Tell Us Dammit: Games That Aged Well, Games That Haven't

It's weird how some games age tremendously well, where others... don't. Let's talk about both types!

This is inspired by me buying and playing Metroid Prime for the third time and still being utterly amazed at how good it is. It's also inspired by that one time I tried to replay Goldeneye and it sort of sucked.

Here's a list of games that I think have aged tremendously well.

— Metroid Prime — Street Fighter II — Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past — Super Metroid — Rainbow Islands

Here are some games that were once awesome and now... aren't so awesome.

— Goldeneye — Tomb Raider — Starfox — Banjo Kazooie — Killer Instinct

That's just the way I see it. If I had to pick a trend I'd say that games dependent of 'technology' tend to age worse than games that are great examples of design, like Super Metroid or A Link to the Past.

Am I wrong? What games do you think have aged well/terribly.


    WoW is up there for games that have not aged well. Now with the addition of new character models it makes the rest of the original zones and models in the game look even worse. The new zones and models look good but that still leaves the other %70 of the game looking 10 years old.

      Actually, that might've been true a few years ago, but the Cataclysm re-vamp was pretty damn solid. It's really only Outland where you notice a big hole in quality, then back to Northrend and shit's starting to look pretty good again.

    Moral of the story: Rare games age badly according to Mark's examples :P Also, we need a new GOOD Banjo game. I disagree in the case of Starfox though. Spot on with the examples of games that have aged well.

      Pretty shocked to see Banjo and Starfox on there.
      I’m guessing he means Starfox on the SNES, because I agree, that game hasn’t aged well at all (the hardware really wasn’t capable of delivering what it was trying to do).
      The N64 Starfox is still smooth, fun and responsive. I think it’s aged REALLY well.
      Banjo too, I put it in the Mario 64 catagory of games that control and play well enough that despite a few camera issues it holds up brilliantly.

      Goldeneye and Tomb Raider I agree even if I still love Goldeneye to death it doesn’t run very well on the N64 hardware.

      I had a solid debate with someone on here last week about how badly the Sega Arcade games had held up.
      IMO those games (Sega Rally in particular) dated terribly, they’re relics of a time when everyone thought the future of the home consoles was “arcade in your home”. The idea that you’d by a $100 arcade racer with 4 tracks and two modes seems ridiculous in a post Burnout/ Dirt world.

        banjo is still great. top shelf gaming.

          Agreed. Played it a few years back on the Xbox 360 and it plays perfectly fine. The art style with its bold colours holds up quite well, and in many ways the platforming genre hasn't progressed in the same way that some others have such as FPS. I can see how something like Banjo or Mario 64 could be a bit intimidating for new players since they don't exactly hold your hand and tell you where it is you need to go to collect items.

          I'd say the games aged incredibly well myself. The music and character designs still good too. That and the 'collectathon' platformers can actually feel somewhat fresh in a way given some newer Mario titles and the like have moved away from that style, leaving those titles with relatively few top notch competitors.

          The one issue early 3D platformers have is they tended to have rather poor camera controls, probably as a by product of the controllers of the time having a single analogue stick.

          Last edited 05/02/15 12:07 pm

            I agree with everything you said and have nothing to add. Thats a first! : )

      I 100%d the XBLA rerelease of Banjo Kazooie (or Tooie, I forget which) and didn't think it had aged well. I love platformers, but despite their interesting and well-designed worlds, they were just too big and bloated. So. Many. Collectibles (hate to think what I'd feel replaying DK64!). Controls that were good at the time but now feel restrictive compared to newer games.

      I can see why they made Nuts and Bolts: people think they want a BK3, but it really wouldn't have been as fun as you think. I actually felt that it was a fresh experience and quite enjoyed it!

      That said, I'm all for personal choice. If you played through BK and recent years and loved it, yay for you! Don't let the opinion of a guy on the Internet take that away from you!

        Compare this to Super Mario Sunshine, which I took for a whirl the other day. Bright and colourful, feels slick and fun and unlike anything else before or since. Plus durian football! Has aged really well.

          Durian football haha! Ahhh yeah, spent too long kicking those things around. About time I had a replay of that. Never did get that shirt for all the blue coins. One day...

            Is that the reward? I never did either. Even with a play guide it was impossible, because you had no indication of which ones you'd collected or not.

              I was determined to get all the blue coins so I could have a completed file and get the Mario & Yoshi trophy for Melee (only later would I learn that it was stripped out of the PAL version), but there was one single god damn blue coin in Noki Bay that I just could not find. At all. Even with guides. I thought it was maybe a glitch or something and started the whole game again, but still going through the lists I had at the time I couldn't find it. The lists seemed to be incomplete too, both had differing numbers of coins in them. But then when I saw the Prima guide in a shop and gave it a flick through to see what was there, I thought I remembered collecting each and every one of them.

