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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Nostalgia Trips That Breed New Respect

    So I'm playing Thief again lately, and I've always loved this game and seeing it lauded or discussed always brought a smile to my face.

    But this playthrough (this'll make me sound like a shmuck but oh well when do I not), I'm really seeing what a masterpiece it is mechanically.

    Like how the game conveys information, the use of sound is genius. Not just by how it informs you how noisy the ground beneath you is, but also in the environment as a whole. I became really aware while playing of how much I was using my ears to figure out how safe an area was or whether that guard had spotted me after all.

    Similar information-conveyance brilliance, how the UI is pared down to nothing except the crucial: your health and your visibility gem. No symbol to show me what weapon I have equipped (that's visible directly). No mini-map. No nothing, except the most minimal essential features.

    There's nothing superfluous between you and the world you'll be interacting with.

    Talking about the 'world', I was amazed anew at how solid a simulation it is, which I've been realising is something I miss powerfully when it's absent in a game. There're simple rules in place, and it's up to me the player to take advantage of those rules. As opposed to there being arbitrary half-"rules" depending on what the developer assumed you'd think of. I'd a host of moments in Thief where I did something, and then caught myself, realising "There are a lot of other games where if I'd tried that, the game woulda just said 'Nope, can't do that'".

    And on top of all that, I was admiring the atmosphere and how (cutscenes aside) Thief tells its story. I came to growl at enemies, not because of specific mission objectives telling me how justified I was in killing them, but because of their actual presence in the world - their interactions with another, their declarations when chasing me, their attitudes expressed in notes and such I came across. They all added up to a philosophy that I plain didn't like. That's how you get me into your story, games! It's the same ethos as a simulation. Put in wood that acts like wood, and fire that acts like fire, and religious maniacs that act like religious maniacs, and leave it up to me to decide how to interact and feel about 'em all.

    So yeah. What a game. In fact I'm calling it: Keep's Most Admired Game Of All Time (Maybe I should change my username?)

    Anyway it makes a nice change from checking out your teenage idols, music/books/woteva a decade later and wondering "I thought this was good? What the hell was I thinking!)

    Anyone have similar experiences with their own revisits?
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    I've played Half-Life again, last year. The last time I've played it, I was just a little kid and that scared the shit out of me. Not anymore. Playing that again made me realise how many wasted years I've spent avoiding it. The scripting, the pace, the music, didn't age one bit. Well, maybe a little but it still kicks ass.

    And Dune 2000 on max speed was glorious.
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  3. #3
    Activated Node DHP's Avatar
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    Yeah, replaying x-com again recently. It just has a certain atmosphere that i don't know can be captured again. The fear of an unknown enemy just in the shadows, the anxiety that your heavy weapons guy will be mind-controlled while still in the avenger, the semi-random map system. Rookies with grenades entering alien ships. Sure it was not quite perfect, but it is one game i could probably pick up in 20 years and still enjoy.

  4. #4
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    Started Dungeon Keeper (the original) with the Keeperfx mod and I was blown away by how the game stands up to modern scrutiny. Sure, the resolution is low but as long as you zoom out a little it's perfectly playable. The design on the creatures, the humour, the sound effects, the dungeon designing, the colours...all of it still adds up to an amazing gaming experience.

    Makes me wonder if the same still goes for other Bullfrog classics like Theme Hospital.

  5. #5
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    double post

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Morrowind does this for me, every time I play it I just get goosebumps at that opening theme and just get sucked into the world, the graphics don't matter I am just immersed all over again. Also it has surprising amount of freedom for your character which I don't think even the later Elder Scrolls games give you. Playing a different character is always great. And seeing the different mods that change the experience a little bit.

  7. #7
    Activated Node Vdaxzter's Avatar
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    Every time I play The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, or Final Doom, I am simply amazed by the quality of id Software's design. The original Doom games sit atop the list of best pure first-person shooters available. Monolith's Blood is the only game that compares to them, IMO.
    Last edited by Vdaxzter; 04-05-2012 at 10:57 PM.

  8. #8
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Much love for deserved old classics, warms the cockles of me heart.
    Free speech don't mean unchallengeable speech.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Every time I play Planescape: Torment I find something new. Not necessarily a new line of dialogue, new area, new item, new memory or new NPC - just something new, such as a concept or a link. It is one of the very few stories where knowing what happens makes reliving the story an experience in itself, because you notice things that have no meaning on the first playthrough. And in that game there are hundreds of little things like that.

