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KillahMate
20-09-2012, 10:06 PM
Something that just occurred to me while I was glancing over the RPS newsfeed, with the Project Eternity Kickstarter open in a different tab and the new Humble Bundle in another. I was in the middle of thinking "well, this Humble Bundle is pretty cool, but it's not exactly as good as the last one, which contained half a dozen stone cold modern gaming classics for, potentially, the price of a toothpick." When I buy it I'll be able to register it on an amazing online game distribution service, or download and play it entirely DRM free on Windows, Mac and Linux, along with many other games.

Did you know that spiritual sequels to Total Annihilation, Planescape: Torment and (sort of) Fallout are coming soon, also there's an amazing free remake of Half-life out and two remakes of XCOM on their way? A sequel to Deus Ex came out recently, and it pretty much lived up to the hype. Roguelikes are in the middle of a renaissance, with the Binding of Isaac and FTL and Dredmor bringing new ideas. Valve is going stronger than ever. European developers are carrying the torch for AAA RPGs. Game concepts previously unimaginable ("Why hasn't anyone done this before?"), are now massive hits (Minecraft, DayZ, Magicka). Adventure games are fully back, with both riffs on classic designs and new styles (Amanita). Dōjin games are slowly being recognized in the West. Both the entire Baldur's Gate series and KOTOR 2 have massive fan patches available that basically make them live up to their full potential. Free-to-play games are finally finding a way to be profitable without sacrificing balance (League of Legends, TF2, Tribes). And if you want to play a platformer on the PC you can pick between, among others, VVVVVV and Rayman Origins. Brilliant games at completely separate ends of the scale.

This may just be the Golden Age of PC gaming. Yes, better than the 90s.
What do you think?

Heliocentric
20-09-2012, 10:21 PM
The 2160's will be the golden age of PC gaming when they finally roll out realistic holodecks.

Yep yep yep.

NathanH
20-09-2012, 10:27 PM
Let's wait and see what becomes of the kickstarter adventure. But things are quite bright at the moment.

Wizardry
20-09-2012, 10:41 PM
No chance. You've mentioned a bunch of Kickstarter projects that haven't even been released yet. They could turn out shit. You've mentioned roguelikes, but what's happening with them right now is that they are becoming more accessible (graphics, often real-time). You've mentioned two X-COM games that are building on (or butchering) what came almost two decades earlier. You've mention fan patches and/or remakes of games that have a better claim for being in the golden age themselves. You've also said that European developers are carrying the torch for AAA RPGs, but I can't think of any good ones.

Yes, indie games like Minecraft are very popular and the modding scene is also bigger than ever, but this alone isn't enough to justify a golden age. The late 80s through to the end of the 90s has a far better claim.

Heliocentric
20-09-2012, 10:46 PM
The late 80s through to the end of the 90s has a far better claim.


*holds in laughter*
-MEEP-

deano2099
20-09-2012, 10:55 PM
The indie-scene boom alone makes it a golden age in my opinion. Seriously, think back to ten years ago, indie was barely even a thing. It was odd obscure games that you buy from a developer's website. There weren't many, even few were good.

We take it for granted but I imagine a lot of people here buy as many indie games as commercial releases these days, if not more. That never used to be an option.

Carra
20-09-2012, 11:02 PM
It's a great year for PC gaming. Some great indie games, a few really good blockbuster games and my first kickstarted game that has been published (FTL) turns out to be awesome.

Most innovation is happening in the indie scen though which I didn't even know about six years ago.

For the triple A blockbusters, it's sequelitis to the extreme. Some great games in there but publishers have never been more afraid to do something completely new.

Patrick Swayze
20-09-2012, 11:07 PM
97-98 guys

archonsod
20-09-2012, 11:07 PM
I'd say no.

"spiritual sequels to Total Annihilation, Planescape: Torment and (sort of) Fallout are coming soon, also there's an amazing free remake of Half-life out and two remakes of XCOM on their way? "

Now if you'd have said "a remake of the golden age" you might have had a point.

bad guy
20-09-2012, 11:11 PM
Hell no! This is now the mainstream age.
For me it's ~ the DirectX 7-8 era.
Of course there are also great games now, as there were before my "golden age".

We have loads of indie developers today, but 10a ago we had alot of small studios.

SirKicksalot
20-09-2012, 11:17 PM
Fifty trillion good games are released every month and I also get to play brilliant old games with improvements. New technologies and services pop out every day. I'm having the time of my life. Sure, some people in the industry are dicks and there's a lot of shit on the market but I never enjoyed gaming more than I do now.

TillEulenspiegel
20-09-2012, 11:19 PM
Indie is the new shareware, just with better distribution channels and bigger audiences. Richard Garriott and many many others were indie before "indie" was a thing.

There's certainly more opportunity than ever before, which is great. But how many indie titles can you think of that you'll look back at fondly and want to play again in ten years? That's my test of greatness. And as far as I'm concerned, roughly none of the modern indies will be able to pass it. I have a list somewhere in Evernote of a few dozen classic titles from the 90s that have done.

A golden age requires genuine greatness, and there's precious little of that around now, certainly no more than in previous eras. You think the new XCOM is going to be remembered twenty years down the line the way the old X-COM now is? Not a chance.

Heliocentric
20-09-2012, 11:19 PM
The indie-scene boom alone makes it a golden age in my opinion. Seriously, think back to ten years ago, indie was barely even a thing.

I played lots of indie games 15-20 years ago. Then publishers omnomnomed everyone.

Scumbag
20-09-2012, 11:30 PM
The games themselves? Not bad, but I prefer the 90s though mainly because I was younger, and in those days EVERYTHING was awesome (until I get them from GoG and realize they were actually crap).
In terms of services? Its certainly getting there, provided there is not a sudden market crash.

PoLLeNSKi
20-09-2012, 11:53 PM
^ What Swayze wrote ^

Probably the 90's in general maybe were the golden age of gaming, full stop. *Even* the consoles were cranking out some good titles back then as well.

A shedload of really good, original FPS: System Shock/Deus Ex/Thief/Doom/Quake (+Team Fortress)/Unreal/Half Life (+ Counter Strike)
Some cracking RTS: Starcraft, C&C
Point and click shenanigans: Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion/DOTT, Sam and Max
Isometric strategies: UFO/Xcom/JA
Management games: Civilisation/Sim City/Theme Hospital/Theme Park/Dungeon Keeper
Various others and some console toy things: Lemmings, GTA (add a couple years upto 2001 and you get the first 3D one though the top down ones were great too), Tomb Raider, Mario Kart (+64), Goldeneye, MGS, Zelda, Banjo-Kazooie, Worms, Mortal Kombat, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop (don't really see lightguns so much anymore).....

Really so much different and original stuff was available back then. 00's in general were pretty poor with some stand out performances along the way, maybe now there's a little renaissance because of the ability for novel things to make it out there
but the vast majority of 'big' games are just the same as the last 20 years with a different number after them and slightly shinier graphics.

Also you had the gameboy released in 89/90......So 89-01 is my golden age I guess - generally I'm happy still playing those games although admittedly I do prefer playing the shinier versions now available but they are *just* versions of the same gameplay.

Finicky
20-09-2012, 11:58 PM
These are good times for pc gaming, but the late 90s up to early 2000s were better (and far less casual oriented).
Been gaming since the late 80s but I felt things were on the up 'n up until 2004 where things just fell apart for the traditional pc gamer.
Games became bigger in scale, more elaborate with more elaborate gameplay and bigger , better learning curves until then, and then things just nosedived into retard land.

The difference is that now pc gaming is more accesible price wise than in the 90s though.
It used to take 1500+ euros equivalent in pc hardware (adjusted for inflation that was a lot of money back then) to run games smoothly.


I spent over 1500 euros on my first proper gaming pc in 2001 including an (even by today's standards good value) gpu upgrade after a year, and by the time hl2/NFS:MW was out it was struggling at 30 fps@ 1024x768 on my 1600x1200 85 hz monitor.

Currently still running on a pc from late 2008 that I spent 700 euros on (including a gpu upgrade in december) and it still works like a dream, these days you can get a capable pc starting at as little as 500 euros despite the horrendous HDD prices and current amd/nvidia price gouging.
Pretty much everyone with a facebook pc from 2009 or later can upgrade to play games on it for less than 50 euros these days just by stuffing a second hand hd 5770 into it...
I wish that were possible in 1998.

For it to be a golden age we'd have to have more sims, theme park/rollercoaster tycoon style games, proper rtses (coh 2 alone isn't exactly golden age...) and more skillbased shooters than just tribes ascend... (again one game in one of the most pc centric genres isn't a golden age).

Sparkasaurusmex
21-09-2012, 12:00 AM
Yep, the best time to play PC games is now. Because you can still play all the games from previous "ages" plus the stuff they're making today.

Tuco
21-09-2012, 12:05 AM
I don't know if I would push that far to say this is THE Golden Age (that would be mid-late '90s for me) but this is surely looking like a Renaissance.
I'd like to add to all the things you listed how finally Japanese developers are starting to notice the PC as a more than viable market.
Of course, they still prioritize consoles, but let's not be too picky.

PoLLeNSKi
21-09-2012, 12:09 AM
Yep, the best time to play PC games is now. Because you can still play all the games from previous "ages" plus the stuff they're making today.

You can go back and play old titles, but you'll never truly appreciate Doom if you didn't play it before polygons were invented.

Drake Sigar
21-09-2012, 12:10 AM
What about gaming as a whole, and everything that contributes to that? The Internet, new distribution methods, the massive rise in gaming's popularity. Your hobby has become bigger than the movie industry... in three decades. That's unbelievable, and we've barely even begun.

Finicky
21-09-2012, 12:34 AM
What about gaming as a whole, and everything that contributes to that? The Internet, new distribution methods, the massive rise in gaming's popularity. Your hobby has become bigger than the movie industry... in three decades. That's unbelievable, and we've barely even begun.

It's about as big as it'll ever get...
Casual market will move on (they did with the nintendo wii) as they get bored, this is a marketed fad for them like tamagochi)

Who else are they going to sell games to? starving african kids? They've gone after every part of the population already from 4 to 80 years old, male and female, mentally handicapped and sane.

The average pc gamer's age is somewhere in the 40s by now , isn't it? It's not like in the 80s where the average gamer was 12 with a nasal voice.

Sparkasaurusmex
21-09-2012, 01:25 AM
You can go back and play old titles, but you'll never truly appreciate Doom if you didn't play it before polygons were invented.
It's not about when they were invented, but when you were exposed to them.

soldant
21-09-2012, 01:42 AM
Nope, we're not at the golden age of PC gaming at all. For me it was probably the 90s through to the early 2000s, where technological innovation was fast paced (though with it came the horrible upgrade cycle that was extremely painful). Today all we really see in terms of tech is MORE SHADERS, BIGGER TEXTURES, MORE POLYGONS which isn't really exciting... and I'll give you that's a bit of a simplification but by and large that's what we see in terms of Crysis etc.

Most of the new developments in PC gaming come through digital distribution and Kickstarter. Digital distribution has been good for the most part (not so great here in Australia) but it hasn't changed the fact that the industry is stuck in a Modern Global Combat Ops of Medal Honouring Warface phase. Kickstarter too is great but the really big name titles are yet to be delivered (and won't be for a while) so we don't know how well it will pan out in the end. FTL is probably one of the bigger success stories for Kickstarter, but for every FTL there's a bunch of useless grabs for cash and "fund my life while I work on this game" requests.

We're not in a golden age. We're probably in a transition phase if anything. The PC's technological superiority is largely stunted by the massive adoption of consoles as gaming goes progressively more mainstream. Casual games have risen and the industry has scrambled to cash in on them. PC gaming is sort of stuck between the two, and it's actually unlikely that the indies will really carry us out (remember a lot of them focus on casual games as well). The most likely outcome is that we either effectively turn into a high powered console with slightly more freedom (Valve's SteamBox plans) or we keep on as we are suffering through ports and hoping for the indies to save us.

PoLLeNSKi
21-09-2012, 01:48 AM
It's not about when they were invented, but when you were exposed to them.

True...if you've managed to avoid playing any games in the last 10 years then Doom would still have the same impact :)

Sparkasaurusmex
21-09-2012, 02:10 AM
Wish I could raise my kids without seeing polys until they're a right proper age. Alas there are too many to rid the house of them all.

archonsod
21-09-2012, 03:18 AM
What about gaming as a whole, and everything that contributes to that? The Internet, new distribution methods, the massive rise in gaming's popularity. Your hobby has become bigger than the movie industry... in three decades. That's unbelievable, and we've barely even begun.
That's not necessarily a good thing. See for example Hollywood. Doesn't matter how great the sewers are, they're still moving shite.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 03:54 AM
These are good times for pc gaming, but the late 90s up to early 2000s were better (and far less casual oriented).
Completely agree there. You can't call a period where the majority of titles are sequels or sports licenses the golden age for PC...




