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Are many 8/16 but games still playable or only the AA+ games?


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I installed a mega drive emulator on my wiiu and decided to add any game of interest to it. Obviously this included stuff like the sonics and games I had as a child but also lots of stuff I’d maybe wanted to play as a child but never did.

 

But upon playing most of these games I can see how basic or unpolished they are. Playing a sonic game you realise how actually polished the movement is when compared to other platformer that just feel stilted. So it got me thinking, are most games from this generation just not playable now?

 

I was really excited by the Nes Mini but upon booting it I realised most games just hadn’t aged well. Again Mario 3 was fine as it’s controls and everything around it felt polished where as every other game felt like it was just above functioning. Going back to the 16 bit era I think you can say a lot of Sega and Nintendo titles are still perfectly playable as I completed super metroid and Zelda lttp in recent years and loved them. But the 3rd parties are far more hit and miss. Wiz n Liz is not a game I loved as a child but it’s so fast and smooth I can see it’s enjoyment now, games like Desert Strike or Zombies are my neighbours do one thing and one thing we’ll. Where as many other games like Batman Forever or Chase HQ 2 now just seem so basic and just made to work that they are not fun to play.

 

So after all that rambling are most games from these previous generations bad games and difficult to go back to and only the top games have the level of polish and thought put into them that make them still enjoyable today?

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I've just got my MiSTer set up and I'm like a pig in shit. It's been a MASSIVE distraction. Practically every 8bit and 16bit game ever made at my disposal, 100GB of the stuff, FPGA'd up into both my PVM and gaming monitor. Super low-latency wired controls (RaphNet SFC 2P adapter and a USB RetroBit Saturn controller).

SO many Japanese gems that I've never touched before. That SFC Mobile Suit Gundam vs. fighter is immense (Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Duel). It's better than a lot of vs. fighters that are recent.

 

Got hooked on it last night for 90mins and can't wait to get back to it later. My son is going to be all over it, too.

This is easily the best gaming device.

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I grew up on 16 bit games, and I still find a lot of them are playable to this day, not just the AAA titles as well. I had pretty limited exposure to 8 bit titles, and it's those I really struggle to go back to. I find very few NES or Master System games a lot of fun outside of the big hitters like Nintendo first party titles and the Disney Master System games (there's a few niche ones from smaller devs, but mostly I'm not a fan).

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I think almost all 16-bit games that were actually good at the time are still good now. If it was a really good arcade conversion chances are you can play the arcade game now rendering the console/computer version obsolete.

Batman Forever and Chase HQ 2 were not particularly good even then.

 

Any 16-bit games that used 3D don't hold up as well (eg Starfox). Similarly I think it's the 8-bit stuff that can be hard to go back to for most people because so many of these were massively improved upon in the 16-bit era.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Fallows said:

I've just got my MiSTer set up and I'm like a pig in shit. It's been a MASSIVE distraction. Practically every 8bit and 16bit game ever made at my disposal, 100GB of the stuff, FPGA'd up into both my PVM and gaming monitor. Super low-latency wired controls (RaphNet SFC 2P adapter and a USB RetroBit Saturn controller).

SO many Japanese gems that I've never touched before. That SFC Mobile Suit Gundam vs. fighter is immense (Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Duel). It's better than a lot of vs. fighters that are recent.

 

Got hooked on it last night for 90mins and can't wait to get back to it later. My son is going to be all over it, too.

This is easily the best gaming device.

 

Yes, Gundam Endless Duel is incredibly good. 

 

As for the OP's question. There's always been loads of chaff and always will be. But there's TONS of good stuff to play that isn't just 'AA+' (whatever that means).

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I find good 8/16bit graphics have held up really well and are still a joy to play today, mainly thanks to smooth framerates and good controls. There's always been naff games to avoid, for every Batman Forever on Mega Drive there's a Fantastic Four on the 360. Just with a lot of low budget games being digital only they aren't as visible as they were back then. 

 

O/T but It's strange because I was playing Virtua Fighter on the ACM yesterday and I've grown to love that distinct low poly style. Whereas in 1996 you'd look at it and think 'looks shit' it now has a wonderful abstract look to it. Clean lines and good colouring go a long way. Same for Virtua Racing. 

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3 hours ago, Ketchup said:

I was really excited by the Nes Mini but upon booting it I realised most games just hadn’t aged well.

 

This was your mistake right here. The standard games on the Mini consoles range from decent to absolute crap, and are not indicative of the overall quality of that system's library. Right off the bat, anyone here could list 20+ great NES games not on the Mini.

