Without nostalgia, is it still worth playing?

Without nostalgia, are some classic games worth playing?

I've been thinking about this topic recently as I try to clear through some of my backlog. There are some classic games that I own which I've never played, or played so little that it barely counts, and which are competing with a lot of things in my list. A good example of this is Suikoden III, which I bought used on someone else's recommendation years ago (but well after it came out), played for 30 minutes, didn't connect with, and moved on to something else.

So, I thought I'd start this thread to help me, and others here, sort out that question. Let's say I own a game that was beloved in its time, but that was years ago. I haven't played it enough to see it through any rose-colored glasses. Will it hold up today? Or has it aged poorly, for any of a variety of reasons?

I'd love to hear some opinions on Suikoden III, the 16-year-old PS2 gem. And, if anyone else has this same question about any of their games, I'll happily throw in my $0.02.

Tbh, I had a similar problem with Suikoden III. I tried about 2 years ago to get into it. I tried for 2 hours, but never connected with it at all.

I've heard that it's supposed to be the weakest of the first 3 games in the series. I'd love to love...or at least like it, but I fear that I may never.

The one thing that gives me hope is Grand Theft Auto III. I played that within a year of its release. Tried to like it for a few hours and finally threw in the towel. A decade later I forced myself to engage with it, with the goal of seeing the end credits come hell or high water. I achieved that goal and after about 10 hours, also found the joy in it that had eluded me for so long (and no, this wasn't a case of Stockholm Syndrome. ...I think). In any case, I soon moved on to Vice City and liked it even more.

For me it tends to come down to whether the mechanics or story are satisfying enough to overcome the dated graphics.

For me, it's not about the graphics at all, it's entirely about UI and control conventions. Mario 64 has incredible level design, but the camera makes it nigh-on unplayable by modern standards.

Agreed, it's controls and camera that are the real hurdle. I can get used to older graphics, but trying to play, say, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, with its bizarre click to move and mouse swipe combat controls just makes it too much of a chore every time I've tried.

Absolutely controls and camera, though even there I can be fairly forgiving.

If a game has zero respect for my time though - as I discovered about 6 months ago with Dragon Quest VII.....that's the death knell for that relationship.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Absolutely controls and camera, though even there I can be fairly forgiving.

If a game has zero respect for my time though - as I discovered about 6 months ago with Dragon Quest VII.....that's the death knell for that relationship.

I could not agree more, although if it's a pre-WASD game I don't mind so much. Also, DQ8 absolutely respects your time and is -to me- the benchmark for the series.

About half the games I play are NES-PS1 era (including PC games), most of which I never played before and so have no particular nostalgia for, and I find that the ones I enjoy I enjoy as much or more than many modern games. Great design doesn’t age, as they say. I also prefer the non hand-holdiness of older games a lot of the time.

I wholeheartedly agree with UI and control scheme as a showstopper (I bounced off the original xcom many times because of this), but would like to add that it's really hard to go back to early 3D era games as well. I don't mind sprite based graphics or 3D starting at PS2, but in between... Nope!

Lots of N64 games really are hideous to look at...
On average, PS1 and Saturn 3D games aged slightly better in my opinion.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Lots of N64 games really are hideous to look at...
On average, PS1 and Saturn 3D games aged slightly better in my opinion.

So true, a while back I decided to play back through Shadows of the Empire on the 64 because I loved that game. My poor eyes made me give up pretty quickly, it was jarring. The good games from that era are ones that game developers should look at remaking, because they're hard to revisit once you've become use to modern 3d graphics.

beanman101283 wrote:

Agreed, it's controls and camera that are the real hurdle. I can get used to older graphics, but trying to play, say, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, with its bizarre click to move and mouse swipe combat controls just makes it too much of a chore every time I've tried.

I totally agree with this. Games that handle well, and that have UIs that that make interface easy, age particularly well. Among platformers, I think a good example of this is Super Metroid, which despite being quite old now, has graphics that are still pleasing to look at and make it easy to tell how you can interact with the environment. Samus is also relatively easy to control, with the exception of the wall jump. On the other hand, despite that I enjoyed them as a kid, I don't think I would ever go back and play any of the NES Castlevania games. Simon and Trevor Belmont move like Frankenstein's monster, and their jump is atrocious.

In the CRPG realm, a game that I think has held up really well is Might & Magic 4-5: World of Xeen. An automap, quest log, and tons of hotkeys in a 1993 game? Yes please!

I wholeheartedly agree with UI and control scheme as a showstopper (I bounced off the original xcom many times because of this), but would like to add that it's really hard to go back to early 3D era games as well. I don't mind sprite based graphics or 3D starting at PS2, but in between... Nope!

Agree with this too. As an example, I think Final Fantasy VII benefits enormously from nostalgia.

Suikoden III is great, definitely better than the first game. There is this really brilliant 3 character mechanic that actually pays off quite early on. However, the random battles are painfully slow. They weren't great back in the day and nowadays I can't imagine anyone would be able to look past them. If you could somehow play the game with an emulator that allows you to set the speed to 3-4x just for the battles then it might be playable I guess. I still have very fond memories of that game.

If we're rating Suikodens I'd go 2>3>Tierkreis>1>5>>>>>4.

I'm always wary of recommending old games to others specifically because I know how much my nostalgia fits into it. Example: About once every 3 years, I play through Actraiser again and love it. But technically, there are plenty of side scroller action titles and city building games that do both aspects much better than Actraiser so I don't know if the novelty of the whole thing would stand up to someone playing it for the first time today.

dejanzie wrote:

I wholeheartedly agree with UI and control scheme as a showstopper (I bounced off the original xcom many times because of this), but would like to add that it's really hard to go back to early 3D era games as well. I don't mind sprite based graphics or 3D starting at PS2, but in between... Nope!

I feel like this era is a double whammy. The graphics have aged so poorly because they were just starting to understand 3D, but that also meant they usually haven't figured out a good control system yet. So it's terrible models in front of muddy backgrounds and the movement feels off as well.

Warriorpoet897 wrote:

I also prefer the non hand-holdiness of older games a lot of the time.

I agree but with a major caveat that the non hand-holdiness of some older PC games, particularly strategy, really hasn't held up for me unless I already played them in my youth and remember at least the basics. The tedious tutorials these days where the game teaches you that moving your mouse to the left moves the camera left can be pretty bad, but the classic games that basically just start with the assumption that you spent the last 5 hours reading through the 150 page manual twice and memorizing the shortcuts is too much in the other direction for me.

LastSurprise wrote:

In the CRPG realm, a game that I think has held up really well is Might & Magic 4-5: World of Xeen. An automap, quest log, and tons of hotkeys in a 1993 game? Yes please!

Why World of Xeen hasn't made it to Android or iOS is beyond me, the bright crisp graphics hold up well with a simple filter and the controls are ideal for a touch screen.

kuddles wrote:

I'm always wary of recommending old games to others specifically because I know how much my nostalgia fits into it.

Nowadays I'm self conscious about that too, unless the old game has easy-to-install mods that update graphics and controls for modern systems. Examples of series' with healthy mod scenes would be OG Doom, Quake, and Thief.

EVO for SNES?