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I'm Glad I Missed The 16bit Era


squirtle
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It's alright if you joined the great video game journey with the 16bits, because you hadn't seen what had gone before, of course the 16bit era was great. But if you had already been playing for 10 years then it didn't look too innovative.

Just my take on things.

That's how I feel about us in our "latter 3D" era now. It's a borefest of slight improvements over what the PS1 and N64 did.

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Of course 16-bit games aren't better now, but they were better THEN.

Every cartridge (well, many of them) was like a little box of magic, stuffed to the brim with original ideas, with not a wasted Kb. Gameplay was absolute king.

New and exciting genres and sub-genres were formed every year. You saw the birth of many game styles and franchises which are still going today.

Magazines were personal, inventive and written from the heart. No cynicism. No dodgy deals with publishers. No blanding out.

Games companies spent a fortune on fun advertising. The lauch of games like Sonic 2 made the evening news.

Etc etc.

It was a very, very exciting time.

Missed it? It's your loss.

well i was there for the whole of it and it was NOTHING like that. The shelves were filled with movie tie in tat and bog standard sideways scrolling platforms and shmups. For every mario there was a bubsy and for every contra there was a Lethal Weapon. It was just as bad then as it was now. I remember going months after launch with just four titles to play on my Snes.

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I concur with Kerraig - I actually stopped gaming altogether for a while as I'd played all my games to death and there was nothing but tat out there, PAL wise, to return to gaming with the PS1 for Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Tekken 2.

The 32 bit era was just as good/bad as the 16 bit era.

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Maybe I missing something here then - I'm only skim-reading, admitedly.

Why could be possibly be glad to miss such a brilliant era for videogames. Because you would have been spoilt? Because everything since would seem shit?

I'm 30 and I hate early 70's music, but I know I would have absolutely loved that era if I was a teenager then. I'm not glad I missed it.

Once more...

Person A missed the 16bit era. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Is enchanted by it's wondeful world and well crafted puzzles. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Is stunned by it sense of place and completeness. Comes to play Halo. Is amazed at the options, the sense of freedom, the growing story line. Person A is happy with his lot.

Person B played through every era on console and PC. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Moans that it's just ALTTP. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Moans that it's not as good as Super Metroid. Comes to play Halo. Whines that Marathon was much better. Person B is bored with his lot.

I am person A. I am happy.

Do you see?

I'm not saying that Person B is everyone but there are quite a few people round here like that. Call me middlecore if you want, but I put my gaming optimism down to missing out a huge, formative chunk of videogame history that still holds sway on today's games.

Yeah?

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Once more...

Person A missed the 16bit era. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Is enchanted by it's wondeful world and well crafted puzzles. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Is stunned by it sense of place and completeness. Comes to play Halo. Is amazed at the options, the sense of freedom, the growing story line. Person A is happy with his lot.

Person B played through every era on console and PC. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Moans that it's just ALTTP. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Moans that it's not as good as Super Metroid. Comes to play Halo. Whines that Marathon was much better. Person B is bored with his lot.

I am person A. I am happy.

Do you see?

I'm not saying that Person B is everyone but there are quite a few people round here like that. Call me middlecore if you want, but I put my gaming optimism down to missing out a huge, formative chunk of videogame history that still holds sway on today's games.

Yeah?

I think this needs a venn diagram or something (struggles to remember if that's the right term) in one circle is A the other is B. Where the two circles overlap is people who are not bitter an twisted about the past as you descibed in B, or the people who are A who are kind of sad they missed out on the 16 bit.

Apart from this diagram on the page, in the top left corner is a picture of a cow with a hat on, this is for the people that didn't follow the first paragraph.

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I think this needs a venn diagram or something (struggles to remember if that's the right term) in one circle is A the other is B. Where the two circles overlap is people who are not bitter an twisted about the past as you descibed in B, or the people who are A who are kind of sad they missed out on the 16 bit.

Apart from this diagram on the page, in the top left corner is a cpiture of a cow with a hat on, this is for the people that didn't follow the first paragraph.

Exactamundo.

Especially the cow.

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Once more...

Person A missed the 16bit era. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Is enchanted by it's wondeful world and well crafted puzzles. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Is stunned by it sense of place and completeness. Comes to play Halo. Is amazed at the options, the sense of freedom, the growing story line. Person A is happy with his lot.

Person B played through every era on console and PC. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Moans that it's just ALTTP. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Moans that it's not as good as Super Metroid. Comes to play Halo. Whines that Marathon was much better. Person B is bored with his lot.

