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DocSeuss
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:00 AM)
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(Apologies in advance if this gets confusing; I've got a massive headache right now that painkillers aren't even scratching, so my thoughts are a bit muddled, but I've been thinking about this for days, and it's bothering me a lot)

(Also, here, have some game covers so this doesn't seem like a wall of text)

EDIT: Okay, so, I'm drastically editing this OP now that I'm feeling far less ill. It should make more sense, regardless of whether you agree with it or not.



As I stumble across more "I'm getting a new PC! What games should I get?" thread, I find myself increasingly capable of predicting which games will be on the list. Valve's going to make an appearance, primarily with Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, and DOTA 2. We'll see Blizzard as well, primarily with Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. MMOs might get mentioned--usually Guild Wars 2, but occasionally someone will mention something like The Old Republic or EVE. Then we'll have the other usual suspects, the Terrarias, the Minecrafts, the Bindings of Isaacs, and so on and so forth. People will mention indie puzzlers and platformers as well.

My Steam friends list is littered with these people as well. The most-played game, last I checked, was Dota 2, followed closely by Team Fortress 2. When someone pops on Steam, more often than not, it's to play these games or the latest console port.

This has me feeling somewhat disconnected from the average PC gamer right now.



Wherever I look, whether it's on PC gaming websites or recommendation threads, Kickstarter projects, new mods coming out, or even on my Steam friends list, the kind of games being played are becoming increasingly homogenous. It's not to say that the games are becoming increasingly homogenous, just that players seem more likely to be playing a limited selection of game types, primarily multiplayer-oriented, free to play, indie puzzlers/platformers, or PC ports.

There's this... kind of game, I've been discovering the past four years. It's a kind I really like. I don't really know how to put it in the right terms, as my first draft of this OP has convinced me, so let me try to express an era instead: PC-specific single-player games. I'm talking about the kind of games you see in the pictures of this post. I'm talking about STALKER and Thief, The Witcher and Homeworld. It's not about single-player-only games--after all, Age of Empires had multiplayer--it's more about games that seem to have put all their meat in the multiplayer, with skimpy pickings for a campaign that's little more than an ineffective training tool.



Knowing STALKER's becoming the F2P Survarium is like something out of a nightmare--System Shock 2 aside, it's my favorite game.

Looking at recent Kickstarters, we've seen a resurgence in... CRPGs. That's really about it. There are two interesting space sims that have recently been Kickstarted (Elite and Star Citizen), but Chris Roberts' efforts seem focused on multiplayer. Planetary Annihilation, one of the few non-CRPG Kickstarters out there, was originally not going to have a campaign at all. Even though they're planning on one now, it's clear that single player was never the game's focus.

Games have become increasingly Pavlovian, increasingly gamey. As I'm zipping through Far Cry 3, I'm finding that, much like Far Cry 2, the game's at its worst when it's trying to be a game. It's all about giving points, unlocking journal entries, lots of padding, and this continual feeling of artificiality. Most of these console ports seem to be games rather than... whatever STALKER was. When playing that, allow myself to be immersed in a fictitious reality. I react to that world like it's a real space. I do the same thing with games like STALKER and System Shock 2.

While I don't immerse myself in Age of Empires, a game I'm playing alongside Age of Empires Online, I find that I greatly prefer the former to the latter. AoEO is all about gentle lizard brain masturbation, and Age of Empires is just... Age of Empires. In AoEO, I don't leave the map until I've razed all the enemy's buildings, just to maximize my XP.

The play style isn't always as overt as XP, though--Valve and Blizzard have practically made player conditioning their raison d'etre. It's not the kind of thing people did with these older games I've been playing.



Games feel like they're moving towards this connected, online, microtransacted future. The campaigns--which are rarely, if ever, well-written--last shortly and do ridiculous stuff like murdering me because I was supposed to enter X event while standing, and I chose to crouch (HI, BATTLEFIELD 3, YOU STEAMING SHITBUCKET). Or the games evoke a nostalgia for a past I never had. I don't care about the latest gimmicky 2D platformer. The puzzle games are interesting, but they just don't grip me in quite the same way. Something's missing, and that's the thing I want the most. I don't know what to call it. I can take pokes and stabs and try to tell you what it is and why it compels me, but I'm not sure I'll ever do a good job.

Most games I get are designed for consoles. Even Dishonored, which is about as PC as a game gets these days, did it wrong. During playtesting, they discovered that players, if they were told they couldn't go upstairs, wouldn't try to go upstairs. And older PC game would have encouraged that, but in Dishonored's case, they simply presented options for people too used to games being gamey for that to matter. There's something about... this sense of classic discovery that I'm finding in everything from Age of Empires (the current classic I'm playing) to No One Lives Forever (which I just found in a thrift store for $2.48 :D).

It's like I'm being told everything, like I'm presented every option. Rarely are there consequences to my actions, other ways to do things, or... just... this sense of "this game world is a world--treat it as you see fit." In Age of Empires, there are multiple ways to win various maps. In so many of the games I'm playing, if it's not a multiplayer experience, it's a "Here, I am explicitly presenting you with all possible options" sort of thing. Far Cry 3 is the most liberating game I've played in ages in that regard... and it's still not quite right.

But it feels like nobody really wants that.



For so many people, games are little more than online sports. In this very thread, I H8 Memes has posted a pic showing that most of his friends play DOTA 2 (a staggering 1088 cumulative hours in two weeks).

For the rest, it seems to be about those lizard brain poking activies.

There are a handful of exceptions, like Amnesia, but that game's so binary. You hide or you run. If you don't, you die. It's not like there's that System Shockish feeling of uncertainty where you wonder if two rounds from your pistol is enough to take out the next monster. There's no real sense of gambling. Amnesia is like Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth... except less. There's no real way for me, as a player, to push the game systems, poke and see what I can or can't do.

