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On 25/03/2021 at 23:57, Broker said:

I can't imagine how the "Dark Souls should have an easy mode" crowd would respond to whole modes being locked behind completion. As you've pointed out, the idea that if you've paid for the game you should be allowed to play any bit of it as and when you want to is way more common now.

 

I'd argue this is something we lost but finally got back. There was a design philosophy in the early 90s, usually seen with flight sims and driving games, to let you pick any mission or combination of tracks and cars from the off.

 

Locking content is something that feels fundamentally alien to me. I can't see any benefit to it and I can think of numerous examples where it's scuppered old school split screen gaming sessions or been a ballache when I've come to play a game I'm familiar with on a different system to the one I first played it on.

 

It's something that often gets folded in to arguments about game difficulty, but it's a different issue in my opinion.

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44 minutes ago, matt0 said:

 

 


Locking content is something that feels fundamentally alien to me. I can't see any benefit to it

 

The excitement and enticement of seeing something new? Of encountering new characters, abilities and stages, all because you improved? 

 

It may feel alien to you personally, but it doesn't to most and serves an important purpose. 

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9 minutes ago, Calashnikov said:

Ok, just read the rest of @Treble’s post and he was more on about function and durability :lol: 

 

He had me at “perfection,” and I went all Taurus on it.

You did sort of run with a nostalgia vibe there :)

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1 hour ago, Treble said:

 

The excitement and enticement of seeing something new? Of encountering new characters, abilities and stages, all because you improved? 

 

It may feel alien to you personally, but it doesn't to most and serves an important purpose. 

 

I don't think any of that goes away by quietly allowing access to everything from the start though. Were Doom or Quake worse games for letting you start on any level? Was there no excitement in Sonic because there was a cheat code that was so widely known that it might as well have been in the options menu? Are Ikaruga or Metal Slug lesser games for letting you credit feed? Are any of those games lacking a sense of progression or excitement? Is mastering a new character on your second run really less of an experience because you could have used that character on your first run?

 

A good recent example is Huntdown. It's not diminished in any way from having the levels unlocked from the start. The vast majority of players will never use it. I never used it. I just noticed you could and quietly nodded in my appreciation of Huntdown's absolute perfection.

 

I remember "peak unlocking" where the Battlefield Bad Company 2 Medic class didn't start with a medkit (!), having to pointlessly bash your way through the Street Fighter 4 arcade mode to unlock characters to use online, driving games where playing with your mates required a 20+ hour single player investment first to unlock tracks and cars. I remember wanting to play a specific Halo level in co-op with a mate when we'd both finished the game on Legendary, but having to play the first level because neither of us had played it on that specific Xbox. Basically, if there's a multiplayer component to a game (and I include level select for co-op in this) everything should be unlocked.

 

There are grey areas. If a game has RPG systems or RPG style progression trees. If a game is non-linear, or specifically about exploration.

 

But mostly I think it's the equivalent of buying a football game and the team you support being locked until you've won the league with the 3 teams available to you at the start.

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On 25/03/2021 at 21:33, Cheyenne said:

Honestly, I really miss the 'weirdness' and almost experimental nature of what used to be found in the mainstream scene. For sure the explosion of the indie market has meant we are far from being at a loss for curios and peculiarities, but that used to be a space also occupied by some of the most renowned companies in the industry. Discounting remasters and re-releases we've had two Rockstar games since 2013, now let's wind it back and see what we had from 2003 to 2009:

 

Canis Canem Edit, Table Tennis, The Warriors, both Manhunts, Red Dead Revolver etc. Shiiiiiiiiiit man, those were dynamite years. I can't help but think that these were the final years before big business and capitalism got a stranglehold on the industry, and the mid-tier game got squeezed out. Look at the output of all the big developers and publishers in the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era and there's this beautiful balance between big crowdpleasers and bizarre projects that would explode in popularity (Kingdom Hearts anyone?). In the PS3/360 era it slowly ebbed away and now the mainstream scene is comparatively empty in imagination. The early to mid 2000's was this golden period of refinement delicately balanced alongside experimentation that gifted us defining titles.

I was going to suggest this, but you articulated it so well.

 

I think it's not that those games have disappeared (as you said, the indie scene is more than able to fill that gap to some extent), but that the big cinematic (and specifically open world) games have become the defacto if what is considered a 'proper' game by both media and publishers, getting all of the budget, all of the 'noise'.

 

It's almost like any other type of game has to fight that narrative of being 'good for a non-AAA game'. Maybe it's the whole concept of AAA games at all - there is a certain expectation of what that should look like, sound like and play like. 

 

On all pre PS3/360/GC consoles, people often has a variety of genres.

 

Thankfully Nintendo to some extent still puts the same effort behind all their odd games, a platformer, Kart racer, or weird animal life sim is as big a deal as their Open World adventure games. 