I spent over 1500 euros on my first proper gaming pc in 2001 including an (even by today's standards good value) gpu upgrade after a year, and by the time hl2/NFS:MW was out it was struggling at 30 fps@ 1024x768 on my 1600x1200 85 hz monitor.Strange, that' not my experience. I bought a dead cheap PC, upgraded the gfx card once (6800GT!) and kept it right up till 2006. I think you had that experience because maybe information wasn't as prevalent on the net as it is today? I got most of my tips from a small community of hardware enthusiasts on BB's and chats. Nowadays hardware is covered by online journalists, all you need to research is google.

you bought at a bad time, 2001 was only two years before the athlon 64 and pentium 4c, not to mention the amazing graphics cards that year! Still have fond memories of my nvidia 6800GT. That's why I feel that if money is tight and you're not sure of what's on the horizon always buy lower than you can afford and leave some for upgrades. In 2001? I had a celeron with a geforce 4mx! Contrast that with an athlon64 and 6800gt by the end of 2003.
A bad time to have used this strategy: 2008 when the core 2 duo was in it's prime. A core 2 extreme (quad core with ddr3 support) is an exceptionally high performer today, so huge value from that year. A good time to do this: now! Things are at the end of their cycles for all major hardware components, everyone's gearing up for the next generation, new I/O has been released (thunderbolt/lightpeak). I bought the extremely expensive high end X79 platform with full knowledge that it will be completely obsolete in 2-3 years (i just bought the extreme x79 stuff to stress test my water cooling design tbh). That's why everyone's recommending the core i5, not because it's better than a core i7 3960x (seriously, that cpu can eat 3 core i5's for breakfast), but because
a) it's good enough
b) this entire hardware cycle will be very short lived.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 04:06 AM
97-98 guys

this. Might not have been the golden age for multiplayer, but if you wanted to give modern PC gaming an origin story it would start there.

soldant
21-09-2012, 04:40 AM
b) this entire hardware cycle will be very short lived.
I don't know so much about that... USB3 is fairly well supported, Thunberbolt is only really seeing adoption in the Apple sector, and although a new console generation definitely will prompt another upgrade in the GPU/CPU departments, for the most part the hardware wars have well and truly ended. The upgrade cycle broke around 2008. Really it was in decline from about 2006 onwards when we got dual core CPUs and the new console gen had appeared. It's nothing like it was in the early 2000s or late 90s.

Buying mid-range is viable again for the most part and actually remains a solid purchase. High-end lasts for a lot longer than it used to. That said I see a lot of people advocating for cheap "gaming" PCs which are woefully underpowered - for proper PC gaming mid-range is really a minimum. But that's still pretty affordable and will last for quite a while.

There will be new hardware coming out, for sure, but that doesn't mean the current cycle will be short lived. Thunderbolt is nice, but if there aren't many devices making use of it, why bother? The tick-tock cycle means buying into the first iteration, while not necessarily a bad move, isn't required. It's a bit like the iPhone 5 - sure, you can buy it now and it's not necessarily a bad choice and will last for two cycles at least, but in 12 months' time the 5s will be out which fixes design flaws and adds some new features. In terms of Intel we've just come out of the 'tick' phase and are heading into a 'tock'. Whatever you chose won't be an issue these days.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 05:14 AM
I don't know so much about that...

A few points:
a) Hardware becomes cheap when it's the nth revision of old technology. I sure don't remember things being cheap when I spent $1300 on my core 2 duo E6600 cpu+mobo+ram upgrade in 2006!!
Again, this is temporary. When new technology comes out, it will make everything that we have today look like a joke and it will not be cheap. I still remember a friend who bought the Athlon FX-60 for $1630 - that's just the cpu mind you - back in 2005. One year later... (if you didn't know, the athlon fx was trounced by even a mid range core 2 duo).
My friend has switched to a Mac after that (lol).
Point is, forget about prices (nth revision hardware) or performance (athlon FX), when that new killer technology hits, the game will change entirely.

b) The long period of multi-threaded programming R&D that most companies have been going through since the mid 2000's will bear fruit over the next 5 years. I amnot sure what it will bring but I have a pretty good imagination and can envision quite a few applications for a home "super entertainment hub". Not going to bore you with my ideas but whatever it is I am sure you and I and many others will want it for their homes. When the time comes, dual core and even quad core will feel obsolete.

c) Everyone will have thunderbolt. It's an inevitability, once small external hard drives with 3 times the speed of usb 2.0 are cheap enough, everyone will make the switch. I even have a sneaking suspicion that a mature, practical external GPU enclosure will be developed for thunderbolt iTX SFF PC's. That will cause the mini PC market to get bigger with the young PC enthusiast.
In any case, you will have trouble sharing data with buddies in this new thunderbolt infested world by 2014-2015.

I say again: beware of top end hardware this late into intel's current cpu generation (2006-present). Buy mid-range and leave some for upgrades.

soldant
21-09-2012, 05:31 AM
a) Neither do I, but at the same time that "new killer technology" isn't really on the horizon just at the minute. Even then, it'll be a while before it becomes commonly adopted. Right now Intel has us settled into a tick-tock world, and most people seem to be playing the same game.

b) And yet we're still a long way off. The rapid advancement period is over for the moment. We're unlikely to end up in a race to see how many cores we can cram onto a single CPU (like the 90s/2000s when it was how many hertz you could clock up) because consumers don't know, don't care, and won't pay for it. Hell, look at the people complaining how closely Windows 8 has followed Windows 7. And that's how things used to be back in the 90s!

c) Everyone will have x. It's an inevitability! You'll have trouble doing y with buddies in this new x infested world by (year).
Plenty of people said the same thing about 'x' which could be any number of ambitious bits of tech or services. Not all of them took off. I like the idea of Thunderbolt, but who else is using it outside of Apple? PCs now properly support USB 3.0 but few support Thunderbolt. Intel are pushing for it, and I really hope it takes off since it's pretty utilitarian and I like that. But adoption is still pretty slow to USB 3.0. Whether or not it becomes an essential item very much remains to be seen. You're only speculating at this point.

Mohorovicic
21-09-2012, 06:24 AM
Did you know that spiritual sequels to Total Annihilation, Planescape: Torment and (sort of) Fallout are coming soon, also there's an amazing free remake of Half-life out and two remakes of XCOM on their way? A sequel to Deus Ex came out recently, and it pretty much lived up to the hype. Roguelikes are in the middle of a renaissance, with the Binding of Isaac and FTL and Dredmor bringing new ideas. Valve is going stronger than ever. European developers are carrying the torch for AAA RPGs. Game concepts previously unimaginable ("Why hasn't anyone done this before?"), are now massive hits (Minecraft, DayZ, Magicka). Adventure games are fully back, with both riffs on classic designs and new styles (Amanita). Dōjin games are slowly being recognized in the West. Both the entire Baldur's Gate series and KOTOR 2 have massive fan patches available that basically make them live up to their full potential. Free-to-play games are finally finding a way to be profitable without sacrificing balance (League of Legends, TF2, Tribes). And if you want to play a platformer on the PC you can pick between, among others, VVVVVV and Rayman Origins. Brilliant games at completely separate ends of the scale.

That's a whole lot of wrong right here.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 06:26 AM
b) And yet we're still a long way off. The rapid advancement period is over for the moment. We're unlikely to end up in a race to see how many cores we can cram onto a single CPU (like the 90s/2000s when it was how many hertz you could clock up) because consumers don't know, don't care, and won't pay for it. Hell, look at the people complaining how closely Windows 8 has followed Windows 7. And that's how things used to be back in the 90s!
consumers paid for the core 2 duo in spite of not caring about what's inside of it. Why? because it was the best thing that's happened to laptops since the invention of the Li-on battery. Do you think people care that the iphone 4S has two cores in it's cpu? That's not a relevant argument, in the 90's people were driven to buy PCs because of the internet and were duped by M$/intel into thinking it will be "faster" with their new hot hardware/software products. Nowadays consumers are more discerning and care about what has been proven to work. If the new killer app of the decade everyone wants needs a 6 core cpu, people will find a way to purchase a pc with whatever that app needs (i.e a 6 core cpu).
What I'm saying is this: Either innovation in PCs is dead, in which case you don't need to upgrade for another 10 years OR someone out there still has a trick up their sleeve that might come out at any moment. Either way: buying high end right now makes absolutely no sense at all.





c) Everyone will have x. It's an inevitability! You'll have trouble doing y with buddies in this new x infested world by (year).
Plenty of people said the same thing about 'x' which could be any number of ambitious bits of tech or services.
We're not talking about the nintendo power glove here. The only question regarding thunderbolt is how soon will its hardware be cheap enough for the mass market. Apple recognised this ,which is why they signed a timed exclusive deal with Intel on the technology - they wanted their laptops to be ahead in I/O.

soldant
21-09-2012, 06:35 AM
What I'm saying is this: Either innovation in PCs is dead, in which case you don't need to upgrade for another 10 years OR someone out there still has a trick up their sleeve that might come out at any moment. Either way: buying high end right now makes absolutely no sense at all.
I don't disagree in principle, but the next cycle won't be particularly exciting either. Unless AMD do something amazing, but that's not likely to happen as things stand. Nor is there any 'killer app' on the immediate horizon that makes buying high end nonsensical. I still wouldn't recommend it, but it's not a bad decision like it might have been going back to the late 90s or early 2000s.


We're not talking about the nintendo power glove here. The only question regarding thunderbolt is how soon will its hardware be cheap enough for the mass market. Apple recognised this ,which is why they signed a timed exclusive deal with Intel on the technology - they wanted their laptops to be ahead in I/O.
It's not just that, it's "will it find a suitable use" and "how will it compare to the cost of USB 3.0 when it comes to storage?" It's too early to say whether it'll see widespread adoption.

Also likening it to the Powerglove (a gimmick) is a silly point to make. It's more akin to something like VHS v Betamax, or HD DVD v Bluray.

EDIT: Actually, it's similar to Firewire v USB, and we know how that ended up.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 06:46 AM
I don't disagree in principle, but the next cycle won't be particularly exciting either.

lol, I felt the same way by the end of 2005. "Intel? AMD has them by the balls. Athlon FTW!"
Always prepare to be surprised.

Regarding usb 3.0 vs thunderbolt: there are quite a few scenarios where EMI or electrical interference is highly undesirable. Video and audio obviously, but also every day components that have to share desk space with a mobile phone or monitor/tv. The optical thunderbolt connection solves all that, USB 3.0 is stuck in interference land. USB 3.0 cannot be used as a monitor pass-through either. Guess what the next innovation in TV's is? 4k resolution. Any chance these new tv's will have a thunderbolt port in addition to displayport? It's very likely. How would consumers respond to an affordable 2.5" media player hard disk that can pass data and video through the same connection? We'll see.
USB 3.0 is definitely a stop gap, like firewire in the old days - faster than what was currently available but not fast enough or versatile enough to remain relevant for long.

soldant
21-09-2012, 07:17 AM
I'm not saying Thunderbolt is useless. Firewire was great for video back in the day, and USB was absurdly slow when it first came out. But who uses Firewire? USB is still around. It's entirely possible that Thunderbolt can fail, no matter how good it is.

Voon
21-09-2012, 07:52 AM
No even close, if you ask me. The later half of the 90s and the earlier part of the last decade is more like it. That's when people took some ridiculously huge risks and it paid off.

That said, developers seem to be taking risks again and that's a good sign. And Kickstarter kinda helps PC Gaming to get back on it's feet again

Revisor
21-09-2012, 08:14 AM
This is a great era for PC gaming but I'm still waiting for someone to pick up the torch of immersive sims with superb storytelling and sound design a la Thief and System Shock.

Maybe Dishonored? But afraid of the limitations consoles impose on its design.

Xercies
21-09-2012, 08:17 AM
Ill give it a few years before saying its a golden age i think the popularity of Deus Ex 3 might tip the scales since were getting Dishounored we might have big companies taking risks again.

But for some reason with all this good stuff im even more disconnected from gaming and havent bought a recent game in nearly a year now

Voon
21-09-2012, 08:37 AM
Choice paralysis?

biz
21-09-2012, 08:49 AM
lol. if multiplayer FPS / RTS or TBS genres matter, then it's more of a dark age.

multiplayer FPS: best game of the past 5 years = quake 3 remake. nothing exciting since et:qw.

RTS: nothing exciting since RoN. sc2 was much needed but it's just starcraft++. it should have come out 10 years ago. it's good at what it does for a subset of people, but it's rarely a strategy game.

TBS: nothing executed well since civ4. i don't know what these developers expect us to play when games have 0 AI and no viable multiplayer. tbs games were pretty bad in the past too, but at least there was forward progress up until galciv2. now there's only backwards progress.

and these games aren't particularly good with the exception of ql/q3. they are easy to surpass, but developers are focusing on all the wrong things. i'm sure there is some random FPS/RTS that offers a good experience if you play it the right way with the right people, but that doesn't really count if that community doesn't enable it.

these genres are fine if you like shiny new things, but there was way more innovation 10-15 years ago. if you just want solid execution of things that work well in a competitive setting, the situation is quite pathetic.

the golden age was when development focus and gamer needs were in alignment. this was 10-15 years ago.
developers were mostly engineers who were good at finding solutions. the problems were basic features that were crucial to gamers, and developers could really focus on nailing those features to the best of their ability.
id software was the perfect example of this and every 90s developer tried to be as good.

gamers wanted better networking. they got better networking.
they wanted better framerates. they got better framerates.
they wanted better game mechanics. they got better game mechanics.
they wanted better graphics. they got better graphics.

this attitude was pervasive in the entire industry during that time. making money and making better games was exactly the same thing. marketable features were really important things like pathfinding. they went on the back of the box.

now you need enormous budgets just to deliver just some of the things the audience wants. the marketable things are usually gimmicks that make a game worse or something like "realistic graphics" that takes a fortune to implement. there are so many limitations because nobody is seeing huge profit margins. the business models all suck as a result of that.

b0rsuk
21-09-2012, 09:42 AM
I think 90's were the best. There were few huge budget games. id Software boasted that Doom II had a $200k budget.

Nowadays games often take as much as $50,000,000 to make, and these are the most popular ones. Like huge trees in a rainforest, they steal all the sunlight anything smaller can barely thrive (media coverage/sunlight). Most gamers - now mainstream - are even unaware of things moving in the darkness below. Games in late 90's had budgets up to around $3,000,000.
http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Tim-Schafer-Compares-Past-Video-Game-Budgets-Current-Budgets-39474.html
This is as much as a top Kickstarter project can gather. However, a remake is not the same as the original thing. Not everyone can learn from the past and has enough analytical skills to determine what really made the game good. Or enough coding provess to pull it off. Just because they say the game is inspired or a spiritual successor to X doesn't mean it will succeed. We have to wait for the first wave of Kickstarter games.