Black Mesa is one of the better experiences I've had with this in recent times. I'd go "hm. Can I do that? HOLY SHIT! I CAN!" It was an exhilirating feeling. It was awesome to try to take on a handful of guys with just a bit of ammo and less than twenty health, or to see if I could lure them into a trap with a well-timed explosion. There was just so much more freedom to try and do things, despite the fact that it was a linear, scripted video game.



At times, I feel like people think all PC gaming has to offer is better graphics. For me, it's not about graphics. If it was, I wouldn't be playing all these old games. I wouldn't be actively seeking out more. I've never played Thief II, but after Thief, there's no way in hell I won't be playing it. Can't wait to get started on the Hitman games either.

I guess you could say it's about a different kind of fun, one that seems to be missing more and more in video games.

Marc LeBlanc, ex-Looking Glass guy if I remember right, has this cool site about different kinds of fun/satisfaction people get out of games. He argues that there are eight basic kinds of fun in games. Of these, I guess you could say I feel people are more interested in Fellowship, Submission, and Sensation. I, for my part, derive more fun from Expression, Discovery, Challenge, Fantasy (immersion). I'd say Narrative too, but few game writers seem competent enough to write something worthy of narrative enjoyment.

I just want a different kind of fun out of video games than it seems most people do. I feel like few people are encouraging others to play the kind of games that facilitate this kind of fun. I feel like few people are interested in making the kind of games that facilitate this kind of fun (because, let's face it, getting people addicted to your game is a lot easier than designing a good game). This is why I'm bummed.

So... what? Am I a member of a dying breed? Are people just not interested in the kind of games I like anymore? If they are... what can we do about it? Is there some way to encourage people to try focusing on these kinds of experiences?
Last edited by DocSeuss; 01-28-2013 at 03:18 AM.
DSN2K
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:03 AM)
because of the extended Console life cycle there is a new breed of PC gamer who came across looking for better visuals on established console brands....developers have followed suite meaning you are seeing more console ports then PC centric titles.
DocSeuss
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:05 AM)
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Originally Posted by DSN2K

because of the extended Console life cycle there is a new breed of PC gamer who came across looking for better visuals on established console brands....developers have followed suite meaning you are seeing more console ports then PC centric titles.

It's not realllly about that, though. The PC-centric titles just all seem to be online F2P multiplayer stuff, kickstarters from CRPG developers, stuff like Terraria and Minecraft, or indie puzzle/platformers.

Those hold very little appeal to me.

I would be more than happy with indie PC shooters that evoked a late 90s/early 2000s feel with the simplicity of their assets. Give me a spy-themed immersive sim with the texture and object quality of Thirty Flights of Loving/Gravity Bone, (but more human character models would be nice) and I'd be happy.
TheExodu5
(01-28-2013, 01:06 AM)
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PC gaming is becoming more homogenous? Where are you looking? Let's take a look at some of the great games that have come out over the last year or two:

Chivalry
Natural Selection 2
Dota 2
FTL
Legend of Grimrock
Guild Wars 2
Anno 2070
Dawn of War 2
Amnesia
Diablo 3
SpaceChem
To The Moon
Starcraft 2
Crusader Kings 2
Dustforce
The Witcher 2
Magicka
VVVVVV
Path of Exile

Sorry...I'm not seeing it. PC gaming is more diverse than it's ever been.
Painraze
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:07 AM)
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Dota 2 is directly based on an old-school PC game mod. Have you tried that game out?
Derrick01
Banned
(01-28-2013, 01:09 AM)
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It's really the modern gamer in general, not just on PC. It's all MP bullshit and console ports, which are just ports of unambitious and homogeneous AAA games. I would love to get games like Thief in today's time but there's not enough demand to justify the cost.

Originally Posted by Painraze

Dota 2 is directly based on an old-school PC game mod.

And extremely multiplayer based.
Camp Lo
Banned
(01-28-2013, 01:10 AM)
There's this trend of RTS that seem to have that BLOPS effect on PC gaming and if you're not into it, a lot of PC gamers thumb their noses at you.

I dunno. I don't mind being off the beaten path with my PC titles. It's why I'm not a fit for console gaming anymore.
rouken
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:11 AM)
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Originally Posted by DocSeuss

It's not realllly about that, though. The PC-centric titles just all seem to be online F2P multiplayer stuff, kickstarters from CRPG developers, stuff like Terraria and Minecraft, or indie puzzle/platformers.

Those hold very little appeal to me.

I would be more than happy with indie PC shooters that evoked a late 90s/early 2000s feel with the simplicity of their assets. Give me a spy-themed immersive sim with the texture and object quality of Thirty Flights of Loving/Gravity Bone, (but more human character models would be nice) and I'd be happy.

well isn't the PC all about that? I mean when I started pc gaming, its all about Strategy games and then its all about FPS games and now this. its about having different games from the consoles.
TheExodu5
(01-28-2013, 01:11 AM)
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Originally Posted by Derrick01

It's really the modern gamer in general, not just on PC. It's all MP bullshit and console ports, which are just ports of unambitious and homogeneous AAA games. I would love to get games like Thief in today's time but there's not enough demand to justify the cost.

Thief 4 is currently in development.
loganclaws
Plane Escape Torment
(01-28-2013, 01:13 AM)
I totally get what you mean OP. The last console I owned was the PS1, yet I still feel like the best pc games were from the 90s, even now I would go back and play these old games and find them so much more enjoyable than what we get nowadays. I believe this is partially due to the homogenization of gameplay concepts and/or "standard safe practices" in new games, where almost every one of them is a third person cover shooter/fps/rpg with gameplay concepts we've seen in a dozen similar games. The gist of it is there was a lot more creativity and risk taking in game developement back then which is slowly going away mostly due to bloated game budgets.

