Let’s Not Lose Sight Of The Future

By Jim Rossignol on October 25th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.


Last week I found myself in two conversations about resurrecting dead games. One was about Homeworld: I’d made a flippant comment about pressuring Relic to do a Kickstarter to make a sequel, and other people agreed. If Double Fine can raise millions for a point ‘n click, then why not millions for our lost and beloved space RTS? The other was about Syndicate. Wouldn’t it be great if we got a Syndicate sequel, finally, in the way we got a “proper” X-Com remake? No right-minded gamer would disagree. Hell, Paradox even seem to be planning to do so.

But I got to thinking about how this turn to “how games used to be” shouldn’t be about nostalgia, or the past at all, really. It should be about the future. The point of looking back must be to identify, rescue and save the futures we were promised.


Syndicate and Homeworld are both great games. You can go and play them now and still have a fantastic time. That won’t change. Superficially, at least, asking for remakes of those games means capturing that experience: playing a great game as it was then, only better, because it’s now.

And that’s second part is the key bit. When we’re talking about “old school” and “like they used to make” we mustn’t miss either what made them great, or what needs to be done to make them great now. We can see some clear failures in that regard, like this one, or this one. But we also need to recognise the spirit in which they were made. It’s not about making the same games, but capturing the same feelings, principles, and attitudes. Furthermore, games do not stand alone. They are part of a continuum: the games that went before, and the games that will follow. Games are tied to the march of technology, and their narrative as a medium implies evolution and continuation. The most important lesson to be learned from games history is what the future might look like.


That’s the thing which has gnawing at me in the past few months: the knowledge that what really drove my interest in games at the time I was so thrilled by the likes of Syndicate, was the sense of The New. Syndicate was amazing because it was a brilliantly designed game, yes, but it was also so thrilling because it was the future opening up right in front of me. It wasn’t a remake of something I’d seen before, it was a completely new experience: that fact commanded my attention, and fired my imagination. It was better than a hundred well-engineered, highly-entertaining iterations of familiar systems and gameplay concepts, because it provided a new experience. It was a new outpost on a frontier that game developers and gamers were exploring together, a sort of neoteric fragment – the future being distributed, via the mail-order pages in the back of an Amiga magazine – directly to my front door. Amazing.

But it wasn’t something that happened in a vacuum. All the games that fed into it – all the things that Bullfrog had already achieved – fed into it.

The reason I feel angry when I see genres being closed off and big publisher execs saying that “X or Y genre is dead” isn’t so much that I care about how it used to be, but that I care about how it might have been, or might yet be. They’re shutting off the futures that these old games were becoming.

When Firaxis’ X-Com hit I read multiple people say: “Why weren’t they making these games all along?” The reason was because publishers and developers had lost sight out of how to make turn-based games exciting, and how to make them sell. It wasn’t that the idea of turn-based games was obsolete, or a commercial implausibility, or just a dead end, it was that the people who made those games had lost sight of the future of that idea.


Let’s be clear: I don’t want the future of gaming to be remakes of old games in the latest version of the Unreal engine. If there is a direct sequel of Homeworld or Syndicate, and it faithfully recreates the mechanics of those games in a new, pretty engine, then that’ll probably be fine. But what I really want is the next step: the living future cities and cyberpunk sub-realities of crowd-control and complex emergent assassination that Syndicate promised. I want the soulful galactic epics of concept-art-beautiful spaceships that Homeworld was simply the first iteration of. I want all the strange futures that “dead ends” like Sacrifice or Outcast were the seeds of.

I want games like they used to make, and I want future games like those games used to promise.

When Dishonored was complete I found myself saying something like “hooray, we got another game like that Ion Storm past seemed to suggest we’d get,” and I’d said the same when DXHR arrived, only without as much conviction. I wasn’t alone in that.

X-Com probably outlines this most clearly – and both the Double Fine and Obsidian Kickstarters have the potential to deliver on it too – they are all projects which will continue developing ideas that were put on hold. Evolution has been allowed to continue. What’s important is that the full potential of gaming, as explored in so many lost ideas across the years, gets realised. There are so many lost threads, like these ones, and so many failed ambitions, like this one, that should not be seen as warnings to turn back.

It doesn’t have to come from crowd-funding, as we’ve seen. Perhaps big publishers, too, can find it in their giant, glass hearts to extricate themselves from the tentacles of the risk-aversion monster, and to commission not a remake of Syndicate or Homeworld, but instead the games that will, in a decade or two’s time, be the subject of that same serious nostalgia for another generation.

We live in hope. We live in the future.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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164 Comments »

  1. Kestrel says:

    The future is more Dwarf Fortress.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      Dwarf Fortress is certainly my favourite flavour of future.

      Depth (not a mining pun) creates emergent experiences which, in my opinion, are the experiences we remember the most when we recall our gaming highlights.

      I played a lot of MMO’s in my time, I don’t remember game mechanics, I remember incidents involving friends and/or enemies, the mechanics were barely relevant to the experience.

      When played solo games can create similar experiences if there is enough depth of content and mechanics to create an experience the player will feel is uniquely theirs.

      Homeworld, Syndicate, Baldurs Gate, XCOM, Frontier, Midwinter… complex games that gave rise to the possibility of a unique experience, the potential for failure not fixed by a re-spawn, a challenge that’s beatable but even losing can be memorable.

      There are many lessons that were ignored or forgotten from the early days of gaming.

      The roller-coaster rides of modern single-player experiences thrill you till they’re over, then the game is a coaster or a digital thumbnail on Steam, Origin, Desura et al.

      Of course Monkey Island spanners my argument but I’m too lazy to expand and I have hoovering to do.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Dwarf Fortress has steadily gotten worse since 2010, not better. Performance has declined as more superfluous nonsense has been added. The UI has only become more cluttered, inconsistent, and annoying to use.

      The “nonsense” I refer to is beautiful nonsense. But Dwarf Fortress will very soon not be a sandbox game, it will be a simulation of a virtual environment. A very, very, very slow one.

      • BoZo says:

        My greatest wish for Dwarf Fortress is that Toady would be able to make it multi-threaded…

      • Amun says:

        In 10 billion years, when DF is completed, our species will become a glorious post-biological race of hyper intelligent demi-gods living in perfect harmony with the cosmos, we’ll STILL have trouble with the interface.

        • Geen says:

          And as we bow down to Grand Immortal Toady One, we will realize…
          Hey! Look! That dead guy dropped a sock!