I like RPS because it covers even tiny games like Space Phallus or roguelikes. Brian Fargo sees Kickstarter as a chance to bring back medium-sized game developers. It's an interesting observation - medium devs are essentially gone from the game industry. Public traded companies value GROWTH over even profits. Small devs with $100,000 game budget either fail and die, or succeed and grow into bloated, amorphous blobs (see Splash Damage - used to be a mod team, barely two games later they have over 60 people last time I checked). I think indies feel a need to grow to compete with AAA games on visuals.

ado
21-09-2012, 10:01 AM
I'd say it's something of a golden age for indie games, not PC gaming. For my money the golden age of PC gaming was mid 90's to mid 00's. Practically every great videogame design idea that came out during that period came from the PC game developers. Who then gladly jumped ship to console development, starting a dark age that we just came out of.

b0rsuk
21-09-2012, 10:09 AM
But indies continue making platformers, physics games, point&click adventures. No TBS, no RTS games, rarely a good RPG. There are more genres they avoid like a plague. Natural Selection 2 sticks out as one of the very few indie FPS games, and arguably the only devent one. Planetary Annihilation is the only hope for indie RTS.

I sincerely hope we are coming out of the dark age. There are signs. I'll die happy when I see a promising Kickstarter for a Heroes of Might and Magic like game.

Mohorovicic
21-09-2012, 10:20 AM
RTS: nothing exciting since RoN.

Have you heard about a company called "Relic Entertainment"

ado
21-09-2012, 10:28 AM
But indies continue making platformers, physics games, point&click adventures. No TBS, no RTS games, rarely a good RPG. There are more genres they avoid like a plague. Natural Selection 2 sticks out as one of the very few indie FPS games, and arguably the only devent one. Planetary Annihilation is the only hope for indie RTS.

I sincerely hope we are coming out of the dark age. There are signs. I'll die happy when I see a promising Kickstarter for a Heroes of Might and Magic like game.

I don't see why indies need to be as diverse as you want them to be. Platformers and puzzle games are perfect for indies because they do not require designs of overly elaborate systems and balancing of those systems, nor do they depend on cutting edge technology to be effective. And still what there guys are making with their limited resources and manpower is quite amazing in my opinion.

But the indie space is changing as well. I mean fucking Activision and EA have "indie" divisions now.

I do think we live in a time where videogames in general are in a very good place. Maybe the best place they've ever been in. I mean just look at the diversity of games that are out there.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 10:31 AM
Why is this poll tied?? The people voting yes must be too young to remember the 90's or something.
To you guys, here's my coverage of E3 1998 (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?332-Official-E3-1998-Coverage-Thread)

Now convince me that we're in the golden age of PC gaming!

b0rsuk
21-09-2012, 10:40 AM
I don't see why indies need to be as diverse as you want them to be.

Because you clearly can't get diversity from AAA projects. And if not from the biggest developers, then from indies. Reductionism :-).

soldant
21-09-2012, 10:40 AM
I'd say it's something of a golden age for indie games, not PC gaming.
No way, simply because...


But indies continue making platformers, physics games, point&click adventures.

There are some indies doing some really interesting stuff... but 'indie' is largely a meaningless title these days, to the point where a big outfit like DoubleFine could technically be considered 'indie' as they're independent and presumably held to account only by their fans, not a publisher. Even then a lot of indie devs seem more interested in pushing 8bit pixel art platformers, 'art' games with the subtly of a wet fish slap in the face, or trying to emulate the success of other titles. Innovation isn't abundant in the indie sector either, we just choose to focus on those that are. And given the "it's indie, give it a break buy it to support the devs" mentality, indie games that aren't exceptionally good or anything special end up raking in cash because they keep getting put into bundles that keep getting sold again and again and again. For all the low budgets it's an incredible marketing strategy.


Why is this poll tied?? The people voting yes must be too young to remember the 90's or something.
Maybe because it's a subjective question without a definitive answer, and people have opinions?

mashakos
21-09-2012, 10:45 AM
Maybe because it's a subjective question without a definitive answer, and people have opinions?
People have opinions all the time. Doesn't make it right :D

Drake Sigar
21-09-2012, 10:50 AM
It's about as big as it'll ever get...
Casual market will move on (they did with the nintendo wii) as they get bored, this is a marketed fad for them like tamagochi)

Who else are they going to sell games to? starving african kids? They've gone after every part of the population already from 4 to 80 years old, male and female, mentally handicapped and sane.

The average pc gamer's age is somewhere in the 40s by now , isn't it? It's not like in the 80s where the average gamer was 12 with a nasal voice.
Movies were a fad too when they started, it took a while for them to be taken seriously. Also, it might be worth pointing out a massive number of early movies are gone forever (more American silent films have been lost than survived). There was no Internet around, no digital distribution service to ensure you have your very own unbreakable immortal copy. Video games might be the most well recorded entertainment we've ever had. You can pretty much start playing anything on your PC with a simple emulator, DOSBox, or GoG/Steam within five minutes.

ado
21-09-2012, 10:57 AM
If you want to get technical, then lets get technical. Indie stands for "independent". Double Fine is an independent outfit. So is Valve. Budgeting has very little to do with "indie".

This is a very silly argument from the get go, because you seem to be viewing it from a diversity standpoint. I am viewing it on the fact that so many indie games are not only awesomely good, but also successful and popular. This was not the case some 10 years ago. We did not have this "indie" space at all.

And there is a simple reason why you don't get so many RPGs and FPS and RTS from indies. Developing such games requires a horde of people, and a ton of time and money. Very few indie companies can support a development of such a project. But they can easily support the development of a 2d platformer or whatever.

soldant
21-09-2012, 11:30 AM
If you want to get technical, then lets get technical. Indie stands for "independent". Double Fine is an independent outfit. So is Valve. Budgeting has very little to do with "indie".
I never claimed it did (if you were in fact referring to me), just that for groups that supposedly have a limited amount of resources, packs like the Humble Indie Bundle do a good job of selling the same thing again and again and marketing the products.


This is a very silly argument from the get go, because you seem to be viewing it from a diversity standpoint. I am viewing it on the fact that so many indie games are not only awesomely good, but also successful and popular. This was not the case some 10 years ago. We did not have this "indie" space at all.
Well, 10 years ago in 2002, that's probably not far off the mark. But before that a lot of outfits were largely independent - publishers weren't the horrific behemoths we have today dictating everything and anything for the hell of it. Actually they weren't quite that bad in the early 2000s either. The fact that the indie sector was reduced 10 years ago really means nothing.


And there is a simple reason why you don't get so many RPGs and FPS and RTS from indies. Developing such games requires a horde of people, and a ton of time and money.
You are aware that, apart from perhaps an RPG, it doesn't take a 'horde of people and a ton of time and money' to make an FPS or an RTS. If you were to make a AAA game then sure, but that would apply for any genre. Really, an FPS game is largely a matter of camera perspective. And with authorware packages like Unity with plenty of easy addons, the barrier to entry into game dev is lower than it's been in a long time.

The reason why they won't do FPS games is because the AAA sector is doing it. The reason why they won't do RTS games is because they can't make it fit their designs. It's easier to make a pretentious art-house platformer or something relying on retro gameplay not only to say "Look, it's indie and not AAA!" but because it's fairly simple to make. Hell, 8bit these days is almost entirely a stylistic choice to cash in on the wave of retro titles.

TillEulenspiegel
21-09-2012, 02:00 PM
You are aware that, apart from perhaps an RPG, it doesn't take a 'horde of people and a ton of time and money' to make an FPS or an RTS.
Jeff Vogel has two or three employees, a couple freelancers, and cranks out a new RPG about once every 12-18 months.

They're not as mechanically complex as they used to be, but they have very pretty 2D graphics, good stories, and decent gameplay.

Shooop
21-09-2012, 02:08 PM
If you don't count AAA titles, then it could be. Because that market is overwhelmingly bleak.

archonsod
21-09-2012, 03:26 PM
Why is this poll tied?? The people voting yes must be too young to remember the 90's or something.

And anyone who thinks it was the 90s is obviously too young to remember the 80s :P


Innovation isn't abundant in the indie sector either, we just choose to focus on those that are.
It's far more abundant, but that's because there's several thousand indie developers as opposed to a couple of hundred AAA studios.



This was not the case some 10 years ago. We did not have this "indie" space at all.

Yes we did. The only thing that's changed is that you now have digital distribution rather than the old shareware libraries. It's also worth noting indie was the mainstream; it's only the growth of the market in the past two decades or so that have priced out the smaller studios and one man bands. Go back to the early / mid-nineties and you still had games on shelves which were the work of bedroom coders, sitting alongside the output of studios like Bullfrog.

ado
21-09-2012, 03:43 PM
I am just saying that there is a reason today's indies are successful in just a handful of genres, like platformers and puzzle games. And a large portion of that is because they are less complex to make and because they do not require insane tech to be made presentable.

And yes there are indie RPGs, indie FPS games and indie RTS, but they don't seem to be able to brake out in the way indie platformers and puzzle games did. And probably for the very reasons I mentioned before. I mean look at Black Mesa. It took those guys 8 years, and God knows how much money and man-hours to practically copy/paste a 15 year old game in to a new engine. They had to do no real design of their own, just copy the HL1 blueprint!

Games on this scale are simply not suitable for small teams with limited resources. Super Meat Boy is.

Wizardry
21-09-2012, 03:45 PM
And anyone who thinks it was the 90s is obviously too young to remember the 80s :P
He has a point though. People who got into games in 2001 will obviously be more likely to call this a golden age than someone who got into games in 1981. Similarly, people who got into games in 2001 are far less likely to call the years before 2001 the golden age. It sort of skews the result in favour of "yes", so the fact that "no" is currently winning means even more.

TillEulenspiegel
21-09-2012, 03:58 PM
He has a point though. People who got into games in 2001 will obviously be more likely to call this a golden age than someone who got into games in 1981.
Even then, I'd seriously question the judgment of anyone who thinks that Deus Ex: HR is better than the original Deus Ex, or that Skyrim is better than Morrowind, or that games better than Startopia or Arcanum have been released recently.

Maybe if you'd never played a game released before 2005, you might think now is a pretty good time.

b0rsuk
21-09-2012, 04:00 PM
On the other hand, when id Software made DooM II it had 10 people. That's not exactly a horde, although it not everyone can code like John Carmack. It was a talented team. Still, it proves it can be done. And Natural Selection 2 team is half the size of id Software at that point.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 04:29 PM
And anyone who thinks it was the 90s is obviously too young to remember the 80s :P

Do the 80's count as anything other than the "Early Years"? Games had a completely different scope back then. The closest thing that's popular today which is on the same level of games back then is Angry Birds. I don't remember things ever being mature or fully developed from the 80's, everything was still new and open to change and discovery.

Finicky
21-09-2012, 04:32 PM
Movies were a fad too when they started, it took a while for them to be taken seriously. Also, it might be worth pointing out a massive number of early movies are gone forever (more American silent films have been lost than survived). There was no Internet around, no digital distribution service to ensure you have your very own unbreakable immortal copy. Video games might be the most well recorded entertainment we've ever had. You can pretty much start playing anything on your PC with a simple emulator, DOSBox, or GoG/Steam within five minutes.

Yes, let's compare movies with wii bowling and those compulsive behavior nurturing skinnerboxes like farmville...

Wizardry
21-09-2012, 04:44 PM
Do the 80's count as anything other than the "Early Years"? Games had a completely different scope back then. The closest thing that's popular today which is on the same level of games back then is Angry Birds. I don't remember things ever being mature or fully developed from the 80's, everything was still new and open to change and discovery.
Legend of Grimrock is basically a Dungeon Master clone. There are plenty of good 80s games that were "fully developed". And what does "fully developed" actually mean?

mashakos
21-09-2012, 04:57 PM
Legend of Grimrock is basically a Dungeon Master clone. There are plenty of good 80s games that were "fully developed". And what does "fully developed" actually mean?

Fully developed: Something that can be considered to have reached it's full scope and cannot grow into a completely new form.

I was going to elaborate earlier and say that the 80's were basically mass market arcade games (similiar to popular iOS titles) and fringe game genres only hardcore nerds played e.g MUD/roguelike/strategy sim/Dungeon Crawler. Didn't think it needed to be pointed out.

Wizardry
21-09-2012, 05:01 PM
Fully developed: Something that can be considered to have reached it's full scope and cannot grow into a completely new form.
So basically no game ever made then.


I was going to elaborate earlier and say that the 80's were basically mass market arcade games (similiar to popular iOS titles) and fringe game genres only hardcore nerds played e.g MUD/roguelike/strategy sim/Dungeon Crawler. Didn't think it needed to be pointed out.
Oh, "hardcore nerds". I think we're done here.

vinraith
21-09-2012, 05:22 PM
Indie is the new shareware, just with better distribution channels and bigger audiences. Richard Garriott and many many others were indie before "indie" was a thing.

There's certainly more opportunity than ever before, which is great. But how many indie titles can you think of that you'll look back at fondly and want to play again in ten years? That's my test of greatness. And as far as I'm concerned, roughly none of the modern indies will be able to pass it. I have a list somewhere in Evernote of a few dozen classic titles from the 90s that have done.

A golden age requires genuine greatness, and there's precious little of that around now, certainly no more than in previous eras. You think the new XCOM is going to be remembered twenty years down the line the way the old X-COM now is? Not a chance.

I can't put it better than this, though I'll add that I'm fundamentally less certain about what titles from this age will pass the test of time. Then again, that's why golden ages aren't usually declared golden ages until after they end, it's nigh impossible to evaluate the impact of a given moment in history right when it's happening. That game taste is so massively subjective only further complicates the issue. Like Wizardry was saying above, a person's "golden age of gaming" is going to depend a great deal on when they started gaming.