Sucks.

Edit: I am referring to mainstream or "Triple A" game development as they call it nowadays of course. Luckily PC has indie game development.
Last edited by loganclaws; 01-28-2013 at 01:16 AM.
DocSeuss
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:13 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheExodu5

PC gaming is becoming more homogenous? Where are you looking? Let's take a look at some of the great games that have come out over the last year or two:

Chivalry
Natural Selection 2
Dota 2
FTL
Legend of Grimrock
Guild Wars 2
Anno 2070
Dawn of War 2
Amnesia
Diablo 3
SpaceChem
To The Moon
Starcraft 2
Crusader Kings 2
Dustforce
The Witcher 2
Magicka
VVVVVV
Path of Exile

Sorry...I'm not seeing it. PC gaming is more diverse than it's ever been.

Multiplayer
Multiplayer
Multiplayer
Good, but not quite what I'm going for
Good, but not quite what I'm going for
Multiplayer
Good--I do enjoy City Builders a lot
Simplified/Online-Oriented
Bad
Online
Puzzler
Indie Artsy Game
Online
Good, but not exactly my thing
Platformer
Good--amazing, even
Multiplayer
Platformer
Multiplayer

Hopefully, since you appear not to have read the bits where I mentioned several of those explicitly, and expressed that part of my problem was that they were multiplayer games, and that I was more interested in single-player experiences (particularly those with a degree of immersion), you now see what my problem is.

I don't really care about 2D indie games (which is not to say I hate them--Mark of the Ninja was one of the best, most fun games I've played in ages), nor multiplayer games.

Originally Posted by loganclaws

I totally get what you mean OP. The last console I owned was the PS1, yet I still feel like the best pc games were from the 90s, even now I would go back and play these old games and find them so much more enjoyable than what we get nowadays. I believe this is partially due to the homogenization of gameplay concepts and/or "standard safe practices" in new games, where almost every one of them is a third person cover shooter/fps/rpg with gameplay concepts we've seen in a dozen similar games. The gist of it is there was a lot more creativity and risk taking in game developement back then which is slowly going away mostly due to bloated game budgets.

Sucks.

If people would move away from indie puzzler/platformer/sandboxer that so many indies are focused on and into indie RTS or indie FPS, I would be so fucking happy. Unfortunately, I do not have the skills to model/animate/program/design/texture/sound/etc a game on my own. I can do some of those things, but not enough to solo it.

An indie Thief (The Dark Mod is becoming a full-fledged indie game and might just do this right) would appeal to me soooo much more than, say, Torment 2. Not that Torment 2 doesn't appeal. It's just... not as appealing to me as the immersive, ambitious first-person experience. Now, an Torment-like that derived its perspective from Ultima Underworld? I'd probably die happy.

Originally Posted by TheExodu5

Thief 4 is currently in development.

By the people who felt that Metal Gear Solid's third-person stealth/line of sight take was better than Thief's first-person, audio-based stealth take, which is VASTLY more satisfying, interesting, and deep.

I'm nervous.
Last edited by DocSeuss; 01-28-2013 at 01:18 AM.
Kageshinzo
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(01-28-2013, 01:13 AM)
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I am looking at my Steam list right now and there are a lot of single-player games that are good. Maybe you're just not looking hard enough?

Off the top of my head, PC games as of late that aren't really MP-centric:

The Witcher 2
X-COM: Enemy Unknown
Sleeping Dogs
DmC
The Cave
pje122
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:14 AM)
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NOLF2 was the best. Must have put over 3000 hours into that masterpiece of a game.
Derrick01
Banned
(01-28-2013, 01:14 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheExodu5

Thief 4 is currently in development.

And will be a console game. It's almost guaranteed to have multiplayer and if I was a gambling man I'd put money down on it being a hybrid game since real stealth games "don't sell" to the console crowd. A hybrid Thief game is a Thief game that should not exist.
TheExodu5
(01-28-2013, 01:14 AM)
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Originally Posted by DocSeuss

Multiplayer
Multiplayer
Multiplayer
Good
Good
Multiplayer
Good
Simplified/Online-Oriented
Bad
Online
Puzzler
Indie Artsy Game
Online
Good
Platformer
Good
Multiplayer
Platformer
Multiplayer

Hopefully, since you appear not to have read the bits where I mentioned several of those explicitly, and expressed that part of my problem was that they were multiplayer games, and that I was more interested in single-player experiences (particularly those with a degree of immersion), you now see what my problem is.

I don't really care about 2D indie games (which is not to say I hate them--Mark of the Ninja was one of the best, most fun games I've played in ages), nor multiplayer games.

This is a forum with many people. My post was to NeoGAF, not specifically to you. My post was simply to illustrate how wonderfully diverse PC games are today.

Originally Posted by Tellaerin

If it follows the direction the market seems to be headed nowadays, it'll require an always-on internet connection and be heavily multiplayer-focused, with sixteen-player Team Thiefmatches and lots of microtransactions. :p

Just like Dishonored and Deus Ex?
Tellaerin
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:14 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheExodu5

Thief 4 is currently in development.

If it follows the direction the market seems to be headed nowadays, it'll require an always-on internet connection and be heavily multiplayer-focused, with sixteen-player Team Thiefmatches and lots of microtransactions. :p
faceless007
AAA ETHER
(01-28-2013, 01:14 AM)
Your post seems kind of scattershot so I'm not entirely sure if I understand exactly what you're asking for. I think there's probably a little nostalgia in there; it's easy to remember the things from decades ago as better than they were.