    • WCG says:

      I certainly hope that the future is more like Dwarf Fortress. I’ve been waiting patiently for more game developers to learn from that. I want the kind of game where I can tell my own story, just through how I play the game (and the procedural content and procedural NPC actions which are different in every game).

  2. adamsorkin says:

    I’d love to see sacrifice revisited. What a weird, fun game.

    • RedViv says:

      We did see Sacrifice: Heavy Metal Edition from Double Fine. Then again, Sacrifice was already very much capital M Metal…

      • InternetBatman says:

        If only that game was on PC. Where’s Steve Dengler when you need him?

    • coffeetable says:

      In my mind Sacrifice is only matched by Freespace 2 when it comes to stuff I can’t believe wasn’t successful.

      e: Looking into it, the leads of FS2 are all still at Volition. Fingers crossed that they’ve noticed this Kickstarter thing.

      • Xocrates says:

        Sacrifice is a curious case.

        Even aside of the seldom replicated gameplay, it has a wonderful campaign (both in structure, character and plot ) and a art style that still holds remarkably well today.

        On the other hand, battles tend to be either prolonged stalemates or horrifying steamrolls, with very little else in between.

        It’s a wonderful game, but the future it should had led us to is far better than the game itself.

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        If they were to make a Freespace 3, I would buy it SO HARD. TEN TIMES. I love the Freespace games so much, I’ve poured so much time into them. They just get the mechanics of space combat perfectly right, and do an unbelievable job of actually tying the story into the game. If there is a ten kilometer long destroyer that gets blown up, it doesn’t happen in a cutscene; you get to do it.

        • caddyB says:

          I cried out in joy when we killed that big huge enemy ship. Then I cried manly tears when our big human ship died.

          You know what I mean, I don’t want to spoil things.

        • MrPyro says:

          I’d love to see something like Wing Commander Armada again; having a strategic top level above the space shootings.

      • Gyro says:

        One of the principal problems with making Freespace 3 is that Interplay still owns the Freespace IP.

        • Dave L. says:

          I said this in an older comment thread when Freespace came up: Interplay doesn’t own the IP. The Freespace trademark has lapsed, and Volition owns the copyright.

          • TCM says:

            Intellectual property law: Confusing everyone since Night of the Living Dead turned out to be in the public domain.

          • jrodman says:

            Not the least of which because “intellectual property” isn’t a thing, it doesn’t exist. There are in fact a variety of completely unrelated things, such as trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. They are not similar.

            It’s like referring to “human relationship law” and then having it actually break down into contracts, marriage, theft, and muggings.

      • drewski says:

        I’m as open minded as gamers get and I really wanted to like Sacrifice, but it just isn’t fun unless you’re awesome at it. Even the devs admitted they got carried away with making the game they wanted instead of a game other people could play. Difficulty brick walls are bad enough in easily comprehensible games,, let alone esoteric cross genre mashups.

      • Gnoupi says:

        Startopia says hi, in things that pop to mind.

  3. InternetBatman says:

    Even though Spore didn’t quite achieve it’s ambitions, it still had an incredible amount going on. Three of the five sections were pretty fun to boot. I wouldn’t call it failed at all, just overhyped.

    I can’t think of any other games that let you design your character with as much fidelity, generate an entire procedural universe, draw content from other players to populate that universe, and then actually lets you walk on those planets.

    There were a ton of nice small touches too, like making friends with a creature in creature mode would domesticate it for tribes mode, and it would be one of your terraforming animals for space mode.

    • Hodge says:

      Yeah. I confess that I wasn’t too fond of it on release but I keep meaning to go back to it to see how it holds up.

      • Biscuitry says:

        Better than you’d think. It’s actually a decent game once you’ve put it away long enough to get over the initial disappointment.

        Don’t believe what it says, though; you don’t really need Origin for the latest patch.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I would recommend the second expansion pack if you do try it. The content is okay (the robot chicken stuff is decent ; like most of the game it lacks depth though) but the expansion to walking around the universe it offers is priceless.

    • Xocrates says:

      Aye, Spore’s problem was 90% how overhyped and overexposed it was. Granted, it’s flawed in many aspects, but I suspect that with a little less hype leading to release it would be a cult classic as opposed to the infamous punchline many treat it as.

      • Lenderz says:

        Over hyped perhaps, but I would have loved to have given them some money but I refused in protest of the 3 activation limit that EA imposed upon release. We mustn’t lose sight of the future, but my god I’m not supporting business practices like that, and as I’m not a raving hypocrite it meant I’ve never played it, which kinda makes me sad.

        I realise they rolled it back later or raised the limit, but I was so annoyed about how PC gamers were all being treated as criminals at that time that I couldn’t go back on my personal boycott principles.

        • Amun says:

          I pirated spore because I’m not going to spend money on things that I can’t own. Anyway, I wasn’t too impressed with the game, but my girlfriend at the time loved it. My piracy meant she could try it out and her trying it led to her own copy.

          And yes, I WOULD download a car.

    • goettel says:

      Once it became clear (pre-release) that any realistic notion of evolution and natural selection had been dropped (allegedly because of internal creationist vs. science discussions) in favor of dumbed-down design, I became very sceptical. Bought it, tried it, and had my worst fears confirmed.

      That the game was subsequently chided by the creationist crowd for being “anti-Christian” was just an hillarious bit of irony.

      To me, Spore was one of the biggest gaming disappointments of that decade.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I actually got Spore because I was doing a paper at the time on the portrayal of evolution in games. I found games with evolution overwhelmingly have teleological flaws; that is they always view evolution as an end-based process, because it most easily corresponds with the ascent to power players expect.

        More accurately evolution is a process that happens to populations that does not necessarily make them stronger, faster, or hardier, it makes them better adapted to their environment. That’s a very passive process with few opportunities for player intervention. It might be interesting to play a game where you influence evolution by affect geography and climate (as well as separating populations).

        So while Spore doesn’t have an accurate depiction of Evolution, it might be a better game for it.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          “That’s a very passive process with few opportunities for player intervention.”

          Actually, placing creatures in a certain environment or having them undergo certain experiences so they’ll adapt and change would be an interesting game mechanic that could easily replace things like tech trees.

  4. Brun says:

    Agree completely with pretty much everything in the article.

    • rawrty says:

      Yes this is an excellent point. This is part of the reason why I really get excited about Kickstarters that do exceptionally well for ‘old-school’ games.

      It’s partly for the game itself, sure. But the other part of it to me is that these successes are showing publishers and developers that there are plenty of people out there willing to pay good money for those kind of games. I hope that this will eventually revitilize some genres that were currently considered dead or stagnating.

