Is it truly nostalgia or do games really suck now?

Zemtax

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A lot of new games do certainly suck, are being released buggy, etc. Early-Access, while not bad, is mostly paid playtesting. And I get it, devs get to see what the players like and dislike, feedback on game balance and mechanics and the like. But most devs don't use it to it's fullest potential and just use it as a platform for playtesting and easy (and free) bughunting.

While nostalgia certainly plays a role in how we perceive older games we liked, I do think that games back then without patches, were put together more carefully and had way fewer bugs most of the time.

Design-wise I'd say it was a learning process. Nowadays there's so much information available for almost any part of game development that AAA companies would have a hard time making very bad design decisions (there are still people working for these companies, people that make decisions, it's not the company).
Milking a franchise is also not exclusive to the games industry and can be seen almost anywhere.

There's one thing that makes me instantly not buy a game, and that is loot boxes WITH pay to win elements. If your loot boxes are purely cosmetic, go right ahead. But if it contains game-relevant items, equipment or characters, I'm out.
Which leads to my last point. Manipulative design to get the player to buy more shiny bling bling for money... just no.
It's not all bad though, modern games tend to be faster in terms of gameplay in their genres compared to older games.
 

Renaud

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It's certainly a little bit of both but in a general sense I do truly believe that the industry has simply stagnated. My first and most unbiased argument for that has to do with the weird non-inflation of games that @bgillisp and @Llareian have already mentioned, but there is an important part of that that I believe has been missed. That is, the devaluing of the media in general. Five years ago or so I decided that twenty dollars was the most that a game was worth to me anymore, after a series of increasingly frustrating disappointments and a growing feeling that I'd rather be playing old games than new ones anyway. Back then that meant waiting 1 and a half to two years after a game was released before getting it, in the past couple of years however, that meant I could pick up a game the year of it's release for less than 1/3 of it's price if I wanted to, and a few recent ones such as mass effect Andromeda I was able to get within a couple of months of it's release date. It's clear that more and more people are valuing new games less and less, and companies are struggling to stay relevant in that environment.

I mostly blame the companies themselves for this, I think that ones such as Ubisoft and EA in particular have flooded the market with bad business practices, buying out any and every small time developer that shows even an inkling of being able to compete with them and turning them into a zombie pumping out cookie-cutter caricatures of their old ips with catch all formulas without a care for the fact that they flop, only caring that that IP is theirs now and cannot compete with them any longer. Rather than try to be better themselves, they content themselves with stifling competition and resting on their laurels and their bank accounts. The problem is that they devalue the medium in the process, and the way I see things now (being able to get games at 60-80% off within months of their release) it's only a matter of time before the giants start to topple, unfortunately taking their mass of zombie shell companies with them to the grave and paving the way for new small time developers to fill the void, hopefully without being bought out the moment they start to succeed this time.

Monopolies are bad, and the AAA circuit has come fairly close to becoming one recently, with every developer who is going anywhere seemingly finding themselves snatched up by one of 2-3 giants. The irony being that once they become subservient to such a giant, their product quality seems to fly out the window soon after in the face of investor demands and what have you. On the short term they've been selling really well, but they've devalued the entire industry to make a quick buck to the point where consumers have started to demand prices so low that they undercut their costs in a lot of cases. Right now that means that the lowly developer has to be beholden to a giant in order to make it in the industry in any sense, or else go so far outside of the norm as to amass a cult following like CD Projekt Red seemed to do last year with their plethara of free updates, free content and genuine concern for their customers in the face of the greats apathy and soulless cutouts. Just keep playing your old favorites for now, if you feel games aren't fun anymore then stop paying for new ones, more and more I see evidence consumers are doing just that, and while it will cause trouble in the short term I believe at this point it would be for the best if we did allow those giants to fall so that the developers that come after can be on an equal footing in order to build the medium back up to something respectable, and actually compete with each other for customers rather than just keep buying anyone out that does anything better than the way they've done it for the past ten years or so.
Goddamn it what I just read... being a top dog in the market doesnt prevent company to build big quality games cd project red are big right now and their upcoming cyberpunk 2077 going to be probably a huge mastepiece look at now red dead redemption 2 a huge masterpiece by a big AAA top dog video game company i can continue like that for a long time... and your argument about giant company to fall down gonna make new developper make good games is a big nonsense its the quality of those big AAA games that forces other company small big new old to push themselves to build a quality product.
 

