Differences between the commercial games of the 80s and the ones now

edited December 2012 in Games
Whats the main one or main ones differences between the commercial games back in the 80s and 90s and the ones released now that have the same level?

For me, among others, has to be that now the sound aspect is much more taken in account, as well as other details in presentation of the game and graphics :)
Post edited by Ivanzx on

Comments

  • edited December 2012
    Hmmm, we could discuss it long, I guess.

    Are we comparing modern games to commercial games of 1983 or 1990? :)

    My some quick observations:

    - today games are easier
    - today games have nice, colourful graphics (not much monochrome stuff today)
    - due to current standards there is more care about such thing as intro and ending
    -today games are most often Spectrum exclusive while back in 80ties they were made for several platforms at once

    Generally I believe that we are very lucky to have so many new quality games being released. It's not everywhere this way, look at Amiga or AtariST scenes, they are practically dead and Spectrum beats them easily.

    Still some classics are unreachable by now. We haven't seen a modern racing game as good as Chase H.Q. , a beatemup as good as Renegade. We rarely see games like Robocop with scrolling and big well animated sprites.

    But as people here share code and inspire each other, then everything is possible :)
  • edited December 2012
    My opinion on the differences: .... where's the gameplay in today's games?

    There's no variety on modern platforms, you can only get the following type of games now:
    • RGP / MMORPG (Role-Playing Game)
    • FPS (First Person Shooter)
    • Racing
    • Fighting (one vs one, 'Street Fighter' like)
    • Casual games / shovel-ware (read 'Nintendo Wii' games)
    • Mario / Sonic, been done to death
    • the odd puzzle game here and there
    • the odd 'Rhythm Action' game (Guitar Hero/Rock Band)
    THAT'S IT !!!!! I remember there being a lot more choice back in the 80s and 90s and games were less dull.

    As for new games for old systems? Well, I'm up for all of that!
    Dingo and Ghost Castle 1 & 2 are brilliant titles. There's also been stuff like Orion Prime on the CPC and stuff like Canabalt on the C64 that are amazing too. All such simple games but great to see that there's still life in these old machines.
  • edited December 2012
    Today we can use capacity of IDE devices for new games/software. IDE driver can load up to 4kB of data per one TV frame (1/50 sec). With this speed is possible use ide device as extended zx memory with some limits:

    - reading from IDE is enable only in 512bytes blocks. Speed of reading data from ide is similar(same) as memory access in ZX ram.
    - writing to IDE is enable only in 512 bytes blocks and speed of writing data can be slower than reading.
    - with IDE driver we can use any capacity of IDE device for own data (sprites,screens,intro-video,sound...)

    On IDE device can be one long file with all graphics, unlimited number of big sprites. Road for car games can be precalculated in screens on CF card. AY music can be loaded gradually from IDE. ZX not need too much memory, but best is use ZX128 with two videorams. I have routines ready for this IDE access :-)
  • edited December 2012
    Up until the indie scene became more mainstream, there was a lack of innovation, addicitivity; but indie games have started to balance this out.

    I would say the level of complexity in games is much higher - look at fighters and footie games utilising 12-16 buttons; back in the day 1 or 2 buttons were more than enough. This is a huige negative for today's games

    Also quick-saves and the level of ease with which you can now complete games , or progress further for less practice/skill. 'A day to learn, an age to master' could not be further from the truth anymore.

    The insistance on making games realistic rather than entertaining grates. If I wanted realism, I'd go and live it - I want to get away from realism for a bit thanks!
  • edited December 2012
    Actually I meant the differences between the Spectrum games of the 80s and the Spectrum games of nowadays, not very interested in games for modern platforms ;)
  • edited December 2012
    Actually there is one strange thing that is the same between the commercial games back then and the commercial games from now. (I know this thread is about the differences but this one surprised me a lot.)

    We used to have minutes of loading times, and we have now even more loading times. I just don't understand it.

    Also, Splash Screens. (also on the spectrum)
  • edited December 2012
    woody.cool wrote: »
    My opinion on the differences: .... where's the gameplay in today's games?

    There's no variety on modern platforms, you can only get the following type of games now:
    • RGP / MMORPG (Role-Playing Game)
    • FPS (First Person Shooter)
    • Racing
    • Fighting (one vs one, 'Street Fighter' like)
    • Casual games / shovel-ware (read 'Nintendo Wii' games)
    • Mario / Sonic, been done to death
    • the odd puzzle game here and there
    • the odd 'Rhythm Action' game (Guitar Hero/Rock Band)
    THAT'S IT !!!!! I remember there being a lot more choice back in the 80s and 90s and games were less dull.

