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.


    - Most old School JRPGs (BOF 1-2, FF 1-6, Terranigma, Lufia, Chrono Trigger)
    - Most NES/SNES/SMS/SMD/GBC/GBA,PSP etc. games
    - A selection of 2d, sprite based PSOne games (Alundra, Suikoden 1&2, BOF 3-4, Wild Arms, Castlevania:SOTN, etc.)
    - Some 3d PSOne games (FFIX, Tomba, Klonoa, etc.)
    - A selection of PC games. (LBA, WCIII, Sam and Max Hit the Road, DOTT, Tyrian, Raptor, etc.)
    - Rogue

    - Most of the other old school JRPGs.
    - A lot of the 3D PSOne games
    - Many older PC games

    Last edited 05/02/15 12:28 pm

    I think a lot of it relies on whether you played them back when they were new.

    This may be an unpopular one, but hear me out....

    Half-Life & System Shock 2

    I didn't play them when they were new, but have picked them up over the last couple of years. I can entirely appreciate their place in gaming history and how they were massive influences on games that followed them.

    But as far as gameplay goes, I didn't enjoy them. HL feels neverending (in a bad way) and SS2 has agonising game mechanics.

    I'm pretty certain that if I'd played these back when they came out, it'd be different (for example, I can jump back into Doom/Doom II with no issues, even though it means playing with keyboard only and no vertical look.

      Yeah. I feel the same way about Half-Life 2. Even at the time it felt sort of dragged out and hollow. Like anything I was doing could have been the end of the game or the start.

        Yeah, I feel the same about HL2, empty and dragged out and felt meaningless to play.
        Don't agree with 'ad' on HL though, I think its pace is near perfect, I like the leisurely intro and the gameplay, never got bored and I find most shooters boring.

      Your warning does nothing to quell my dismay at the inclusion of the magnificent System Shock 2!

      It’s shooter mechanics are a little clunky I’d admit (they never were great), but goddam that game is still brilliant in terms of RPG mechanics, atmosphere and story.
      Plus with a bit of tinkering it still looks acceptable on a modern computer.
      The creepy sound effects and wandering enemies (unscripted terror) still make it the scariest game of all time for me, although apparently Alien Isolation has the same kind of vibe and I haven’t played that yet.

      Half-Life I can’t really disagree because I haven’t played it in a LONG time, even though I’m pretty certain you’re wrong :-)

      I agree that you have to be a little realistic when assessing if a game has aged well, as opposed to being a good game by today’s standards. As I see it “aged well” means you can play it now and it still brings back all those wonderful memories of why you loved it back then without jarringly terrible bits that you’d overlooked at the time.
      If you never played it in the first place then it’s a bit harder to judge, even if some games (see Majora’s Mask) just need a new coat of paint to be brilliant for a whole new audience.

    Disagree about Banjo Kazooie, reckon that platforming still holds up really well today. Others are Tie Fighter and some of the older RTS like AoE2 and Total Annihilation (personal fave).

    Also how old or new do you go? I think I'll be playing Halo CE till the day I die.

    Mark, did you notice that all your "bad" games are N64/PSX 3D games, and your "good" are either 2D or GameCube? I'd counter that, and I think this is obvious, the entire premise is dependant on the technology they used, and 3D in the N64/PSX generation just didn't age well.

      Exactly, the example's aren't really *games* that didn't age well, they are *platforms* that didn't age well.

        Except there are games on all those platforms that have aged both well and badly. Eg on the 64 you have GoldenEye that has aged pretty badly, but Perfect Dark still holds up pretty well. Then on Cube, Metroid Prime is still great but I can't at all understand how I was ever able to play and love Killer7 at the time, it just feels impossible now.

          There's always exceptions, absolutely.
          But if I were to categorise it, I would say that the games that 'age' the most, are the ones pushing then cutting-edge features on limited hardware.
          The Mega Drive and SNES are great because the games are pretty much at the peak of their generation and genre's as a whole. Anything since then has just been a stepping stone to get where we are today.
          2D platformers haven't really moved on very much since those days, whereas 3D games have progressed a heck of a lot more.

    Probably one of the most recent examples here is Heroes of Might and Magic (my favourite being HOMM3 of course). A game where gameplay, rather than graphics, were its strongest feature at the time. Time and technology can't change that!

    Generally I think all the later 2D games aged well and early 3D games aged poorly.

    Wait, nobody said Resident Evil 4. That is still as fantastic as the day it was released - my sister only just introduced her boyfriend to it a couple of weeks ago. It's one of very few games of that era that she played through the entirety of and loved, and I don't think he'd even touched a GameCube before, and was even struggling with the idea of using a controller having primarily been a PC game player in recent years (not sure he played much of anything back before the Wii or so). Yet it got its hooks sunk into him completely, last I heard he was halfway through his second playthrough.

    I kinda wanna give it another run now.

      I played it through several times on the GC and the Wii and found the Wii version better. It had all the extra features and was so much easier to aim.