Oh, "hardcore nerds". I think we're done here.

PC gamers that think that's an insult crack me up.

Carra
21-09-2012, 05:26 PM
97-98 guys

98:
Starcraft, Unreal, Commandos, Grim Fandango, Fallout 2, Age of Empires, Baldur's Gate, Thief.

Yeah, it's an awesome year for PC games. It's also a year where I just started playing games. My first RTS, FPS, adventure,... game tends to stick very well.

Edit: I see vinraith points out the same. A golden age of x will hang together with when you grew up.

mashakos
21-09-2012, 05:28 PM
So basically no game ever made then.
Not really. Platformers started with mario bros. in the arcades, but by the time Super Mario Bros. came out on NES it was a mature genre and the basic formula didn't change much from then till now.

Games like Dungeon Master and later Eye of the Beholder eventually morphed into action RPGs. The games themeselves were a result of the limitations of the technology at the time, but the end goal was clearly what we see in The Elder Scrolls and other popular 3D action RPGs.

Wizardry
21-09-2012, 05:53 PM
Games like Dungeon Master and later Eye of the Beholder eventually morphed into action RPGs. The games themeselves were a result of the limitations of the technology at the time, but the end goal was clearly what we see in The Elder Scrolls and other popular 3D action RPGs.
Okay then, fair enough, so how about turn-based games then?


Not really. Platformers started with mario bros. in the arcades, but by the time Super Mario Bros. came out on NES it was a mature genre and the basic formula didn't change much from then till now.
But 2D platformers were a limitation of the technology of the time. They all wanted to be 3D but technology limited them to 2D!

mashakos
21-09-2012, 06:08 PM
Okay then, fair enough, so how about turn-based games then?
oh you mean board games? :P

Lukasz
21-09-2012, 07:53 PM
We each have our own golden age. For wizardry its eighties when his greatest games were made which were never topped or even matched.
For others (and me) its 1998. What a glorious year... 2012 is for OP as so much is happening, so many games are available, so many possibilities...

in a way... the question is meaningless because what makes a golden age is decided by our age and when we got into gaming as well as what games we love to play. There is no true answer, just personal opinions.

Yet, I would say that we just begun our adventure with video games. That true Golden Age awaits us and it won't be a year or two but more like decade.

DaftPunk
21-09-2012, 08:09 PM
Not really,the 90's were the golden years :D

Spider Jerusalem
21-09-2012, 08:19 PM
the golden age was when consoles stuck to themselves, and big pc studios (inosfar as there were big pc studios) made all their games for the pc first and not as an afterthought.

Battle Programmer Spike
21-09-2012, 08:36 PM
Wait, what's this? the third or fourth PC golden age? I lost the count already.

Finicky
21-09-2012, 08:40 PM
We each have our own golden age. For wizardry its eighties when his greatest games were made which were never topped or even matched.
For others (and me) its 1998. What a glorious year... 2012 is for OP as so much is happening, so many games are available, so many possibilities...

in a way... the question is meaningless because what makes a golden age is decided by our age and when we got into gaming as well as what games we love to play. There is no true answer, just personal opinions.

Yet, I would say that we just begun our adventure with video games. That true Golden Age awaits us and it won't be a year or two but more like decade.

It's not just age... and tbh I almost doubt wizardry was around to play pc games in the 80s, or is confusing them with mid 90s ones like xcom.
If it were age related then the late 80s - early 90s would have been it for me (and instead I much prefer 98-2003).
As a little boy games like sim city 1,road rash, the early ms flight sims, test drive (which I played on a 386-2X ), or on the console boxes afterburner, cyborg justice, alladin, f22 interceptor (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OsDhRfmOt8) , battle toads, desert strike etc etc) blew my mind and I thought they were amazing, I still have a great deal of nostalgia for these games.

Most of the early 80s pc games were glorified spread sheets with graphics attached (not that different from modern dice roll style rpgs:p).


But as the years went by games became bigger in scope, more elaborate gameplay wise etc....
New genres were created all the time, you could tell developers became better and better at what they did too.

New technology added greatly to games in either looks, gameplay or other ways (rcon, reducing input lag, texture filtering, msaa, better and better netcode) and things felt like they were improving all the time if you looked at the big picture.

You can't really argue against the fact that things started to spiral downhill hard and fast once gaming became too mainstream (or rather when gaming companies went public).
The focus shifted from making games mechanically better to making them as accessible as possible for as large an audience as possible.
This caused priorities to completely shift for developers and publishers...
Image quality and responsive controls and netcode were thrown under the bus (for the first time since gaming was conceived those things were no longer improving but on the decline) , not just in console games but in general on the pc too.
Deferred rendering and all the artifacting and image quality problems it brings for the sake of fancier graphics, p2p matchmaking (hello mw2) or just atrocious netcode in general, no more mod tools releasing for the majority of games, no more server builds being made public, no more rcon or full admin support etc etc.
All things that were once back of the box bullet points started to be ignored while games were made more expensive and more spectacular , scripted and 'for everyone'.

Shooters had strafe speed modifiers, a mix of projectile and hitscan weapons, punishing slash rewarding recoil systems, wide fov's, fast combat and a massive learning curve... (evolution from say doom II which had just hitscan mechanics and no physics)
All of that was thrown under the bus to make them more like interactive movies that mom, dad, the 8 year old nephew and joe who only plays drunk might be able to participate too (regardless of the effect on quality).

Private companies used to spend 100k or a million to create highly specialised games such as flight sims, managment games, different kinds of RTS, mech games and everything in between (all those new subgenres created during the 90s).
Now developers have stock holders to please and putting your talent on a game that will sell maybe 400-500k copies is not an option... They put their talent (along with 3 dozen worker drones as filler) on MASSIVE high budget games, large projects with a large turnaround to make the most of their time and limited talent pool.
Aka industry bloat..

From its inception in the early 80s (pacman and pong aside) to the mid 2000s gaming kept on diversifying and there was something to scratch everyone's itch no matter what it was.
Gaming changed into an industry where there is little room for such frivolities as niche or specialised gaming, no more pistachio icecream, vanilla and chocolate for everyone because that is sure to have the biggest potential market.

98 was an exceptional year but it's the industry changing as a whole that causes the late 90s to be the peak of gaming from a gamer pov.

Kickstarter and DD gets some more money into dev's hands... so it allows for a small revival, but it's a far cry from the 90s. It's ridiculous how little money developers see per copy of a large published game by EA etc once everyone gets their cut...marketing, publisher, internal 'managment' , bonusses, engine license (everyone feels the need to use gamebryo or ue3 these days) , distributor, retail....

From the 2000s and on it has been exactly as it is in the music industry during the pre DD CD jewelcase times... artists and engineers getting fleeced and exploited for 95 percent of the revenue they generate by publishers and middlemen.

Mohorovicic
21-09-2012, 08:59 PM
Legend of Grimrock is basically a Dungeon Master clone.

Except with much worse actual game.

I do have to admit though, scanning walls for secret buttons is much more easier on the eyes in Grimrock

Wizardry
21-09-2012, 09:15 PM
It's not just age... and tbh I almost doubt wizardry was around to play pc games in the 80s, or is confusing them with mid 90s ones like xcom.
You obviously don't know me.


Most of the early 80s pc games were glorified spread sheets with graphics attached (not that different from modern dice roll style rpgs:p).
The early 80s was a time for highly simplistic games. It was the second half of the 80s and the first half of the 90s that saw increased complexity. The latter half of the 90s aimed for more "immersive" experiences, and the Xbox in 2001 led to the complete dumbing down of the industry.

Lambchops
21-09-2012, 09:28 PM
Another shout for the 97-00 (half to make sure Little Big Adventure 2 ('97) and Deus Ex ('00) are included! '98 was pretty damn special too.

Still, I've got to say I've enjoyed recent years as well, perhaps a lot more than the the most of the two-thousands (though there were definitely some great games scattered around there. However I feel there has been a bit of a shift for me in the type of games I play (and particularly the type of games I play to completion or put most time into). Also I'm still waiting for this age's great, special action adventure game. I don't feel there has been an Outcast/Little Big Adventure/Beyond Good world to get lost in for a while (the Witcher games were the closest but not quite the same).

mashakos
21-09-2012, 09:43 PM
PC gamers that think that's an insult crack me up.

not saying it as an insult! Just that I don't remember a MUD game reaching a large audience on the level of Outrun for example.

Fumarole
21-09-2012, 10:13 PM
I voted yes and I am certainly old enough to remember the 80s, let alone the 90s. Not quite the 70s, unless really foggy memories of me playing with firetrucks on the kitchen floor counts. Why did I vote yes? Because I have lots of great new games to play as well as the ability to play (most of) my old favorites. Win-win in my eyes.

Heliocentric
21-09-2012, 10:27 PM
not saying it as an insult! Just that I don't remember a MUD game reaching a large audience on the level of Outrun for example.

Outrun is badass.

KillahMate
21-09-2012, 11:28 PM
Not that it's important in regards to the issue, but I started gaming around 1991, so I was there for pretty much all of the games I referenced in the original post. Those were great times, but different. This is bigger.

Maybe that was the Golden Age, and this is the Silver Age? In comic book terms anyway.

Finicky
22-09-2012, 12:04 AM
The early 80s was a time for highly simplistic games. It was the second half of the 80s and the first half of the 90s that saw increased complexity. The latter half of the 90s aimed for more "immersive" experiences, and the Xbox in 2001 led to the complete dumbing down of the industry.

Pretty much, yeah.
Though I think the increased complexity carried on up to 2003 for certain genres.
Dumbing down did start in 2001 , then started snowballing more and more over time.

As I said, imo games got more complex, more rewarding and less archaic (save codes, limited continues, super simplistic vehicle and movement physics, akward UIs etc etc were all improved upon, streamlining was once a very long time ago a positive word, now the meaning has changed).
The turning point was somewhere in the early 2000s., and imo it peaked before the turning point, hence the opinion on the golden age not being based on my own age. I didn't grow up playing half life and thief anyhow, I grew up playing test drive and afterburner and arcade games and gameboy games.

I shudder to think that in 5 years there will be kids claiming 2005-2010 being the golden age simply because they don't know any better:p
It has already started here and there<.< No frame of reference.

The whole 'I wish we could go back in time' sentiment about games that is so common these days didn't exist in 1998 , I think that says a lot.

soldant
22-09-2012, 12:23 AM
I am just saying that there is a reason today's indies are successful in just a handful of genres, like platformers and puzzle games. And a large portion of that is because they are less complex to make and because they do not require insane tech to be made presentable.
Which is largely pointless when people are in a post-OMGSHADERS phase and the devs actively choose to use retro graphics because apparently that's a selling point.


And yes there are indie RPGs, indie FPS games and indie RTS, but they don't seem to be able to brake out in the way indie platformers and puzzle games did.
Maybe because none of them are very good? Alternatively, none of them have a pretentious arthouse ambiguity to them to distract from how utterly pointless and devoid of any gameplay they actually are, leaving the press with nothing to faun over.


Games on this scale are simply not suitable for small teams with limited resources. Super Meat Boy is.
Nobody expects Black Mesa. But to suggest that to make an FPS with a small team is not suitable then you're plainly incorrect. There are few indie FPS and RTS games because few of them want to make them, because it's too mainstream, too close to the AAA projects. But I do agree that it's much easier for them to make up a platformer (even a bad one), pretend it has some deep, meaningful message behind it, and have the press go batshit (like Braid).

archonsod
22-09-2012, 01:06 AM
I was going to elaborate earlier and say that the 80's were basically mass market arcade games (similiar to popular iOS titles) and fringe game genres only hardcore nerds played e.g MUD/roguelike/strategy sim/Dungeon Crawler. Didn't think it needed to be pointed out.

Most of the classic cRPGs (Ultima, Wizardry, Might & Magic et al) came out in the 80s. Platformers haven't exactly changed much since the 80s - some of them are now 3D and that's about it. Then there were the isometric adventures which are pretty much precursors to the modern 3rd person adventure. Arcade ports pretty much died out in 1983, beyond that pretty much most of the genres around today were around then, and for most of them the only real advancement has tended to be in the technology rather than the game design (you know you're old when you remember thinking The Sims was a remake of Little Computer People). Mass market depended on what side of the Atlantic you were on; Europe was predominantly PC oriented (Spectrum, C64 and the Amiga towards the end of the decade) while the US embraced the 8-bit consoles (and even then; Zelda, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear all came out in the mid eighties ...)

Probably also worth pointing out that the reason you don't see any arcade style games getting big releases these days is more to do with price than anything else. The reason they flourish on Android / iOS etc is because the average price is cheap enough to permit them; they've always been and likely always will be popular. But not to the point someone is going to hand over 40 for Pacman. Once new releases surpassed the 4.99 mark people tended to expect a little more game for their money.



Games like Dungeon Master and later Eye of the Beholder eventually morphed into action RPGs. The games themeselves were a result of the limitations of the technology at the time, but the end goal was clearly what we see in The Elder Scrolls and other popular 3D action RPGs.

There were RPGs which weren't dungeon crawlers y'know. Battletech for example; or Lords of Chaos, Wasteland etc.



The whole 'I wish we could go back in time' sentiment about games that is so common these days didn't exist in 1998 , I think that says a lot.

It did :P It's something of a silly argument though since it depends entirely on what games you're playing. Shooter fans complain the genre is being dumbed down; Sim fans complain their genre is getting too complex. The same complaints have been around since Galaxians introduced invaders which didn't only move in three directions, the only thing which ever changes is the people doing the complaining.

Finicky
22-09-2012, 01:11 AM
It did :P It's something of a silly argument though since it depends entirely on what games you're playing. Shooter fans complain the genre is being dumbed down; Sim fans complain their genre is getting too complex. The same complaints have been around since Galaxians introduced invaders which didn't only move in three directions, the only thing which ever changes is the people doing the complaining.

