFox
            Link Parent
            Sure, but since you can't play that game genuinely anymore I consider it expired unless it gets an HD remake. Emulation is great, but it's just an emulation, it is never 100% accurate, and also...

            Sure, but since you can't play that game genuinely anymore I consider it expired unless it gets an HD remake. Emulation is great, but it's just an emulation, it is never 100% accurate, and also pretty irrelevant to the question, since emulating is almost the same thing as patching/texture packs and so on. It works, but it's not exactly the same game anymore.

            3 votes
  9. [2]
    Silbern
    Link
    Early C&C games, definitely. They were revolutionary for their time, and arguably pioneered the RTS genre; the development of the pathfinding algorithm in particular was a landmark success in...

    Early C&C games, definitely. They were revolutionary for their time, and arguably pioneered the RTS genre; the development of the pathfinding algorithm in particular was a landmark success in Tiberium Dawn, as was the FMV video working on DOS computers of the early 90's without any hardware acceleration.

    Playing them today though, oh god. The movies look like crap and it's difficult to tell what's even going on sometimes. You can't queue units to build nor build from multiple factories. The maps and art style hold up surprisingly well, but they're so low resolution that you have to constantly flick back and forth to keep track of things. Fog of war staying permanently unveiled takes out a lot of strategy. Tank spam is ridiculously OP and hard to counter, especially in RA1, where allies are virtually unviable.

    I love the games for personal nostalgia reasons, for their place in history, and for their charm and uniqueness, but the early C&C games could definitely use some remastering. And fortunately, they're getting it! Tiberium Dawn's getting a brand new remake, and it's shaping up to be really good so far. Super hyped to see how it turns out! :)

    5 votes
    1. balooga
      Link Parent
      You make some good points but I still play Yuri's Revenge often and adore it completely. I'm assuming you're including that one in this category? It does have permanent fog of war, but you can...

      You make some good points but I still play Yuri's Revenge often and adore it completely. I'm assuming you're including that one in this category? It does have permanent fog of war, but you can counter it somewhat with gap generators, and tanks have sufficient weaknesses that you can counter them with good aerial support, terror drones, or mind control. Maybe I'm too nostalgic about this particular game but it remains one of my all time favorites to this day.

      If you play it through CnCNet you can increase the game resolution and it plays nicely on modern displays.

      1 vote
  10. [2]
    Deva
    Link
    I would say System Shock. Not only the graphics are super dated but the controls too. I fiddled around with it for 30 mins before giving up eventually. I tried System Shock 2 too but the inventory...

    I would say System Shock. Not only the graphics are super dated but the controls too. I fiddled around with it for 30 mins before giving up eventually. I tried System Shock 2 too but the inventory management was just too much of a nuisance to handle.

    4 votes
    1. Karunamon
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      You might want to try the Steam remaster if you haven't already. It has a new engine, adds proper mouselook controls, and while there's no not having the graphics be dated, it's a lot more...

      You might want to try the Steam remaster if you haven't already. It has a new engine, adds proper mouselook controls, and while there's no not having the graphics be dated, it's a lot more playable than the initial releases.

      3 votes
  11. skybrian
    Link
    The early text adventures (from the Infocom era) often had random deaths, mazes, and obscure puzzles where if you did the wrong thing you would have to start over.

    The early text adventures (from the Infocom era) often had random deaths, mazes, and obscure puzzles where if you did the wrong thing you would have to start over.

    3 votes
  12. [4]
    KilledByAPixel
    Link
    Grand Theft Auto 3 blew my mind at the time, but it is hard to play even a few minutes now.

    Grand Theft Auto 3 blew my mind at the time, but it is hard to play even a few minutes now.

    3 votes
    1. cwagner
      Link Parent
      GTA2 for me, after being disappointed by 3 I played 2 again and couldn’t handle it anymore. But I’ll never forget flying by throwing hand grenades :)

      GTA2 for me, after being disappointed by 3 I played 2 again and couldn’t handle it anymore. But I’ll never forget flying by throwing hand grenades :)

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      the_walrus
      Link Parent
      I played Vice City on a friend's console when I was a kid. I remembered the graphics being amazing, the gameplay fascinating, and the physics to be pretty solid. I downloaded Vice City once when...

      I played Vice City on a friend's console when I was a kid. I remembered the graphics being amazing, the gameplay fascinating, and the physics to be pretty solid. I downloaded Vice City once when it was like $2 on Steam and had the same experience as you described. Playing it a decade or so later, it's not that great. Still a fun game, but not nearly the masterpiece that I remembered.

      2 votes
      1. balooga
        Link Parent
        The soundtrack still holds up pretty well though.

        The soundtrack still holds up pretty well though.

  13. Akir
    Link
    Bubsy was actually a popular game at the time near when his first game was released. That's why there were no less than 3 sequels.

    Bubsy was actually a popular game at the time near when his first game was released. That's why there were no less than 3 sequels.

    2 votes
  14. [2]
    DanBC
    Link
    A default install of Total Annihilation is unplayable. You need to install a patch to fix the path-finding. After that you'd need to install a third-party AI. And you'd probably enjoy the game...

    A default install of Total Annihilation is unplayable.

    You need to install a patch to fix the path-finding. After that you'd need to install a third-party AI. And you'd probably enjoy the game more if you installed another patch to increase the max unit count from 250 to 500 or 1000. The graphics are not great today. And the keyboard shortcuts are a bit wonky.

    I think after all of those it's still fun to play though, so I'm not sure it fits your criteria or not.

    1 vote
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Definitely! In fact, that brings up a whole new question: what games have been saved by after-the-fact fixes? I'm thinking of things like the original DOOM, which uses the mouse as its primary...

      Definitely!

      In fact, that brings up a whole new question: what games have been saved by after-the-fact fixes?

      I'm thinking of things like the original DOOM, which uses the mouse as its primary movement input. While not completely unplayable, it's very uncomfortable by today's FPS standards. As such, everybody just installs a source port that gives them WASD/mouselook controls.

      1 vote
  15. xstresedg
    Link
    Jill of the Jungle. The controls are atrocious. But I love the game. It's so satisfying to complete. Maybe I should make a spiritual remake of the game... Hm... I added a link to the GOG page,...

    Jill of the Jungle. The controls are atrocious. But I love the game. It's so satisfying to complete.

    Maybe I should make a spiritual remake of the game... Hm...

    I added a link to the GOG page, which contains all three games for free. I was incorrect about the abandonware, it is an Epic Games title. Crazy stuff.

    1 vote