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were 90's and 00's games really better ?

lifa-cobex

Member
Games didn't have day one patches.
No DRM
No micro transactions.
Free to just entertain and express.

Games today are certainly good and certainly not without merit.
But it all seems like a corporate gear these days.
It feels like a lot of studios want to get their name out as opposed to creating something weird and fun.

"Oh cool. GTA3 is now 3D?"

"Oh they remastered GTA Trilogy?
What's wrong with it?
What songs have they removed?"

I don't think i'll ever been as entertained as I was when I discovered Gitaroo man or Hogs of war
 
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TLZ

Gold Member
Online and smart phone gaming came around and ruined it. Devs spend less time and energy on ways to make the game better, and waste more time and energy on online gaming and mtx. They want that easy money. When that happens, those games affected feel Soulless. Bland. Lifeless. Boring. You can tell from the lazy work done.
 

Nitty_Grimes

Made a crappy phPBB forum once ... once.
I had more free time. Late nights were a thing, no work was a thing too.

Was still on the Amiga then so access to hundreds of titles at very little cost if you knew where to look.
 

bender

What time is it?
While I think the average quality of games is much better now, the cost and time to make big budget games these days makes publishers and developers much more risk adverse which leads to most titles in any given genre feeling very same'ish.
 

Tg89

Member
Certain things were definitely better but it's also a lot like people saying "music was better in x decade", when you think back you remember the best of the best and it gives you a biased view. No one things about gaming in the 90s and recalls all the middling/mediocre titles.
 

wvnative

Member
Lots of aspects were better back then, but lots of aspects are better today. Neither is better or worse
 

Fbh

Member
Not really. A lot of my favorite games are modern.

With that said I do think older games were more innovative, at least in the high profile (as in full $60 release) space. Ever since the Ps3/360 era, high profile gaming started to shift from innovation to refinement.
 

winjer

Member
There were some good things.
No NFTs, micro-transactions, cut content to make DLCs. No GAAS.
No day one patches.
There was a lot of ideas and experimentation. More variety in gaming.
The graphics differences over each generation were gigantic.
No Political Correctness censoring everything.
The internet was a brave new world, and there was a lot more optimism.

But there were also bad things.
The internet was slow as molasses and prone to disconnects.
All it took was 2 years, for a CPU and GPU to become obsolete. Sometimes less.
Experimentation sometimes led to terrible ideas and gameplay.
Booth babes were cool, but sometimes they were showing as much as clubs for adults.
 
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sainraja

Member
Gaming is pretty established now. The times you all are reminiscing is a time when most of us were also just discovering games for the first time. That "wow" factor isn't there anymore for many of us which can be influencing us when we look back.
 

TheAssist

Member
My only answer to that is to open up steam.

There is so many games that have all the things you seem to be looking for. Of course no one is reinventing the wheel like devs had to with the advances of 3D. But there are sooooo many cool, innovative, beautiful, funny, complex, addicting, fascinating, story heavy, challenging, charming....whatever games out there. So instead of asking questions without meaningful answers I would suggest you look for what you like and start being happy instead of trying to relive the past. Its much more fun that way.
 
For me, all generations (hardware) of gaming has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Gaming was great then and gaming is great now. It's just different as times change. But I will say that if you love gaming, today has so much in the way of choice/content, that you'd have to have *very* narrow tastes to call modern gaming poor.
 

Ladioss

Member
For better or worse, games were less commoditized back then. The industry was shock full of vitality and ideas, and willing to experiment - even if it meant falling flat on their face.
 
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InfiniteCombo

Gold Member
Agree with all the posts about devs being able/willing to take more risks back in the day.

I'll use Capcom as an example.

For the 8th generation (the very previous one, the PS4 gen), they released one single Street Fighter game, and one Marvel vs Capcom game that crashed pretty hard. Both seem like they're overly focus-tested, full of development problems, and other issues which led to initially unsatisfying, rushed products. Street Fighter V was able to recover during the gen; Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, not so much.

Only three console generations prior (5th generation, the PS1 era) Capcom published games in all of the following series, SIMULTANEOUSLY:

- Street Fighter II
- Street Fighter Alpha
- Marvel Vs series, starting with X-Men: Children of the Atom
- Darkstalkers
- Plasma Sword
- Street Fighter EX
- Rival Schools
- Street Fighter III

And that's just talking about fighting games, not even talking about all games in the Mega Man, Resident Evil, etc, that Capcom were pumping out. And that's just talking about fighting games from Capcom alone, not even talking about all the fighting games published by SNK, Namco, Netherealm, etc, that were all coming out around the same time.