BK-tdm

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Over the years i decided to play everything i can and decide for myself instead of trusting "stremaers" or "gaming journalists" i've learned how to like and love the little gaming i can get and never turned away or critizise something i havent played myself.

From Barbie games back on the PSX the Ace Combats, Megaman from classic to Zero, the Metal Gear series, Final Fantasies, the Soul (calibur) series , The other Souls series (dark), Visual novels, Neptunia series, Senran Kagura games, Monster Hunter since the first one back in the PS2, i've played and experienced multiple genres and i never say no unless the game is 0% interesting to me (Hatred, Postal, Goat/Train/Whatever Simulator), and so far i think the gaming industry has had some very bad times and bad decisions now will cause more backlash and be more visible due to how today's social media works, there have been horrible decisions in the past that simply arent that well known due to the media reach not being as wide as it is today, for two examples take the E.T Atari game and Jhon Romero's Daikatana.

The game industry has seem some awesome developments and an incredible evolution, looking back at the first tomb raider compared to what Rise of the Tomb Raider gives, the difference for the people who played both should be incredible, having "bad graphics" is not a valid excuse to disregard a game (unless textures F up, collisions go guano insane and the like, making it unplayable, like that batman game pc port) and in my opinion "repetitive" is a ridiculous concept, everything by design will be repetitive no matter how open world , big, extense, advanced AI you put in your game, it will all be down to "kill things" "solve puzzles" "complete objectives" nothing will ever escape the "repetitive" description because theres no way to make a game unique in a way that there will be always something different to do and every person will find different aspects of a game a chore, be it leveling, breeding chocobos, playing underwater polo, chopping rathalos tails, breeding mons for the perfect nature, something in every game is repetitive for someone.

This means some fault lies on developers and some fault lies on the vocal elitists that like to ruin everyone else's fun.


To elaborate, the EA schemes on Battlefront 2 should have never happened, p2w is an abomination and lootboxes shouldnt exist unless done in terms like Overwatch did, monetization schemes like what star citizen does are ridiculous by simply having a "minimum tier of $ you give us to even have the option to buy more expensive DLC for a game we will release someday".

Sometimes publishers not developers are at fault, they rush things, ask for changes or make decisions detrimental to the game and this is why we have unplayable bugfests that need day 1 patches, because they need to meet deadlines, sometimes this kills the game even after fixed, sometimes it turns better and they recover.

Sometimes the companies themselves are at fault for trying to mess with the developers franchises, ruining them forever, examples of this are what happened between Inafune and Capcom during Megaman Legends 3, or more recently with Kojima and Konami with Metal Gear, and we all know how a Metal Gear whitout Kojima turned out, it didnt "Survive".

But sometimes, "Gamers" themselves are at fault, and i use the term loosely because someone being picky enough to not play a game because it doesnt run at 120fps, or at 4k or has a minor detail that doesnt impact gameplay at all or disregards a game because is "another RPG Maker game" is not a true gamer.
Someone who truly enjoys gaming should give each game in the genres they like a chance, not discarding them over superfluous details, "oh the MC now talks, Fallout 4 is garbo", "omg Diablo 3 is so colorfur it has rainbows (one cascade on one level ONLY) its not dark anymore (please ignore alcarnus and all its dismembered inhabitants, thats not dark at all)" good thing blizz made the unicorn level as comeback.


To sum it up, people are pickier now (sometimes they're right, its their money afterall, sometimes they're complaining about stupid things) and are now more vocal, developers are now more exposed to the public if they make a mistake and piss off enough consumers, added to the stupid and ridiculous decision they make because sometimes they dont make a game for enjoyment but to milk the consumers (please take a look at Cosmic Break and the now dead Phantasy Star Online 2 SEA region servers, anything p2w really).
And as time has passed by, the quantity of games getting released has multiplied, of course there will be bad quality games shelled for a quick cashgrab, a scam, a ripoff to ride the tails of the hype of the year (this year being battle royales) or simply a ripoff (refer to the many "not Overwatch" chinese games).
Your personal opinion is the one that should matter the most as a consumer on a very divisive and varied market as the gaming industry is, and please dont buy lootboxes in p2w games, it hurts us all.
 