But yes, focused, ambitious single-player PC experiences do seem to have fallen by the wayside as the market has shifted to XTREMEEEEEEE console AAA experiences and shoehorning multiplayer and community aspects into everything. Big games these days are highly refined iterations on established genres with basically the same mechanics and interfaces. So it's difficult to find big titles that try a new spin on a genre with new mechanics like Homeworld or Thief, because publishers and developers are risk-averse and don't think the market is there.

I'm not sure if that's what you were getting at.
M*A*S*H
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(01-28-2013, 01:16 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheExodu5

PC gaming is becoming more homogenous? Where are you looking? Let's take a look at some of the great games that have come out over the last year or two:

snip

Sorry...I'm not seeing it. PC gaming is more diverse than it's ever been.

Totally agree with this. I think the kind of games you're looking for still very much exist and are still in development, it's simply that the amount of games total, has ballooned immensely.

As an aside, since I noticed that picture of thief in your post, I would recommend dishonoured and mark of the ninja as two recent and, particularly in MotN's case, stellar stealth games.

The games you love may be struggling to make themselves heard over the din of their more populist competitors, but they are still there.
Des0lar
will learn eventually
(01-28-2013, 01:16 AM)
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Originally Posted by DocSeuss

Hopefully, since you appear not to have read the bits where I mentioned several of those explicitly, and expressed that part of my problem was that they were multiplayer games, and that I was more interested in single-player experiences (particularly those with a degree of immersion), you now see what my problem is.

I don't really care about 2D indie games (which is not to say I hate them--Mark of the Ninja was one of the best, most fun games I've played in ages), nor multiplayer games.

If you paint games with such a broad brush, especially calling something "indie artsy game", you will not find many people who will agree with you
loganclaws
Plane Escape Torment
(01-28-2013, 01:17 AM)

Originally Posted by pje122

NOLF2 was the best. Must have put over 3000 hours into that masterpiece of a game.

NOLF1 was better!
MoxManiac
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:17 AM)
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Originally Posted by DocSeuss

Multiplayer
Multiplayer
Multiplayer
Good
Good
Multiplayer
Good
Simplified/Online-Oriented
Bad
Online
Puzzler
Indie Artsy Game
Online
Good
Platformer
Good
Multiplayer
Platformer
Multiplayer

Hopefully, since you appear not to have read the bits where I mentioned several of those explicitly, and expressed that part of my problem was that they were multiplayer games, and that I was more interested in single-player experiences (particularly those with a degree of immersion), you now see what my problem is.

I don't really care about 2D indie games (which is not to say I hate them--Mark of the Ninja was one of the best, most fun games I've played in ages), nor multiplayer games.

Many of those Multiplayer games are single player too; most loot games are fine in single player, for example.
Jawmuncher
(01-28-2013, 01:18 AM)
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Originally Posted by Derrick01

It's really the modern gamer in general, not just on PC. It's all MP bullshit and console ports, which are just ports of unambitious and homogeneous AAA games. I would love to get games like Thief in today's time but there's not enough demand to justify the cost.

I can really agree with this.
I remember when PC gaming really did feel like its own. But since the gap between consoles and PC is so much closer now and making a PC centric AAA game just isn't good financially the sort of stuff we like just isn't there. Indie helps a bit in that lane though. But I agree that there's way to much MP and other shit clogging the image of PC gaming currently. One of the reasons why I enjoy hitting up GOG and play games from a more unique time in PC gaming.
Lime
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:19 AM)
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There's a reason why they call the 90's-early 2000's The Golden Age of PC gaming.
Tellaerin
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(01-28-2013, 01:22 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheExodu5

Just like Dishonored and Deus Ex?

You're right. Nobody has any reason to be cynical and disillusioned about the direction things seem to be going if you're a fan of strong single-player experiences and aren't a fan of trends like microtransactions/IAP's or shoehorning multiplayer into everything. :p

Yes, DX:HR sidestepped most of that. (Haven't played Dishonored yet, so I can't comment.) But if I name all the recent games that have gone that route, that list's going to be a lot longer than two titles. I don't think you can deny that.
Last edited by Tellaerin; 01-28-2013 at 01:29 AM.
loganclaws
Plane Escape Torment
(01-28-2013, 01:23 AM)
It's sad that when we look at the modern "spiritual sequels" to some of the best PC games in the past, these sequels are almost always inferior in every way except graphics. I wonder if/when we will ever reach a point where games become so mainstream that this concept of making sequels more streamlined to catch a bigger audience (more casual players) is finally eliminated.

Just think about Bioshock versus System Shock, Human Revolution versus Deus Ex1, Dishonored versus Thief or Arx Fatalis (I know, not exactly same genre)...
kpjolee
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(01-28-2013, 01:23 AM)
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Originally Posted by Lime

There's a reason why they call the 90's-early 2000's The Golden Age of PC gaming.

And right before Microsoft entered the console business. I am pretty sure PC gaming scene would be whole lot different from what it is today if MS focused all their efforts into PC games instead of Xbox.
pje122
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:24 AM)
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Originally Posted by loganclaws

NOLF1 was better!

True.... but not the multiplayer!
Derrick01
Banned
(01-28-2013, 01:25 AM)
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Originally Posted by TheExodu5

Just like Dishonored and Deus Ex?

The next Deus Ex is also expected to have a big MP focus judging by the studio's recent hiring spree and them working on the tomb raider MP (practice for their game and everything).

Besides both Dishonored and the current Deus Ex's need to worry about becoming more like their PC roots. They were both way too console-y in the gameplay department, not nearly as ambitious as the original Deus Ex or the Thief games.
MrCunningham
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(01-28-2013, 01:26 AM)
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Originally Posted by loganclaws

NOLF1 was better!

I liked them both almost equally. Kate Archer needs to make a comeback
pje122
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:28 AM)
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Originally Posted by Lime

There's a reason why they call the 90's-early 2000's The Golden Age of PC gaming.