    • Cinek says:

      Yep, me too.
      As for Homeworld remake – my first question would be “how much for highest tier rewards”! :D Hehehe, simply because I really love this game and I just wouldn’t be able to pass on anything they could offer related to this one! :)

  5. StevoIRL says:

    What is the source of the title image? Looks fantastic.

  6. Shiri says:

    Sacrifice was fantastic. I think people still play it today, but I can’t get the multiplayer to work even semi-consistently anymore (I see some weird ghosts in the chatroom when I try though.)

  7. Lobotomist says:

    As a indie game designer of an “old school” rpg , this is my philosophy :

    Find out what made old school RPG games so good. Try to play them now. You will probably be annoyed. Why ? Find out what made them bad (in today standards). The games evolved since 1980s. There must be some good things in this evolution. Find out what they are.

    Now Take all the conclusions. Combine them in one NEW game.

  8. unangbangkay says:

    Not to sound pedantic, but I think this is all a given, and will happen naturally. Game design can only go forward, even when what sells today seems somehow regressive.

    When we talk about resurrecting old-school games, even the designers that will attempt to do so, either by will or aided by the likes of Kickstarter, can NEVER escape whatever lessons they’ve learned from every other game they’ve made since, and will, consciously or otherwise, keep those lessons in mind. Even though they’re making Project Eternity in the spirit of Torment, Obsidian will never forget what it learned from making Alpha Protocol, or KotOR 2, or NWN 2, or New Vegas. The only question is how they will take those lessons and apply them to make Eternity better.

    And the games that willfully ignore their past, or trade solely on nostalgia? Well, the market, as well as the designers themselves, seems to have recognized the weakness of their pitches and weeded them out.

    Artificial pressure to suppress ideas that publishers or even the audience aren’t imaginative enough to appreciate will always exist, but truly progressive design will eventually triumph. Always.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      That’s not pedantic, just perhaps a little overly optimistic.

      I can see plenty of areas where games are stagnating, or reinventing the wheel, or simply NOT knowing the lessons of history. I’ve talked to scores of game designers over the years who are unaware of the lessons of the games that preceded them – the space MMO devs who had never heard of Eve being a classic example.

      And there are plenty of examples of entire formats stagnating: look at the struggle comics have to step outside the superhero hegemony. That’s not to say there’s not amazing non-superhero work being done, just that – as a cultural bloc – it ended up get stuck in spandexland.

      • Kestrel says:

        You’re sounding very elitist, Jim.

        I like it.

      • jorygriffis says:

        I think the comics comparison is a very strong one. I love indie comics and zines, but there’s not a chance they will ever hold more than a tiny sliver of the market when almost all buyers just want more inbred superhero stories. Strangely, I think indie games, through examples like Minecraft and the extreme successes of a few of these Kickstarter campaigns, actually have been making more forward progress than the indie comics scene has. Let’s have another round of optimism!

        • The Random One says:

          Psht, there is no way the market is just dudes in spandex. But if you don’t like spandex, you have no reason to suspect the comic market has anything beyond that and so you will not look for it and will never find out about the comics that you would enjoy.

          The comparison is indeed apt, though. Comics are our darkest possible future: a homogenized market, capable of appealing only to rich straight white males or those that think like them, which recognizes its need to diversify but is terrified of losing their rabid established fan base, not noticing that this pandering is why they can never reach other demographics. Eventually they become trapped: remaking the old feels stale, but any time they try anything new it comes out blundering at best and offensive at worst. Meanwhile, the creative indies and hobbyists are eclipsed by a dying industry that tricks even itself into believing they are the medium.

          Ha! Like THAT could ever happen to games!

      • Josh W says:

        Some historians claim that those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. I say something different; history runs off irreversible changes, of which recording and reacting to recordings is one: You can make history by recording it, but other marks last.

        Games could progress based on the wreckage of previous mistakes, where the blockbusters become saturated, their companies collapse, and a garden of indie games builds up in the wreckage, but no-one gets investment to make a big game for years afterwards.

        That’s some post-apocolyptic version, but we can have better futures if we have a better means of escaping repetition.

        Being inspired by and learning from the past is a very good way to do this, as is old designers teaching younger ones the mistakes they made (and when making those mistakes turned out fine anyway).

      • fooga44 says:

        EVE is a bad game, how about MMO devs that have never heard of Freespace 1 + 2 now that is tragedy.

        Freespace 2 open trailer

        Original Freespace intro

        • TCM says:

          Freespace is not an MMO.

          EVE is the single most successful space-based MMO game around.

          Regardless of what you think of its quality, not having any knowledge of it is a sure way to repeat its failures without matching its successes.

          • fooga44 says:

            It’s “success” comes from exploiting the retarded half of the gaming population with no gaming skills, it doesn’t cater to the audience that likes Space sims, it caters to the MMO newbie crowd that likes mad bad UI and game design with easy automated gameplay. Freespace was released too early in PC gaming history sadly back when graphics were much worse. Eve was released way after Freespace 1 + 2 were made.

          • TCM says:

            That wooshing sound was the point flying right over your head.

            Also, ‘retarded’? Classy.

          • Ovno says:

            If all you can see of eve is that it caters to mentally challenged people with no gaming skills, then you might want to look in a mirror before you start throwing around such insults…

        • Lenderz says:

          EVE is a brilliant game, I loved it for 3-4 years and the emergent gameplay opportunities are fantastic, I understand that its not for everyone, but insulting those who do “get it” is simply childish.

          Its very much the fishermans friend of gaming, and not for all gamers and does require a high investment of time, its the kind of game you get out what you put in.

      • unangbangkay says:

        Stagnating genres, particularly in MMOs, are exactly a good example of my semi-Darwinian view of the situation. Subscription MMOs in the mold of Everquest are either in decline or not doing well, hence they are moving to the easier-to-swallow (for the consumer at least) F2P model, or simply failing outright. That’s an example of the market weeding out trends that are weakening, as well as an example of weakening trends moving to a position more relevant to the times. EVE and other MMOs that do a successful job of justifying their subscriptions are – surprised – managing to stay on the model and remain afloat.

        Yes, letting failures fail is a bit Randian and in its own way could have irreversible consequences (i.e. the closure of studios or laying off of development staff), but we’re talking about things for which free market principles still apply (compared to, say, the way health care works and isn’t effectively compatible with same).

      • Arathain says:

        Yeah, the inability to learn even the lessons of your own genre is frustrating. To stay on MMOs, one of the major issues with the genre is that for being social it is always difficult to play with your real life friends. You have to level together, and stay geared sufficiently to run the same content. It doesn’t work out very often.