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Countyoungblood

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your personal opinion should matter most but only if you're a "true" gamer.( id fix that if i were you). reality is P2W is easy to profit from and games are products made by companies to generate profit. AAA games sell to the majority if you don't like modern games you aren't like the majority simple as that. Niche games that YOU prefer are not higher quality products or superior underdogs they're just niche products created by smaller companies that cant hit the majority market either by lack of quality or funding or research.

it isnt about feelings it isnt about being true its about making money and there are a handful of ways to make money when it comes to creating programs to entertain people. brilliant writing only matters if the audience cares about brilliant writing. amazing graphics only matter if the audience cares about amazing graphics. and big one. fair play only matters if audience cares about fair play. they dont. give me a dollar and I will call you the winner of this argument.
 

zacheatscrackers

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There's still plenty of good games, just gotta look around. I feel the rather questionable place the game industry is in right now is more akin to bad business decisions more than anything, like the whole Hideo and Konami controversy and Nintendo screwin' around with the Switch (not doing proper Virtual Console, sticking with the same NES titles we've seen several times before). I love me some old games for sure, but as far as the current generation goes, it requires some searching more than anything. Of course, fanbases and playerbases having wildly different tastes and desires when it comes to games doesn't help, and in some cases it seems to influence the decisions companies make with their title production, resulting in mediocre games here and there.

I feel it's a lot of things, looking deeply into it. I'm ultimately optimistic, though.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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Hmmmmm.. I still really enjoy the current generation games, as long as we're talking about the game experience itself. I kinda hate some industry practices though, especially these SeasonPass/DLC that comes out a month or so after a game's release. It's too fast which makes me think that they're already making it while finishing the base game but makes us pay more for it..
 

Benny Jackdaw

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I don't think it's entirely nostalgia. Personally, I missed when most games were colorful and had Whimsy to them. I missed when video game protagonists were diverse and unique. Now a days everything needs to be dark and serious and star generic characters like Kratos or Bayonetta or Medieval-Solid Snake (Geralt from Whytcher). I mean every once in awhile colorful games will get released, but even then they usually star a generic human-sue.

I mean, I look back at The Shining Force games and compare them to the Project X zone games, and The Shining Force games had such a diverse cast of characters. The main characters were humans, centaurs, anthros, even non-humanoids. It felt like the villains and heroes were just as diverse as each other. Project X Zone, on the other hand, has a playable roster made up entirely of humans (and yes, I count zero and Felicia and anyone else you may bring up as human. If they still have human skin, a human face and human anatomy, I consider them human), yet the bad guys took all sorts of shapes and sizes. Why the heck were the bad guys allowed to be so diverse, yet the good guys are limited to humans?

They say gameplay is the most important part of a game, but honestly, if I absolutely hate the characters and story, then that makes it incredibly hard for me to enjoy a game regardless of how well it's made. I mean, Project X zone is probably a far better made game, but because of its shallow storytelling and characters that don't appeal to me, I had a lot more fun playing Shining Force even though it's a more primitive game.

Unfortunately, I've seen this trend a lot in Media. Last year I felt like it could have been a chance to see a Resurgence in those unique and creative protagonist, every single game that tried to do it failed. The failure of Yooka-Laylee, honestly, turned me off of gaming in general. It made me feel like every time I will look forward to a game, it will always fail. Every once in a while there will be an oddball title that gives me what I'm looking for, but they will usually only be okay at best, and the ones that are really good come once in a blue moon. For the most part, the thing I look for most in games isn't the gameplay...

... it's The escapism. It's to be transported to a world to get away from real life problems for a moment. My big problem with a lot of modern games, unfortunately, is that they put me back into those places that I try to get away from. I don't want to go around as a human killing giant monsters because it reminds me of hunting and how it's become the entirety of environmentalism now a days. A lot of my problems, unfortunately, are based on my own species, which is why non-human protagonist characters are so important for me. I feel like older scams that were on the 16 bit and 64 bit consoles did a better job of taking me away from the problems in my life than modern games do. Games like Sonic the Hedgehog, sparkster, Spyro the Dragon, etc. I'll play a Legend of Zelda game every once in awhile, but it's the games I mentioned before that that really hold a place in my heart.

Those kind of games just don't come around very much anymore. Yooka-Laylee kind of proved that that kind of game is pretty much dead or close to dying. So while I wouldn't say that games have mechanically gotten worse, sentimentally they have for me.
 