Well I never heard it once back then.
Sure , people would complain about changes to sequels, but not about a genre as a while like today.
+ the fact that many of the genres of yore are now extinct. (back then we got more new genres, not less)

Wizardry
22-09-2012, 01:16 AM
Well I never heard it once back then.
Sure , people would complain about changes to sequels, but not about a genre as a while like today.
+ the fact that many of the genres of yore are now extinct. (back then we got more new genres, not less)
Well I was complaining about how RPGs weren't what they used to be back in 1995/1996. It took a further seven years for another noteworthy tactical turn-based RPG to come out. And then another 6 years after that for the next one. Adventure games had all but died at that point too, so it wasn't just my own niche.

My point is that different groups complain at different times. It was around 2001 when things took a nosedive for just about everyone, but there was also cause for complaint before then and after.

DarkFenix
22-09-2012, 02:37 AM
In my opinion the golden age has either already passed or is on the horizon. The traditional model of development has had its day, it produced its best last century and has been churning out (mostly) derivative crap since; sequel after sequel, ripoff after ripoff. Publishers have grown and grown, devouring the development studios who produced the best games, thinning that herd closer and closer to extinction.

On the other hand, indie development has been doing nothing but grow these past few years, and now we're seeing larger groups, one after another, popping up on Kickstarter and proposing the sorts of ambitious projects we all loved 10+ years ago.

So, either the indie boom flops somewhat (or at least fails to change anything much) and the golden age will be what we saw decades ago, or the indie boom manages to revitalise the industry in a significant way and we enter a golden age. Just my uninformed 2 cents ;)

archonsod
22-09-2012, 02:52 AM
Well I never heard it once back then.
Sure , people would complain about changes to sequels, but not about a genre as a while like today.

Late nineties there was grumbling over the FPS genre (same as today - single player versus the arena / multiplayer focused)



the fact that many of the genres of yore are now extinct

Such as?

Finicky
22-09-2012, 03:18 AM
Such as?
Really?

-Managment sandbox games (rollercoaster tycoon , theme park, theme hospital), no tiny tower on phones does not count. Here's hoping sim city 4 brings some relief.

-rally sims or even middle ground rally games like Colin mc'rae, after RBR many years ago we've had jackshit. Turds like dirt 3 aren't rally games, even the few rally stages within aren't rally stages and the physics have nothing to do with rally games

-flight sims There's one or two ww2 themed ones but even ms flight sim has become some f2p game

-godgames : from dust was a pityful shallow attempt and a horrible port.

-whatever the subgenre that commandos and xcom were part of is called, CoH is the only (also several years old by now)
thing that remotely comes close, and that is more of an RTS hybrid.

-Arena shooters: we had tribes :ascend as f2p shooter and that is all (that's where the revival bit comes in I guess), there's warsow but that is also several years old.
If consolites were told tomorrow that they'd only get ONE game in 7-8 years of the halo/gow/shoot many men war never changes genre they would burst a vein in despair and disbelief fueled rage.

-Mech sims, name one , go on?

-futuristic heavily skillbased racers a la rollcage or f zero or extreme g racing... not pc specific (though rollcage kicked ass on pc), there's wipeout on the console boxes and that's it... but there used to be a pretty good variety in this genre

-We got Coh and dow II in the rts genre in all these years, and that's it... the rest were console oriented tripe that also bombed anyways, neither of these are traditional basebuilder rts games. EA made sure to kill Westwood off good so we'll never get a true new red alert.
I miss the caesar/c&c/age of empires days, there were literally dozens of good rts games in that era.

There are tons more genres that I'm forgetting right now... will add more as they come to mind.
The gaming press also pretty much ignored these 'niche' genres (it's such a shouting match now with all these games being released) for the last several years.

Things are looking up a little bit with the whole indie/kickstarter phase, ideally the gaming developer as a public company will die off in the next ten years and we can go back to private companies making something better than watered down tripe for the masses, and hopefully on reasonable budgets that don't get blown on ad campaigns.
It was only the logical step for something like kickstarter to eventuall appear, the significant target audiences for all of these game genres never went away, it always baffled me that they were thrown under the bus to try to make clone after clone of casual genres that also bombed anyhow.

Because that is what it'll take to get back to a 1990s gaming environment.

JackShandy
22-09-2012, 03:41 AM
It counts as the golden age because you can still play the games from every other age - and usually with mods that make them twice as good.

soldant
22-09-2012, 03:59 AM
Here's hoping sim city 4 brings some relief.
We've had SimCity 4 already?


-flight sims There's one or two ww2 themed ones but even ms flight sim has become some f2p game
It's always been a niche genre. The fact is that they don't sell exceptionally well, people just aren't interested for the most part. And who can blame them? Flight sims have shifted towards being primary procedural in nature - flipping switches, looking at screens, configuring the autopilot... it doesn't appeal to most people. Microsoft FLIGHT tried to bring back VFR simming with hands-on controls, and it tanked. Also the flight sim community might have to shoulder some of the blame there, because the 3rd party devs effectively got a free ride with FSX addons with Microsoft seeing nothing from them.


-godgames : from dust was a pityful shallow attempt and a horrible port.
Godgames effectively were management games with a different twist. Also everyone bitched about Black and White.


-whatever the subgenre that commandos and xcom were part of is called
Squad-based strategy games? No way they're dead. If anything they're making a comeback.


-Arena shooters
This isn't a genre. Hell Tribes: Ascend is a team-based MP game for the most part. What you probably meant was that there's no Quake or UT anymore where everyone moves at lightspeed and new players don't stand a chance. That died out because it's unpopular.


-We got Coh and dow II in the rts genre in all these years, and that's it...
This, along with a few others, is a fair statement though. But we've also had Supreme Commander, its stand-alone addon Forged Alliance, and SC2 (which frankly was a bit of a mistake). There was a Red Alert 3 but it wasn't particularly exceptional. We've also had Command and Conquer 3. The thing that I remember though when Supreme Commander came out is that people complained that it was too big. They wanted the smaller scale RTS games like CoH that dealt with a handful of squads and a few vehicles. The genre shifted in that direction. With that shift came increased complexity - cover and terrain was more important as were special abilities. People wanted micro, not macro.


Things are looking up a little bit with the whole indie/kickstarter phase, ideally the gaming developer as a public company will die off in the next ten years and we can go back to private companies making something better than watered down tripe for the masses, and hopefully on reasonable budgets that don't get blown on ad campaigns.
The thing is that we're yet to see one of the big Kickstarters actually deliver. FTL is one of the most prolific of the Kickstarters which did deliver a product about in line with expectations. Kickstarter could easily go sour if companies get into a habit of promising the world and then delivering short of expectations, and it'll be much worse because people have funded it with the expectation that the hype will match the end result. And the hype machine on a Kickstarter is huge, and is kicked up by the fans as well as the dev asking for money.

The system does free people from publishers, but it by no means says we'll end up with a bunch of fantastic new games that will usher in a new golden age. If a dev wants to make money they'll still produce what they believe the public wants. A niche-genre title won't pull in big dollars. But then again, if they screw up and don't sell any copies, Kickstarter funding effectively removes most of the financial risk, so I guess they don't care.

Wizardry
22-09-2012, 04:14 AM
-whatever the subgenre that commandos and xcom were part of is called
What does Commandos have to do with X-COM? One is a team-based puzzle game and the other is a strategy/tactics hybrid.

Another one, like I said earlier, has got to be turn-based tactical RPGs. They largely stopped existing after the Gold Box games in 1992, with a few shareware clones in the mid-90s. After that you have to make a jump to The Temple of Elemental Evil in 2003, and then Knights of the Chalice in 2009. The next one looks like it might be Chaos Chronicles in 2013/2014, or possibly even Wasteland if we're lucky. That's pretty much "dead" if you ask me.

SirKicksalot
22-09-2012, 04:24 AM
Really?



-godgames : from dust was a pityful shallow attempt and a horrible port.



But that's a puzzle game and anyone able to control RPS darling Defense Grid was able to control From Dust.

Wheelz
22-09-2012, 05:20 AM
Really?

-Managment sandbox games (rollercoaster tycoon , theme park, theme hospital), no tiny tower on phones does not count. Here's hoping sim city 4 brings some relief.

-rally sims or even middle ground rally games like Colin mc'rae, after RBR many years ago we've had jackshit. Turds like dirt 3 aren't rally games, even the few rally stages within aren't rally stages and the physics have nothing to do with rally games

-flight sims There's one or two ww2 themed ones but even ms flight sim has become some f2p game

-godgames : from dust was a pityful shallow attempt and a horrible port.

-whatever the subgenre that commandos and xcom were part of is called, CoH is the only (also several years old by now)
thing that remotely comes close, and that is more of an RTS hybrid.

-Arena shooters: we had tribes :ascend as f2p shooter and that is all (that's where the revival bit comes in I guess), there's warsow but that is also several years old.
If consolites were told tomorrow that they'd only get ONE game in 7-8 years of the halo/gow/shoot many men war never changes genre they would burst a vein in despair and disbelief fueled rage.

-Mech sims, name one , go on?

-futuristic heavily skillbased racers a la rollcage or f zero or extreme g racing... not pc specific (though rollcage kicked ass on pc), there's wipeout on the console boxes and that's it... but there used to be a pretty good variety in this genre

-We got Coh and dow II in the rts genre in all these years, and that's it... the rest were console oriented tripe that also bombed anyways, neither of these are traditional basebuilder rts games. EA made sure to kill Westwood off good so we'll never get a true new red alert.
I miss the caesar/c&c/age of empires days, there were literally dozens of good rts games in that era.

There are tons more genres that I'm forgetting right now... will add more as they come to mind.
The gaming press also pretty much ignored these 'niche' genres (it's such a shouting match now with all these games being released) for the last several years.

Things are looking up a little bit with the whole indie/kickstarter phase, ideally the gaming developer as a public company will die off in the next ten years and we can go back to private companies making something better than watered down tripe for the masses, and hopefully on reasonable budgets that don't get blown on ad campaigns.
It was only the logical step for something like kickstarter to eventuall appear, the significant target audiences for all of these game genres never went away, it always baffled me that they were thrown under the bus to try to make clone after clone of casual genres that also bombed anyhow.

Because that is what it'll take to get back to a 1990s gaming environment.

perhaps I've missed somthing, but I feel like theres a bunch of people who are either being intentionally obtuse, or have there rose-tinited glasses on.

I mean, How tight are we being with this "all current gen games are crap" thing? I thought the Movies was a pretty good management-sim game, and its only a few years old. Dirt 1 was released in 2007 and Dirt 2 in 2009, which is squarely outside of the glorious 90's.

Theres a flood of mech-sims incoming. Futuristic racers is an incredibly specific niche, and was likely due to a phase that society was going through (probably star wars induced), so I don't feel that that is a loss of great importance.
RTS's have been pretty dead of late, although CoH 2 is on the way, and Achron was released last year with an incredible addition to the RTS formula (It fell flat because the rest of the game was uninspired).
For adventure games, Telltale seem to be releasing many and often.

As far as recent TBS's go, I thought Warlock was pretty good, although it would most definitly have benefited from having some modders fix it up. Then theirs also the recent genre's that have poped up:
like what ever you call the Mount & blade genre, which also includes the upcoming War of the Roses, and Chivelry games,
and then you've also got the tower-defense genre; which when you consider games like "Defenders Quest" looks to be evolving in a good way.
As for Arena shooters, theres Tribes and TF2, and for RPG's (forgive me Wizardry) I would say most MMORPG's cover that pretty well (the RPG part is usually solid, its the MMO part thats lacking).

Then theres all the 3D platform-y type games we've had this gen, such as mirrors edge, Assassins Creed's, and the brilliant batman games.

I was young-ish when the orginal Deus Ex was released, and so all of the options and massive text dumps didn't appeal to me, but the recent DE:HR was a brilliant game that imo is only viable with the support of a reasonable sized company (by which I mean to imply that AAA gaming has its place.)

Cheer up guys, gaming didn't die in the early 00's, alot of great games have been and will continue to be developed. On top of that, you can still play all of the amazing games from the 90's almost perfectly with some tinkering (network play seems to be the biggest issue with old games from my own experience). So yeah, in my opinion this is the golden age of gaming.

although I will say that I am genuinely sad no one has made a decent successor to Dungon Keeper 2.

Finicky
22-09-2012, 05:54 AM
@ soldat: err sorry the new sim city, whatever it's called. 5 I guess.

Commandos isn't like rollercoaster tycoon or theme hospital at all, come on, and the point stands, both genres are dead .
X-com revival might rekindle it, doubtful that it becomes big enough for publishers to notice... The media will ignore it too as they too want to reach ALL the gamers for hits and articles about niche games are a waste of time. (small blog like sites that fill that reader niche like rps aside)

UT and quake unpopular? Now I've heard it all....
If you had friends you didn't have to play for years... there used to be these things called LAN parties and dedicated servers , look them up, it's crazy stuff from before matchmaking days:p (obtuse answer to an obtuse statement)
Those games have an immensely satisfying learning curve and are fun from day one... you mentioning their YEARS and years of lasting power through said awesome learning curve and rewarding gameplay as if it's a negative makes it hard to take you serious.
Unless you have stock in EA and their yearly sequel releases, making games that last people for years is a good thing...

@ wheelz , I never said all games are crap now.
But niche (as in not meant to be played by every person in the world, much like how table tennis and bowling are niche sports compared to football, doesn't mean they don't have a lot of participating fans or don't have reason to exist) genres have been put to the backburner for the past 10 years, and many standards have been on the decline.

Yes, futuristic racing games are an incredibly specific niche, thank you for repeating my point, no more room for specific game genres, today everything must be an rpg or 3rd person shooter or combination of the two.
Rollcage and co were fantastic games, who am I to want to play this type of game...