        There’s no need for this. It’s a solved problem. In the soon to be shut down City of Heroes you are able to temporarily alter your level to that of another player- the Sidekick system. If this wasn’t enough they later introduced another mechanic, the levelling pact, whereby your experience could be permanently shared with a friend’s character, so even if you wanted to play when they couldn’t you would stay the same level. This from a game that was released before WoW.

        Guild Wars 2 is one of the only games I know to try a basic form of level scaling, but it’s still inferior to that of CoH.

  9. pelham.tovey says:

    Whilst I agree with the article I think an important first step will be the diversification of mainstream games, even at the cost of some unimaginative remakes and sequels to ancient franchises. In the long term it will serve to show their viability to the business brains who fear anything with a niche audience.

    Of course the second strand to this will be developers eventually realising it’s more important to recreate the spirit of the games that inspire them rather than trying to mimic them with minor alterations, but hopefully that will come.

  10. Poliphilo says:

    Signed. the internet.

    It’s great to see what I’ve always thought put into words so eloquently. It’s a shame so much of the last decade has been wasted on crap ideas regurgitated through a money-filter, but ultimately no future is ever “lost” as long as there’s one person out there who still wants to follow it through and develop something new.

  11. RedViv says:

    I agree. I want more new games to capture the palate of “lost” titles, rather than go for a direct copy of mechanics or style or, bah, painting a completely different title with something resembling the brand colours. The latter are the most infuriating to me.

  12. Hanban says:

    Homeworld, I love you!

  13. Jim9137 says:

    I have to admit that personally, going ‘old games! Remember old games?’ is a worrying sign in games design, as it may suggest a lack of sight for the direction of new, interesting games. The new X-Com to me, while a decent game, seems to exemplify this. It plays like it should, there are hardly any surprises, and they took the concept and simply slimmed it down to current standards. It’s an obnoxious comment to make, but I have to wonder if that was all they could have really pushed it towards? Was it really a step forward – or as I strongly feel, a step backwards? Did their grinder remove all what made the original interesting, cutthroat effort into much more digestible yet boring consumable?

    Then again, you get this with every art form. Each generation ignores the previous one, and looks at the one before that longingly. I suspect games will be no different.

    • Simes says:

      I very much enjoyed XCOM, but I think the most important thing about XCOM is not that they managed to sell a repackaged version of an old game but that they managed to sell a turn-based game. And as someone who loves turn-based games, that makes me much more optimistic than I had previously been.

      • Brun says:

        It’s not like X-COM was the first turn-based game in a decade. There have been turn-based games appearing regularly, and some of them have even been successful (Civilization IV and V).

        • TCM says:

          It isn’t just about being Turn-Based, though — Civilization is a very different game from XCOM, is a very different game from Fire Emblem, is a very different game from Valkyria Chronicles, is a very different game from Jagged Alliance.

          ‘Turn Based Strategy’ is a meaningless genre, and that is saying something when all genre lines have become increasingly meaningless as time has gone on. The sooner the game industry abandons the concept of separating and developing games according to a vague, high-level definition of their mechanics, as opposed to their actual content, the better.

          (After all, we don’t have film genres of ‘Wide Screen’, ‘Black and White’, ‘IMAX’, ’3D’, etc, do we? We categorize films, books, and other forms of media based on their story content, writing style, etc. Not based on their mechanics.)

          • Josh W says:

            Silent movies?

          • TCM says:

            I wouldn’t put, say, ‘The Artist’ in the same genre as a Charlie Chaplin film.

          • Josh W says:

            Nah, but the comparison means something.

            Anyway, in games, mechanics have this vast importance: They are not merely technical details, they are like the structure of a plot. In many cases, they form the structure of the narratives we tell about the games.

            Silent vs talkies, digital effects vs physical, each of these changes produces potential for new emotional effects, and looses some of the old character, but in games, the very experience and position of the observer alters based on them.

            It’s like one film that much be watched upside down, or after 3 cups of coffee, or something. Games of different genres demand different things from you in order to interact with them. They vastly alter the experience.

          • Dervish says:

            “Meaningless” does not mean “broad.” “Turn-based strategy” is a very broad label independent of any other qualifiers, but it’s not meaningless (everyone can instantly think of dozens of games that don’t qualify), and it’s not useless either. Taxonomy is especially important for games because of the iterative nature of their creation–the taxonomy of games is not much different than its history.

            Yes, dumb people like to say stupid things about labels, but we don’t have to let them ruin things.

    • Brun says:

      Was it really a step forward – or as I strongly feel, a step backwards?

      Of course it was a step backwards. That’s the point – they went back to concepts and ideas developed back in the 90′s and constructed a modern game around them. The Dishonored WIT put it nicely when they said the game felt like it had come from an alternate timeline in which the late-90′s “golden age” of gaming never ended. Continuing with that analogy, the XCOM developers wanted to follow that alternate timeline, but to do that they had to go back to where that timeline diverged and developed into the video game landscape with which we are familiar today.

      • Jim9137 says:

        In that sense, yes. But I was more talking about the progression Laser Squad started, original X-com pinnacled and now in my view, the latest X-com regressed. It’s still a solid effort, but from my viewpoint they took the path into much more trodden, weary design.

      • mckertis says:

        “they went back to concepts and ideas developed back in the 90′s”

        They did ?? I’d say they went to the 70′s boardgames, there is nothing in XCOM mechanics that came from a videogame.

    • Calabi says:

      I was disappointed with XCOM, like you said it was a slimmed down version of the original which perhaps isnt a bad thing but it could have been so much more.

      There was plenty of directions they could have went with in it. They didnt really examine the concept just took the original concept and copied it wholesale.

      Imagine if you were the head of an FBI type government agency, with worldwide jurisdiction. They took that idea and made it kind of dull.

    • fooga44 says:

      “going ‘old games! Remember old games?’ is a worrying sign in games design”

      No it’s not since the most successful ‘new games’ are the children of old games (call of duty and halo are the children of Wolf 3D, Doom and Duke nukem).

      Most “New games” are just old games that have proven to sell well lets not forget this fact, and most modern new games actually REMOVE the game to sell more units, lets not also forget that fact.

      The vast majority of ‘modern games’ insert movie/story and remove/minimize the game aspect, thats why people are pining for old games when the game was the focus. Not the the story, the voice actors/universe/etc. When you came to games for GAME PLAY, PLAY being the operative word.

