What's wrong with new 8- (and 16-) bit games?

When the other folders just won't do!

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Crunchy
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Post by Crunchy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:28 am

TMR wrote:
Crunchy wrote:This is obviously hard for you to stomach, but the simple fact is that platformers and shooters on the C64 and Spectrum (to name just two machines) have no relevance at all outside of fandom.
i assumed that since this was the Retro Gamer message board, we all fall within that range of fandom to at least some degree.

The C64 got so many published shoot 'em ups because the market dictated to the publishers what they wanted and the publishers, never ones to pass up the chance of making a few quid, listened and took on what people asked for. Fast forward twenty years and here are people at the Retro Gamer message board, coming to remember games like Jet Set Willy on the Spectrum or Uridium on the C64.

The question i'm trying to get my head around is, if people are here because those games were playable without needing superior machines or huge marketing budgets, if they're here because they're interested in games developed in back rooms by lone programmers... if it's just a matter of rose tinting then that's fine and good, but if any of these people are dipping into the archives and playing games they hadn't previously tried, why is there a distinction between those games and new ones developed in the same way?
Prejudice probably.
Hobbyists are seen as amateurs by most people and thus their products are seen as the same. It puts the new games in the same category that type in listings were back in the day. You're involved in an amateur scene however much professional gloss you try to put on it. The term "homebrew" has a negative connotation for the masses.
The funny thing is, if Matthew Smith or Jeff Minter announced they were making new games for the Speccy or C64 I think you'd find a lot more interest being given to those projects.

It's also worth noting that most retro gamers who are trying out old stuff they've never played before are actually into the hobby for that very reason ... to play the stuff they missed first time around or finally get to play the games they wanted to play on platforms they had no access to back then. It's all part of the nostalgia trip rather than a genuine urge to re-enjoy the old consoles.

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TMR
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Post by TMR » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:16 am

Crunchy wrote:Prejudice probably.
Oh, i've no doubt at all that's the case but i'd rather understand that prejudice than just leave it there...
Crunchy wrote:Hobbyists are seen as amateurs by most people and thus their products are seen as the same. It puts the new games in the same category that type in listings were back in the day. You're involved in an amateur scene however much professional gloss you try to put on it. The term "homebrew" has a negative connotation for the masses.
That's what i'm struggling to understand - during the 1980s and at least some of the 1990s, those games were written by people in the exactly same boat as those doing it now; Software Projects, Llamasoft, the Stampers, the early days of Sierra before they were even called that, probably close to 90% of all budget software before the ranges were reduced to re-releases and nothing more... backroom coders the lot of them at the start and in a few cases at the end too. Developers like Sensible Software, Graftgold and far to many to name when i've not had enough caffeine.

The word "homebrew" is one i've never really liked either and i've only started using it relatively recently through necessity, partly because other people do in order to save going around the houses every five minutes with terms like "new games for old computers" or similar - "homebrew" even lacks a solid definition to be honest, to some it's anything developed in a backroom from any point in history, for others it's only "amateur" productions (again, lots of wiggle room on the definition of the word amateur there) and some say it's only the games that have been developed and then painstakingly soldered onto hand-made boards for consoles and nothing else.
Crunchy wrote:The funny thing is, if Matthew Smith or Jeff Minter announced they were making new games for the Speccy or C64 I think you'd find a lot more interest being given to those projects.
Not really, because Matthew Smith made noises a while ago and the interest wasn't exactly vast. Jonathan "Joffa" Smith is quite a way into producing something; the latter's name may be less of a "crowd puller" generally, but he's a well known entity, produced some of Ocean's best Spectrum games and back in the day as now he's in the same boat as any other backroom coder
Crunchy wrote:It's also worth noting that most retro gamers who are trying out old stuff they've never played before are actually into the hobby for that very reason ... to play the stuff they missed first time around or finally get to play the games they wanted to play on platforms they had no access to back then. It's all part of the nostalgia trip rather than a genuine urge to re-enjoy the old consoles.
But if they're attached nostalgically to certain titles, that means all they're going to come away from an experience like that is a sense that the rest were all crap... unless they actually like some of what they play out of context, in which case it can't be about nostalgia for those titles...

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Post by psj3809 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:47 am

TMR wrote:
Crunchy wrote:It's also worth noting that most retro gamers who are trying out old stuff they've never played before are actually into the hobby for that very reason ... to play the stuff they missed first time around or finally get to play the games they wanted to play on platforms they had no access to back then. It's all part of the nostalgia trip rather than a genuine urge to re-enjoy the old consoles.
But if they're attached nostalgically to certain titles, that means all they're going to come away from an experience like that is a sense that the rest were all crap... unless they actually like some of what they play out of context, in which case it can't be about nostalgia for those titles...
Of course i got into Speccy emulation to play the many games i loved when i was younger. Many of them didnt stand the test of time, a fair few did though and those are the ones i still play today.