That's good and bad -- so many fighting games in such a short span of time can cause market oversaturation, but at the same time, the players have a very varied and experimental set of choices in fighting games. Want a more strategic, slower paced game? Play something in the Street Fighter III series. Want crazy shit flying across the screen at 1,000 miles an hour? Any of the Marvel Vs games are for you. Etc etc.

But with the crazy costs of game development, Capcom can't risk -- and may not even be able to afford -- publishing so many different games simultaneously. Which is why we only got Street Fighter V and Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite last gen.
 

speckz

Member
I feel the nostalgia for many '90s and 00's games, and I like to replay them from time to time or play the remastered version. That said, there is plenty of fantastic games post that era.
 

fart town usa

Gold Member
Hard to say, there were a lot of turds back then but the classics hold up.

Modern gaming is more "playable" in a way but not as much variety and a lot of the stuff just doesn't interest me in the slightest. Even the retro inspired games, there's usually some dumb gameplay twist because of Braid and that Phil Fish game.

I like and miss the creativity of 90s. Stuff was less refined because companies were trying things out. Now things are focus tested to shit and needs to meet such and such criteria. I bet the 80s were just as great as the 90s but I was born in '85 so I can't really comment on it.
 
Hard to say, there were a lot of turds back then but the classics hold up.

Modern gaming is more "playable" in a way but not as much variety and a lot of the stuff just doesn't interest me in the slightest. Even the retro inspired games, there's usually some dumb gameplay twist because of Braid and that Phil Fish game.

I like and miss the creativity of 90s. Stuff was less refined because companies were trying things out. Now things are focus tested to shit and needs to meet such and such criteria. I bet the 80s were just as great as the 90s but I was born in '85 so I can't really comment on it.
If you think the 90's were a creative, experimental, and innovative time in games, you should have seen the 1980's. It was the wild west, everything was an experiment. Many of those experiments failed, or went nowhere, or were too bizarre and fringe to be anything other than experiments - but most of the time, they were fascinating. Go read the ZZap 64 archives on archive.org and be amazed.
 

ANDS

Thought gaf was racist. Now knows better, honorary gaffer 2022
If I had to choose to game with tech and the cultural zeitgeist of the pre-2000's vs the post. . .post all day everyday. It's not even a question. It's like someone choosing to work within the studio system of the 1920's versus the 2020's: gaming might have been "purer" back then, but doesn't mean it was better than what has been iterated on (for better or worse).
 

Pejo

Member
You definitely saw a lot more passion projects in those days, and riskier games/genres. Keep in mind too, that everything was still kinda "new" back then. This is when many of our beloved genres and IPs were created. You also didn't need 10s of millions of dollars to make a game, and there were a ton of smaller devs that could still get published without having to assume all the risk like an indie dev has to do these days. The only people that were in the industry were people that loved being creative, and wanted to make video games.

Now, with everything being studied, focus tested, and parsed, only the biggest and best ideas get greenlit (and some still fail). Also, you have people doing it for all sorts of tertiary reasons like money, social justice issues, etc. The pool has been diluted in a way that hasn't really done gaming any favors in my opinion, though some will disagree with me there.

We do have an impressive catalogue of games at our fingertips for less money than ever before, but there's just so much shit to filter through to find something worthwhile. If I could go back to 90s/00s era gaming though, I would do it in a heartbeat.
 
What you've known from most of 90s games are classic most people agreed upon, meaning you only see the good side of things.

But if you count all the terrible garbage that released in the 90s, you would be surprise how much worse it is compare to modern game.

AVGN is a dedicated channel for introducing shitty retro game as comedy.
 
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PeteBull

Member
Its very subjective decision to say yes or no, so since i love many older games but newer too- im just gonna say this- many older games were really awfull but every once in a while u encountered a gem that was above everything else or at least above 99% of other ones, think for example diablo2, now u got few months ago diablo 2 remaster with mechanics/gameplay exactly same as before, hell u can even change graphics from old to new with 1 click of a button.
So tldr u had bigger gap from top tier games to avg/bad ones, nowadays u still getting those top tier games but quality of avg/bad game definitely improved :)
 

Dr Bass

Member
I think there was more variety before. Bigger budgets mean companies need more sales which means there needs to be a lower common denominator for a lot of these products. Which leads to a lot of sequels and a lot of similar game types if they know certain genres will sell.
 

