Did you have to be there

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

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The Universal
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Post by The Universal » Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:18 pm

Good point about Resi, but games like that are at the diposal of the players belief system or ability to accept that the situation could however unlikely be a real one. resi wasnt scary it just created a sense of loss because of poorly located save points. If you didnt have the ammo needed to beat an opponent it was silly not scary it just meant a restart. popular because it came first (Alone in the dark was more physcological) it was the enviroment that wowed players, and the fact that it came early in the psx's life, so pointed to what might be. Context again. If kids played it it would have frightened (hence the rating) but i think you reach a point where you take a similar experience from each game you play good or bad.

Films rely on technology every bit as much as games, who doesnt look at the Wizard of Oz in awe of what it achieved based on its creation date?

I guess we enjoyed Star Wars because it was the innovator so there was no comparisons going on as we watched, for anyone new watching today they have already seen bigger sets, better effects etc. But for me, I get goose bumps everytime the music trails off to the opening space shot.

There is a lot of culture hidden in that story, that would be lost on many and i guess thats what defines retro, its not what you play but how it makes you feel.
Just where is Mickey T?

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Ash
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Post by Ash » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:22 am

I think that I take issue with the phrase "you HAD to be there" because it is a bit too black and white. It suggests that you won't understand retro games unless you were there. I'd say that it HELPS if you were there but is not essential. After all, you can still play the games and you can read Retro Gamer and gamesTM or Edge to read about it in the context it was made in. Someone mentioned in this thread that games cannot be enjoyed in the same way as films because you can watch a film knowing about the director, actors and era in which it was made. Well you can do the same with games too but you don't have to. What's wrong with just playing games for the fun of it?

The problem is that some games age better than others. Look at the mid-eighties, arcade and console games of that era have aged much better than computer games because their graphics and (more importantly) controls were cleaner and more accessible. Though I make the concession that text adventures are just as playable now as they have always been, most 8bit computer games are not that fun to play any more. So, I think that if we're talking about the C64, Spectrum and so on then there is a lot of nostlgia and you did have to be there. I'd happily sit down and play a C64 game now because I had one back in the day but I wouldn't be too fussed about the speccy. Comparatively, I believe anybody can enjoy Super Mario World whether they first played it in 1991 or 2001: it's a timeless game.

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CraigGrannell
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Post by CraigGrannell » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:03 am

Ah, but there's a difference between being able to enjoy a game and having all of the feelings associated with it during the time it was released. A comparison can be drawn with movies. I remember seeing the first early CGI efforts and being amazed, but today's kids would never get the same feeling, because they're surrounded by such efforts. I remember being amazed by Wolfenstein 3D, because it was the first 3D game that really felt like it worked. Would any kid today feel the same? Of course not, seeing as every game and its uncle is in 3D. And then there's stuff like seeing Turrican II on the C64 and just not believing the C64 was capable of such a feat, yet today even the GBA could crank out endless games along the same lines.

Sure, *playability* can still shine through on games, but all the feelings you got are very specific for the time, and in that sense you did very much "have to be there".
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Ash
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Post by Ash » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:10 am

Well I didn't play Elite until 1997 but I can still appreciate what a massive achievement it was. It still wows me even though by 97 I was accustomed to more sophisticated technology.

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CraigGrannell
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Post by CraigGrannell » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:55 am

Ash wrote:Well I didn't play Elite until 1997 but I can still appreciate what a massive achievement it was. It still wows me even though by 97 I was accustomed to more sophisticated technology.
That may be an exception, though, due to the fact that Elite's scope is still large by modern standards. I suppose what I've been trying to get at is the fact that the feeling you got from certain jumps in technology is nigh-on impossible to recreate in the modern day. However, that doesn't stop you going "wow, what a great idea" at a concept.
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Post by Morkin » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:57 am

CraigGrannell wrote:Ah, but there's a difference between being able to enjoy a game and having all of the feelings associated with it during the time it was released.
Good point. :) When I play an old Spectrum game, not only do I enjoy playing the game, but it also brings back associated memories of that era. I'll be able to remember what was on TV, what I was doing at school, what was on the radio etc. This all adds to the nostalgia of playing the game, completing the package so to speak.

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Post by Ben » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:13 am

I guess you did kind of have to be there, at least to get all the memories and wonderment associated with certain things. It is still possible to enjoy a game from before your time, and it may even create new memories if the games still good enough.
Mainly I think being there allows you to gloss over the cracks that your favourite old games have started to show. I know that if i gave someone my old favourites to play they wouldnt enjoy them as much as me, they'd see the bugs and the aging. Nostalgia lets you gloss over these cracks and flaws

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RetroRik
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Post by RetroRik » Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:58 pm

[quote="andy vaisey
I appreciate your stance but, I'm a big music fan and while I love the Beatles and appreciate the music and the impression it made, I could never understand what it means to be part of "Beatle-mania" and the atmosphere it generated beacuse I wasn't alive to experience it! I just see the results in videos, documentaries and the like.
[/quote]

Andy. That's exactly the point i was going to make.
Many think the beatles shaped the world in the years before i was born but i can't understand why as i wasn't there to catch the vibe.

Im sure the point has been made but living through the Retro 70's and 80's shaped my life and i think i am a better person for that.
( But i guess every generation says the same thing. )

But throw into the mix the cold war, music and film at the time made it a great time to be at school. ( Atmospherically wise )

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RIK
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sparky
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Post by sparky » Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:25 pm

Well, here's my look on it and remember there are two aspects to this, playing the game now, or experiencing it in realtime release during the hype.