    The best example is when you meet the 3 past versions of yourself towards the end of the game. Replaying it while that encounter is fresh in your mind and so many things make more sense. Certain conversation options which reflect those 3 paths, actions you hear of your past self commiting, and also ways in which people interact with you - people who knew you even though they claim otherwise. And that last fact really is what makes the game for me - NPCs lie to you. Incidental NPCs even, not just the main baddie who at the start of the game was your boss/recruited you/etc. More games need that level of NPC depth.

    Also, I just picked up Syndicate on GOG a week ago and am really looking to playing that again for the first time in over a decade. Will it hold up or will it crush my childhood memories? I must admit I'm a wee bit anxious.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rinox View Post
    Makes me wonder if the same still goes for other Bullfrog classics like Theme Hospital.
    It does for Theme Hospital at least, not 100% sure about the others but I'd assume it does. Bullfrog strategy games are just... I don't know, maybe the humour and context hides things but they always seemed to be very well balanced to me. The difficulty seems just right; not too little that you get bored but not too much that you stall and get frustrated, which is important for these games because they're borderline sandboxes. Nobody else seems to understand that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vdaxzter View Post
    Every time I play The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, or Final Doom, I am simply amazed by the quality of id Software's design. The original Doom games sit atop the list of best pure first-person shooters available. Monolith's Blood is the only game that compares to them, IMO.
    This was my pick as well, though more Doom 2 (and Final Doom, that is Plutonia and TNT, weren't by id Software though they're outstanding on their own) because its abstract level design kinda-sorta looked like what they said it looked like if you used your imagination. Honourable mention to Duke Nukem 3D for doing "real world" environments in a sector-based engine. That said the lot of them were still stuck in the switch/key hunt period of gaming, which isn't quite so admirable.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    Lately I've been playing nothing but classics, the games I used to play when I was a child in fact, like Descent, Doom, Quake (don't tell the Daily Mail), Fallout... Going forward a bit, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six 3. All of these are games where I used to use cheats (except Fallout, but I only ever had the demo of Fallout and kept trying to shoot everyone which didn't end well) and never tried to play them the way they should have been, or were meant to have been played. I really, really love all of these games, but so much more now that I'm playing them properly. Well, I've been playing Ghost Recon properly for years, it was the only 3D game I had on my Mac until Steam came out, and I only ever had a Mac up until last November. Rainbow Six, though, is incredible when you actually plan the mission properly instead of giving everyone heavy armour and LMGs because the biggest gun must be the best gun. Doom and Quake are so much better when you try and beat the par times, too, though I've been doing that more in Doom than Quake.

    Actually I might have to reconsider Descent in this context, because I think I'm actually worse at it now than I was when I was young. The controls with a KB&M are atrocious, though, I want to make a twin-flightstick controller for it, maybe then I'll be able to actually move in more than one direction at once. Wow, imagine circle strafing in Descent... The best I get now is 'move right, turn, move right, turn, move right, what's the key to move up? Turn, move forwards, etc'.

    I'm extremely sleepy and probably rambling by now.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rinox View Post
    Started Dungeon Keeper (the original) with the Keeperfx mod and I was blown away by how the game stands up to modern scrutiny. Sure, the resolution is low but as long as you zoom out a little it's perfectly playable. The design on the creatures, the humour, the sound effects, the dungeon designing, the colours...all of it still adds up to an amazing gaming experience.

    Makes me wonder if the same still goes for other Bullfrog classics like Theme Hospital.
    Yeah, I too replayed Dungeon Keeper with KeeperFX a few months ago and it was as much fun as it had been back in 1997, which I can't say for a lot of games from that time. The graphics may not be the best, but it still looks okayish, as long as you don't possess one of your minions (the first person view looked terrible even in 1997). The gameplay, style and design are still top notch, and it makes me wish for a Dungeon Keeper 3 kickstarter involving the orignal developers.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Cooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rinox View Post
    Makes me wonder if the same still goes for other Bullfrog classics like Theme Hospital.
    Yes. it does. Put Theme Hospital on my netbook as a game to play whilst travelling, and it holds up.

    Same with Theme Park too.

    OpenTTD constantly amazes me at just how much was so perfect in the original transport tycoon. Sure OpenTTD does a lot to make the game better, but at its core it's the same game; there's something about perfectly running train networks that's just so satisfying...

    There's a flip side to this; there are many games which are hailed as great, replayed but many, but totally alienating.

    XCom is one of these for me. I've tried to get into it a few times, but the bloody horrific UI and tiny resolution make it totally impenetrable.

    I wonder how much "renewed appreciation" for these games is premised upon familiarity?
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