 

As for your MD emulator, it's down to curation and finding the good stuff. I have flashcarts for my NES, SNES, and MD (which allows SMS) games, and I have a curated folder on each, and a full ROM set folder on each.

 

Sometimes I like to randomly pick something from the full set and it will be bad. Not always though.

 

You're much better off going into the various threads on this forum, and asking for personal recommendations for hidden or forgotten gems. That way you get to try something new, which isn't just Sonic, but you know you're getting something good. Or go through the various online websites which list "100 overlooked gems for the Mega Drive" or whatever.

 

Honestly, I tend to enjoy the triple-A games less than the obscure rough gems. Lack of polish aside, they sometimes have clever ideas not replicated elsewhere. Triple-A stuff tends to be simpler and more accessible, which is why people like them.

 

Over the years I've played hundreds of incredibly good games from the 8 and 16 bit eras. In fact, I've concluded 8-bit games tend to have a greater depth and complexity than 16-bit titles (apart from RPGs). For example, Metal Gear, Snake's Revenge, and Die Hard on NES. There's very little on the SNES that has that same real-time persistent world or complexity - especially in a modern setting! 8-bit titles seems more experimental, and try ideas I've not seen replicated on later generations. Or compare Dragon's Trap on SMS to Monster World IV on MD - a step back I've felt.

 

Anyway, ramble aside:

The libraries of 8-bit and 16-bit have great games, many are little known or a bit obscure, so ask for suggestions. :)

 

EDIT:

Please try Die Hard on NES. It's amazing and very people seem to know about it! Plus it'll never get re-released due to licensing issues.

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I find in the 8 and 16-bit era’s the majority of the stuff that has aged well was made in Japan with Japanese audiences in mind.

It’s when you begin to focus in on western made or western market targeted games that the issues with polish, design and creativity start to become apparent.

 

I also think this rule also applies heavily to the PS1 and Saturn.

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I guess for me a lot of it comes down to quality of life stuff and for a lot of 8/16 bit titles they just don’t have it. Punishing difficulty is one thing if the game is fair and not just dodgy collision detection or crap controls. That’s maybe what my badly made point is that whilst some games do exist where they’ve had time and polish in them that makes them playable today it seems that perhaps more games in these generations don’t quite have this level of polish that I would have put up with at the time but now make it difficult to go back to a lot of these titles?

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Like every generation, there was a lot of filler and nonsense... but I think we looked past it at the time because everything was new to us. Also - for me at least - having less disposable income made me value every new game a little more. Even when there were bargains like covermounts on C64 magazines... well, they only had a monthly circulation, so you needed to get the most out of what you had.

 

There are still fun surprises out there, or games that hold up particularly well. The recommendations list is probably due an update... :) 

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Our perception of what a good 8 or 16 bit game is is coloured by our experience of games, even if we try and deprogram what we know. At least on consoles you're getting a (largely) guaranteed base level of quality, although I know there are some borderline unplayable NES games out there, but compare them to some of the broken games we got on home computers and the Megadrive/SNES games feel okay in comparison. It is still really hard to go back to games, even good games, with archaic design decisions like random battles. This is probably why most of my gaming from that period is on arcade-style games. 

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2 hours ago, Rex Grossman said:

I think almost all 16-bit games that were actually good at the time are still good now. If it was a really good arcade conversion chances are you can play the arcade game now rendering the console/computer version obsolete.

Batman Forever and Chase HQ 2 were not particularly good even then.

 

Any 16-bit games that used 3D don't hold up as well (eg Starfox). Similarly I think it's the 8-bit stuff that can be hard to go back to for most people because so many of these were massively improved upon in the 16-bit era.

 

 

The genre for me that is almost impossible to go back to are 8bit racing games, the sort where you essentially had a strip that sheared left and right to simulate bends. Barring some exceptions like Buggy Boy on the C64, a lot of them are horrible to control even when trying to forget everything that has improved in racing games since. The way cars will shoot off to the side to simulate poor braking, difficulty judging overtaking because there aren't enough frames of animation in the traffic ahead. If I play an old racer I have to treat it like a completely different game now. 

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Many emulation options really don't do some 8-16 bit console games much justice.

 

I'm reminded of a YouTube review of an NES shooter I once watched in which the reviewer slated the game mostly for its input lag, rendering it almost unplayable.