WitchHunter

Member
Alot of people are praising games from the 90's and 00's and they say that it was the best time to be a gamer , those games had better game design , better gameplay , better characters and those games just had a soul unlike most modern games that just give you chores to do until you reach the end of the story

Im 32 years old so ive played alot of 90's and 00's games , deus ex , thief , system shock , doom , metal gear , old fallout games , baldurs gate , never winter nights , resident evil games , silent hill , fear and many more

In my opinion games today are so much better as long as developers really want to make good games and not cash grabs and im gonna give you a positive and negative example

First the negative , old thief game compared to the 2014 one , the difference is huge , the olders games are so much better , so much freedom to do the missions and interesting story

A positive example is doom , old doom games were awsome but doom 2016 and eternal (except the parkour stuff ) are so much better

Are those people that say older games were better correct or just cant see beyond nostalgia ?
Lololololol, troll alert.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
 

nkarafo

Member
Yes. Especially from a PC gaming perspective.

RTS games like Starcraft, Red Alert 2, etc were far better than the time-limit-no-AI crap that is Starcraft 2.

WRPGs were also better in general. Though later 3D ones are more immersive.

Diablo 2 is still the peak of hack & slash.

Games like Dungeon Keeper are still unrivaled to this day.

The original DOOM, DOOM 2, Heretic, Quake and build games like Duke Nukem 3D/Shadow Warrior/Blood and all the games with complex, puzzle-like level design is also something you don't see today very often, apart from a couple of semi-decent indie efforts.

WoW vanilla was far better than any later expansion.

F.E.A.R. is still one of the best fps games thanks to it's AI. I don't think they car about AI anymore since all they care is multiplayer.

System Shock 2 is still not beaten by the likes of Bioshock and PREY IMO. Though the later came close.


The most important thing of all though: Gaming was not as mainstream/casual and social media didn't exist yet to poison it.
 
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samoilaaa

Member
Yes. Especially from a PC gaming perspective.

RTS games like Starcraft, Red Alert 2, etc were far better.

WRPGs were also better.

Diablo 2 is still the peak of hack & slash.

Games like Dungeon Keeper are still unrivaled to this day.

The original DOOM, DOOM 2, Heretic, Quake and build games like Duke Nukem 3D/Shadow Warrior/Blood and all the games with complex, puzzle-like level design is also something you don't see today very often, apart from a couple of decent indie efforts.

Wow vanilla was far better than any later expansion.

F.E.A.R. is still one of the best fps games thanks to it's AI.

System Shock 2 is still not beaten by the likes of Bioshock and PREY IMO.
i dont know man , alot of great games released in the last 5 years
cuphead
super mario odyssey
prey ( i know you said its not better than SS 2 but its still a very good game )
ori and the will of the wisp
hollow knight
RDR 2
Frostpunk ( a very good strategy game )
Fire emblem three houses
sekiro
outer wilds
control
devil may cry 5
astral chain
half life alyx
crusader kings 3
creaks
pshychonauts 2
wasteland 3
hitman 3
deaths door
elden ring
pathfinder wrath of the righteous
 
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I’m leaning towards saying past gaming was better, but there are still a good amount of good games today. A lot of gaming today to me feels manufactured, uncreative and about chasing popular trends. Game developers were more passionate and games were more unique, genre defining, risky and innovative back then. I think it also depends on type of games a person is into as well.

For example, if you are into Japanese style or fighting games, the past was most likely better. Shooters and open world games? Then modern gaming will probably be paradise for them. I do think things like social media and politics did hurt modern gaming though, so that’s one reason why I’m leaning more towards the past being better. At least we have indies.
 
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6502

Member
IMO, Shitty games are higher quality. There was a leap from N64 to GC with regards to dross 3rd party as there was Atari to Nes - maturing of tech and establishment of mechanics / implementations in genre leading games raises the overal quality of shitty ones when they ape things set by better games (it takes time for someone else to do the r&d). ie Z locking.