I am person A. I am happy.

Do you see?

I'm not saying that Person B is everyone but there are quite a few people round here like that. Call me middlecore if you want, but I put my gaming optimism down to missing out a huge, formative chunk of videogame history that still holds sway on today's games.

Yeah?

I see where you're coming from and what can I say other than, "Good for you." BUT this inadvertently raises all these other issues such as: was 16 bit gaming really the be all and end all and is Person B justified in their way of thinking or is it, at best, a viewpoint tainted by nostalgia or, at worst, a hardcore pissing contest.

I don't expect you to answer this as you already said you missed out on it...as did I to a large extent.

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Once more...

Person A missed the 16bit era. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Is enchanted by it's wondeful world and well crafted puzzles. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Is stunned by it sense of place and completeness. Comes to play Halo. Is amazed at the options, the sense of freedom, the growing story line. Person A is happy with his lot.

Person B played through every era on console and PC. Comes to play Zelda: OOT. Moans that it's just ALTTP. Comes to play Metroid Prime. Moans that it's not as good as Super Metroid. Comes to play Halo. Whines that Marathon was much better. Person B is bored with his lot.

I am person A. I am happy.

Do you see?

I'm not saying that Person B is everyone but there are quite a few people round here like that. Call me middlecore if you want, but I put my gaming optimism down to missing out a huge, formative chunk of videogame history that still holds sway on today's games.

Yeah?

Person B sounds like a total git. ;)

We need more people who are a happy medium - aware of older games, but not convinced that they are sacred cows.

The only real downside with missing an earlier era is that it's much harder (in my experience) to find the time and motivation to play old games through many years after the event.

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And just to prove me and Neuromancer are in total disagreement . . . hehe.

I think it's because of the more recent attitude of defining a game as "we took [game a] but added [fashionable jargon feature 1], [fashionable jargon feature 2] ,[fashionable jargon feature 3] and [fashionable jargon feature 4] " as opposed to actually doing the much harder thing of coming up with new concepts.

Previously the constraints of the devices led to creativity because you couldn't simply chuck features in (because they wouldn't fit) until it was no longer the game you're copying. You had to try and come up with something new. 90% of the time: failure, but at least people used to try, whereas you get the sense they've given up.

I'm not rose-tinted regarding the licensed dross levels now relative to then, it was broadly similar. But the better games then were much more interesting than they are now.

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I mean no offense to Squirtle and other members of the forum who agree with his views presented in this thread, but I find the actual statement "I'm glad I missed the 16-bit era" very odd. It's akin to saying, (and here I'm presenting completely random examples) "I'm glad that I missed the Soviet era of films" or "I'm glad I missed the whole classical period of music" or "I'm glad I missed the Renaissance" just because it makes present works in each of the fields look somehow fresher because one is not aware of the debts they --inescapably-- owe to the entire canon of each art-form. Although I don't agree with the entire thinking process behind Buddhism, I do agree with some of its philosophy regarding existence: in short, Buddhists believe that ignorance is what causes misery in the Universe --a directly confrontational view when compared to the popular saying, "Ignorance is bliss."

Perhaps applying an axiom of Buddhism in this case is a bit extreme, but I think it illustrates my viewpoint well: The reason I point this out is that, in my opinion, it adds to the games of today to see the various links that the genres or specific series had to games of the past. Moreover, games of the past weren't made to be built into franchises just so that consoles of the future would be able to reap the rewards of the ideas that could not be realized in earlier times. As nostalgic as this comment might seem, games were veritably games of their own making in those days, and to ignore these is very much a shame. Of course there have been some very good (and also very bad) ports, sequels, remakes, etc. of games of the 16-bit era; but there are plenty of superb games unique to that era as well, of which other posters have talked about in this thread. By ignoring games from the 16-bit era, you risk not getting any enjoyment out of these games, and that would be another shame. (Regardless of the fact that many have aged --and some quite badly.)

Click For Spoiler
(NB: To the moderators (and nobody else*): I politely request a ban on the phrase, "Rose-tinted glasses" and its derivatives. please. There are various other phrases with similar meanings which would be able to suit the purposes of many arguments in threads like this; and it seems such a shame to waste these because of laziness or lack of imagination on the behalf of the writers. Thank you.)

* Yes, that means you.

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Not to rain on your eloquent parade, but if Buddhism teaches Ignorance leads to misery, why, oh why, am I happy with the things I can play now?