Being able to dig up ONE managment game and ONE rally game (dirt 2 was no longer a rally game you spent 80 percent of the time in shitty rallycross or buggy racing events, + the rally tracks are no longer narrow and the physics are trash) , both 5 years old pretty much proves my point.
Rally games were also one of my favorite genres.

There are still games being released that I thoroughly enjoy (portal 1-2, just cause 2 , binary domain, alan wake are some I enjoyed as much as some of my favorite games from the 90s and that fill the misc games category for me) but there's absolutely nothing whatsoever in any of my favorite genres from the 90s.
(future racer, rally, arena or otherwise competitive shooter with movement gameplay and rollercoaster tycoon likes).
Those are the genres that got me in to gaming as anything more than a 'rainy afternoon/new toy fad' phase. They scratch an itch for me, other genres rarely do, even though I may enjoy some of the games in them a lot too.

Since 2003 it's just shut up and eat your rpg/cinematic all style little substance vanilla icecream, maybe now and then we'll throw some gameplay or story sprinkles your way.

Lukasz
22-09-2012, 06:20 AM
genres come and go. saying any of them is dead is not different than saying adventures games were dead in first years of 21st century.
we are simply experiencing a drought of those games and in few years some of those dead genres will come back as people will want to play something different.

saying a genre is dead is no different than saying pc gaming is dead, there is simply no substance to that comment. the market, customers tastes, they all change all the time. it is not static.

soldant
22-09-2012, 07:10 AM
Commandos isn't like rollercoaster tycoon or theme hospital at all, come on, and the point stands, both genres are dead .
What?! Nobody said that.


X-com revival might rekindle it, doubtful that it becomes big enough for publishers to notice...
Let's wait and see before we go down that path. The original has its issues; the vertical climb for difficulty might be remembered with rose tinted glasses in retrospect, but at the time it could be pretty frustrating.


UT and quake unpopular? Now I've heard it all....
They were popular in the 90s. They're not popular anymore. How many people play Unreal Tournament 3 versus Team Fortress 2 or Counter-Strike? Hell Tribes: Ascend, although not dead, pales in comparison to TF2. And TF2 is no arena shooter.


If you had friends you didn't have to play for years... there used to be these things called LAN parties and dedicated servers , look them up, it's crazy stuff from before matchmaking days:p (obtuse answer to an obtuse statement)
No, it's a silly answer to a valid point - I used to go to LANs as well, and dedicated servers are still very much alive and well. Friends and I would have LAN parties when we were in highschool, because (apart from getting together after school) it was the only really feasible way to play games together. Today we all have high speed broadband and can play our own little games. For larger LANs you can rent servers. I don't agree with the removal of LAN play from titles but by the same token for most users LAN play isn't a massive issue. And none of that has anything, at all, to do with the fact that the arena shooter died because very few people want to play those games!


Those games have an immensely satisfying learning curve and are fun from day one...
What? Where did I mention any of that? Because I said the only people who enjoyed Quake etc were the ones that played it constantly and learned all the skills, and newbies didn't enjoy it? That's not a satisfying learning curve for most people. It's like the LoL or DotA communities - if you're a new player and you make a mistake you're crucified for it and you never get anywhere. That sort of attitude or gameplay, where new players never get to break in, will eventually cause stagnation and death. And new claimants will turn up to take the throne. It happened with arena shooters - team-based MP games with different roles came in and kicked them out. At least that way you can play the game and not feel absolutely useless.

No, the entire "satisfying learning curve" thing is nonsense when talking about arena shooters like Quake. It wasn't fun for anyone except the best. And Team Fortress rose out of Quake deathmatches and brought team play to the forefront. Since then, teamplay has reigned and the arena shooter has died. That's about all the proof you need for how 'superior' and 'awesome' the arena shooters were. They're dead, with good reason, and not coming back.

biz
22-09-2012, 08:31 AM
lol. do you seriously believe that you are more useful as a newb letting down a team versus being a newb in a deathmatch where your performance doesn't matter at all? at least arena shooters have those simpler modes like free for all (deathmatch). the pure teamgames require competence from the beginning.

but it's not teamplay that has prevailed. it's luck-based and simplistic gameplay where newbs have a chance of killing people better than them just because the games are about things like headshots and unskilled weapon spam who sees the enemy first. there are no weapons to manage. there are no pickups / powerups which eliminates most of the need for map control.

yes, there is a potential for more teamwork in complex games, but that's not what the community is actually doing. the games that actually reward teamwork instead of rewarding point-and-click are just as dead as arena shooters.

and to be honest, there's more teamplay in a CTF/TDM than the non arena-shooter players can even handle. people flock to games that have restricted strategies, restricted roles, and limited choices where they just need to think in 1 dimension and manage 1 thing at a time.

the same trend happened with RTS games too. today's game development is focused on figuring out how to artificially reward players for mindless execution instead of presenting them with interesting choices.

soldant
22-09-2012, 09:27 AM
lol. do you seriously believe that you are more useful as a newb letting down a team versus being a newb in a deathmatch where your performance doesn't matter at all?
Depending on the class, yes. For example in TF2 even an inept Medic can do some good and have fun at the same time learning the ropes.


but it's not teamplay that has prevailed. it's luck-based and simplistic gameplay where newbs have a chance of killing people better than them just because the games are about things like headshots and unskilled weapon spam who sees the enemy first. there are no weapons to manage. there are no pickups / powerups which eliminates most of the need for map control.
Wait, headshots are based on luck or simplistic gameplay? You mean the simplistic gameplay of aiming at the target? That comprises the bulk of FPS gameplay - aiming at your target to hit them. As for pickups - some games do retain pickups, but so what? Map control might as well be a better name for "camping" in terms of powerups, but map control still exists in modern online FPS games. You're talking nonsense!

It sounds like you're upset that the bunnyhopping rocketspamming quad-damage camping days are over.

Nalano
22-09-2012, 09:34 AM
lol. do you seriously believe that you are more useful as a newb letting down a team versus being a newb in a deathmatch where your performance doesn't matter at all? at least arena shooters have those simpler modes like free for all (deathmatch). the pure teamgames require competence from the beginning.

but it's not teamplay that has prevailed. it's luck-based and simplistic gameplay where newbs have a chance of killing people better than them just because the games are about things like headshots and unskilled weapon spam who sees the enemy first. there are no weapons to manage. there are no pickups / powerups which eliminates most of the need for map control.

yes, there is a potential for more teamwork in complex games, but that's not what the community is actually doing. the games that actually reward teamwork instead of rewarding point-and-click are just as dead as arena shooters.

and to be honest, there's more teamplay in a CTF/TDM than the non arena-shooter players can even handle. people flock to games that have restricted strategies, restricted roles, and limited choices where they just need to think in 1 dimension and manage 1 thing at a time.

the same trend happened with RTS games too. today's game development is focused on figuring out how to artificially reward players for mindless execution instead of presenting them with interesting choices.

Wah wah wah (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheyChangedItNowItSucks)!

If I'm to get anything from your post, it's that you haven't played an MPFPS since 1998.

Heliocentric
22-09-2012, 10:44 AM
but it's not teamplay that has
prevailed. it's luck-based and
simplistic gameplay where
newbs have a chance of killing
people better than them just
because the games are about
things like headshots and
unskilled weapon spam who sees
the enemy first. there are no
weapons to manage. there are
no pickups / powerups which
eliminates most of the need for
map control.

NATURAL SELECTION POOPS ALL OVER YOUR POST[/immature]

No head shots, position and movement are more important than accuracy. Team play and territory control are critical.

Yep, sweeping statements are sweeping.

RakeShark
22-09-2012, 11:38 AM
Yes, let's compare movies with wii bowling and those compulsive behavior nurturing skinnerboxes like farmville...

Let's be fair, you do realize a vast majority of movies, back in the silent era and even the talkies, were production studio-run schlock who people often confused for artistic vision. Money drove the industry, and actors/actress were traded like major league sports stars, only because they looked good. Yes there were some gems, but they were rare and often accidental. You need to read "Once in a Lifetime".


It sounds like you're upset that the bunnyhopping rocketspamming quad-damage camping days are over.

To be fair, I miss those days too. In the same way you can hop on a pub server and just fool around with clueless pubbies while feeling godlike, you can also have your soul crushed by much better players that stump you two steps before you react. Quake and TF2 are inter-changeable in this case.

archonsod
22-09-2012, 01:23 PM
Really?

Yes, because the only genre you've listed that I can't recall a recent release in would be god games, which is a somewhat debatable genre in the first place (Populous & Black and White would be the only two entries I think). Just because you don't happen to like the games in a genre doesn't mean the genre is dead.


The gaming press also pretty much ignored these 'niche' genres

No it hasn't. There's entire sites dedicated to nothing but flight sims for example. Of course, if all you're doing is reading the mainstream press and then complaining they never cover niche genres then I think the problem is with you. Mainstream press never covers niche stuff; it's somewhat fundamental to the definition.


Commandos isn't like rollercoaster tycoon or theme hospital at all

It's a puzzle game.

mashakos
22-09-2012, 01:33 PM
It counts as the golden age because you can still play the games from every other age - and usually with mods that make them twice as good.Uh, you just described a good year for PC gaming - not the Golden Age That Will Be Remembered For Aeons.

Gamers are worse than PR reps with their exaggeration sometimes...

RakeShark
22-09-2012, 03:01 PM
Uh, you just described a good year for PC gaming - not the Golden Age That Will Be Remembered For Aeons.

Gamers are worse than PR reps with their exaggeration sometimes...

I think he's referring to things like GoG.com and DosBox's prevalence, which has happened in the last few years. From what I remember, playing old Dos games was very hard to do on XP and Vista unless you were very savvy, which I don't think a lot of people were. Nowadays, almost any game made on the PC is playable under Win7, with only 3.1 games really lost to time. Really the only thing keeping all old games from being available is publisher/distribution rights.

I think the easy availability of PC's vast back catalog of games is worthy of a Golden Age nomination. Perhaps not on its own, but it's worthy of consideration and discussion.

Wizardry
22-09-2012, 03:18 PM
and for RPG's (forgive me Wizardry) I would say most MMORPG's cover that pretty well (the RPG part is usually solid, its the MMO part thats lacking)
Unlike RTSs and FPSs, the original point of CRPGs was to be able to play D&D on your own with a computer. If anything, MMORPGs are a form of internet assisted role-playing with gameplay from other genres (notably Diablo, with space sims for games like EVE).


today everything must be an rpg

Since 2003 it's just shut up and eat your rpg
I wish!

soldant
22-09-2012, 03:24 PM
From what I remember, playing old Dos games was very hard to do on XP and Vista unless you were very savvy, which I don't think a lot of people were.
It was. Well, less so into the Vista era in terms of DOS games because DOSBOX could play the vast majority of DOS games, but in the early XP era when people went from 98 (on the Win9x kernel) to XP (on the NT kernel) DOS support was very limited. DOSBOX is a fantastic achievement in that arena.

Now the battle is for games from the Win95-98 era, particularly the 16 bit ones, in a world of modern 64bit operating systems.

mashakos
22-09-2012, 03:42 PM
Now the battle is for games from the Win95-98 era, particularly the 16 bit ones, in a world of modern 64bit operating systems.

Funny you should say that. I worked on a modification of DDHack (http://code.google.com/p/ddhack/) that adds support for 16-bit colour and 256 colour modes. I released the 16-bit colour update in February 2011 (http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1765599) to coincide with the Oddworld Steam sale pack but didn't get around to releasing the 256 colour final update. I kept putting off any more updates till my website was online but other than setting up the hosting environment, I've set it aside to concentrate on work.

You just reminded me of this. My updates to DDHack won't help with 16-bit (386) executables but adding the new colour modes helps a lot with quiet a few early CD adventure games. I tested with The Neverhood, was really happy with getting that game running on Aero without the desktop crashing. I think I will get back to setting up my site next month.

AgamemnonV1
22-09-2012, 05:05 PM
Golden Age of PC Gaming? Why, have there been any really good PC-exclusive titles that have come out recently that I don't know about?

One cannot even proceed to make this argument when most of the "good" PC games out there are actually just ports or cross-platform titles. Even Skyrim is a classic example of this. It's been dumbed down from its predecessors, it didn't have high-res textures (this had to be released separately), it didn't release with the toolkit (as was customary), and the UI was clearly designed with console gamers in mind. Hell, the interaction level is limited to how many buttons there are on a controller.

Just because some publishers agree to cross-platform some good games to the PC doesn't mean there's a "Golden Age" going on. Hell, there's still tons of popular console titles that remain console-exclusive, even years down the line (Halo 3 will likely never be seen on the PC and if it is, it'll probably be of the same crappy quality that Halo 2 Vista was). Even Crytek, which was once held as a possible bastion for PC gamers, screwed that royally when they released the pinnacle definition of "dumbing down" known as Crysis 2 and then even had the gall to rip into PC gamers with the security leak they had and even joined Ubisoft in the "Grr, PC gamers are just disenfranchised pirates!" tripe.

Nalano
22-09-2012, 05:16 PM
I think he's referring to things like GoG.com and DosBox's prevalence, which has happened in the last few years. From what I remember, playing old Dos games was very hard to do on XP and Vista unless you were very savvy, which I don't think a lot of people were. Nowadays, almost any game made on the PC is playable under Win7, with only 3.1 games really lost to time. Really the only thing keeping all old games from being available is publisher/distribution rights.

I think the easy availability of PC's vast back catalog of games is worthy of a Golden Age nomination. Perhaps not on its own, but it's worthy of consideration and discussion.

I like the way you think. Mid 2000s, pretty much everything from previous eras was abandonware. Now we're getting pretty much everything from everywhere, cheap and legal.

