This talk made me think back to the games I played and what I loved about them. While I had good memories for some specific games or series, I think generally i associate any specific game as more of a product of it’s specific time and a signifier of a moment in that time. It’s more a style of game or a genre that will make the connection. There are exceptions where maybe a specific game did have a standout aesthetic or mechanic or feel that really shines. But you guys are right in that most of the memory is about that one moment in time, more than specific titles, or the way Mario’s jump is timed, or how the sprites move.
Some games were fun specifically for the community of people that were there playing it, and any game with that group would have been mostly interchangable. For example the gaming group I was in during my early online MP years was a bunch of older guys on Xbox live who for the most part were into the slower paced Tom Clancy shooters. I’m nostalgic for those games we played for sure, but going back and playing them without those guys, it’s just never going to fill the receptors in the same way. We won’t be making fun of the sniper from Quebec or chatting with the French guy living in Ohio who loved absinthe or hearinf stories from the Newfie bouncer lumberjack. The games themselves were just the medium.
Sure I can go back and try playing the first Ghost Recon and maybe get some enjoyment. But no one today can make that game again. (Well they could but who would?) Technology has more or less moved on and the strange quirks and graphics that game that game character, in their removal would largely leave the result completely different. Most of the maps would not work with features like, well, jump.
Ghost Recon is actually a good example of a series where by the 3rd generation of the game, to a die-hard fan it had been going down hill since the first one. But for maybe casual players the features and fluidity of the later games was clearly “better”.
C&C Red Alert is another for me. The 1995 game is perfect as it is, for it’s time. It’s a deeply flawed game. RA2 and arguably 3 brought many modern Features and made it a more polished game but in doing so took the core draw for me completely out. That is just part of how sequels work but in context of nostalgia… I want to go back and play that original Red Alert again and again. But the panel discussion reaffirmed the the specific things I pulled from the RA game is specific to me. Not many people played it the way I did, or for the the same reasons perhaps. I was more like Scott with Civ II: build a massive base, constructed elaborate defensive networks, mine ungodly resources. Amass impossible armies. Actual fighting was some small part of what made the game good, but then actually having that take place is what kept the game from being a Sim City experience.
In all I think about whether the C&C remastering EA has announced is going to yield a product that satisfies that original gameplay loop urge. I wonder if it will hold my attention long enough or like so many older games I buy again, hold me for one evening and then go back in the shelf forever.