      Too many ‘gamers’ (if they could be called that) don’t want games at all they want cinematic experiences with a tiny side of game mechanics thats shallow and easy to tool around in before they go back to doing whatever. We see this with MMO’s all the time being that MMO design is casualized out the wazoo.

  14. Hunchback says:

    Homeworld! Sacrifice! OMG!

    Remember that amazing opening Homeworld had, with Adagio for Strings?
    Probably the best game opening ever…

    • arccos says:

      What really made it effective is that it’s not quite the opening of the game. It’s after you already get attached to the background story and the hope involved in the systems test.

  15. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    But what I really want is the next step: the living future cities and cyberpunk sub-realities of crowd-control and complex emergent assassination that Syndicate promised.

    I think you want Cyberpunk. As do I. Hey, sometimes wishes do come true.

    On a more serious note, for me Cyberpunk 2077 is (hopefully) going to fulfil this need. It’s possibly the game I’ve been waiting my whole life for, and even last year I wouldn’t have considered it would be done faithfully.

  16. Soolseem says:

    The fact that some of the better ideas from Spore haven’t been reiterated and expanded on in new games is a tragedy.

    • Brun says:

      They’re making a comeback, unsurprisingly from EA – the player content integration concepts are in the new SimCity.

      • TCM says:

        Sadly, some of Spore’s worst concepts are also coming back there.

        I remain wary.

    • Lemming says:

      Indeed, I still think it is utter madness that someone hasn’t constructed a cutesy overhead version of Elite 2:Frontier using the space portion of the game.

  17. daphne says:

    A well written piece — I was expecting one like this ever since you referred to Bloodlines being representative of a future that was denied.

  18. dontnormally says:

    “But what I really want is the next step: the living future cities and cyberpunk sub-realities of crowd-control and complex emergent assassination that Syndicate promised. “

    I’ve been waiting a long time for this.

  19. Hodge says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. I always have a slight twinge of guilt whenever I pledge to one of those Kickstarters because in a way I feel like I’m tacitly supporting a kind of sequel culture… or just saying ‘here, mine my nostalgia’.

    But I’m not interested in funding nostalgia, I’m interested in funding something which might make me feel the way I felt when I played Grim Fandango for the first time, which was very much the sensation of something wonderful and new. That’s why they’ve got my money.

  20. jorygriffis says:

    This is precisely what I’ve been thinking about all the nostalgia-vs.-progress business. Let’s think for a minute why we’re so nostalgic for these old games! It’s not just because we were younger when we played them.

  21. Cinnamon says:

    Yes. I think that the important thing is not to reboot old IP to use the current game industry development practices but to reboot game industry development practices using old IP.

  22. Moraven says:

    Turn-based games have thrived in Japan on consoles. Downside is not all of them get localized over. Of course this is focused on PC games, but what we have been left empty has been filled in other avenues.

    Now if Sega would port Valkyria Chronicles to PC…(Reason I originally bought a PS3). Seeing how popular XCom is I think it would sell well. You have command points instead of each unit moving once, every unit if I recall is kinda on a passive overwatch. When you fire a weapon you actually aim (so you can say aim for head with a sniper), which has its reticle size and chance to hit the middle. Cover system, vehicles.

    Everyone who likes XCom should play VC.

    • subedii says:

      Valkyria Chronicles is actually another aspect of why publishers are so utterly horrified at the prospect of something that’s not mercilessly copying Call of Duty. Or possibly Kinect dance games.

      Basically VC was a high profile, relatively high budget PS3 title with aforesaid turn based strategy (and standard JRPG characters and tropes that I’m not too huge a fan of, but that’s neither here-nor-there). It also tanked.

      Not badly, but it was nowhere near the success they were hoping for, and certainly not enough to warrant the full scale modern console release.

      Everyone goes on about Valkyria Chronicles and how amazing it was, but that aside the fundamental fact of the matter is that it never again appeared on the PS3. Its two direct sequels were both PSP games, developed with a much lower budget. As it is, it’s a little amazing that the series managed to survive at all.

      If anything signifies the fear that publishers have of things like this, it’s pretty neatly encapsulated with what happened to VC.

      • TCM says:

        And then SEGA, in their infinite wisdom, decided against bringing any more PSP games to western countries, because the PSP market over here is so much smaller than in Japan.

        I cannot say I blame it as a business decision, but VC3 honestly looked like a far superior game to VC2 (which I enjoyed, but not for the same reasons as VC1).

      • Jorum says:

        Problem with VC is I would have bought it in an instant, except I didn’t have a PS3 and there was pretty much bugger-all else available on PS3 at that time that I was interested in.

      • Moraven says:

        Maybe it happened to early in the PS3 life? Maybe going multiplatform might have saved it. Bigger marketing.

        Xcom is multiplatform and seems to have a huge marketing campaign behind it along with some hype and good word of mouth. Seeing it on the likes of espn and the futurama tie in ad, a couple examples.

        The non hardcore games have to know your game exists and is good to sell. Look at Homefront selling with how mediocre it was but had a huge ad campaign (still did not sell enough to offset the costs, but sold over 2 million I think it was).

        I am hopeful with the recent PC release of Viking Sega would port VC. But since it was PS3 only, it would probably be a pain to do so.

  23. WMain00 says:

    The future is iterative productions of the same war game, sport game or action game we played last year, repeated, until said game’s franchise is run into the ground. Upon that day a new IP will be made and the cycle will be repeated.

    I hate to be cynical, but the future is not bright for the industry. It is – in some ways – similar to how the movie or music industry works. Create what sells is always better than create something new. Right now what is selling is nostalgia, so continue to chew your fill because there isn’t much in the way of alternatives.

  24. Demiath says:

    The future is nice and all, but some of us really do want to go back and play games which are designed with graphics and gameplay mechanics of a previous generation in mind. Innovation and forward-thinking will creep its way into even the most blatantly reactionary Kickstarter project (the games are inevitably being designed now, not then), but it takes a certain ideological rigidity to assume that innovation is necessarily a good thing in and of itself.

    One of my favorite games of the last few years is a small PC RPG called Knights of the Chalice, which wouldn’t be the same without its very low-res graphics and intimidating stats-heavy menus. There are integral parts of the experience – without being stylized or knowingly retro as some artsy indie titles are – while also being veritable “dead ends” in game design to a much greater extent than anything in Outcast or Syndicate ever was. Merely resurrecting a gameplay model with a proven track record is perhaps not something game jornos get overly excited about, but I and many others like me do (as crazy as that might apparently seem). And please note that there’s no real nostalgia involved here (methinks the nostalgia card is used a bit too carelessly by Kickstarter skeptics); I certainly didn’t grow up playing games that look like KoTC but I have learnt to appreciate them and want to play more games (exactly) like that.