              Most confusing and infuriating thing ever.

              Yeah exactly! Needed some kind of '5/10 blue coins' thing for each level. I got a whole tonne once, but it was all random, opened a guide and started retracing my footsteps but couldnt tell if I just couldnt find the coins or they were collected already and ugh I gave up.

              edit: also, seems like I got it wrong with the shirt thing, apparently you can get that earlier? All shine sprites get you a second ending it seems...

              Last edited 05/02/15 2:27 pm

        It was actually somewhere in the middle for me. I didn't feel like it had aged particularly well but nor did I feel like it was anywhere near unplayable. It took me a bit of effort to get back into it but I just loved those games so much when I was younger that I had to push through the initial struggle.

    Agreed re: Goldeneye. It is barely playable now. One that has aged pretty well is the first Soldier of Fortune. Pumped that up for a bit of nostalgia the other day. Still awesome.

    Edit: to add to games that haven't. Age of Empires 2.

    Last edited 05/02/15 11:25 am

      I don't really feel the same about AOE2. I guess it's because it's one of the few games I never really stopped playing so I never had the real shock you get after not playing something for a few years.

        Yeah twas the opposite for me. I stopped playing it and started playing Starcraft, Warcraft 3, Starcraft 2 etc ... then years after THAT thought right. Ill pump up AoE2 for a bit of nostalgia. Couldn't do it.

          AoE2 HD Edition doesnt feel as aged because it supports higher resolutions. - if only you could play a lag free online game of it - then it really would have aged well >:C

      It's sad about Goldeneye because that was such an awesome game when it came out. I played that one to death.

      Gotta agree with goldeneye, and I'll even hesitantly put Perfect Dark with it as well. That said, the Perfect Dark remake on XBox Arcade revitalised it, so good.

        Oooohhhh I never saw the Perfect Dark remake ... is it still in the store or gone?

          It was a digital download, as far as I'm aware it's still available on the XBox digital store. Was really cheap too.

    I'm replaying Resident Evil 2 for the billionth time but wouldn't recommend it to young whippersnappers like @liondrive

    SNES games have generally held up, especially that's to shit like Fez making them cool again.

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles is still the greatest Sonic game.

    Bust a Move 2 Arcade Edition (Puzzle Bubble 2) is a timeless classic.

    I play a lot of old shit, I'm only just now discovering Digital Devil Saga on PS2 & loving it, so my view is not the majority at all.

      I can't stand Street Fighter 2 anymore, the Alpha/Zero series is my go to fully 2d SF.

      I played Link to the Past on advance, pretty sure it's nostalgia talking when people praise that one, because I thought it only alright at best.

        I only first played it on Advance and thought it was incredible.

          There you go. Took me several attempts to get into it & wouldn't have done it without a guide.

          I prefer Link's Awakening on GameBoy, but that wasthe first I completed so very biased opinion.

        I played OoT and MM before ALttP. Not because I didn't grow up with a SNES but just because I didn't ever get the game when it was released. My nostalgic Zelda experience is OoT but I won't pretend that I'm not biased in any other ways, toward Zelda games, when I say that ALttP is awesome. In reference to your comment about using a guide, which parts did you need a guide for (asking out of curiosity only)?

        Last edited 05/02/15 12:23 pm

          I dunno was years ago.

          I remember having no idea I could drop to a lower level from certain holes since normally a hole drop was a heart loss.

          Don't get me wrong, I liked it, otherwise I wouldn't have completed it. But unlike WW, OoT, MM & LA I had no desire to replay it.

          I've lost count of the times I've replayed SNES games like Diddy's Kong Quest, Chrono Trigger (which i played years later), Super Metroid or Super Mario World.

          LttP is not one of those games.

          Another point I think worth mentioning, I consider myself a fan of Zelda but I don't love every game. Had a terrible time with Twilight Princess & all I can think while playing Hyrule Warriors is 'I wish this was Warriors Orochi'.

        That was my reaction as well. I actually on picked it up for the first time last year, and it didn't hold my attention. I could see how it was the origin of a lot of good ideas, but I didn't think it held up all that well compared to something like Chrono Trigger, or even Link's Awakening (which I annoyingly insist on trying to convince the world is far and away the best 2D Zelda game ever made).

          Well, there's two of now.

    Have- Those "cell shaded?" RPGs like Suikoden 1&2.

    Haven't- Also on the RPG front, Legend of Dragoon, Grandia, pretty much all of those first 3D RPGs.