And as for your comment that games were of their own making (a statement I don't quite fully understand) just think how much bloody shovelware, crap film tie-ins and me too 2D shooters and platformers were around in the 16bit era. And, if you care to point yourself at my first post, I state that I have tried to play the classics from that era, but found them lacking, to me, and not as much fun as the classics of today. And, finally, you cannot compare game history to filmic history. The two are not interchangable. Watch Battleship Potemkin or Birth of a Nation and you can still tell that it's real people and the like. Play some games from the early days of videogames and it's hard to tell what the hell you're looking at. The entire technological and representational make up of games has changed, whereas with cinema, it's only the delivery method that has really evolved, not what it is actually on screen.

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Guest Cecil McBee

The original Mario 3 on the NES looks much better than the Snes Allstars version. The artform of using a limited palette isn't important anymore - and games have never looked duller.

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Guest Cecil McBee
Have you ever played Soukygurentai and thought 'FUCK ME THIS IS AMAZING'.

There you have it. I reckon the 16/32bit borderline years from 94-98 were possibly the best.

I prefer it to Silvergun personally - it's up there with the best Saturn shooters.

Shame Raizing/Eighting don't seem to do home conversions anymore.

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Not to rain on your eloquent parade, but if Buddhism teaches Ignorance leads to misery, why, oh why, am I happy with the things I can play now?

And as for your comment that games were of their own making (a statement I don't quite fully understand) just think how much bloody shovelware, crap film tie-ins and me too 2D shooters and platformers were around in the 16-bit era. And, if you care to point yourself at my first post, I state that I have tried to play the classics from that era, but found them lacking, to me, and not as much fun as the classics of today. And, finally, you cannot compare game history to filmic history. The two are not interchangeable. Watch Battleship Potemkin or Birth of a Nation and you can still tell that it's real people and the like. Play some games from the early days of videogames and it's hard to tell what the hell you're looking at. The entire technological and representational make up of games has changed, whereas with cinema, it's only the delivery method that has really evolved, not what it is actually on screen.

I must confess --with a hint of embarrassment-- that I'm a victim of my own tiredness: I wrote the post above in a hurry just before going to bed, and so perhaps I didn't make myself entirely clear. I'm glad that most of what I had to say came through, but let me explain myself a bit better: When I mentioned the Buddhist perspective on ignorance, perhaps I went a bit too far with that argument, since a philosophy is an item of belief. That I tend to agree with the statement that ignorance is misery does not automatically mean that everybody else does, of course, but I think I failed in my attempt to explain this viewpoint as well.

I admit that I will never be able to see the viewpoint you present because I was very much involved in the 16-bit era, just like nowadays. Perhaps this is the main cause of the disagreement. I disagree also with the statement that "you cannot compare game history to filmic history," as I do believe that, as with games, the entire technological and representational make up of has changed and evolved. It's true that the evolution of cinema has been more gradual than that of videogames --or, at the very least, in the change from two-dimensional to three-dimensional graphics in the latter, but there have been truly groundbreaking changes in films throughout its lifespan: perhaps one could compare (a bit disingenuously, if I must confess) the changes from black-and-white to color, the move away from silent movies, the mobile camera, etc. to changes in videogame technology. Movies from earlier eras not only show different philosophies in film-making of the time (as is incredibly evident with early Soviet montage films) but, inescapably, the technology of the times as well. (It's striking to see just how much audiences in the past had to put up with somewhat awkward cutting and jumpy editing, for example.)

In a way, your case is similar to that of a person accustomed to watching films of this era going to see silent films. (We'll forget about the fact that you have played games of the 8-bit era, since this would make my example a bit more complicated: the person would have to be familiar with one-reel movies from yesteryear, etc.) "Silent" films were never really silent, of course, but I think for most people, who have already watched the legacy of these films in modern films and don't have the historical background with which to approach silent films, it would be difficult to appreciate these films completely. Films, like any other artwork, are objects of the era that created them, (it's because of this that I also don't believe that certain things can be "timeless") and it is difficult to understand works from the past from a present vantage point when one wasn't present in the past. (This is getting a bit confusing.)

My comment that "games are games of their own making" was perhaps a bit rushed in the fact that I meant that games of that era were made to be games themselves. It sounds obvious, but I don't like the philosophy that states that games of that era were just training or demonstrations of ideas that the sequels or remakes (in more "advanced" times) would be able to accomplish. That was one of the main reasons for which I decided to reply in this thread, but I don't wish to demean or otherwise insult your views on the subject, as my history is different. I am not blind to the fact that there was an enormous amount of shovel-ware and unimaginative games throughout the 16-bit era: things have not changed from those times, and never will, in my opinion; but there were also a multitude of extremely well-crafted games, and so it seems a shame to me to say that you are glad that you missed the era. What if, in the future, another poster starts a thread with the title "I'm Glad I Missed the 128-bit Era," (please humor me: I don't know what people will call this era in the future) stating that he or she found classic games like Halo or Animal Crossing lacking, compared to contemporary games? I think, more of a question of quality, this is a question about contemporary perspectives. Although I must admit that I can't quite see a solution to this debate.