    • TCM says:

      But the entire idea that a game in development should have its highest bar be a previously set standard is nonsense — that is what causes stagnation, and it’s plain to see with various other games that have come out recently. Activision does not seek to advance Call of Duty, merely to meet the standard they have previously set. Previously, they did this with Guitar Hero, until the rhythm game genre was run into the dirt, squeezed of all life.

      There always has to be ambition in design — you cannot be content to chase after the glory of a bygone era, nor can you be content merely to live up to an acceptable standard. You MUST pursue the new, the untested, and the untried, to be truly great.

      (This can also cause colossal, public failure, of course, but there must be casualties for the medium to advance as a whole.)

    • Consumatopia says:

      “it takes a certain ideological rigidity to assume that innovation is necessarily a good thing in and of itself.”

      It’s not that new things are good because they’re new, it’s that the set of already existing games is but an infinitesimally narrow slice of all possible games.

    • Demiath says:

      I reject the underlying assumption that this is an either/or proposition; a couple of millions invested in retro Kickstarter projects is not somehow magically going to stifle innovation. The game industry is full of talented people trying to produce paradigm shifts in game design every day (but save for the indie joints they probably need more money than crowdfunding can ever amass to do it, so that’s something to take up with conventional publishers).

      Having an alternative for us who don’t actually care about playing “all possible games” (what’s wrong with sometimes sticking with what works, if that’s what we want at that specific point?) seems to be an entirely legitimate and modest proposal which really shouldn’t be so controversial. Unless, of course, we have completely forgotten what “tradition” means and the values it stands for (yes, on some level I do believe this all comes back to prevailing ideologies).

    • ffordesoon says:

      Am I the only one who sees a bit of irony in your example?

      Knights of the Chalice is a relatively new game, if I recall correctly. There’s a difference between retro and old.

  25. Flappybat says:

    I never understood why tactical and construction games didn’t survive in any real sense. Prison Tycoon is the first proper resurgence of a genre that has been lost to poorly made low budget European games. Xcom is a stab at something that has been pretty dead other than Silent Storm and the bad Jagged Alliance reboot.

    • Brun says:

      They did survive, in a sense. Their remnants are even today played on the internet, on sites like Facebook, and their names are Farmville and CityVille.

      But yeah. Remember Rollercoaster Tycoon? Loved that game.

    • TCM says:

      Tactical games survived, just not in the west — Japan’s SRPG genre carried the torch in the late 90s and early 2000s, though it’s now become over saturated and beginning to stagnate.

      Construction and Management I know less about, but Dwarf Fortress certainly does an admirable job at it.

      • InternetBatman says:

        What about King’s Bounty and Blood Bowl?

        • TCM says:

          King’s Bounty is a strategy game with RPG elements pretending to be a tactical game.

          Blood Bowl is a miniatures game, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

        • InternetBatman says:

          It seems like if you divide things that finely you’re doomed to stagnation, merely because something has to keep most of the qualities of a previous game to be compared to it.

  26. Jorum says:

    I want a return to the promise of strange open worlds to explore, the kind of thing Outcast gave us.
    An alien world – truly alien, rather than the reskinned America worlds of star-trek and 99% of games.
    An alien world full of strange and wonderous geography and creatures and cultures and rules and things that I don’t understand.

    We’ve not had anything even trying that in open world since Morrowind.

    The best example in recent times was Zeno Clash, and was a linear FPS for gods sake.
    Imagine an open world with as much imagination and boldness to be weird.

    • TCM says:

      Creating something too far removed from the familiar disconnects the audience from your world, I think — it’s why humanoid figures are used as player avatars in almost any game I can think of, and on a personal level, why Zeno Clash felt devoid of emotion to me — it was trying too hard to be weird and ‘out there’, but not hard enough to draw me into this alien world, give me something to hold onto and care about.

      • Calabi says:

        I guess thats why Avatar failed so tragically. It was all too Alien and unfamiliar.

        • Brun says:

          Uh, what? It wasn’t unfamiliar at all. The plot was basically a mashup of Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves. It was only alien in the sense that the main characters were blue, and that the wildlife and scenery had a distinctively “alien” sense to them. The plot – including the culture and moral sensibilities of the main characters (both based strongly on well-etablished film and literary themes) – strongly grounded the audience in familiar territory.

          Avatar succeeded for the same reason that Call of Duty and Medal of Honor succeed – people like shiny graphics, with explosions, both of which Avatar had in ample supply.

        • Jorum says:

          Phah! Avatar had not one original idea. Native American stereotypes with cat makeup. Animals that are reskinned version of Earth animals (or two mashed together).
          There is nothing at all alien about the Navi.

          What about something like the aliens in Meiville’s Embassytown – where the humans have to work bloody hard to make saying “hello” remotely possible. And even then their psychology is mostly incomprehensible.

        • TCM says:

          Avatar is less alien than frigging Mass Effect, which for all its successes, falls squarely into Star Trek’s ‘planet of hats’ territory.

          Mass Effect at least had bizarre alien biology here and there, everything about Avatar was a retread of the familiar, BUT NOW WITH MORE BLUE AND THE BIZARRE ALIEN CRITTERS THAT ARE JUST EARTH CREATURES BUT WEIRDER OOHHHH.

          • Calabi says:

            Ok maybe Avatar was a bad example. What about District 9?

            Those aliens were totally unfamiliar.

          • TCM says:

            They had four limbs, and the plot itself was ‘apartheid but with aliens’.

            All you are indicating is that you don’t understand what something truly alien and unfamiliar is.

    • Lambchops says:

      Yes, yes, yes (even though Morrowind wasn’t my cup of tea in terms of gameplay I appreciated what it was doing with its world)!

      Give me an Outcast, give me a Little Big Adventure, give me a Beyond Good and Evil.Give me somewhere awesome and intriguing to explore and enjoy a wonderful story in.

      • Ninja Dodo says:

        Yes!

        Outcast, Little Big Adventure and Beyond Good & Evil remain in a class of their own when it comes to creating wonderfully strange yet welcoming worlds. Note all but one were made in France and even that one (Outcast) was from the French-speaking part of Belgium. Sensing a pattern here, related perhaps to the strong visual arts culture in France (particularly in animation and comics/bande dessinée)…

    • InternetBatman says:

      There’s the Void, Minecraft, Saira, and Aquaria. They all have relatively free exploration and alien worlds.

  27. molluskgonebad says:

    This is a lovely article.

