• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

Opinion Does a "must play" game exist, or has the videogame hobby diversified enough to make this impossible?

Does a must-play game still exist for all gamers, across all tastes and preferences?

  • Yeah, you bet. I can name off a few (go ahead and name off a few)

    Votes: 22 38.6%
  • No, tastes are too diverse. It's too hard to recommend must-play games for all tastes and preference

    Votes: 35 61.4%

  • Total voters
    57

JimiNutz

Banned
Apr 15, 2007
12,464
5,961
1,680
London UK
Tetris

and Super Mario Bros.

Everything else is optional to play.

I get where you're coming from but there are still plenty of people that wouldn't enjoy either of these games.

My 12 year old cousin plays FIFA and COD only. Try getting him to play either of these games and he'll laugh in your face and probably call you a pedo.

There has never been a magical game for absolutely everyone. Sure there have been game's that are extremely accessible and have mass market appeal but that's the same now as well.
 
  • LOL
Reactions: DunDunDunpachi

brian0057

Member
Jun 18, 2018
2,249
4,353
580
For me, the answer depends on the level of familiarity the person to whom I'm recommending a game has with the medium.
If the person knows how to hold a controller or use a keyboard (for gaming) then I'll recommend them something different to someone who knows absolutely nothing about gaming.

For those with knowledge:
  • Silent Hill 2.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
  • Resident Evil (2002 Remake).
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005).
  • System Shock 2.
  • Alien: Isolation.
  • Thief II: The Metal Age.
  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.
  • Mass Effect (Only the first game).
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.
  • Half-Life 2.
For those who know nothing:
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
  • Tetris.
  • The Sims.
  • Animal Crossing.
  • Need for Speed: Underground.
  • Wii Sports.
 

xpresstuning

Member
Mar 16, 2019
536
764
380
Pretty straightforward question. Does a must-play game exist that every gamer can relate to, no matter what their tastes or interests might be, or is that no longer a thing?

In the late 90s and early 00s, I was playing old 8bit and 16bit RPGs that I missed out on, especially RPGs. This time period is when I first played games like Chrono Trigger and Suikoden II. Back then you could find lists of "must play" RPGs for various systems, and such lists exist apleanty nowadays. If you asked me to make a "must play" list of JRPGs nowadays.... yeesh. I think that would be nearly impossible. I feel as though this is the case across most game genres nowadays. Even within the confines of action-RPG or first person RPG, the diversity is too great to pick a definitive "must play" for all stripes of gamers.

Street Fighter II was another must-play. Even if you preferred Mortal Kombat or KoF or Killer Instinct or Virtua Fighter, Street Fighter II was the common touchstone we all knew. I don't know if a fighting-game fan who enjoys modern stuff would consider any of these old games must-play, though.

Though i appreciate your thought pattern and respect your opinion, i can't say i agree with it at all. There's never been an essential video game to play which appeals to every gamer; That implies universal appeal, and that doesn't exist. I agree that genres have diluted over time with design aspects that were once set in stone applied to genres which did not have them. But i can still make you a list of must-play JRPGs. Street Fighter II was massively superseded by its variations, of which Super Street Fighter II Turbo Edition is a fantastic fighting game that is definitely awesome to play today.

I've read your post carefully multiple times, but i think i don't fully understand your point. We can effortlessly make lists of must-play video games within the confines of their specific genre just fine. But they are fundamentally subjective. Maybe some examples will overlap with my examples, maybe not at all. For example, i am not a Dark Souls/Dark Souls Clones fan, at all. So i will not recommend it as a must-play, at all. You may, because maybe you've enjoyed it tremendously.

However, with gaming becoming ever more available on more systems, have we finally reached the point where there are no touchstones of gaming, no focal points that we can all find commonality on? More kids of this generation have played Minecraft than Mario. Legendary Atari classics like Pitfall and Pong and Adventure are all but forgotten, and the 8bit and 16bit stuff is starting to slowly join that dustbin. Some people just don't want to deal with outdated mechanics or "bad" graphics. I can understand that.

I don't think this is a bad thing. What a wonderful "problem" to have, that gaming is so diverse. It's kind of sad that there are fewer and fewer games "everyone" is playing. Instead, now it's too easy to be in your own genre or niche.

Is even Pac-Man considered a "must play" anymore, or Donkey Kong?