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Forza Horizon is a good example of a series that, in my opinion, suffers from not giving you any real structure or reward for progression. You can basically do whatever you want whenever you want a d will have eleventy million cars within minutes of starting, so none of it is meaningful. 

 

Games used to have extra modes behind completion that would now be dlc. 

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Even the indie market has become somewhat homogenous. Just look at the sheer number of metroid vanias and rogue-likes.

 Triple A studios don;t experiement anymore because games cost so much to make and they need to have a sure fire multi million seller on their hands.

 I do find it funny when a game publisher expresses surprise that if they take a chance and launch a single player only game that it can be successful and make them a lot of money. Meanwhile they are more than happy to jump on GAAS bandwagon despite the area being littered with high budget failures.

 

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4 hours ago, makkuwata said:

Games like Super Mario Bros 3 defined people's lives and were helmed by a team of 10 or so. There's still room for that.

Stardew Valley is a good example. Basically one guy, I think he added some more later, years after the game came out and was a smash hit. That game means a lot to many people. 

 

He's probably worth $100m from sales of that game but still works on it with free dlc and updates 5 years after release. 

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2 hours ago, makkuwata said:

Games like Super Mario Bros 3 defined people's lives and were helmed by a team of 10 or so. There's still room for that.


Credits for Mario 64 have about 20 peeps. Madness. 

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Remember when Shenmue was sold on its’ 100 person team?

 

In fairness I was awed by the fact that I could open and explore every drawer in the house, and now that’s standard practice, but it doesn’t really need to be.

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Valheim had a team of four, and Minecraft..! 
It can still occur, just with the mainstream competition being so in-your-face-fierce (dominating all sectors as EA try to do with ads, streamers etc), it can be even harder to break through.
 

Quote

Credits for Mario 64 have about 20 peeps. Madness



Yeah that's more about Nintendo not recognising the people that had worked on the title though, tbf.

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27 minutes ago, makkuwata said:

Remember when Shenmue was sold on its’ 100 person team?

 

In fairness I was awed by the fact that I could open and explore every drawer in the house, and now that’s standard practice, but it doesn’t really need to be.

It's argue that it isn't standard practice.

Shenmue was sold as this news type of open world game (or FREE if you go by Yu Suzuki's definition), but after GTA open world games seemed to define themselves by larger and larger spaces, and less by the intricate details.

 

I always argue Shenmue has more in common with Life is Strange than modern open world games.

 

Keeping with the theme of the thread I think open world games keep growing with technological advancements, but instead could have focused on more detail in a smaller area. Mostly feels spread too thin.

 

Smaller games like LiS need to do that to be engaging. I wish there were more big budget games that would do that.

 

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Dara OBrien did a piece in his stand-up about unlocking content. His example was Guitar Hero, wanting to play the songs you like but can't because the game needs you to complete Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeah's first.  He's spot on in the case of Guitar Hero, because that's a game that doesn't need levels or structure.  You just want to play guitar.  

 

 

 

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Conversely, I don't really like rock music but I love the gameplay of Guitar Hero/Rock Band so actually prefer a bit of structure to the game. Rock Band nailed this really by having structure where you unlock stuff and progress through the game but also having no-fail mode (shout out to the "Dark Souls should have an easy mode" crowd) so you could still have a great time with the game if you're less able.

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27 minutes ago, JPL said:

The biggest thing for me has to be local arcades. We had 3 in my town and they all had a different selection of games. I really miss the days of getting the bus down after school (or bunking off school if we were being rebellious) and running through Salamander 3 times on a single 10p, or putting in the Bubble Bobble cheat codes and playing it for hours, or even standing in a certain spot behind a wall in Commando just to see how high a score I could get. Then there were the times that one of the arcades got in a full hydraulic After Burner cabinet and another got Space Harrier a few months later. I could go on. Brilliant times.

 

I’ve got thousands of memories from those times and I think it’s a massive shame that it’s something my boys will never experience.


agreed.  Living in a seaside town was excellent. 3 arcades...

 

the top arcade - was frequented by the older guys as had fruities, pool tables and a row of games (first played bubble bobble and double dragon here).  Had the more expensive cabs...like 4 player tmht.

 

the middle arcade - lots more cabs  - crime fighters, aliens, hammerin Harry (friend almost tipped the cabinet on himself in rage once), golden axe, gang wars, lethal enforcers.  Changed quite often. 
 

the bottom arcade - a more typical seaside arcade, 2p machines and the like. Had a selection of cabs that would have been top of the range once but never changed them (outrun with car and so on) and got more broken each year.  Rarely visited.

 

Every year the Fair would visit and they always had new stuff and some oddities. First experience with Street Fighter 2 amongst others.