 

I imagine that if it had been played using something other than a Retron 5 (as helpfully disclosed in the video description) it probably wouldn't have played half as badly.

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i remember a movie licence on SNES, might have been Home Alone, and the review in Super Play magazine awarded it 1 out of ten or whatever, and the text was one sentence.

 

"It's by THQ"

 

Because I can't remember a single game they made on SNES that was any good.  And this is the big issue with emulation.  You get a big zip download of every game made for a system and you see there are hundreds of games you've never heard of. The Nintendo Seal of Quality meant nothing! 

 

The best games were the ones that got the publicity at the time. That is to say, you'll be playing all the games you loved as a kid and you'll still love them.  But if you download a Romset you'll see there's loads of absolute tosh.  Some of this tosh is worth a look for curiosity (check out the music on level 1 of RoboCop Vs Terminator), lots of the licenced stuff is phenomenally bad (Timecop!).  But the stuff you'll actually play for fun is likely to be the stuff you already loved. 

 

The other thing that affects your enjoyment of retrogaming is what came later.    For example , I'll play Contra on SNES because it's still my favourite run and gun game.  But I won't play Daytona on Saturn because I have the 360 version and that renders the original redundant. 

 

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14 hours ago, Camel said:

What sort of games are you looking for @Ketchup?

Just random stuff I’d heard of but never played before. For example Batman Forever was just a curiosity to me because it’s a later game with fairly nice graphics and that era fascinates me in terms of inventiveness and what they tried to do with the hardware. I used to think most 16 bit titles were playable as by that point most stuff had been figured out but really there’s a lot of games that people worked hard on but just didn’t tweak enough to make the controls or level designs or what ever to be as enjoyable as they could be. It’s amazing how stilted some games feel compared to others that control so smoothly. Like comparing a flash platform game with something like super meat boy or Celeste.

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Well I didn't read the OP properly but the point I was making was that you do need this guidance.  Wether that's reading retro gamer, a hidden gems thread or something, you need to do research.  (Like the OP is doing by creating this thread). I was just saying my experience which is when you download a complete Romset the hidden gems are too well hidden.  You play everything from A to C for 2 minutes each, realise it's all shit then hit Contra and play it for an hour because it is brilliant. Then you stick Mario Kart on.  Playing through a Romset is a huge timesink and the majority of the games are very poor, just as they were back in the day.  

 

You will even stumble across an undiscovered gem but unless you know that's what it is, you won't devote the time to it to learn that it's brilliant because the days are not long enough to evaluate every game critically.

 

However with a guide, someone will tell you to try RoboCop Vs Terminator just to laugh at the music, and they'll tell you the hidden gems which is what you need because you can't devote time to finding them yourself in a Romset.  But that's what the OP was doing with the thread in the first place so I will say 8 hail Marys and flaggelate myself with knotted rope for an hour after work. 

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, dumpster said:

But that's what the OP was doing with the thread in the first place so I will say 8 hail Marys and flaggelate myself with knotted rope for an hour after work.

 

 No dumpster, we don't punish in this thread. Let's all sit down together and play some 4 player MULE on NES. It's ace.

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46 minutes ago, Down by Law said:

You can't trust anyone who would describe Robocop vs Terminator as tosh. It's a classic 

 

It got 27% in Super Play, who reviewed a clearly unfinished version.

 

You already know the reviewer.

 

But to answer the first question absolutely, this is actually the point of Yesterzine and sometimes it really doesn't work out how you think.

 

I'm just putting together the one for the end of April and the game that got the highest rating in the magazine is just awful, the one that got the lowest is actually a hell of a lot of fun.

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15 minutes ago, Dudley said:

 

It got 27% in Super Play, who reviewed a clearly unfinished version.

 

You already know the reviewer.

 

But to answer the first question absolutely, this is actually the point of Yesterzine and sometimes it really doesn't work out how you think.

 

I'm just putting together the one for the end of April and the game that got the highest rating in the magazine is just awful, the one that got the lowest is actually a hell of a lot of fun.

 

To be fair on that front if they handed over an unfinished version isn't it the publishers fault? If they palm junk off to mags they need to make an effort to get good coverage, reviewer aside?