At the same time i found it fun personally to look for decent games which i missed when i left the Speccy scene to get an Amiga in 88 or 89 and theres quite a few games i missed, some pretty good, some dire. Also i like looking for what games i missed in the heyday as there were so many games released, some at the time i didnt want to even try because of a bad review or even advert.

Also finding new games is great which have been developed the last few years, they look 'smell' like a Speccy game and i enjoy playing those on the Speccy emulator.

Granted at the RG forum theres obviously a good chunk less dedicated Speccy fans who might try a new game but any announcements over at WOS of course get a lot of attention when it comes to a new game.

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Post by Bub&Bob » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:51 am

Im still waiting for the Vic20 version of Assasains Creed and GTA4
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Post by psj3809 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:56 am

Bub&Bob wrote:Im still waiting for the Vic20 version of Assasains Creed and GTA4
Its coming soon apparently. The guy has finished the Oric version of GTA4 and is now working on the Vic 20 one

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Turrican
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Post by Turrican » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:55 pm

TMR wrote:That's what i'm struggling to understand - during the 1980s and at least some of the 1990s, those games were written by people in the exactly same boat as those doing it now; Software Projects, Llamasoft, the Stampers, the early days of Sierra before they were even called that, probably close to 90% of all budget software before the ranges were reduced to re-releases and nothing more... backroom coders the lot of them at the start and in a few cases at the end too. Developers like Sensible Software, Graftgold and far to many to name when i've not had enough caffeine.

The word "homebrew" is one i've never really liked either and i've only started using it relatively recently through necessity, partly because other people do in order to save going around the houses every five minutes with terms like "new games for old computers" or similar - "homebrew" even lacks a solid definition to be honest, to some it's anything developed in a backroom from any point in history, for others it's only "amateur" productions (again, lots of wiggle room on the definition of the word amateur there) and some say it's only the games that have been developed and then painstakingly soldered onto hand-made boards for consoles and nothing else.
Here's the point. They were made back then when they were cutting edge. Do you see the Oliver Twins still sitting in their bedrooms doing another Dizzy game right now? No, they formed Blitz Games and make stuff that's relevant NOW, not in 1985. Also bear in mind that everyone had these consoles back in the time, they were what the 360's and PS3's are now and they do have Live Arcade and PSN Store that give us stuff from yesteryear, albeit not as far back.

There is no prejudice, you just fail to see that the human race have moved on with the times and gotten themselves games machines of the modern age. Back then you would have never thought about having arcade games stored in your PC or online gaming.

Nobody minds downloading a game for free, why would they? You really need to realise that retro just ain't as big as it was, say a year or so ago.
It's like an old pair of slippers, isn't it?

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Post by psj3809 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:18 pm

Turrican wrote:There is no prejudice, you just fail to see that the human race have moved on with the times and gotten themselves games machines of the modern age. Back then you would have never thought about having arcade games stored in your PC or online gaming.

Nobody minds downloading a game for free, why would they? You really need to realise that retro just ain't as big as it was, say a year or so ago.
So what are we all doing here ? Why havent we moved on with the times ?

The retro games people are still producing on retro machines are to appeal to retro gamers obviously, not any newbies with a brand new X Box console.

I still think retros very big, lots of companies are still re-releasing a lot of retro games as theres a big market for it

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Post by Turrican » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:42 pm

psj3809 wrote:
Turrican wrote:There is no prejudice, you just fail to see that the human race have moved on with the times and gotten themselves games machines of the modern age. Back then you would have never thought about having arcade games stored in your PC or online gaming.

Nobody minds downloading a game for free, why would they? You really need to realise that retro just ain't as big as it was, say a year or so ago.
So what are we all doing here ? Why havent we moved on with the times ?

The retro games people are still producing on retro machines are to appeal to retro gamers obviously, not any newbies with a brand new X Box console.

I still think retros very big, lots of companies are still re-releasing a lot of retro games as theres a big market for it
I know they are and I know retro is still alive and kicking.. I never said it was dead. I, personally (and please note that this is my opinion) think that the retro scene just doesn't seem to have that same buzz as it did, but that's not to say that it's declined to such a level that it's not there.

I'm merely talking about something relevant to the fact that we're basing all of this on 8 bit and 16 bit fresh titles. Retro re-releases are just the very things we played back then, NOT fresh material. The fact is that what we deem retro and lookback at now was fresh and new back then.

The fact is that this is one of those topics that's never going to have a settlement or common ground.

It was said that a lot of companies are "still re-releasing a lot of retro games.." Are they doing it on the formats that we're talking about here? No. Don't get me wrong, it would be great to see PGA Tour on the Amiga again and bring back the good ol days, but it's not going to happen.
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TMR
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Post by TMR » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:07 pm

Turrican wrote:The fact is that this is one of those topics that's never going to have a settlement or common ground.
Personally, i want to understand the other viewpoints... it's sort of part of my job to now.