    As for new games for old systems? Well, I'm up for all of that!
    Dingo and Ghost Castle 1 & 2 are brilliant titles. There's also been stuff like Orion Prime on the CPC and stuff like Canabalt on the C64 that are amazing too. All such simple games but great to see that there's still life in these old machines.


    This is mostly because most games today are written by teams of devs rather than by individuals.. Back in the day, a 'bedroom coder' could write a game and pitch it in more or less complete form to a software house like Ocean or Imagine who could decide to go with it and pay the distribution costs, commission other programmers to make a version for other systems, etc.. In this way you got more obscure ideas coming to light from the mind of the individual original programmer.. A bit like writing a book.

    These days it's all dev teams and it's more like making a movie.. There's little to no coding done initially, just storyboards and scripts, and they have to go and plug this to the backers to get it greenlighted for funding.. And of course, the execs they're plugging it to are all about the bottom line and their return, so they like to have things following formulas and guidelines that have been shown to make money, but stifle creativity somewhat, so the end product also tends to be somewhat formulaic.
  • edited December 2012
    I think there's less difference than most people think. By the late '80s the games industry was becoming more corporate and so a lot more games were team-produced efforts. Licensing was also common, as was an emphasis on looks in particular to draw gamers in.

    The big difference now I think is in terms of what both gamers and developers want from their games.

    Gamers don't really expect to be challenged any more: a game is more of an interactive experience they play through and spend a certain number of hours in to get their money's worth. For that reason programmers and designers have smoothed out anything that can cause "frustration" so that the player will not be stuck at a certain point for very long and so that, basically, perseverance matters more than skill. This is something that has happened in an evolutionary way: eg FPS games used to have the difficultly "smoothed" with health packs left everywhere until Halo brought the idea of recharging health to the fore which most of them use now. The reason this has happened, from a commercial "give them what they want" point of view, is fairly obvious. The problem is that without difficulty games lose their addictivity because the sense of danger is reduced as is the sense of achievement.

    I first noticed what was happening when I played through Dino Crisis 2 (2000) a few years ago and realised that anyone with any intelligence could stock-up on health packs at the innumerable in-game "shops" meaning that the dinosaurs were no longer a real threat except during the set-pieces. After completing the game, I checked some reviews and was surprised to find that nobody seemed to have noticed this. I've found similar flaws in other games (eg Balders Gate Dark Alliance 2 where you can "perma-block" until your health recharges) and again can't find complaints about it from games journalists. I came to the unhappy conclusion that people just don't mind this kind of thing any more.

    As for developers, they're interested in turning games into interactive media in the sense that they seem them as merely a vehicle for wider ideas or storytelling. I've seen people discuss or review some games without mentioning the gameplay once and instead treating the title as a kind of interactive film.

    To some extent people are getting overly-nostalgic about '80s gaming. The real difference was that, briefly, what is now indie gaming somehow was mainstream (even in the late '80s the budget houses provided a place for the indie developers meaning that a bedroom-coded game could still break into the mainstream via good reviews in Crash and YS) but it was an era with its own problems, some the same (emphasis on looks, hype, presumptuous use of licenses to sell bad product) some different (too little playtesting, no patches, buggy gameplay).
  • edited December 2012
    As has been mentioned above modern Spectrum games are easier than old Spectrum games (perhaps more playable would be a better description). This is necessary as back in the day we would get hold of a tape and be obsessed with it for weeks if it was any good. Nowadays we have an entire archive, more utilities and less time, so we need to be able to get into it and return to it with at most a few hours playing. Having said that there are certainly a lot of old games that are just too hard for anyone!

    I'm very pleased to say there is room for 'crap' games (intentionally or not) and games with daft humour. Also more homages to the Spectrum.

    Most important for me, is that risks can be taken* as there is only a loss of pride if a game gets a bad reception (I guess this applies more to late 80s games than before or after). I'm wondering if e.g. LumASCII or Utter Tripe would have been released during the golden years. They are clearly great games, but I bet I would have been thoroughly unimpressed at the time - I was yearning for Spectrum graphics to start looking like C64 ones (though I guess Buzzasw+ would have more than satiated that!).

    *Hmmm, fair comment?
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