PoLLeNSKi
22-09-2012, 08:17 PM
I'm confused by the number of people suggesting that the availability of old games makes this a golden age for PC gaming.

I can obtain almost any movie made in history but I wouldn't say we're enjoying the golden age of film.

Drake Sigar
22-09-2012, 08:24 PM
I can obtain almost any movie made in history but I wouldn't say we're enjoying the golden age of film.
No you can't. Find me a copy of even half the movies made before 1930, especially silent films. Whether due to improper storage conditions or highly degradable reels, many are gone forever. That's fact. And I can't imagine how many books have been erased off the earth over the centuries.

PoLLeNSKi
22-09-2012, 08:50 PM
No you can't. Find me a copy of even half the movies made before 1930, especially silent films. Whether due to improper storage conditions or highly degradable reels, many are gone forever. That's fact. And I can't imagine how many books have been erased off the earth over the centuries.
^^ OK, good point picking up on my exaggeration. BUT. Even if all the 1930's films were available, this would still not be a golden age of film. The availability of old examples of a medium does not infer that the medium is currently experiencing a golden age.

Sure you can say "It's a great time to be a gamer now because I can play any of the current crop of games as well as anything from the past 20 years" but you can't really say "It's gaming's golden age because..."

Nalano
22-09-2012, 09:58 PM
^^ OK, good point picking up on my exaggeration. BUT. Even if all the 1930's films were available, this would still not be a golden age of film. The availability of old examples of a medium does not infer that the medium is currently experiencing a golden age.

Sure you can say "It's a great time to be a gamer now because I can play any of the current crop of games as well as anything from the past 20 years" but you can't really say "It's gaming's golden age because..."

That argument is that it's gaming's golden age because the market is larger than it ever was, and the selection is bigger than it ever was. Gaming is mainstream now, which is why we get so many proper news articles on the inaccessibility of certain gaming groups.

Also, mind you, the only reason you have access to pretty much every movie ever made is because they're constantly reproduced in generally the same format. 35mm film stock's been in use for, oh, 130 years. Computer games have had platform changes every five years or so.

PoLLeNSKi
22-09-2012, 10:22 PM
I see what you mean, perhaps the number of people participating could suggest it's a golden age.

For me though I think of a golden age as reflecting when something is at it's most creative and innovative which is, imo, usually right before it becomes mainstream and gets dulled down for the masses/profitability.

Nalano
22-09-2012, 10:43 PM
For me though I think of a golden age as reflecting when something is at it's most creative and innovative which is, imo, usually right before it becomes mainstream and gets dulled down for the masses/profitability.

9_9

John Wayne or Clint Eastwood?
William Shatner or Patrick Stewart?
Humphrey Bogart or Jack Nicholson?

Trying to draw the line between "when it was all creative and shit" and "when it became all mainstream and shit" is fool's game. Western or Spaghetti Western? Googie Futurism or Cyberpunk? Colonialist Adventure or Post-Colonialist Adventure? This shit comes in cycles. Be glad there's a future for the industry overall.

Subatomic
22-09-2012, 11:15 PM
For me though I think of a golden age as reflecting when something is at it's most creative and innovative

And that's precisely why this whole discussion is a bit pointless. You can only designate something as a 'Golden Age' (or any other kind of age for that matter) in retrospect, and not while you're still living in it. There's a reason time periods get their names decades or even centuries later when they can be evaluated in relation to the preceeding and following periods.

Drake Sigar
22-09-2012, 11:27 PM
Not to mention gaming is what, 30-40 years old? Surely we can't start naming a golden age with such a short time frame to work with. Jesus, guys. I've taken longer dumps.

Heliocentric
22-09-2012, 11:36 PM
I've taken longer dumps.

Eat more fibre.

soldant
23-09-2012, 01:17 AM
For me though I think of a golden age as reflecting when something is at it's most creative and innovative which is, imo, usually right before it becomes mainstream and gets dulled down for the masses/profitability.
That's entirely arbitrary and subjective, just like any evaluation of whether something was 'creative and innovative' for the most part. The entire "it's mainstream therefore it's crap" argument is absolute nonsense, plenty of mainstream/popular things are far and away from crap. Not to mention that the idea of 'mainstream' changes quite a bit based on the referred population - Quake and Doom were mainstream back in the 90s given the average gamer profile, but we're calling that time period the 'golden age'.

PoLLeNSKi
23-09-2012, 05:40 PM
Quake and Doom were mainstream within the gamer subset... but gaming was still not a mainstream thing in general, although it was becoming more so.

And yes mainstream does not always equal crap, but it does equal a huge dilution of the good stuff by people in the business just to make a fast buck and/or others who experience the original forms and think "I like that, I can do that too" without adding anything interesting from themselves.

b0rsuk
23-09-2012, 07:47 PM
Quake and DooM were mainstream, true. That's why Quake 3 was a success while Quake Live is a failure. QL is better in pretty much every way, but that's not enough. Gameplay like that is out of fashion.

That said, there was a huge variety of very fun games in these years. Game developers like Bullfrog, Psygnosis or Blizzard kept releasing different games. Nowadays we have "FPS developers" like DICE or "RPG developers" like Obsidian etc. When a game dev makes a succesful game, it typically keeps releasing sequels whereas in the past a developer was more likely to make a different kind of game in meantime. There were developers who kept making the same kind of game, notably Origin, but they were the exception and not the rule.

Bullfrog:
Populous (strategy/god game) 1989
Syndicate (shooter/RPG... today it could easily be called a futuristic ARPG)
Theme Park (building/planning/management game)
Magic Carpet (shooter/lighweight flight simulator)
Hi-Octane (futuristic racing/combat game)
Genewars (RTS)
Dungeon Keeper (unique RTS game oozing atmosphere and creativity) 1997

Psygnosis:
(Destruction Derby, Lemmings, Ecstatica, Hired Guns, Discworld, Walker, Wipeout...)

Or Microprose. These devs kept making dozens of games. Far from "a game every 3 years", usually a sequel.

mickygor
23-09-2012, 08:46 PM
Nah. I'm another voice chiming in for late '90s/early '00s. We're going through a renaissance, but that's probably to do with the overdue death throes of the current console generation.

soldant
24-09-2012, 01:01 AM
Quake and Doom were mainstream within the gamer subset... but gaming was still not a mainstream thing in general, although it was becoming more so.

And yes mainstream does not always equal crap, but it does equal a huge dilution of the good stuff by people in the business just to make a fast buck and/or others who experience the original forms and think "I like that, I can do that too" without adding anything interesting from themselves.
My point was that "mainstream" is fairly relative depending on the population that you're discussing. It's why the entire "it's popular therefore it's crap" mentality is ridiculous. For those who played games back then, Doom was mainstream. It was popular. But everybody loved it.

Regarding dilution - this is nothing new. Back in the 90s, we had plenty of games that tried to emulate the success of other games - hell, we named them Doom clones if they were FPS games. But we don't remember them 10 or 20 years on. The indie sector pulls the same trick - devs see something, see that it sells well, and then tries to make a new iteration of it with a small twist to sell copies. It's what people do - find something that works, then do it too.

Really, mainstream/popular has nothing to do with gaming's wider appeal and everything to do with the fact that Product X sells copies, therefore we should try to sell Product X 2.0. And that's been going on for years.

Finicky
24-09-2012, 02:47 AM
Quake and DooM were mainstream, true. That's why Quake 3 was a success while Quake Live is a failure. QL is better in pretty much every way, but that's not enough. Gameplay like that is out of fashion.



Bullfrog and psygnosys were disgustingly good developers, it's sad that that hack Monyneux is still riding on the accomplishments of bullfrog.... none of the games he was part of after he left bullfrog were worth half a shit gameplay wise.

Quake =/= quake 3 btw... quake may have been mainstream but quake 3 certainly was not.
It was popular but had it's own niche community, the mainstream crowd (need for speed, fifa, counter strike) people that I knew back then did not play quake 3.


Quake live failed miserably because it was super laggy for the first several months and during beta, their servers were total dogshit. You only get one chance. Also you aren't going to attract the cod crowd with a skillbased shooter like quake live, just like the cs crowd wouldn't touch it back in 1999.

The 'dudebro' popped collar crowd in my highschool back then only played cs and fifa, and later SOFII and cod , these days even cs is supposed to be super hardcore...

If quake gameplay was a 'fashion' fad instead of popular because it was good, then so were populous and syndicate... and xcom (which by this logic is destined to miserably fail), oh and rollercoaster tycoon and every game you mentioned.
Glad to hear we only enjoyed those games because it was fashionable, and that we've since moved on to bigger and better things for the proper hardcore, instead of that mainstream fad stuff, bro.

JackShandy
24-09-2012, 03:07 AM
My point before was that it doesn't really matter how good the games being made in this era are. We can still play the games from every other era, often with better graphics, better performance, and less glitches. I couldn't play Dark Souls in the 90's, but I can still play Quake now. As far as I'm concerned, that means the modern era wins.

Debating whether or not the games are better now, though; well, I think we have the best of all worlds in the creating side right now. Indies, AAA publishers, kickstarter, Steam. I can't empirically say that we're making better games, but the options you have when making games have never been better or broader.

PoLLeNSKi
25-09-2012, 03:26 PM
My point before was that it doesn't really matter how good the games being made in this era are. We can still play the games from every other era, often with better graphics, better performance, and less glitches. I couldn't play Dark Souls in the 90's, but I can still play Quake now. As far as I'm concerned, that means the modern era wins.This is half the point I was originally trying to address.

Using your logic will lead to tomorrow always being 'more' of a golden age than today in any storable media: I can listen to all the music made today as well as all the music from history (that's available), the same with film and TV shows - Each day will supercede the previous one in being more of a golden age unless there is some global event that destroys all the older stuff. It's basically a pretty pointless way of arguing the meaning of a 'golden age.'

The other main point of my argument against having the entire back catalog of gaming as being a bonus for modern gamers is that time has tired the look and novelty of older games. Again for a film analogy, audiences have become used to better graphics in modern horror and scifi genres and so the older, initially groundbreaking films look dated and are less involving as a result (with notable exceptions from great directors who didn't need amazing effects to get their points across/realised their technologies limitations). You also have the whole desensitization to shock and gore (and also explicit adult scenes if you look at the porn industry) issue and so things from yesteryear seem inherently tamer than their modern equivalents. Back to gaming and I remember giggling like a schoolboy (wait...I was actually still a schoolboy) at performing 'nut shots' in Goldeneye, nowadays you have the full xray vision in Sniper Elite and so seeing a low resolution polygon grabbing his bits and slumping to the ground is (marginally) less effective.

Finicky
25-09-2012, 03:54 PM
Semantics, you know the much agreed upon meaning of golden age yet you are trying to argue about the definition anyhow... what's the point?

PoLLeNSKi
25-09-2012, 03:56 PM
I'm not, I'm arguing against people who say "Because I can play all games from history, this is the golden age" because it's a useless, reiterative argument where every day will always be more of a golden age than the previous one... did you even read what I wrote?

EDIT: also, is a golden age a time of great innovation and creativity or the time when something is at it's most popular? Sure the terms aren't mutually exclusive, but they don't necessarily have to be tied at the hip.

jackieo
25-09-2012, 04:09 PM
So there are a lot of games being made and a lot of them are indie, but I still feel like 99% of everything published is majorly derivative. Either you get the skajillionth military shooter or space marine or you get the skajillionth retro platformer or adventure game. Very few things are actually innovating and so many are being made, we're being flooded with meaningless options. The games are largely functional, but this kind of crappy saturation seems more likely to become a problem for PC gaming than a boon.

Nalano
25-09-2012, 04:14 PM
So there are a lot of games being made and a lot of them are indie, but I still feel like 99% of everything published is majorly derivative.

I direct you to this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SturgeonsLaw).

NathanH
25-09-2012, 04:17 PM
My point before was that it doesn't really matter how good the games being made in this era are. We can still play the games from every other era, often with better graphics, better performance, and less glitches. I couldn't play Dark Souls in the 90's, but I can still play Quake now. As far as I'm concerned, that means the modern era wins.

Well, you don't get to experience playing those old games when they were new and fresh and exciting, with everyone else in gaming talking about them. Also, I frequently try to play old games that I know I'd have gobbled up at the time, but every time they do something annoying that modern games have worked out not to do any more I get irritated. Whenever there's a low-resolution button whose purpose I can't figure out that doesn't have a tooltip... grrrrrr. Old RTS games are probably the worst for this. Or the inventory systems of most old RPGs, they're all trying to drive me mad. It's hard to enjoy something properly when you know how much better this and this and this could be done.

Nalano
25-09-2012, 04:38 PM
I'm not, I'm arguing against people who say "Because I can play all games from history, this is the golden age" because it's a useless, reiterative argument where every day will always be more of a golden age than the previous one... did you even read what I wrote?

Being able to trawl through the archives is indeed a mark of a golden age when being able to do so was previously prohibitively difficult and/or impossible.

For example, there is a huge repository of Chinese literature that has never been fully translated into English or any other western language. The last time the West paid attention to snippets of Chinese poetry, for instance, there was an explosion of English imagistic poetry, e.g. Ezra Pound et al. If you should look now, the vast majority of Chinese books in English were written/translated post-war, and of those most of them were made in the last twenty-five years.

Only recently have I been able to pick up and read, say, Du Fu or Li Bai or Ruan Ji in their entirety, and they've been around for a very long time. I can think of no better age I'd rather live in, and for me that makes it a Golden Age.

You speak of a golden era of creativity and innovation, but such always coincides with the free and easy access to information and like minds. When is that not more true than right now?

Drake Sigar
25-09-2012, 04:49 PM
Only recently have I been able to pick up and read, say, Du Fu or Li Bai or Ruan Ji in their entirety, and they've been around for a very long time. I can think of no better age I'd rather live in, and for me that makes it a Golden Age.