      Naaah, they're still great. I regularly play old RPGs and the only issue is the controls (FFVII in particular drives me up the wall: when trying to go quickly and holding the dpad down, I always get transported from one screen to the original one when the camera shifts).

      Mind you, I don't care much about HD and my TV/computer are pretty small screens so maybe the details don't come out as good on yours

    I too, was disappointed when I tried to replay Goldeneye, but I think Perfect Dark held up a little better, and I think Majora's Mask has held up better than Ocarina of Time.

      If you haven't had the chance, try out the remake of Perfect Dark on XBox Arcade. So worth it.

        Yeah, it's pretty good! More games need a "counter-op" mode too, it was a fantastic idea and it's a little disappointing more games haven't used it.

    Sunset Riders still rocks. Ive been replaying it on my SNES recently and while it looks like ass on my LCD TV, its still a kick ass game!

    Last edited 05/02/15 11:44 am

    –StarfoxWRONG! Ok I'm probably biased because I have a huge soft spot both for Star Fox and for Super FX games. But I still love me some Starwing. I was reading into some stuff about how the SFX2 chip could actually make games shipped with SFX1 run better a while back, also some guy who was testing out swapping in crystal oscillators with a higher frequency to overclock it even more and get it to run smoother. Should get back to investigating that whole thing again... [/tangent]

    In other games that are timeless and forever awesome:
    -Lylat Wars
    -F-Zero X
    -Donkey Kong '94
    -Super Mario World
    -Mario 64
    -F-Zero GX

    Games that have aged and/or aren't as awesome/easy to get into as they were at the time/I remember them being:
    -Smash 64
    -Mario Kart 64
    -Conker's Bad Fur Day
    -SSX Tricky

      Damn, I was actually thinking a couple days ago, maybe I should dust off the ol' n64 and give Conker another go.

        It's not unplayable or anything, it just... feels like it takes more effort to now. Things feel weird. Imo, anyway :P

        Still love it though. Same with GoldenEye, even.

          I'm hesitant to sully my memory of it though. It's why I haven't touched alot of games I loved as a kid. I think I was one of very few who loved Clayfighter 63 1/3. Tried playing it again 15 odd years later and it was just barf...

            I think I was one of very few who loved Clayfighter 63 1/3. Tried playing it again 15 odd years later and it was just barf...

            "Little girly combo!"

            Absolutely LOVED Clayfighter 63 1/3
            WOK ATTACK

          I wish some very energetic person would go out and hack pretty much every pre-360/PS3 3D game to use modern twin stick controls for the camera. It's just so hard to go back to that experimental era where they didn't know what to do with the camera. I play GoldenEye and it's like 'how the hell did I live like this...'. Camera control is such a vital part of those old platformers and yet even the best ones had a control scheme that's on par with using the NumPad on a keyboard to aim.

    Ages well - nearly everything on the Snes.
    Hasn't aged well - nearly everything on the PS1.

    I'm actually flabbergasted that Metroid prime was released 12.5 years ago. I've been playing it heavily on my WiiU this week and am astounded at how good it still looks

      It still looks amazing. You wouldn't know it was that old just by looking at it.

        The only noticeable part where I could tell it was a bit old is where there are things that are meant to be circular that are clearly octagonal, purely to save a few polygons. But the thing is that the rest of the art/universe simply makes those parts fit in!

    Diablo 2 is fifteen years old and still looks pretty good.

    My standards are pretty low generally however I'm one of those people who say Final Fantasy 7 has not survived well.

      I love FF7 and it is in my top 5 games of all time but no, it has not survived well at all.

      My brother and I still fire it up for some multiplayer fun now and then. We often just run around punching stuff now because our long term characters are so OP.

    Star Wars X-wing Alliance. Especially with XWA upgrade.

      TIE Fighter as well. They've aged graphically a bit, but the gameplay definitely hasn't.

    Beavis and Butthead in "Virtual Stupidity" has aged well for me. I recently installed it and I found it to be more hilarious now than when I was little. Maybe cos I'm mature enough now to appreciate the immaturity of it all...

    Jagged Alliance 2 is still one of my favourite games to this day, and that came back in... what... 1998? I think it's a fair point that games that lean heavily on technology tend to suffer more from age. And I there are some genres that are generally less reliant on technology than others. E.g. puzzle games (e.g. Tetris) and turn based strategy (Jagged Alliance 2, Civilization) tend not to rely on fancy tech (even if they do have it). On the other hand, there are very few shooters that still stand the test of time 10 years later.

      I remember Tetris DS being absolute king of all Tetris games. But going back and playing it now... I dunno, it feels kinda weird.