Medicore games are not as interesting as we have "seen it all before."

Great games are leagues better in every measurable way thanks to iteration and technology. Only the impact of "NEW" is harder to replicate as time goes on.

But sometimes simplicity and core mechanics can be very attractive, especially as you get older. You have less time to grind to earn upgrades or have 20 hrs of races to unlock great cars for example. I'd much rather chuck Sega Rally on and have instant fun than play GT.


If you collect physical games though it is like music. It is always better to be in the future as you have the new aswell as the old..
 
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zcaa0g

Member
Most of the genres we know today were invented in the 90s. Two of the big ones were FPSs and RTSs. On top of that and even more specific, the advent of sound cards and 3D accelerators became common place, so it added a lot compared to the game experiences prior to the 90s.

Finally, the 80s were bad ass because of the music and the greatest TV show ever, Miami Vice. I had to get in the off-topic 80s plug of how bad ass it was.
 

BigBooper

Gold Member
There's some standout examples of great old games, and I think generally even the big budget games back in the day were allowed to be more experimental. So creativity in game design was better on the whole. There was still a lot of trash and clone games though.

We have some excellent games nowadays that just weren't possible in a comparable way back then, but it seems that iteration is the name of the game more than ever.
 

teezzy

Fantastik Tuna
No not at all

Art forms evolve over time, not the other way around

Anyone who tells you otherwise is just jaded
 

spawn

Member
No way. Newer games are so much better. Some classic games have that nostalgic factor. The things we have now in Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring we couldn't have even dreamed about back in the 90's
 

cortadew

Member
Is OP seriously comparing todays games with the ones from 20+ years ago? Of course todays games are better but you take it completely out of context. On average a new game released today has significantly less chance to make an impact. Back in the 90s and to some extent the 00s every year a game released that brought the medium a huge step further. Wether it was presentation, AI, graphics or gameplay. THAT is what made these time so awesome. There was always a new wonder around the corner.

Just taking the games and comparing them with the ones todays is stupid. You had to be there. If I let a kid today play RE4 it will never be able to understand how awesome and genre defining it was back when it release. It will never be able to understand how mindblowing MGS2 graphics and AI were. It will never be able to understand how HL2s physics blew us away or how Crysis graphics melded our PCs.

And how could it? It wasn‘t there.
The mind-blowing thing about mgs2 is not the graphics nor the AI but it's statement about the digital era.
 

odhiex

Member
Nostalgia, people tends to remember good things about what they love in the past, and forgetting the bad things.

Of course, there are some good games (some consider they are classics / timeless) in the 90s and early 2000s, but there are many trash, shovel ware and money grab titles as well.

Guest what? Its the same thing as modern gaming, some games are really good and many of them are bad.

Today's generation are living with the modern games (smartphone games, online, service and free to play, etc) and less appreciated about retro titles. It's just not the games of their era.

A couple years from now, some of them will complain on why gaming has gone downhill and how games were much better in 2020's.
 
i regularly play '90s/'00s games (alternating between modern games).

modern games are more exciting because you dont know what new tech will allow the game to do, and 4k hdr+ surround sound + etc is so nice... but when it comes to the best old games vs the best new games... old games win, hands down.

esp. music... modern games have basically stopped providing memorable, original music. wtf.
 

LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
The creativity alone was off the charts.

Games are richer and more well realized with Hollywood size budgets but those early days of simplicity did have something that is hard to match.

And you can't possibly understand it if you weren't there at the time history was occuring.

People will not know what real hype was like before internet spoiled everything.

Games shipped in a more finished state.

Maybe I'm veering off but you can't just read about how the 80's and 80's were and just get it.

You had to be there to remember how special those times were and it's not just nostalgia talking.
 
LOL, no.

Nostalgia porn.

Games are better, more varied, more numerous, more mechanically sound, with more value and replay ability than ever before. It's almost objectively false that games were better at some other point in time.
 

Honey Bunny

Member
The big games were better. Newer. Lots more new ground to cover back then so games across loads of different genres were blowing you away on the regular.

But the downloadable games on PC today shit on the b/c-tier games of yesteryear imo.
 
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Bakkus

Member
Depends on the games. Small budget titles are much better now. But the biggest AAA titles are almost all painfully dull. Like, you would believe E3 is a movie trailer show judging by how it has been for many years now.
 
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