    For a while I thought the loss of that sense of possibility, the shock of the new in each new concept and new game that came across my screen was just my getting older, more familiar with convention, more jaded. And to a certain degree that’s true. But for me this whole kickstarter “revolution” is about letting a group of interrupted artists get back to evolving their art.

    I don’t want to see the details of these new projects. I want to know that the people directing them are following up on avenues they were forced to abandon years ago. I want them to be so wildly experimental that they fail on certain levels. I want the developers to get that mad spark, and whether that results in a gorgeous mess or diamond polish, I want it to feel new and unexplored.

  28. MondSemmel says:

    I think Reprisal is a great example of how not to do it: It’s 100% a clone of Populous, to the point that it made me angry. I remember playing Populous as a kid, the joy of terraforming for the first time, but also that gameplay just boiled down to flattening the land…
    Reprisal copied _everything_, right down to the (today seriously unforgivable) diamond-shaped game screen which leaves half the monitor empty. In the first 2-3 levels, I was revelling in nostalgia and kind of enjoying myself, but it soon became clear that there were no meaningful improvements, not even to the interface. And that’s just not good enough today.
    (That said, I’m not a big fan of Populous itself, but I’m very glad for what it led to – I assume Dungeon Keeper owes a lot to Populous, and I absolutely love DK. And I guess even The Sims owes something to it?)

    Any other examples of stagnating game remakes or whole genres?

    • InternetBatman says:

      As someone who never played Populous, I thought Reprisal was pretty great.

      • Prime says:

        As someone who DID play Populous I also think Reprisal is pretty great.

        And I think, Mondsemmel, you’ve not considered how great it is to have such a great game back in the non-emulated land of the living. Now modern audiences can experience for themselves how good this gameplay still is, and should anyone be so inspired to improve on the weaknesses…catch my drift?

  29. AmateurScience says:

    I think you nailed it Jim, and I do hope that some of the new wave of crowdsourced ‘genre-revival’ projects out there try to push the envelope with their design – I have a lot of hope for Project Eternity and Wasteland 2 in this regard.

    I think XCOM has shown it’s possible to make a modern, successful game that incorporates the best elements of so-called ‘old school’ (I hate that term) game design without being beholden to the past.

    • TCM says:

      There have been other recent successes following the ‘old schoo’l of game design as well — Dark Souls, Deus Ex HR (though it failred in a few areas), and Dishonored are probably the highest profile ones.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I backed Project Eternity, love the idea, and am fairly confident in its successful execution. I don’t think it will be much different from normal high fantasy though. It will probably have small but meaningful changes genre aficianados will appreciate, but I’m not looking to it for major changes.

    • Prime says:

      Rather than ‘Old school’ let’s say ‘Golden Age’.

  30. e-dog says:

    I guess I’ll shamelessly link my Magic Carpet remake for those interested: Arcane Worlds

    • Brun says:

      Magic Carpet was one of my first PC games ever and definitely a classic worth revisiting. I don’t really consider it to be a member of a “lost genre” like Homeworld, FreeSpace, etc., though. After all, it isn’t much more than an FPS in which you can fly (and have spells instead of guns) – if I remember right critics pointed this out when it was originally released, essentially calling it Doom in 3D. I’d consider it more of a highly inventive/unusual FPS, which is definitely something the world needs, but not really an entire dead genre.

      • e-dog says:

        I’d say it’s FPS sub-genre, but are there any modern FPS with flying and spells and terraforming?

    • Lambchops says:

      Oooh, modern day Magic Carpet? Yes please! I’ve been crying out for such a thing.

      I shall look at this again when more sober and actually able to make a reasoned buying decision but if it looks promising I’m certainly interested. I have fond memories of Magic Carpet despite being way too shit at games to get anywhere with it at the young age at which I played it.

    • Prime says:

      Fantastic! Sticking this on my ‘watch’ list, e-dog. Obviously it’s early days but can you give any idea when you’ll have something playable?

  31. Lambchops says:

    I never cease to be amazed by how distracting a mere mention of “Outcast” is in an article. Even if the article makes lots of valid points, even if it raises interesting discussion, even if it promised me an easy life of wine, women and song; all I can bloody think is “Yeah, Outcast, what a bloody brilliant game that was I should reiterate again to people just why it was so brilliant and why they should all play it.

    Only this time I’m doing it in a self referential and round about way, so that’s clearly OK, isn’t it?

    Oh, by the way PLAY OUTCAST.”

    • Wther says:

      Precisely.

      Aside from Morrowind, System Shock and a few other popular classics, Outcast is one of the first games that completely astonished me in its innovation and scope.

      I lament modern open-world games which have the opportunity, but never provide the simple mechanism to ask where someone or something is. Forget quest markers, just let us ask people “Where’s Zordo’s Bakery?” or “Do you know where Zordo the Baker is?”.

      I love Outcast.

      • Ninja Dodo says:

        Agreed. Still a better open world game in some ways than even the most well-regarded of sandboxes.

  32. El_Duderino says:

    rescue and save the futures we were promised.

    This pretty much sums up my current axe to grind with mainstream gaming. When I was a wee’er lad, I rarely thought how much more awesome the games I played would be if they were slightly more retarded, had extensive tutorials or the graphics of tomorrow. Rather I thought about how awesome they would be in a few years when the worlds could be more fleshed out and reactive, the AI a lot more “intelligent”, and the depth a lot deeper. Alas, that didn’t happen much. I want my promised futures, and I want them now dammit!

  33. Thats no moon says:

    For me the brilliance of Homeworld lay in the incidental details eg. some of the SOS calls of your fighters as they were stranded without fuel while an ovewhelming force closed on them. Having Agnus Dei playing in the background made scenes like that much more memorable than any pre-scripted event I have seen since.

    It’s that sort of thing that, for me, makes a classic game and why mods and reskins never feel quite right. Even Homeworld 2 seemed to lose a lot of the incidental detail and honestly if even the same dev team couldn’t make it as special as the original then I very much doubt a modern day sequel would satisfy. Much more likely we would see a game based on a tick list of features like: ships, big ships, awesome huge ships, lasers, 3D, tech tree, nvidia/AMD sponsorship, DLC opportunities, grizzled central hero(?), console friendly.

  34. vecordae says:

    I’m honestly hoping we get a new Homeworld game or, at least, something very much like it. There have been a few 3D fleet combat games since, but nothing that really captured the sort of quiet austerity that Homeworld had at its core. The sense of a ponderous, dignified beast roused to a pitched fury was amazing. It was a special thing.