Oh man.... totally agree.
Although the same could be said for consoles... or even life in general...

Originally Posted by MrCunningham

I liked them both almost equally. Kate Archer needs to make a comeback

Come on man... spell it correctly!
Zarx
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(01-28-2013, 01:28 AM)
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I can relate but there are still some interesting single-player games that pop up from time to time, whether it's from the AAA space (which is inherently multi-platform due to economics) which still occasionally pushes out a gem or from the indie scene which still sometimes pushes out something interesting or just fun. I wish there were more great innovative single-player experiences, but lets face it multiplayer connected experiences are what sell these days on all platforms and that is not going to change and developers and publishers have to go where the money is.
Des0lar
will learn eventually
(01-28-2013, 01:31 AM)
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What you seem to forget is that online and multiplayer is so prominent today, because it is simply possible.
You list Age of Empires 2 as an example of a great game, but disregard Starcraft 2 because of "Online"? What the hell kind of logic is that? If it were as easy to set up as it is today, AoE2 would have had great online multiplayer (did it? I forgot). Starcraft had multiplayer, Quake had multiplayer, Half Life had multiplayer and a good campaign.

There are still games like Starcraft 2, Dawn of War series, Diablo 3, Bulletstorm, Batman Series, Bioshock, Company of Heroes, Crysis, Dead Space, Deus Ex, Europa Universalis, Bastion, FTL, Frozen Synapse, Hotline Miami, Limbo, Grimrock, Mafia, Magicka, Max Payne, Mirrors Edge, Portal, Prototype, Rage, Red Faction, Serious Sam, Shank, Sleeping Dogs, Stacking, Stronghold, Sword of the Stars, Endless Space, Terraria, Total War series, Trine, Wolfenstein, X-Com, Zeno Clash, X3 Terran conflict.... and many more. Hell, these are just from a quick glance of my Steam library.

You just seem to conveniently ignore that while yes, many of these games feature and online component, they all have great single player campaigns as well. Don't want to be online while playing your game? Just diconnect the internet, deny the game access to the internet, you're on a PC: You can do anything.

Look at the list above: Great games of many different genres with good to great single player campaigns. We have great Kickstarters coming, and Indies are starting to pump out more and more polished games.

People seem to easily ignore todays highs, because the highs of hence lasted so long. Yes I played PC games in the 90s as well, but hell I love todays games. I love the singleplayer ones, and I love the great multiplayer ones as well.

Shit, stuff like Path of Exile can be played as a singleplayer game if you really want to and that goddam thing is FREE. That's how awesome todays games are.
MasLegio
Banned
(01-28-2013, 01:32 AM)
The golden age is now

you are just getting older and more set in your ways


open your mind
DocSeuss
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:34 AM)
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Originally Posted by Kageshinzo

I am looking at my Steam list right now and there are a lot of single-player games that are good. Maybe you're just not looking hard enough?

Off the top of my head, PC games as of late that aren't really MP-centric:

The Witcher 2
X-COM: Enemy Unknown
Sleeping Dogs
DmC
The Cave

It's like Jawmuncher said: "I remember when PC gaming really did feel like its own."

The Witcher 2 feels like it was designed with consoles in mind (that is not a mouse-friendly UI). X-COM was amazing, Sleeping Dogs was primarily for consoles, as was DmC, and The Cave, while cool, was also designed for console audiences (he wanted it to be less adventury, more actiony).

Originally Posted by pje122

NOLF2 was the best. Must have put over 3000 hours into that masterpiece of a game.

True this. NOLF1 was good, but NOLF2 just did things better.

Originally Posted by TheExodu5

This is a forum with many people. My post was to NeoGAF, not specifically to you. My post was simply to illustrate how wonderfully diverse PC games are today.



Just like Dishonored and Deus Ex?

My bad. I'm not trying to get DOWN on PC games, it's just that... most of the games you listed are 2D indie games or multiplayer titles, and while many of them are VERY good (Blizzard games not so much), they're also not really the thing I created this thread for. So... y'know, they're great and all, but in the OP, I listed them as exactly the things I'm having problems with.

Dishonored is a lot closer to the kind of game I'm interested in. It felt like a revelation, but something was off. The party is the level where Dishonored clicked for me and became the thing I was looking for. The menus/FOV were sized for playing on a television, which was annoying.

Originally Posted by faceless007

Your post seems kind of scattershot so I'm not entirely sure if I understand exactly what you're asking for. I think there's probably a little nostalgia in there; it's easy to remember the things from decades ago as better than they were.

But yes, focused, ambitious single-player PC experiences do seem to have fallen by the wayside as the market has shifted to XTREMEEEEEEE console AAA experiences and shoehorning multiplayer and community aspects into everything. Big games these days are highly refined iterations on established genres with basically the same mechanics and interfaces. So it's difficult to find big titles that try a new spin on a genre with new mechanics like Homeworld or Thief, because publishers and developers are risk-averse and don't think the market is there.

I'm not sure if that's what you were getting at.

It is pretty scattershot. I am feeling pretty sick right now, and have been all weekend.

It's not nostalgia, though. MOST of the PC games I've fallen in love with, I've fallen in love with in the past five years. I had no idea what System Shock 2 was until after I played Bioshock, and System Shock just annihilated Levine's latest effort. AvP2 is one of the best horror games I've ever played. NOLF? Same deal. Played it in 2008. I'm actually playing through the full game of Age of Empires 1 right now, and I fucking love it. I wish I'd had this years ago.

I like SP RTS and FPP experiences the most, and these seem to be the kind of games people aren't interested in making, or, if they are, they're making them with concessions for consoles. The capital city in Skyrim doesn't feel like a capital city, because it's so small, nor does the stealth approach Thief's level (I'm currently in my first playthrough of Thief, actually).