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Post by Crunchy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:17 pm

TMR wrote:
Turrican wrote:The fact is that this is one of those topics that's never going to have a settlement or common ground.
Personally, i want to understand the other viewpoints... it's sort of part of my job to now.
:D

In the same way I'm trying to understand why people making games on long dead machines that feature very limited hardware are surprised only a handful of people want them.

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Post by paranoid marvin » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:55 pm

Why wold I want to play a 'new' version of Puzzle Bobble (for example) on the Speccy when I've got MAME? I play aracde conversions on the Speccy which were either A.better (there were some!) or B.Significantly different to the arcade parent to make it playable in it's own right

Back in the day I bought Spectrum games because they were as good as I could get , but I no longer have that problem.

I have the ability to play whichever game I choose on the platform which was best for me.

So I'll play R-Type on the Speccy , Buggy Boy on the C64 , Pirates! on Amiga , DOTC on ST and Paperboy on MAME
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Post by psj3809 » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:56 am

Crunchy wrote:In the same way I'm trying to understand why people making games on long dead machines that feature very limited hardware are surprised only a handful of people want them.
But many people still like playing games on limited hardware, but for me the point is many of these people dont seem to like playing 'new' games on the limited hardware. If Farmer Jack came out in 1985 they'll probably love it and play it tons, as its a 'new' Speccy game a lot of the older Speccy players seem to avoid it for whatever reason.

I'm sure modern day players are trying to understand why people like us are playing games on long dead machines with limited hardware when theres huge great consoles with 'amazing' games on them out.

Its like saying why would anyone play Gradius on any system apart from the X-Box 360/PS3 ? So basically when a game is converted onto any of the latest consoles we should never play any of the older versions again as theyre all crap compared to it ?

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Post by Turrican » Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:22 am

I think what sometimes happens is that as time goes on and our current gaming formats get ever more powerful, the cut off point that some people are prepared to go back to follows with it and that some people that would have went back to the C64's and Spectrums may only want to head back to Atari ST's and Amiga machines now. I do stress that that is only in some circumstances and not all, as you lot wouldn't be here if it was.

The other factor is that games are now so easily available. When you get an arcade conversion now on consoles, they are usually arcade perfect, rather than squeezing the last ounce of power from the designated format.
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Crunchy
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Post by Crunchy » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:43 am

psj3809 wrote:
Crunchy wrote:In the same way I'm trying to understand why people making games on long dead machines that feature very limited hardware are surprised only a handful of people want them.
But many people still like playing games on limited hardware, but for me the point is many of these people dont seem to like playing 'new' games on the limited hardware. If Farmer Jack came out in 1985 they'll probably love it and play it tons, as its a 'new' Speccy game a lot of the older Speccy players seem to avoid it for whatever reason.

I'm sure modern day players are trying to understand why people like us are playing games on long dead machines with limited hardware when theres huge great consoles with 'amazing' games on them out.

Its like saying why would anyone play Gradius on any system apart from the X-Box 360/PS3 ? So basically when a game is converted onto any of the latest consoles we should never play any of the older versions again as theyre all crap compared to it ?
Look, do me a favour and stop posting if you're just going to keep entirely missing the point of what I'm saying and you're going to make stupid assumptions about how I game. All that's going to happen is your abject stupidity and lack of comprehension are going to wind me up and this thread will go rapidly downhill as a result.

It isn't remotely like saying "why would anyone play Gradius on any system apart from the 360" etc.
Retro gaming is a niche hobby. The desire to play new software on platforms as dead as the C64 is an even smaller niche within that niche. It should come as no surprise that the gamers who want to download this stuff are in a very small minority.
And if an old version of a game gets a new version on a newer and technically more capable console then it's natural that the new version would supplant the old version for the majority of gamers. Which is why more people prefer Tempest 2000 to the original arcade Tempest. The key word there is "prefer", and the effect that has on sales (or, in this case, download habits). That doesn't automatically mean nobody should not or would not play the older version, it means that the majority would be less likely to.

And lets address the propensity for the homebrew crowd to overstate how good their works are. If Farmer Jack had come out back in the day it wouldn't have recieved rave reviews unless it came out at a very particular time early in the machine's history. It would have been a decent budget title. If that. This is true of most homebrew I've seen. Which I stated very early on in this thread.

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Post by TMR » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:32 am

paranoid marvin wrote:Why wold I want to play a 'new' version of Puzzle Bobble (for example) on the Speccy when I've got MAME?
...
paranoid marvin wrote:So I'll play R-Type on the Speccy , Buggy Boy on the C64 , Pirates! on Amiga , DOTC on ST and Paperboy on MAME
Okay, so the obvious question that has to be asked here is why play R-Type on the Spectrum, why play Buggy Boy on the C64? You've got MAME for those... if the answer is that you prefer those versions for some reason, have you given Cannon Bubble at least a try on the Spectrum on the grounds you might prefer that too?
Last edited by TMR on Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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