 

Occasionally we’d got to the big (it wasn’t) city (it wasn’t) to visit the arcades there.  One was a stereotypical smoked filled pit of darkness...MK, Daytona and AvP and the other a bright place with seats at each cab,  Wrestlefest and Golden Axe 2 first played here.

 

All those places are gone now 

 

 

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15 hours ago, pulsemyne said:

 I do find it funny when a game publisher expresses surprise that if they take a chance and launch a single player only game that it can be successful and make them a lot of money. Meanwhile they are more than happy to jump on GAAS bandwagon despite the area being littered with high budget failures.

 

 

But there are also plenty more success stories for Service Games over the last decade than there have been for new single player only games, even indie developers are now aware of how lucrative doing that type of product can be for them, most of the breakout indie games of late have predominately been Service Games.

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The loss of arcades, and arcade machines in general, is the biggest change for me too. I spent my entire childhood slotting 10p’s into everything from Space Invaders to Soul Calibur.

 

Being able to play Amidar and Donkey Kong Jr. while waiting for my cod and chips after Cubs was just magic.

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I used to LOVE the day that a new public domain catalogue from somewhere like ‘Wizard PD’ arrived in the post. Looking through the pages for new demos, new utilities etc wondering if ProText 3.5 was better than TextSpeed 2.0, or if I should get both...
 

Man, digital delivery gets rids of the anticipation so much at times...

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Local multiplayer. In a similar vein to mourning the loss of arcades, as much as i love the ease of online gaming, at 40 years old i still tell my wife every year that all i want for my birthday is a weekend away in a cottage and a few mates with consoles and TV's. 

I know you can still do local multi on many games but the fact that you don't have to has meant a bit of the magic has been lost imo.

 

My best recent gaming memory was the release of borderlands 3. A mate came round, we had the house to ourselves for the weekend. A couple of TV's squeezed into the front room and the best laughs in ages... We played a bit more online afterwards and it wasn't the same.

 

These days i imagine my boys will likely prefer to be in separate rooms playing together online while i try and convince them split screen is how it should be done! 

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The loss of arcades is also the loss of mystery/surprise to me. Up until the late 90's going to an arcade (especially if on holiday) would always mean the discovery of a new game, made even more memorable if it had some unique controller setup. Ttrips I have no true recollection of, but the vague memory flashes by of discovering both X-Men Versus Street Fighter and House of the Dead 3 for the first time, mesmerised by those cabinets. A holiday to a Pontins being my first witnessing of The Simpsons Arcade. Seeing Soul Edge completely reshaping what a video game could look like to me. Not just the decline of the arcade but the internet also subsequently eliminated this element, it became too easy and tempting to read up on as many titles as I could. Thankfully a trip to Japan a few years back gave me the chance to rediscover that thrill one more time, playing some of the weird and wacky titles that never left there.

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  • 1 month later...

My school turned a blind eye to the kids leaving in the lunch breaks, and I spent most of high school looking forward to an arcade dash at midday. Someone would tell you that the big arcade on the promenade had a brand New machine called X-Men. The music sings ”X X XX X XX X-MEN!". It uses two screens attached together to make one really wide screen and 6 people can play at the same time. You spend the morning imagining what this thing would be, then soon as a lunch bell rings we would all run to the arcade and see it for ourselves.  I remember X-Men but also Space Harrier, Enduro Racer, Turtles, Gauntlet and Outrun, all been hyped by classmates and all being played in lunch breaks. 

 

I've written on here before about my trips to Blackpool. It's only half an hour up the road and as soon as one of us was old enough to drive we would go to Blackpool and check out the arcades. Every visit would bring something new, including things the likes of which I don't think we'll ever see again. Specifically, Ridge Racer full scale, and the cinema sized Galaxian 3. The leaps in technological performance and scale seem to be every six months or so, as the filled vectors of Virtua Racing became texture maps in Ridge Racer, 40 cars on screen and spectacular crashes in Daytona and so on.  Every new thing that you saw was instantly visible as being significantly better than what had gone before.  The wow factor hit you as soon as you saw it.  

 

Fuck. I miss arcades.  I've been to Arcade Club in Burnley and it's great but I miss the evolution and innovation you'd see in every subsequent visit.

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Loader tunes.

 

I mean, even with SSDs and all the hardware people are bigging up these days that improves load times, some games still take 30 bloody seconds to load levels. That is prime loader tune territory and could be used to get you fired up for a level, but alas...

 

Even something like the Galaga game on Ridge Racer would be nice.

 

 

 

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I hate to bang on about Huntdown again by the way (actually no I love it, deal with it), but guess what that game has? Level loader tunes.

 

I realise some games do have loading music at times, but it's vanishingly rare, and is usually ambient tracks.

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