And yet Skyrim feels like the one of the most PC-oriented gaming experiences I've had in a while. The modding certainly helps. Other games, like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored... they're close, but something is off.

Originally Posted by Tellaerin

If it follows the direction the market seems to be headed nowadays, it'll require an always-on internet connection and be heavily multiplayer-focused, with sixteen-player Team Thiefmatches and lots of microtransactions. :p

The market was heading for Facebook for a while. That didn't turn out so well.

Also, I have heard that Thievery was a good multiplayer mod. I'd be okay if Thief 4 had a multiplayer mode if it was as good as I've heard Thievery is.

Originally Posted by M*A*S*H

Totally agree with this. I think the kind of games you're looking for still very much exist and are still in development, it's simply that the amount of games total, has ballooned immensely.

As an aside, since I noticed that picture of thief in your post, I would recommend dishonoured and mark of the ninja as two recent and, particularly in MotN's case, stellar stealth games.

The games you love may be struggling to make themselves heard over the din of their more populist competitors, but they are still there.

I have played both games. Mark of the Ninja, while excellent, is in that 2D platformer territory that I'm a bit tired of (though I loved it and thought it was one of last year's best games).

Dishonored, again, excellent, but for some reason, even though I loved it in the moment, I just don't feel like going back and playing it. There were definitely concessions made for TV that hold it back a bit, but the levels felt like they were a bit more Down in the Bonehoard and a bit less Lord Bafford's Manor, if that made sense.

Teleporting was fun, but a bit too cheap.

Few people do first person perspective as well as Arkane. Amazing stuff (Far Cry 3 is one exception--I've actually modded the game to make it more interesting).

Originally Posted by Des0lar

If you paint games with such a broad brush, especially calling something "indie artsy game", you will not find many people who will agree with you

I'm not trying to diss the game. To the Moon is pretty good, from what I hear, and I have intentions to play it. Thirty Flights of Loving is also an indie artsy game, and I absolutely LOVE it.

It's just... the things I want are the things nobody seems to be making, or when they do, they're made with big concessions for the PC.

I could have loved Hitman: Absolution. Chinese New Year's and Welcome to Hope were awesome levels, and if a game was just a bunch of disconnected levels like that, with slightly better balance for suit disguise and stuff, it might have been one of my favorite games. But... the rest of the game, as well as its focus on points (vs friends) just... it wasn't compelling. It was a bunch of linear tubes with bad stealth design, for the most part.

Originally Posted by MasLegio

The golden age is now

you are just getting older and more set in your ways


open your mind

Like I said... most of my time spent with classic PC games is within the past five years.

It ain't nostalgia.

--

Des0lar, I'm splitting my response up into multiple bits.

Originally Posted by Des0lar

What you seem to forget is that online and multiplayer is so prominent today, because it is simply possible.
You list Age of Empires 2 as an example of a great game, but disregard Starcraft 2 because of "Online"? What the hell kind of logic is that? If it were as easy to set up as it is today, AoE2 would have had great online multiplayer (did it? I forgot). Starcraft had multiplayer, Quake had multiplayer, Half Life had multiplayer and a good campaign.

I disagree. Ensemble tended to focus on campaign, even back in 1998. Blizzard's focus was on MP, and it showed. Their campaigns were awful.

It's not that "a multiplayer mode exists." I have no problem with games that include multiplayer. It's that the games are multiplayer-focused. Starcraft 2's SP is abysmal. The only real reason to buy it is for the MP.

There are still games like Starcraft 2, Dawn of War series, Diablo 3, Bulletstorm, Batman Series, Bioshock, Company of Heroes, Crysis, Dead Space, Deus Ex, Europa Universalis, Bastion, FTL, Frozen Synapse, Hotline Miami, Limbo, Grimrock, Mafia, Magicka, Max Payne, Mirrors Edge, Portal, Prototype, Rage, Red Faction, Serious Sam, Shank, Sleeping Dogs, Stacking, Stronghold, Sword of the Stars, Endless Space, Terraria, Total War series, Trine, Wolfenstein, X-Com, Zeno Clash, X3 Terran conflict.... and many more. Hell, these are just from a quick glance of my Steam library.

Looking at your list... you mention many good games. However, many of them are more console-focused or MP-focused. Few of them are the RTS/FPP games I'm most interested in. Some of them aren't particularly good, others are old (Max Payne and Max Payne 2 are, what, 2001/2004?), and so on and so forth. Rage is WEIRD with a mouse, for instance, making menu navigation a pain. Terraria, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 are the kind of games I'm NOT interested in and mentioned in the OP. Games like Bioshock/Dead Space aren't as good as their predecessors. Your list just keeps shrinking, and while there are a few good games left, and a diverse group of games out there... the games I am interested are still hard to find.

You just seem to conveniently ignore that while yes, many of these games feature and online component, they all have great single player campaigns as well. Don't want to be online while playing your game? Just diconnect the internet, deny the game access to the internet, you're on a PC: You can do anything.

I disagree that these games all have great single-player campaigns.

People seem to easily ignore todays highs, because the highs of hence lasted so long. Yes I played PC games in the 90s as well, but hell I love todays games. I love the singleplayer ones, and I love the great multiplayer ones as well.

I love lots of today's games too, but as I'm going through late-90s games (I really only played educational stuff, age of empires, some demos, and Flight Simulator back in the day--I've played most of these great PC games RECENTLY), I'm finding that they often outstrip the modern games in ambition, usability (like basic mouse/FOV support), moddability, innovativeness... and the kind of gameplay I'm most interested in. Don't get me wrong, I like Company of Heroes, but I prefer the Age of Empires/Homeworld/Empire Earth approach to RTS.

Bulletstorm doesn't even feature jumping, ffs. I love it to bits, but what the hell?