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jakeybreaky

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I think a lot of it is just that it's a lot easier to be enthralled by things as a kid. Like when you're young a new game is an exciting experience, you only get a new game for maybe christmas or your birthday or something. Your scope is limited so everything seems fresh and new and you're able to spend hours immersed into things.

As an adult, getting a new game is really no big deal, you have your own money to splurge on games if you want, you have less time to immerse yourself in these games though as well. So even if there are games that child-you would have absolutely loved adult-you is just a lot harder to impress, or just doesn't have the time/energy to really see what it has to offer.
 

Finnuval

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I think it's a little bit of all of what's mentioned...

Dont forget that both the market and industry have changed a bit too (hell back when i was young there was no industry yet lol).

The flooding of the market with cheap to make and easy to spread games aswell as the market itself becoming less patiënt also counts.

Nostalgia also counts ofcourse as well as the fact that weve seen most things done already in a lot of cases (andd nostalgia will then kick in. And say done better lol).

As always though remember we are all wrong anyway xD
 

Casey55

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A lot of games are now based on microtransactions and it is really bad.
 

Seacliff

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It's not so much that there's more bad games, there has always been a ton of shovel-ware since the dawn of gaming. But back then, if you thought a game was good that was all there was too it.

The worst thing about gaming today is that we like a lot of games in spite of bad practices. If a game you like has microtransactions, it's because you are either ignoring it or actively indulging in it.

DLC done well can greatly enhance a game, but I hate some Japanese publisher practices of filling up the DLC shop with consumable packs or cheap cosmetics. To me that's just a step or two below microtranactions, which like them I either have to actively ignore or indulge in to be fine with it.

With the exception of yearly releases, I don't understand the complaints of too many sequels from the perspective there's actually a fix to this. A lot of gaming companies normally focus on a limited number of genres, so it makes sense to keep the same IPs as they continue to develop games of that genre. If anything, a company developing a bunch of similar games that are a part of different IPs sounds much less appealing than continually expanding the mechanics and world of one or two game franchises.
 

Ragpuppy87

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This is something that I myself have been pondering lately.

Particularly with first party Nintendo games.

They just are missing something in my opinion.

The latest Animal Crossing was a massive disappointment for me.
It lacks any of the charm of the earlier entries.


Pokemon Sword and Shield straight up ended my enjoyment of the franchise after playing since the original games.

The latest Paper Mario games.
They may still have the wit of the originals but the gameplay aspects don't appeal to me any longer.

One thing to consider though is that maybe our tastes just change with time.

Something we enjoyed when we were younger might not appeal to us now that we have grown older.

Maybe games are getting worse... Maybe they are just changing to adapt towards the current audience.

A lot of great games were released in the past. Timeless masterpieces.

But while we as players who grew up with them might enjoy them, the younger generation might not.

Perhaps it works the other way around. The people who grew up with the classics might no longer be the target audience.
 

kirbwarrior

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New bad games are worse than old good games. That is a large part of what 'validates' nostalgia. But bad games have always existed. I'm fairly certain shovelware was coined in the 80's.

There's also more games. Even if we were to assume the same percentage of games are good, the staggering amount of games means there is a staggering amount of bad games.

There's also things like what we might think makes a good game might be bad game design. It's weird to talk about it that way, treating what we like as opinion and game design as fact, but there are absolutely games I like and adore that I also know I wouldn't like made again because of the bad game design. Just recently I realized that pokemon has always been bad in one regard (the recruitment mechanic) and new games will always be held back by it.

Not just that, but that can also hold us back from trying out new game or entire genres we might not know much about. If Dragon Quest Builders wasn't DQ, I'm not sure I would have given it a chance since I was burned by Minecraft. The sequel is now in my all time favorite games and is closely approaching the same total game time as FFT, my absolutely favorite.

There's also thinking that a game we thought was good isn't good or isn't now good to us. I'll replay games I think are good to see if I actually still think that. If not, I'll explore why I thought it was good.

There's also the fact that what makes money isn't what makes a good game or good art. I like the Marvel Movies, but they aren't the weird, thought-provoking movies I would call my favorite or the best. Same for AAA games, they are the games made for everyone, not for a given niche. In fact I find my favorite niche just hard to find.

I just want to play a game that grabs me. That makes me want to stay up all night playing it. That's a good game. They're in short supply these days.
I don't think any era of gaming had many of these. Even when I was a kid I only had maybe 2, and one of them (Ocarina of Time) isn't that anymore. And because there are so many games, it's even harder to find them.
 

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