Eh, outside technical aspects, saying a video game "hasn't aged well" is like saying my favorite color is better than yours; meaninglessly subjective and a useless, vague dismissal of a game. I've become acquainted with a 13 year old gamer on youtube a while back who collects ATARI 2600 video games. He is obviously not doing it because he's nostalgic, neither did his father play the ATARI 2600. He's doing it because he is a collector and appreciates video games based on the time and system they were made for.

Besides the historical preservation aspect - which alone will never let classics be forgotten - a hobby like this will always have its passionate fans that dig deeper into video game history and find something else to play around with that's not "hip and new". Acting as if video games are a popularity contest and using them like "fast-food" (one and done) isn't such a widespread thing. Especially not in the PC Gaming sphere where great video games usually attract strong communities that keep video games alive and relevant - for example, and i only need one example - the original Doom and Doom II. Still has a remarkably massive community around them, and they're over 25 years old. Never mind official remasters and remakes.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DunDunDunpachi

DunDunDunpachi

Patient MembeR
Apr 18, 2018
29,325
70,261
1,405
USA
dunpachi.com
Though i appreciate your thought pattern and respect your opinion, i can't say i agree with it at all. There's never been an essential video game to play which appeals to every gamer; That implies universal appeal, and that doesn't exist. I agree that genres have diluted over time with design aspects that were once set in stone applied to genres which did not have them. But i can still make you a list of must-play JRPGs. Street Fighter II was massively superseded by its variations, of which Super Street Fighter II Turbo Edition is a fantastic fighting game that is definitely awesome to play today.

I've read your post carefully multiple times, but i think i don't fully understand your point. We can effortlessly make lists of must-play video games within the confines of their specific genre just fine. But they are fundamentally subjective. Maybe some examples will overlap with my examples, maybe not at all. For example, i am not a Dark Souls/Dark Souls Clones fan, at all. So i will not recommend it as a must-play, at all. You may, because maybe you've enjoyed it tremendously.



Eh, outside technical aspects, saying a video game "hasn't aged well" is like saying my favorite color is better than yours; meaninglessly subjective and a useless, vague dismissal of a game. I've become acquainted with a 13 year old gamer on youtube a while back who collects ATARI 2600 video games. He is obviously not doing it because he's nostalgic, neither did his father play the ATARI 2600. He's doing it because he is a collector and appreciates video games based on the time and system they were made for.

Besides the historical preservation aspect - which alone will never let classics be forgotten - a hobby like this will always have its passionate fans that dig deeper into video game history and find something else to play around with that's not "hip and new". Acting as if video games are a popularity contest and using them like "fast-food" (one and done) isn't such a widespread thing. Especially not in the PC Gaming sphere where great video games usually attract strong communities that keep video games alive and relevant - for example, and i only need one example - the original Doom and Doom II. Still has a remarkably massive community around them, and they're over 25 years old. Never mind official remasters and remakes.
Many games are built with the assumption that the player has played previous games. That alone makes it more difficult for there to be a "must play" game because now we have prerequisites that players needs to master before moving up to the next level of complexity.

I think the old retro stuff has aged better than anyone expected, and as a consequence newer games seem less and less novel because we still have their predecessors to compare side by side. We can make must-play lists of videogames from the 70s and 80s because those videogames were cultural touchstones. It was highly unlikely that a videogame player of the 80s -- enthusiast or casual player -- was unaware of Pac Man or Space Invaders. Super Mario Bros was a cultural phenomenon, the Legend of Zelda, too. DOOM, which you mentioned, was such a big hit that gamers briefly referred to FPSs as "DOOM clones" before the genre nomenclature was fully solidified.

Today, even the highest-selling games like Red Dead Redemption 2 won't reach the majority of the gaming audience today. Minecraft is the only modern touchstone that I can think of. Even big games like Overwatch and PUBG and Fortnite and Skyrim seem like the biggest thing until a few years pass and people move on. We just don't have central games like we used to, in my opinion.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Laconian Sword

JimiNutz

Banned
Apr 15, 2007
12,464
5,961
1,680
London UK
I'm sorry to hear that. I hope his genes don't run in your family, hopefully you can support his parents in some way. :messenger_crying:

Chances are his genes do run in my family as he's my cousin lol

Don't worry though I don't think genetics influence whether you like FIFA and COD.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trilobit

synchronicity

Member
Dec 16, 2011
4,548
4,504
990
I don't think so. Gaming has become so broad and diverse and the market itself has followed suit. There's no longer an intersection of (relatively) small audience and a (relatively) small selection of content.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DunDunDunpachi

Saruhashi

Banned
Oct 2, 2018
2,978
7,064
570
In modern gaming I'd say there is no such thing as a "must play".