Shit, stuff like Path of Exile can be played as a singleplayer game if you really want to and that goddam thing is FREE. That's how awesome todays games are.

It's online-focused, though, and I can tell. Not my thing.
Last edited by DocSeuss; 01-28-2013 at 01:44 AM.
Pachterballs
Banned
(01-28-2013, 01:35 AM)
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lol. what is a modern PC gamer. reading through the OP i don't even get what he means.

they get just about everything that comes out on consoles and it looks better too... The selection is incredibly diverse.

Op's rambly hot mess of an topic..

Good, but not quite what I'm going for

... well still not sure what you're going for.

MP isn't a problem at all. Lots of games and I mean lots are SP - (what with all these backlog threads) are great.

The phrase that games are homogenous. I'm sorry but just because there's a lot of games now doesn't mean that it all becomes homogenous. There's a lot of variety.
Lime
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:35 AM)
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  • Real-time and turn-based strategy
  • Infinity Engine RPGs
  • Space-simulations
  • Turn-based tactical strategy
  • Point 'n Click adventures
  • Mech-simulations
  • "Twitch" shooters
  • Flight simulators
  • Genre hybrids like Battlezone, Sacrifice, Dungeon Keeper

All of the above used to be prominent genres with plenty of media recognition and accolades. Now these genres are relegated to esoteric DD channels or Kickstarters with little to no exposure.
Last edited by Lime; 01-28-2013 at 01:38 AM.
Xenon
Banned
(01-28-2013, 01:37 AM)
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I would echo your thoughts on free to play games. I just don't ever think I can enjoy a game where the financial aspect and game design are so intertwined. Also most of them seem task and labor intensive versus having well designed game mechanics that actually challenges the player's skill.
Last edited by Xenon; 01-28-2013 at 01:59 AM.
Des0lar
will learn eventually
(01-28-2013, 01:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by Lime

  • Real-time and turn-based strategy
  • Infinity Engine RPGs
  • Space-simulations
  • Turn-based tactical strategy
  • Point 'n Click adventures
  • Mech-simulations
  • "Twitch" shooters
  • Flight simulators
  • Genre hybrids like Battlezone, Sacrifice, Dungeon Keeper

All of the above used to be prominent genres with plenty of media recognition and accolades. Now these genres are relegated to esoteric DD channels or Kickstarters with little to no exposure.

Every single one of those genres had at least one release last year. Except for Infinity Engine RPG, but only because who uses that engine nowadays really?
Tellaerin
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(01-28-2013, 01:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by Des0lar

You just seem to conveniently ignore that while yes, many of these games feature and online component, they all have great single player campaigns as well. Don't want to be online while playing your game? Just diconnect the internet, deny the game access to the internet, you're on a PC: You can do anything.

Everything except play against bots offline, because apparently there's no reason to add bot support to deathmatch FPS's anymore when you can tell people, 'Just go play online!' instead.

(Yes, I'm bitter about that trend. :p )
Des0lar
will learn eventually
(01-28-2013, 01:41 AM)
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Originally Posted by Tellaerin

Everything except play against bots offline, because apparently there's no reason to add bot support to deathmatch FPS's anymore when you can tell people, 'Just go play online!' instead.

(Yes, I'm bitter about that trend. :p )

Dota 2 has bots as well. But yes I think especially in the FPS genre bots will die out, simply because everyone is expected to be online when playing. You still have your "bots" in the single player campaign ;)
Grayman
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:43 AM)

Originally Posted by Lime

  • Real-time and turn-based strategy
  • Infinity Engine RPGs
  • Space-simulations
  • Turn-based tactical strategy
  • Point 'n Click adventures
  • Mech-simulations
  • "Twitch" shooters
  • Genre hybrids like Battlezone, Sacrifice, Dungeon Keeper

All of the above used to be prominent genres with plenty of media recognition and accolades. Now these genres are relegated to esoteric DD channels or Kickstarters with little to no exposure.

All of those but twitch shooters seem to be entering a growth phase right now and are better off than five years ago.

Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, and the space shootey game are going to be far from little exposure when they release.
GrizzNKev
Member
(01-28-2013, 01:43 AM)
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I feel connected with you, OP. Why isn't it mutual?
Lime
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(01-28-2013, 01:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by Des0lar

Every single one of those genres had at least one release last year. Except for Infinity Engine RPG, but only because who uses that engine nowadays really?

Originally Posted by Grayman

All of those but twitch shooters seem to be entering a growth phase right now and are better off than five years ago.

Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, and the space shootey game are going to be far from little exposure when they release.

Read what I wrote:

All of the above used to be prominent genres with plenty of media recognition and accolades. Now these genres are relegated to esoteric DD channels or Kickstarters with little to no exposure.

Last edited by Lime; 01-28-2013 at 01:52 AM.
MrCunningham
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(01-28-2013, 01:46 AM)
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Originally Posted by pje122

Come on man... spell it correctly!

I could never remember if it was spelled with a 'C' or a 'K' :P
RedSwirl
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(01-28-2013, 01:46 AM)
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The OP is trying to lament how today, the majority of the most popular PC-exclusive games are multiplayer and online-oriented, as opposed to the single player campaign PC games of yesteryear like Deus Ex, System Shock, or Half-Life. Very few of those kinds of games seem to come out specifically designed for the PC anymore.

I'd say the reason is because the developers and publishers who made all those games have moved to consoles. That's where they all are. Yeah their new games are being ported back to PC in the form of Human Revolution, Dishonored, or Bioshock, but they all have to be designed around a controller now. Furthermore, even if they just basically duplicate what they did on the PC 10 years ago, console gamers are still blown away because they never played Deus Ex or System Shock. The exception to this right now seems to be the Eastern European devs who are putting out The Witcher 2 and STALKER. By and large, European PC developers seem to be where American PC developers were 10 and 15 years ago.

