If you look at any list of “top games” you will see certain individual titles and franchises repeated again and again. Great titles being made anew within their franchises are welcome releases, and very seldom disappoint. Titles like “The Legend of Zelda”, “The Elder Scrolls”, and “Call of Duty” just continue getting better. We like seeing familiar characters and scenes in higher definition, and with stronger AI. Many of us also continue to enjoy the originals. By using emulators and even old machines, we scrounge through the old titles for nostalgic and intrinsic reasons. Most of the pioneering bit conserving titles were not only “great in their time” but are great now.
High definition visuals and sound are not synonymous with memorable visuals and sound. They must earn their prestige. They must have the beef. Even quality gameplay mechanics isn’t a guarantee on gigabyte titles. I have played many new 1st person – optional 3rd person – RPGs that to me, lack the response of “Ocarina of Time” and the analog stick on the N64 controller. There is of course a broad contrast to “rate of play” as well. Remember when we didn’t have to wait for every new game segment to load? Discs offered more enrichment, but at the expense of waiting. I loved the fact that when Nintendo released the game cube, most of their OEM titles hid the loading behind cut scenes; the games had a better flow. They continued this overlapping with the Wii as well.
If you ask a Megaman fan about the franchise, you are likely to hear a plot description that would put you in mind of a monolithic PC based RPG. “Dr. Wily”, and “Cut Man”; the evolution of “Zero”, and “X”! The stories mattered and the games mattered; they were as cool as they were engaging. Mario is a plumber and – as they say in the business world – an asset of goodwill and a valuable piece of intellectual property. When you’re playing “Super Mario Galaxy” it is hard to believe, it is a derivative of “Donkey Kong”. No disgrace to the “stubborn ape”, he got his own show. Many titles could be considered staples for us – the baseline.
Gamers, by today’s definition, spend little or no time in arcades. Arcades are still around, still seeing patrons, but are in many cities, ranking near to roller rinks. I don’t know when precisely they lost the “place to be” status, but few soccer moms have them on their maps. Laser Tag and Paint Ball probably stole some thunder; and of course wide-range at home gaming systems and peripherals probably stole the rest. I foresee a possible change of fortune in the future, in the employment of motion controlled gaming; but I don’t want to speculate. Many of the classic arcade games however, remain in good repute. “Mortal Kombat”, “Metroid”, “Sonic”, and many more titles that rivaled in their cabinets, are still being played on emulators, still being produced on current consoles. Even “Super Smash Bros.” is a sort of tribute to the multiple arcade combat games that spawned from Atari’s Pit-Fighter. The classics will always hold their prestige, they will often times evolve, and they will continue to live on.