Games like Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros etc were just so accessible and friendly and easy to play.

As time goes on control schemes get more complex, game mechanics become more complex.

On top of that there is the issue of content. Some people will dislike horror or Sci fi or fantasy. Others will hate violence or just be tired of shooting games. Some will hate platformers.

Something like Overcooked could be a "must play" in a pure gaming sense but you'd be breaking it out like Monopoly or some other fun for all the family social game.

I think the medium is just too broad and compared to music, movies or books there aren't too many real "scholarly" games out there that could be held up as fundamental to education etc.

Thats a long way to say "No". :)
 

MoreJRPG

Suffers from extreme PDS
Oct 24, 2017
1,005
2,150
585
Mario 64 is about the only landmark achievement game I can think of. It's completely revolutionized everything. But it's importance is overshadowed by the absolutely monstrous amount of games that just have 3d movement in it that it's achievement is overlooked.
It was a must play in it's era but if someone were to play it now for the first time they definitely wouldn't appreciate it as much.
 

Saruhashi

Banned
Oct 2, 2018
2,978
7,064
570
Yeah. Older games were more accessible to people because of their simplicity.

If I told my friends to play Shadow of The Colossus, they would all come back complaining that the horse was pissing them off.

This is such a great example, in my opinion.

The game presents and amazing world with great storytelling.

The controls are absolutely horrendous and end up creating a kind of frustrating experience.

Like The Last Guardian also it is simultaneously a magnificent work of art and a messy almost amateur gameplay experience.

On the other hand a game like Tetris is responsive, challenging, engaging and really quite evergreen.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Laconian Sword

xpresstuning

Member
Mar 16, 2019
536
764
380
Many games are built with the assumption that the player has played previous games. That alone makes it more difficult for there to be a "must play" game because now we have prerequisites that players needs to master before moving up to the next level of complexity.

I think the old retro stuff has aged better than anyone expected, and as a consequence newer games seem less and less novel because we still have their predecessors to compare side by side. We can make must-play lists of videogames from the 70s and 80s because those videogames were cultural touchstones. It was highly unlikely that a videogame player of the 80s -- enthusiast or casual player -- was unaware of Pac Man or Space Invaders. Super Mario Bros was a cultural phenomenon, the Legend of Zelda, too. DOOM, which you mentioned, was such a big hit that gamers briefly referred to FPSs as "DOOM clones" before the genre nomenclature was fully solidified.

Today, even the highest-selling games like Red Dead Redemption 2 won't reach the majority of the gaming audience today. Minecraft is the only modern touchstone that I can think of. Even big games like Overwatch and PUBG and Fortnite and Skyrim seem like the biggest thing until a few years pass and people move on. We just doing have central games like we used to, in my opinion.

Oh, i see. I get it now and i agree. Yes, Doom was a genuine cultural phenomenon that not only caused a massive influx of Doom clones that sparked the FPS genre, as we know it, into existence, but was also used as a strong marketing tool by Bill Gates himself for Windows 95. Super Mario Bros. 3 was a giant phenomenon as well; We all know that commercial. Yes, i don't think there are many touchstones like that present these days.

There are somewhat (not as close to the central games you're thinking of, but close enough) exceptions though like, for example, The Witcher 3 which after 5 years is still in the top Steam list, Geralt was featured as a "guest star" in other video games, and has even got a decent TV show. The Last of Us is getting there with two well received entries and the upcoming TV Show. It all depends on a variety of factors.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DunDunDunpachi

Hydroxy

Member
May 1, 2020
359
292
320
Yeah there are a few must play games - Grand Theft Auto V however is the only one that immediately comes to mind
 
Sep 1, 2019
1,396
2,612
460
outrageousfacts.wordpress.com
I think just like back then, a few games exist that are virtually for everyone (everyone meaning that one should know about it, just like you can't call yourself an anime-fan if you don't know Neon Genesis Evangelion. Yes, that's a rule made by the weeb collective).

Back in the days games like Mario 64, Half Life, Metal Gear Solid 1 or Age of Empires 2 were such games. If I were to look at current gen games, then a few spring to mind:

- Breath of the Wild
- Animal Crossing
- Fortnite
- Overwatch
- GTA5

Simply put, these massive successes that reached well past 10 million people and are being talked about years after release, even still today. Compare this to, say, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which's hype has completely vanished from the general public.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DunDunDunpachi