The reason why the PC-exclusive market has now turned heavily towards MMOs, MOBAs, and the like, is because those are the only games left that can't really work on a controller.
Quasar
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(01-28-2013, 01:49 AM)
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Originally Posted by Lime

  • Real-time and turn-based strategy
  • Infinity Engine RPGs
  • Space-simulations
  • Turn-based tactical strategy
  • Point 'n Click adventures
  • Mech-simulations
  • "Twitch" shooters
  • Flight simulators
  • Genre hybrids like Battlezone, Sacrifice, Dungeon Keeper

All of the above used to be prominent genres with plenty of media recognition and accolades. Now these genres are relegated to esoteric DD channels or Kickstarters with little to no exposure.

What a weird statement. Many of those genres are still front and centre. Admittedly some have fallen out of fashion. And I wouldn't call being on Steam being 'relegated to esoteric DD channels'.

That said, I've felt for a number of years a disconnect with mainstream gaming (and consoles much more than PC). And that's purely due to my non interested in shooters and/or competitive online multiplayer and how that has dominated for the past decade.
Lime
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(01-28-2013, 01:49 AM)
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I have a confession to make: I haven't played NOLF 1 or 2 yet. This would have been solved a long time ago if I had the opportunity to buy them digitally.
DocSeuss
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(01-28-2013, 01:50 AM)
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Originally Posted by Pachterballs

lol. what is a modern PC gamer. reading through the OP i don't even get what he means.

they get just about everything that comes out on consoles and it looks better too... The selection is incredibly diverse.

Op's rambly hot mess of an topic..

... well still not sure what you're going for.

MP isn't a problem at all. Lots of games and I mean lots are SP - (what with all these backlog threads) are great.

The phrase that games are homogenous. I'm sorry but just because there's a lot of games now doesn't mean that it all becomes homogenous. There's a lot of variety.

I'm sorry. Like I said in the OP, I'm kinda sick right now. I realize the post's kinda muddy, and even acknowledged that.

I'll remove the phrase homogenous from the OP since, while I know what I mean, my headache-addled brain is not really communicating it properly. Lime pretty much explained what I did better than I am presently capable of doing.

Shit ton of interesting game types, many of which aren't getting the attention they deserve and are pushed aside for a focus on console limitations (as explained in my Skyrim/Dishonored examples above), F2P/microtransaction limitations, or being 2D indie games.

There's another thing too, which is the idea of Pavlovian motivation, which is a BIG thing for Blizzard and Valve, and I find it really off-putting. Makes it hard to enjoy their games.

I think... if I put it into one word, I'd say simulation.

If you go back and look at games from Deus Ex to Age of Empires to Populous, there's this heavy degree of simulation going on. It's all about making a game that takes place in some form of reality.

Then, you look at more modern games, and they're so much more gamey. They're about that pavlovian motivation. They're about being multiplayer "sports." Deus Ex: Human Revolution doesn't have the kind of simulation aspects that Deus Ex does.

Originally Posted by RedSwirl

The OP is trying to lament how today, the majority of the most popular PC-exclusive games are multiplayer and online-oriented, as opposed to the single player campaign PC games of yesteryear like Deus Ex, System Shock, or Half-Life. Very few of those kinds of games seem to come out specifically designed for the PC anymore.

I'd say the reason is because the developers and publishers who made all those games have moved to consoles. That's where they all are. Yeah their new games are being ported back to PC in the form of Human Revolution, Dishonored, or Bioshock, but they all have to be designed around a controller now. Furthermore, even if they just basically duplicate what they did on the PC 10 years ago, console gamers are still blown away because they never played Deus Ex or System Shock. The exception to this right now seems to be the Eastern European devs who are putting out The Witcher 2 and STALKER. By and large, European PC developers seem to be where American PC developers were 10 and 15 years ago.

The reason why the PC-exclusive market has now turned heavily towards MMOs, MOBAs, and the like, is because those are the only games left that can't really work on a controller.

Yes, this. Mind if I just stick it in the OP? I was blown away by Bioshock... until I played System Shock 2. I thought Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell were amazing stealth games... until I played Thief. There's just this level of raw inventiveness in these old PC games I find myself discovering that I am desperate to find more of. I'm almost done with my backlog of old (non-CRPG) PC games. It saddens me.

I do feel that The Witcher 2's UI felt more like it was designed to be played with a controller than a mouse and keyboard. Everything's bigger, my mouse lags weirdly, like the data isn't being captured raw (Rage and most bad console ports do this), and stuff like that. It feels almost like the game was designed to be played with a 360 PC controller.
Last edited by DocSeuss; 01-28-2013 at 01:56 AM.
dream
(01-28-2013, 01:54 AM)
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No, the OP was crystal-clear to me; I know exactly what you mean, it's just more of an abstract, intangible thing than any one element you can point to. There was a certain aesthetic, complexity, and *feeling* to older PC games that no longer exist.
Lime
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(01-28-2013, 01:56 AM)
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Originally Posted by Quasar

What a weird statement. Many of those genres are still front and centre. Admittedly some have fallen out of fashion. And I wouldn't call being on Steam being 'relegated to esoteric DD channels'.

Front and centre? How? Where's the front and center flight simulator? Where's the front and centre point 'n click? Where are the front and centre genre hybrids like Dungeon Keeper or Battlezone? And on and on. The genres are simply not being funded and marketed by larger publishers any longer and they are mostly only familiar to the invited gamers.

Steam isn't as common as you might think in terms of exposure. Being on the store might give you some exposure to people who check Steam on a regularly basis, but retail presence more than matches and surpasses Steam in terms of exposure.
Last edited by Lime; 01-28-2013 at 01:59 AM.

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