        I'm too elitist to acknowledge its existence. Between the point-to-aim and the overabundance of ammo and items... dammit in my day we had to FIGHT for the handcannon :P

        I LOVED the Wii version. I held off buying Resident Evil 5 on PS3 for like, a year, because I'd heard they were implementing Move controls for the Gold edition.
        The controls were great but I really disliked the game, unfortunately, so a single run-through is all it got. Resi 4 on Wii I played incessantly.

    SimCity 2000 has aged pretty well I think, I can still play that for hours. also Tetris on original gameboy.

    I also disagree about Banjo Kazooie. Not sure which aspects feel aged.

    I think the original trilogy of spyro games have aged well, particularly Year of the Dragon though. The wonderful worlds, music and characters made that game one of my favorite 3D adventure platformers. The graphics today don't hold up, but the design does.

    I tried to play GTA Vice City Stories for PSP recently and boy, graphically it is shit and it controls like a dog. I couldn't bring myself to continue after the first couple of hours.

    Meanwhile, I'd give a thumbs up to Eye of the Beholder I, II and III (Grimlock proves that mechanically the game is still quite relevant).

      To be fair though, the biggest selling point for that game was the tech. It was a GTA game, with the world, the radio and all that you could do in it on a PSP. No one really thought it was fantastic in a vacuum

    Banjo Kazooie

    If we're only defining games as "has aged well" and "has not aged well", then I agree that Banjo does fall into the second category. If it's more of a sliding scale than just distinct groups, then it's a bit harder to place. Music and puzzle/level design is all pretty solid. Like a lot of "early" 3D games, camera control is a bit iffy.

    A huge fav of mine growing up was F-19 Stealth Fighter on something called a 'Pee See' that used to be popular before consoles became the product of choice of all us normals.

    You can clearly see from the image below the incredible level of detail and even now in 2015 it looks like actual HD GoPro footage such is the quality.

    & my fav; The boys down the bar!!

    "I can hold my own."

    "Sorry Goose, but she's lost that loving feeling."

      F-19 was indeed awesome. I spent more than a few hours playing that as a kid.

      Got most of the Microprose simulators, but that was my fave I think. Played on the Amiga, it gave us the F117 to choose from as well!

    Game series that's aged well - Dragon Warrior/Dragon Warrior: Monsters/Dragon Warrior: Monsters Trading Card Game

    Game Series that hasnt: Anything with 3D Rendering around the SNES-PS1 period

    ...And we're still waiting for that FF7 HD Remake SE...

    For me, many have already been mentioned, but I still enjoy some old arcade classics like Elevator Action, The New Zealand Story, The Legend of Hero Tonma and Crime Fighters!
    Something about those games that has yet to be surpassed in terms of value. Sure there have been great games since then, but sometimes games don't need any more than what they have!

    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, still love going back to that game from time to time. Was the first game I played in Japanese, that has evolved into Dynasty Warriors, but thats a story for another time.

    For "not aged well", pretty much any game that dared to be different. Any of those early 3D (or 2.5D titles), Wolfenstein especially but all those shoddy spin-offs like Blake Stone or Rise of the Triad. Even Doom looks hideous by todays standards unless you run it with something like zDoom. Any of those early 3D fighting games like the first Tekken or Street Fighter EX.

    Last edited 05/02/15 7:33 pm

    Have Aged Well:

    Super Mario Bros.

    Hasn't Aged Well:

    Everything else

    Freespace 1 & 2 still hold up today.

    Independence War 2 aged well. Still up-scales quite well for a space sim.

      I-War was great, would love to see an Oculus enabled remake.

    Street Fighter 2 is timeless, completely agree there

    Yoshi's Island (the original SNES version) is still every bit as perfect today as it was on release.

    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is still fantastic, but Aria of Sorrow remains the best of the entire series.

    Surprisingly, the original Doom games are still great to play, as long as you have a version that lets you use WASD and mouselook. You don't even need Brutal Doom. They're thrilling, fast-paced and visceral and a reminder of what level design was before FPS games became about linear corridors with occasional cutscenes and quicktime events.

    Games that haven't aged well? Most early PC RPGs. I tried playing Wizardry VI the other day and managed to struggle through the incredibly awkward interface, only for my party to be butchered by the very first random encounter through no real fault of my own. That's just frustrating and evidence of dated game design.

    I feel Fallout 1 and 2 have aged a lot better tha 3. Especially comparing 3 to New Vegas. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for mods.

    Populous and Populous II have aged well. Compare with their recent relative, Godus, and you can see why the former were classics while the latter is stuck in Early Access with 60% negative comments.

    (You can get the earlier games on GOG.)

    A game that hasn't aged well? I'm going to get a lot of hate for this, but without question I would say:
    Deus Ex.

    Try get someone to play that for the first time now and it'll go down like a lead balloon.

    DDO - an MMO from 2006.

    Heavily instanced, hand crafted, has always had live action combat, very sophisticated and customisable character building and actions, a lot of very varied content, great story telling, and just a beautiful looking game.

    Although the whiners will whine about various downsides to the game, it's still very, very competitively good.

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