      JA2 I agree is very solid in gameplay terms. Graphically a little worn out, but I think the game as a whole is still up there with some of the more recent TRPGs. It really raised the bar compared with the first JA.

    Chrono Trigger is just as good now as it was when it came out. I suspect I'll say the same thing in 20 years time.

      All those SNES RPGs are still incredible. Chorine Trigger, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, FF3, Illusion of Gaia, Breath of Fire, Lufia, Ys, Star Ocean, Dragon Quest. I could still happily play any of those today.

    Most SNES games have aged well, examples:
    Super Mario world
    Donkey Kong
    Another World - still a great game!!!

    Other SNES games no so much (is it a FX thing):
    Star Fox
    Mario Kart

    Arcades games still playable (or ports to consoles):
    Street Fighter 2
    Final Fight

    PC games
    Any sierra game still holds up , im looking at LSL1
    I still play old school turn based games (Warlords 2) I love it

    I think the simple games, with great design , levels - sometimes the fun factor overrides any gimmicks .. or maybe the games I used to pump many hours into as a kid i still love

    Mike Tysons Punch Out, Mario, battletoads from the NES days is still good fun

    Last edited 05/02/15 11:39 am

      Mario Kart and F-Zero were Mode 7 games, not Super FX.

      Personally though I still think SMK is great. Only played F-Zero on VC and don't really remember my time with it, but I love zipping around on Mario Kart. I think the key with that one is more about being able to wrap your head around the controls, since the karts handle so differently to the other games in the series, particularly recent entries.

        ok my bad mode 7, not FX

        I think Mk64 is my fav in old versions

    Super Mario Brothers 3 and Yoshi's Island have aged incredibly well I think.

    I may be biased since I tend to play them both about once or twice a year.

      Don't forget Super Mario World. Those games pushed the SNES and NES to their limits without ever feeling like they didn't know exactly what they were doing. I can't think of a single Yoshi's Island boss fight that doesn't feel 100% new and experimental, yet they all play like the designers had been making those boss fights for years. You're running circles around that tiny moon, ready to vomit, and yet it plays perfectly. Admittedly I haven't played it in a while, but there's no spot I can remember thinking 'ok, I can see what you were trying to do here and the idea was cool, but the execution leaves something to be desired'. Even the weird transforming into vehicles stuff worked, and each one of those cold have been sold as it's own game.

        I agree with everything except the vehicle transformations. I feel they were a neat idea but not well implemented. They control poorly and have quite a few bugs.

    Starfox? STARFOX!? Yah killin me! I probably replay it more than anything else on the snes, still looks and feels great to me

    Got to throw in a mention for the snes port of Prince of Persia though, that game holds up incredibly well. Super gorgeous art style, feels really great to play.

    Last edited 05/02/15 11:40 am

    Half Life aged really well in my eyes.

      Although and I'm generally against this, I would love a HD update to Half Life 1 & 2, perhaps on the new Half Life 3 engine.

      I'm really looking forward to the Homeworld HD remakes because I loved those games, but had issues with them.

        Did you play Black Mesa? That was a pretty sweet HL1 HD(ish, source engine) update

        Heresy! Sure the visuals are a touch dated, but if you updated them the rest of the game would show its age much more than it does now. HL2 for me still looks excellent in my opinion, but I've never been much of a graphics snob. Aesthetically I feel both have held their worth remarkably well, even if the textures and polygon counts are below the average today. Hell, stuff like The Wolf among us looks frankly awful by those metrics, but the art style really carries it through (for me).

        All that said though, I would also like to see HD remakes of both games just so some more people might appreciate them. Also HL2 should just be bundled with episode 1 and 2 now, as a lot of people seem to have skipped them thinking they are the equivalent of glorified DLC (Episode 2 is my all time favourite game, I hate to see people gloss over it as inconsequential just because it reused assets, weapons and enemies from HL2).

    I think the only games that haven't aged AT ALL well are shooters. Trying to play Doom without the mod that lets you use the mouse drives me insane. And as much as I don't like some of the innovations that modern shooters brought, I still appreciate recoil and some of the other stuff.

    I think 2D games pretty much hit their pinnacle in the '90s and most of them are just as playable and enjoyable now as they were at the time. Which is not to say that they're all good, but if they were great on the SNES/Megadrive then they're probably great now.

    2D graphic adventures are my favourites, and anything from about '93 to '97 has aged pretty well.

    Most of the early 3d games are the ones that didn't age well. All the 2d and sprite games tend to hold up fine.

    Games where you have to do lots of backtracking or something that the game doesn't tell you to do, so you have to do it yourself.

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