You speak of a golden era of creativity and innovation, but such always coincides with the free and easy access to information and like minds. When is that not more true than right now?*Nods* That's basically what I wanted to say. The thought of art not being available to everyone makes me sad, and this issue is equally as important as creating the art. If I don't have access to it, what does it matter how innovative a book/movie/game is?

b0rsuk
25-09-2012, 04:59 PM
It can't be "the golden age of PC gaming" if the majority of games, especially big budget ones, are developed for consoles. Get real. Meanwhile PC gamers are begging on forums for a PC version. And the argument about old games still existing is stoopid. These games are largely forgotten, you can't play multiplayer except against some grumpy old dogs, pretty much no one to talk with about these games.

Show me ONE modern game developer which consistently releases very fun games in more than two genres and keeps experimenting (like Bullfrog used to).

Nalano
25-09-2012, 05:05 PM
Show me ONE modern game developer which consistently releases very fun games in more than two genres and keeps experimenting (like Bullfrog used to).

Why should this matter? It's an arbitrary requirement to say that everybody must be polyglots. Was Sid Meier a lesser developer for primarily having made 4X games?

In the realm of politics, I think the last quarter century can be marked as a twilight of American politics, but I also think that Bill Clinton is a bona fide polymath: A modern Renaissance Man. See how bad the argument then becomes?

PoLLeNSKi
25-09-2012, 06:19 PM
Being able to trawl through the archives is indeed a mark of a golden age when being able to do so was previously prohibitively difficult and/or impossible.Not really true...the increased access to it *could* lead to new ideas when used in conjunction with modern thinking - as you mention, the access to Chinese poetry sparked a golden age of creativity in the West, so in your own terms it was the creativity that was the golden age, not the access itself. Likewise new technologies can spawn golden ages as people experiment with the bounds and limitations of it.


You speak of a golden era of creativity and innovation, but such always coincides with the free and easy access to information and like minds. When is that not more true than right now?PC gaming has never really been that restricted in terms of access to old titles, sure there are more re-releases occuring and the convenience of downloading them all from one place is improved but it was pretty much always possible to get hold of old titles even if you had to dip onto ebay or illegitimately source them through an abandonware site...and of course a huge number of devs played most of the back catalog of games anyway since the medium is so young. Most of the 'new creativity' from Kickstarter/Greenlight is devs making niche, retro games with shinier graphics and mechanics and then being able to find their market/funding for it.

Nalano
25-09-2012, 06:56 PM
PC gaming has never really been that restricted in terms of access to old titles.

Are you not familiar with the concept of "abandonware (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware)?"

Great swaths of gaming - including, notably, the library of our golden child Bullfrog Productions - has been inaccessible through legitimate means for extended periods of time, where the only way to get them was to trawl warez sites and tangle with third-party hacks to make them work on contemporary machines.

It's not just the dark days before DOSBox, but also the legal wranglings of the great developer graveyard of the gaming industry. Stuff was simply not there.

Furthermore, your scoffing at the crucibles of Kickstarter/Greenlight, and more widely, digital distribution, app markets and the low barriers of entry they have offered to revolutionize the industry, illustrates how you are not taking the long view of our current generation. That explosion of indies around us? That's the creativity/innovation that's the resultant of wide access to inspirations and resources.

Yeah, they suffer from Sturgeon's Law. So did the previous eras you consider golden. Holy SHIT there was a lotta shovelware back in the day. The only thing better than reading about an innovative hit on PC Gamer (and their short-lived Maxim-style spinoff PC Accelerator) was reading the <10% reviews on PC Gamer. Everything had also-rans, bandwagon jumpers and copycats. That's the nature of the game. So stop looking at the trees and start looking at the forest.

PoLLeNSKi
25-09-2012, 07:17 PM
Are you not familiar with the concept of "abandonware (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware)?"Are you not familiar with the concept of eBay, or emulator software? I already mentioned eBay in my post ALONG with mentioning abandonware. Your initial post suggested it was 'prohibitively difficult and/or impossible' to access these things before, it really wasn't.

Furthermore, your scoffing at the crucibles of Kickstarter/Greenlight, and more widely, digital distributionI never scoffed once at them, they are great for indie developers to be able to get mass marketing cheaply done for their titles. Better saleability of indie titles does not mean more innovative indie titles, in fact it was generally the more innovative titles that did survive through being talked about PRE-greenlight/kickstarter (frozen synapse, introversion titles, braid, world of goo....MINECRAFT) whereas now there seems to be a large proliferation of copy-cat games available through these means which is drowning out the innovative ones. Also Sturgeon's Law, whilst being amusing has no actual numbers to back it up since it's an opinionated idea and so isn't a great crux for an argument.

arccos
25-09-2012, 09:41 PM
Are you not familiar with the concept of "abandonware (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware)?"

Great swaths of gaming - including, notably, the library of our golden child Bullfrog Productions - has been inaccessible through legitimate means for extended periods of time, where the only way to get them was to trawl warez sites and tangle with third-party hacks to make them work on contemporary machines.


Not to mention, depending on your definition of "PC Gaming," entire catalogs of games for different categories of PCs were completely unavailable up until recently without the proper hardware. Amiga, C-64, BBC Micro, and PC Engine all have great games you couldn't play on one machine until a few years ago.

The Golden Age of PC gaming is now (for any given present-time until/if PCs get locked down somehow), and it shows why any console could never hope to catch up.

Availability, price, and entire communities of people still talking about old or new games they loved. I don't think the sole benefit of being able to play a '98 game in '98 can overshadow how good we have it now.

mickygor
25-09-2012, 10:16 PM
If you are claiming that today is the golden age of gaming based purely on the fact that you can play all the games of the past, then you have to accept that you're wrong. The only right answer using that logic is that n-1 is the golden age of gaming, where n is the point at which games stop being developed, and 1 is the smallest unit of time from that point. Today has a pitifully small library of games available compared to that point.

Nalano
25-09-2012, 10:30 PM
If you are claiming that today is the golden age of gaming based purely on the fact that you can play all the games of the past, then you have to accept that you're wrong. The only right answer using that logic is that n-1 is the golden age of gaming, where n is the point at which games stop being developed, and 1 is the smallest unit of time from that point. Today has a pitifully small library of games available compared to that point.

If your definition of golden age is that of a relative surfeit of creativity, you'll just have to accept you're wrong as well, because every age rests squarely on the shoulders of the one before it.

Now, please, let's stop this ridiculously nonsensical discussion.

mashakos
25-09-2012, 10:43 PM
If your definition of golden age is that of a relative surfeit of creativity, you'll just have to accept you're wrong as well, because every age rests squarely on the shoulders of the one before it.

what the? Game designers grow up dreaming of the day they can recycle old ideas for eternity? No original game design concept has ever been made since 1980? WHAT.

Nalano
25-09-2012, 10:46 PM
what the? Game designers grow up dreaming of the day they can recycle old ideas for eternity? No original game design concept has ever been made since 1980? WHAT.

I'm not sure what the fuck you read, because that sure doesn't follow what I wrote.

mashakos
25-09-2012, 10:50 PM
I'm not sure what the fuck you read, because that sure doesn't follow what I wrote.

then explain what you meant here:

every age rests squarely on the shoulders of the one before it.

While this applies to other mediums after a certain point, games are still new enough as an art form to the point where someone can introduce a concept entirely alien to the medium (it's happened before).

arccos
26-09-2012, 06:48 PM
If you are claiming that today is the golden age of gaming based purely on the fact that you can play all the games of the past, then you have to accept that you're wrong. The only right answer using that logic is that n-1 is the golden age of gaming, where n is the point at which games stop being developed, and 1 is the smallest unit of time from that point. Today has a pitifully small library of games available compared to that point.

But that's the point! The question wasn't "what day is the golden day", but what "age". Right now is the golden age. Probably tomorrow, too, and most likely a long time past that. Because games are more widely available than ever before, cheaper than ever before, and more plentiful than ever before. It's a fundamental shift in how people can buy, play, and talk about games due to the Internet. It's an epoch of unprecedented availability.

That's what makes it a golden age. The golden age isn't September 24, 2000 because maybe you could buy Baldur's Gate 2 if your local shop carried it. That kind of thinking is too narrow.

Nalano
26-09-2012, 07:58 PM
While this applies to other mediums after a certain point, games are still new enough as an art form to the point where someone can introduce a concept entirely alien to the medium (it's happened before).

But why does that matter?

Hell, most of the "innovations" of the recent era - like, for instance, the first Modern Warfare - are just applying the techniques of other mediums on gaming. Not that it makes a lick of difference: Nobody creates in a vacuum. Nobody.

Internet
26-09-2012, 09:04 PM
No, it's the Argon age of gaming. The resurgence is nice, but it's not the first one and it won't be the last one. Pretty soon indies are going to run into the effects of time crunch, and some good games won't make money on Steam. I think this one isn't going to fade in quite the same way as the others though, since Kickstarter and Digital Distribution will let companies with established fan-bases make the games they want to make in perpetuity. The real decline I think we'll start to see is fading innovation.

It's nice right now though.

mashakos
26-09-2012, 09:19 PM
But why does that matter?
let me put it this way:
In the late 90's, the more prominent developers were so full of ideas that they publicly and loudly cried out for more advances in graphics, AI and input technologies to fulfill their visions. Nowadays, developers cry out that there is too much technology out there - a clear sign of fatigue and intellectual stagnation. The period I term "the golden age" was full of pioneers, risk takers and such sheer potential that most of the current best sellers we have today trace their roots to landmark titles from that period. We had instances of great triumphs and others of tragic dissolution where very creative teams were disbanded. All I see now is better content distribution. Not saying that that's somehow terrible (in fact it's fantastic), I just feel that the late 90's can be distinguished quite easily from the present due to the wave of innovation that was occurring back then. Can you seriously present the argument to a film enthusiast that the 80's were a golden age of film because of the introduction of VHS and blockbuster?

The late 90's will definitely be eclipsed at some point - we really can't say that it was the pinnacle of the medium - but I don't feel that we can consider the last 5 years a credible contender.

Another thing, this argument is irrelevant to multiplayer - multiplayer, like sports, is always on a linear trajectory. I think most who talk of key periods have single player genres in mind.

Nalano
26-09-2012, 09:21 PM
let me put it this way:

In the late 90's, the more prominent developers were so full of ideas that they publicly and loudly cried out for more advances in graphics, AI and input technologies to fulfill their visions. Nowadays, developers cry out that there is too much technology out there - a clear sign of fatigue and intellectual stagnation.

I reject your explanation because you define developers' motives in one bloc. "Developers" are not, as a whole, demanding any one thing.

mashakos
26-09-2012, 09:24 PM
I reject your explanation because you define developers' motives in one bloc. "Developers" are not, as a whole, demanding any one thing.

Didn't group all developers under one megaphone but it's a clear trend. I don't think you can deny that.

Nalano
26-09-2012, 09:39 PM
Didn't group all developers under one megaphone but it's a clear trend. I don't think you can deny that.

I can deny that it's a clear trend.

In fact, I've noticed that certain technical limitations are what foment a flourishing of new ideas - when it was all about 3D, we had a lot of shit that was basically 2D games BUT IN 3D!!! A lost of the post-processing effects et al bullshit is that, as well as the video card wars and glorified tech demo games. When technology plateaued for whatever reason - like they are now - developers had to think of new ways to use the same tools in order to differentiate their product.

mashakos
26-09-2012, 10:08 PM
I can deny that it's a clear trend.

then google is your friend (https://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=%20game+development+costs).

Nalano
26-09-2012, 10:50 PM
then google is your friend (https://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=%20game+development+costs).

That's for AAA shit. Who the fuck cares about that?

soldant
27-09-2012, 01:21 AM
let me put it this way:
In the late 90's, the more prominent developers were so full of ideas that they publicly and loudly cried out for more advances in graphics, AI and input technologies to fulfill their visions. Nowadays, developers cry out that there is too much technology out there - a clear sign of fatigue and intellectual stagnation.
You're remembering the 90s in a way that didn't actually happen. As we've said, there were plenty of crap games in the 90s and early 2000s. There were plenty of uninspired games. We just don't remember them because they weren't very good or notable. If anything, the late 90s and early 2000s were all about a race to technological superiority. Doom for example is a prototypical FPS game, but it's highly notable because it was an incredible sector-based engine with textured floors, ceilings, skies, lighting, etc, and it ran at an acceptable framerate. Otherwise it follows the formula we were used to - find the blue key to get the yellow key to get the red key to get to the exit. Quake was the same, except the innovation was true 3D geometry at an FPS that allowed for very fast paced gameplay.

We've slowed down in tech innovation largely due to the rise of consoles, which isn't necessarily a bad thing because continually demanding more raw power isn't innovation in tech - doing more with less however most certainly is. Most innovation was in tech because people wanted more realism in how games were presented. The 90s and 2000s were a technological race by and large, particularly in the mainstream arena.

And funnily enough you raise an excellent point - during the 90s and early 2000s plenty of developers that made games we'd consider different, innovative, or cult classics went and failed. Looking Glass Studios and Cavedog come to mind, though Cavedog probably deserved it after TA: Kingdoms, but I digress. System Shock 1 and 2 are some of 'the most PC' games around, yet LGS died. Cavedog gave us TA and died. Mucky Foot and Startopia? Died. You say that those time periods were ones of great innovation and a great golden age... well, evidently LGS and friends weren't great enough for the gamers back then, because lots of them died during the golden age when they should have been at their greatest. If we were all so great and sophisticated in the 90s and early 2000s, when the PC ruled the gaming lands with an iron fist of intelligence, why did we let devs like LGS die? Why didn't System Shock, considered a PC classic, carry LGS into stardom?

(Don't answer that, I know the history of LGS, I'm just making a point that some of the classics often trotted out as examples of the PC at its best had studios that died or were actually commercial failures)