You could take Jet Set Willy as an example.

I loved Manic Miner, but when the stories started to unfold about a followup and then screenshots appeared in mags, there was an air of anticipation and excitement in the air, we were all chatting about it. Then when it was released, it was even worse.

Ok, emulation gives you the opportunity to play it years later, but technology has moved on, we were playing it based on the graphics and sound available then, during the hype, whereas now you know how good current games are graphics and sound wise, thus your impression is probably going to differ.

I suppose no one can ever appreciate something for which they weren't around at the time, just as I couldn't appreciate what it must have been like for England to win the Would Cup. It's impossible.

Emulation allows people to play and experience past gameplay, but not the realtime emotions.
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NorthWay
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Post by NorthWay » Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:36 pm

You HAD to be there. That was the time when the hw and sw was new, the hw was high-tech, and the experience fresh and to a certain extent exclusive.

Satellite tv was new and even more scarce, there were only a few airborne channels (1 here IIRC) and the computers got a much more central place in our lives.
Today you compare it to both more modern hw and sw, and also more recent sw on the same hw. You sit in front of a PC and simulate the PAL screen look. You can turn it off in an instant and load new games in a flash. There is a huge archive of stuff you can flick through and you probably haven't heard about the programmer (and other makers) of what you play.

How can it be the same?

However, one of the consecuences is that you got Rose Tinted Spectacles (a close relative of Beergoggles I believe). Space Invaders was considered a great game - I can't stand it. Pac-Man is still considered a work of genious - I can see the programming beauty of it, but it bores me. The mind is a funny place...

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Ash
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Post by Ash » Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:06 pm

NorthWay wrote:Pac-Man is still considered a work of genious - I can see the programming beauty of it, but it bores me.
Heresy!

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Frank Chickens
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Post by Frank Chickens » Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:10 pm

That was a fantastic story The Universal, got any more? Really enjoy reading that. 8)

The main thing about the period was not just the games but the atmosphere which made it so good. Reading about the latest games, hearing rumours about what was going to be released, listening to that song on the radio you liked etc. It all added up to one great package.

As for playing the games you grew up with on the emus.. well, they're still playable, but the sense of wonderment has gone which to me decreases the enjoyment I had from them in the first place.
"A cynic is what an optimist calls a realist"

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planetmatt
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Post by planetmatt » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:12 am

You really had to be there. It wasnt just the games.

You had to be there to feel the tension waiting for a Spectrum game to load, no one allowed to touch it or leave the room till it loaded in case it crashed. The endless playground speccy vs. c64 arguments (C64 is better fact!!!!). The first time you play Battlezone or Star Wars in the smoky, sticky floored arcade on the pier. The anger at your friend who only copied one side of his Midnight Resistance game tape so it wouldnt load and all you got was his sister's mix tape. The Christmas where the only thing you can remember is playing Mario Kart non stop all day till you saw shells when you closed your eyes.

IMO, emulation lets you play the games but the experience is sterile.

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planetmatt
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Re:

Post by planetmatt » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:14 am

NorthWay wrote:Pac-Man is still considered a work of genious - I can see the programming beauty of it, but it bores me. The mind is a funny place...
As a game, Pacman can get boring as the ghosts are on predetermied routes so memory can beat the game easily. Ms. Pacman is a much better game. More random and much bigger challenge.

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Post by Gameplan » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:16 am

necronom wrote:I agree, you had to be there to fully appreciate the games. Anyone these days playing the C64 versions of Ghostbusters or Impossible Mission cannot really understand how amazing it was to hear the speech and see the amazing animation of the IM character.
I disagree. The magic ingredients, which make a game great & fun, aren't lost over time, imo.

Of course only the best designed games stand the test of times.
No matter, whether we are talking Ms. Pac-Man or Galaga, Tetris or original Lemmings, PC-Engine-Bomberman, Amiga-Populous or C-64-Ultima IV - those games still bring max. enjoyment, to those who dare to leave their PS2 or PSP "new release", and turn on an 80s or 90s machine.
necronom wrote: Same with the music. When I first saw a C64 at a friends house and heard the Aztec Challenge music, I knew at that moment I HAD to get a C64. I was amazed by the sound. (...)
I remember getting things like Summer Games and thinking that the graphics were fantastic and playing Uridium, Paradroid, The Eidolon or Mercenary. These were very impressive at the time (in different ways)
and if people put them on now without ever seeing them before, wouldn't appreciate their greatness.
Now, this discussion becomes interesting. I agree with this statement: Compared to games that were excellently designed (gameplay and mechanics wise), games that were great, mainly because of their audiovisuals, lose much of their appeal over the decades, and are mostly played for their nostalgical value, only.

This is the case with most Amiga games, imo. Apart from Pop. and Lemmings, there was much eye candy and stereo sound on this platform, but not too much innovative & good gameplay (compared to the Speccy, before, and SNES, afterwards). The Lotus racers are still fun, or Blood Money, maybe. But I wouldn't touch 95% of all Amiga games, now.

To make a long story short: The test of time shows, whether a game was great because of its eye and ear candy, or because it was a perfect design.
I never played the two Braybrook masterpieces, you mentioned, so I can't comment on them. You have to tell me: Is "Paradroid" still fun, today?

Apart from that, I'd like to mention, that many classic games lose appeal in their emulation. The best way to play Mega Drive or SNES is to connect those original hardware to your TV (via RGB), take the original joypad and play them like they were meant to be played.

I use emulation for my work, but privately I prefer to play on the real thing, not on an emulation on PC or Mac.

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