  35. NathanH says:

    Quite right, Jim. The most exciting thing about the “nostalgia” trend is not the idea of getting games that are very much like old games (although this is of course appealing in its own right), it’s the idea of getting many years of development in genres that disappeared despite being great and having loads of potential. Potential that was only hinted at, never realized.

  36. Jorum says:

    Brilliant article.

    So many of the games I remember playing the on Amiga had so much creativity and new ideas.

    I suspect some of the reason we lost that direction is the ambitions of the games and genres couldn’t be supported adequately by hardware or software.

    Now we are in a place where there are effectively no real hardware and software barriers to anything you want to do.

    All those ridiculously over ambitious ideas can be implemented now….

  37. soulblur says:

    I was just reflecting that the article RPS did on Spore made a big thing of the “Girlfriend Test”. Which, in most ways, is not less insulting than Borderland 2′s Girlfriend Mode debacle. Funny how I didn’t notice that the first time. Perhaps I was less enlightened then.

  38. Lev Astov says:

    I so desperately want another Homeworld game. That ship design is so delicious I’ve been building papercraft models of them and was even looking up more to work on today. I’d sell my left kidney for a new crowd funded Homeworld game!

  39. Stellar Duck says:

    I don’t think there’s an automatic disconnect between looking back and forward at the same time.

    I heartily agree with Mr. Rossignol here but at the same time I’m also happy to see some of my favourite old toys being dug up and dusted off again.

    I have room in my heart for both kinds of games.

  40. Lev Astov says:

    Actually, don’t forget to reference Planetary Annihilation, Jim. That’s the perfect example of what’s talked about here. They took the direction TA and SupCom were going in and expanded it into a glorious new scale that I whouldn’t have even dreamed they’d try. I’m so excited for that future to become reality. I hope they can do it.

  41. Juicetin says:

    Curious, talk of both Sacrifice and Freespace 2 has given me the urge for a midnight gaming sesh. I remember what Sacrifice was like, but F2 is a complete blur to me now. I vaguely remember yonic ships and big red lasers…..

    • Dominic White says:

      Freespace 2 is immortal. Thanks to a tireless modding scene, this is how it looked two years ago:

      • mckertis says:

        ” this is how it looked”

        Why should anyone care how it looked ? The only area where it was distinct was mission design. Way to miss what was actually important.

        • Dominic White says:

          I… Wait… What?

          Did you just unload an incoherent rant because I had the nerve to point out that the game is still actively supported?

          What?

  42. Solidstate89 says:

    And what was once non-news, can not even considered that anymore.

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/10/microsoft-to-allow-mature-games-in-european-windows-8-store/

    • Sheng-ji says:

      What’s that fried potato product I see, right there on your scapular?

    • MondSemmel says:

      To the contrary:
      1) Why do you think this was changed in the first place? If nobody complained, nothing would have happened. That very much means it wasn’t just news; it means that reporting on this news made a difference.
      2) Microsoft should not have the power to make this decision. That’s why this is important.

  43. Listlurker says:

    Thanks for this article. I agree wholeheartedly.

    I’m not interested in nostalgia for its own sake; as you say, I’m interested in seeing lost good ideas, and lost good gameplay concepts recovered and restored and set on the path for the future.

    Speaking of past concepts:

    Stardock has been trying very hard to trance-channel Homeworld with its Sins of A Solar Empire series, but I’m not certain that Sins isn’t simply resurrecting the forms of Homeworld, while leaving the spirit of the game behind.

    Speaking of lost concepts:

    Did anybody else here play Joe Ybarra’s Sierra game, Alien Legacy, back in the day? I always got the feeling that the game was straining against its technological limitations, even at the time.

    I’d be curious to see how an Alien Legacy type of game could work under modern game-making conditions.

    You can find the Wiki entry on Alien Legacy here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_Legacy

    I hear rumors that it’s out there as abandonware, somewhere, provided one has access to a good DOS emulator.

    Cheers!

  44. star5CR34M says:

    Giants: Citizen Kabuto comes immediately to mind. I loved Sacrifice, as well, and would love to see Black & White 3.

    - The Smarties! They’re real!
    - Oh, and to think, yesterday I was throwing stones at them.

  45. WCG says:

    I think I understand this, and I don’t entirely disagree, but I’m almost invariably disappointed in the direction games – mainstream games, at least – are going. Skyrim, for example, is lots of fun, but it’s sure disappointing, given the promise of Daggerfall clear back when.

    And XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been fun enough, but it’s not even close to the game the original X-COM was (and continues to be). The original wasn’t just a strategy game, but had RPG elements, too. (And no, I don’t mean changing the hairdo of my soldiers, or the color of their armor. Why in the world would I care in the slightest about that stuff?)

    I realize that tastes vary, and also that I’m much older than most gamers. But IMHO, modern games tend to be dumbed down and simplified, very pretty but that’s about it. So why wouldn’t I look for games which promise some of what I loved years ago?

    Admittedly, there are always independent developers trying new things, and sometimes they accomplish great things. But there’s no reason why I can’t enjoy those games, too.

    • Slinkyboy says:

      Yep, I totally agree. You won’t find a game that’s made for the most expensive PCs, a game I’ve been waiting for, the perfect game, because Consoles and Steam runs shit. PC only games will only run as high as what statistics say about the average Steam customer’s PC specs. Let’s hope Star Citizen delivers his promise.

  46. Slinkyboy says:

    Love you RPS :D

  47. Talnoy says:

    Ahh Homeworld.

    I still play it…..And I still dream of a Homeworld 3 one day….

  48. Ateius says:

    Articles – ‘article’ seems so dry and detached. Missives? Outpourings of the soul? – like this one are why I keep reading RPS. Rossignol, you wonderful man.

    This and the puns. Oh the puns.

  49. Prime says:

    This is exactly right, Jim. I’d wager we’re of an age, you and I. Born into the world when the future seemed such a bright and shiny thing. It honestly burns my soul that ‘the industry’ is now in such a sorry state; profit-obsessed to the point of self-destruction, with many of gaming’s proudest achievements forgotten.

    To go back to the recent Kickstarter article of Mr Walker, this is exactly why we shouldn’t fear the current crop of nostalgia-soaked projects. It’s only by going back to times when creativity was rich with potential then showing these things to modern audiences that we teach those who have no clue about how good gaming can be, how it doesn’t have to be Generic Manshooter XXIV, about the dreams you and I shared as children.

  50. amorpheous says:

    I’m not sure I want a new Homeworld if it’s developed due to fan pressure. I’d be wary of it being rushed out and not good enough.