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Yeah, be curious, and try everything that looks remotely interesting to you, for whatever reason! We must decisively crush the idea that only the consensus cream of the crop are worth anyone's time. I find it particularly tragic that one of the most popular websites dedicated to covering more "niche" arcade and console games is is HG101, which is almost uniformly written in a tone of incuriousness and authoritative dismissiveness ("here's this weird old game you've probably never heard of *scoff*, and here's why it isn't worth playing"), that sees everything fundamentally as a disappointment or a mistake regardless of its own ambitions or achievements. Its writers think they're engaging in critique but they're constantly precluding critique - the articles inspire nothing but a self-satisfied ignorance towards rich histories and incredibly impressive games. There's never a sense that they have any aesthetic appreciation for anything video games can uniquely do, and you could never leave their website inspired to check anything out for yourself. They've done more violence to the discourse around older games than even the AVGN. They're all boring bastards and nobody should take their attitude to something they care about. Try everything!

 

(I have a particular animus here, of course - HG101's writing on the Darius series would have you believe it's an irrelevant curiosity, interesting but ultimately not worth bothering your arse about, and my resentment about that being one of the most visible 'takes' on the series will follow me to the grave.)

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42 minutes ago, Ketchup said:

Just random stuff I’d heard of but never played before. For example Batman Forever was just a curiosity to me because it’s a later game with fairly nice graphics and that era fascinates me in terms of inventiveness and what they tried to do with the hardware. I used to think most 16 bit titles were playable as by that point most stuff had been figured out but really there’s a lot of games that people worked hard on but just didn’t tweak enough to make the controls or level designs or what ever to be as enjoyable as they could be. It’s amazing how stilted some games feel compared to others that control so smoothly. Like comparing a flash platform game with something like super meat boy or Celeste.

 

You thought we'd hit some sort of plateau and that beyond a certain year every game released was gold quality? Is that true in the modern era? Or in any medium? We've had music for thousands of years; I don't know why people even discuss the merits of it any more.

 

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22 minutes ago, Camel said:

 

You thought we'd hit some sort of plateau and that beyond a certain year every game released was gold quality? Is that true in the modern era? Or in any medium? We've had music for thousands of years; I don't know why people even discuss the merits of it any more.

 

No of course not. I used to think 16 bit games were perfectly fine to go back to, they may be simple or short but should be perfectly playable and certainly late gen games should be the most playable. Now I think that actually most 16 bit games are actually difficult to go back to and only the creme of the crop are worth playing and that can be the big hitters or the niche titles. Basically very few games are all time classics and most titles from this era might have been ok at the time but are terrible to go back to now. That was the point of this topic, are most these older games just difficult to go back to now just because they are missing QoL improvements or even just getting the basic mechanics perfect or is there actually loads of great games but you just need to know them.

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27 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

 

To be fair on that front if they handed over an unfinished version isn't it the publishers fault? If they palm junk off to mags they need to make an effort to get good coverage, reviewer aside?

 

Yeah, I make fun because that specific reviewer made his name on a magazine that "Didn't review unfinished games"*

 

 

* Except for the 3 times they did.

 

Come to think of it, the other time I've definitively caught Super Play reviewing an unfinished game that was the work of another Amiga Power writer.

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Something I've discovered thanks to emulation (not really application to flashcarts or official re-releases) is that even absolute crap games can be made fun through simple code hacking.

 

I emulate on an original Xbox on SDTV using a Sega Saturn controller through adapter. And I've made it a goal to go through some of the worst games and explore their depths comfortably.

 

Take Predator on NES. It re-used assets from the much better MSX2 version, by the same company, and yet it is bad in ways that defy human logic. I's so bad, you can get trapped in scenery, so the devs implemented a suicide button to bypass this. It has surprisingly nice cinemas and music though.

 

So I played through the US and Japanese release (oddly different!), adding infinite lives, and infinite health, and making the best weapon the default, and then I added some code so you could walk through the sky and bypass all the bottomless pits, and I set all the bosses health to 0 so they died instantly, and I went through the whole thing in about 20 minutes.

 

It was worse than anyone says. And yet, I felt like an archaeologist, looking at the madness of later levels and asking myself: why would anyone think that was a good idea? For example, there's a bit of very long walkways somewhere in the last 10% of the game, and you have to walk left, fall down one level, then right, fall down one level. But they're so close together, enemies on the floor directly above will touch your head and kill you, but you can't attack them because they're too high. And you have to do this like 9 times, back and forth, through a gauntlet of pain. And it's just magnificently terrible design, both in conception and execution. Like waterproof soap or a vertical eject seat for helicopters. You can conceive it, but you really shouldn't make it.

 

Now, granted, this topic was about good games, which are still playable, but if you're screwing with the code, even the bad games can be interesting to examine.

 

 

Predator.JPG

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