P.S. Cecil McBee: everyone's entitled to an opinion --and you're wrong. ;)

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I prefer it to Silvergun personally - it's up there with the best Saturn shooters.

Shame Raizing/Eighting don't seem to do home conversions anymore.

Generally, I prefer most saturn shooters over RS.

I tend to find that Treasure inject great amounts of puzzle-type play into their games, and although this is not a bad thing at all, i'm just the type that loves all-out bullet dodging mayhem.

On playing the latest build of Warning Forever the other night, I hastily dug out the saturn and relived all those fantastic shmup memories.

Souky is just as brilliant as it always was. I'm still in awe of the sprite-sizing on the 3rd mission where you're coming down from space and fighting the land troops. Revisiting also makes me aware that the targeting system is not at all dissimilar from that of Rez's, if you know what I mean.

Hyper Duel was always one of my favourites and still is, you can't beat turning from a fighter jet to a mech and launching triple lazer beams half the size of the screen!

Dodonpachi seems all too easy now for some reason, but there are some true poetic moments when you're 'in the zone' and you just don't know how you're surviving uber bullet death!

Also worth a huge mention are Strikers 1945 and Battle Garegga. I never knew they had giant Planes/Zeppelins/Warships that turned into space travelling Mecha in the second world war....

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Nice post, Arada. To be honest, look at Currykitten's Venn diagram post somewhere. You fall in the middle. That you played through that period and still have a good passion for games without resorting to the annoying bleating of some retro stalwarts says good things about you rather than anything else. As you say, I'm not sure if there is an answer to this topic. It was just me musing online, really.

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I think the reason you aren't enjoying 16Bit games now is because that age is gone and dead, but if were there at the time, it was amazing, you've missed so much great games and it's not worth even playing them now because you've missed your chance.

If anything, you've ruined your enjoyment of 16Bit games by playing these modern ones, not the other way round. I can happily enjoy both eras I really don't understand how playing 16Bit games effects your enjoyment of modern gaming, because it simply doesn't, it makes you enjoy modern games more and you can realy apprechiate the evolution of the computer console and games in general.

Mario sucks these days compared the old days, Sonic sucks these days, Final Fantasy sucks these days, gaming has deteriated, it's no longer about substance it's all about spit and shine, who cares if the waves flow beautifully in a game like Far Cry, how does that add to the gameplay? It doesn't, and the game is nowhere near as fun as the day I first loaded up Wolfenstien!

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Generally, I prefer most saturn shooters over RS.

Ironically RS is one of the few games you namechecked there that actually was coded specifically for the Saturn. Most of the others were arcade games first. While there was a Titan arcade board of RS it was actually coded for the Saturn first and foremost. [/pedant]

I must confess --with a hint of embarrassment-- that I'm a victim of my own tiredness

...and what the hell is with the Jane Austen

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...and what the hell is with the Jane Austen?

I could answer --at enormous length-- about the various inquietudes &c. in my soul that led me to do such a thing; but instead I'll respond with what is a perfect opportunity to use this new emoticon I found: twisted-aa.gif

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As someone who also finds more games enjoyable than not, I'll stand with Squirtle and yell, "down the cynics" :)

I've been playing games since the Speccy era, so whilst I wouldn't put missing the 16bit era down to having a greater appreciation of the current gen of games, I can understand the reasoning behind it. Personally I don't really compare one game to another. For example, I recently picked up World War Zero, and whilst it's fairly rough around the edges, it's already provided me with a good few hours worth of enjoyment. Now of course I've played Halo, and I'm well aware of just how superior a game that is, but does that impede on me enjoying WWZ, no, simply because it works in it's own little world. Were I to review the game, I'd have to take it in context of other superior examples of the genre, but to just play the thing, walking around blasting crazy Russians with ridiculously powered guns is great fun. I think the point I'm trying to make is that I evaluate a game critically separately from how much fun I've had with it, and at the end of the day, having fun is all a game is about, so often I can seem fairly soft on games which aren't anything special, but work in their own little way.

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