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StaceyPowers

What was the best era of gaming?

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Probably this one honestly, for my taste anyway. I mean forget about the AAA landscape, let's just talk about the sheer volume of games being released today. There are literally more games coming out every day and between all of them, a significant number of stand-outs surface. Games also today come in more genres, offer a more diverse range of themes and characters than in the past, and also all those old games? Well tons of them can also be played on modern consoles and computers as well. It's tough to make a rational argument against today, I think, especially when you think about everything that's available on Steam, console-quality games being available portably today (a la the Switch), the most recent Game of the Year winner almost across the board revolving around a lesbian character, etc. The 1980s and '90s were great for gaming, IMO, and carry many special memories for me, but today I enjoy better when it comes to gaming overall.

Edited by Jaicee
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For me it is certainly the years around the turn of the century. So from 1998 to about 2003.  A great deal of my all time favorite most memorable games were released around that time. Incidently these also happen to be my high school years, that were a miserable time for me, I so hated high school it's incomprehensible.

  • Half-Life - 1998
  • Unreal - 1998
  • Carmageddon 2 - 1998
  • Gran Turismo - 1998
  • System Shock II  - 1999
  • X-Wing Alliance - 1999
  • Gran Turismo 2 - 1999
  • Driver - 1999
  • Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed - 2000
  • DeusEx - 2000
  • Star Trek Voyager Elite Force - 2000
  • Max Payne - 2001
  • Microsoft Train Simulator - 2001
  • Vice City - 2002
  • Mafia - 2002
  • Command & Conquer Generals - 2003
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell - 2003
  • Max Payne 2 - 2003
  • DeusEx Invisible War 2003

And this is probably not a comprehensive list just the ones I could think of right off the bat.

Edited by m76
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I don't think there was one good era. The 80s, 90s and 2000 and 2010, all of those era are good. And now we are in new decade from last year. And we are going to see even better games now. 

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I don't know if it's the best era as that's, of course, subjective but it's definitely not as bad as many want us to believe and let's not forget that gaming is no different than movies in a way that if what is available today is not your cup of tea you can easily check titles from a few years back which is ironically enough what I did this year.

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Obviously it was the NES era. One main reason is that the games were all so unique. Sure there were several popular franchise's, but there were a plethora of games that had no sequels, and were so far beyond unique that nothing even remotely similar has come out since. A few titles:

A Boy And His Blob
Astyanax
Clash At Daemonhead
Final Fantasy*
Legacy Of The Wizard
Marble Madness
Street Fighter 2010
T&C Surf Designs
Yo! Noid

 

You're not going to find any games like these. Today everything is about a sequel. There is nothing original. Everyone follows the same tired game style. It's sickening. I can play 30 games on the NES and not play anything in the same genre of the other games every time. Today, you might get 2 games like that. Or if you're really crafty and resourceful, 3. I would give my left tit to see a developer take a chance and make something that's not out of left field, it's past left field. Something completely wild that's never been done before. But, alas, that's not going to happen. It's why I go no further than N64, with only a few exceptions.

I would have added Blaster Master, but there were what I would term "failed attempts" at sequels.

*I put Final Fantasy because until FFX, no Final Fantasy game had a true sequel. They were all vastly different, as if they weren't even part of the same franchise.

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I don't know, but with 2021 we are now in a new era. Especially with a pandemic driving more people to gaming, I think the 2020's are going to be quite an era and games probably will get politicized. There will be a gaming revolution as people of all groups and ages get more into it this decade, and also as technology is ever progressing. I think politics may shadow creativity a bit giving rise to Indie type games. But I think as turmoil takes the world this decade to come, individual creativity usually shines in these moments. Games will feel more intense, as they will indirectly reflect humanity's crisis. 

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I am a little bit younger to appreciate the early eras of gaming, but I am very happy with the games available to me in my childhood. I cannot remember what my first console was but I remember being extremely chuffed with my PS2 (I think I may have just missed the PS1 era ever so slightly), and my Nintendo Wii and Ds Lite. I think this was my favourite era, as people seemed to  be focused on the enjoyment of the game and not obsessed with the graphics.

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I agree with those who have suggested the current era.  Based on nostalgia, I'd go back to the SNES days (I love me some Super Mario World, Terranigma, Final Fantasy IV and VI, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, A Link to the Past, Illusion of Gaia, Actraiser, Simcity, Super Punch Out, Seiken Densetsu 3, etc...), but I can't deny that there are more good, worthwhile video games being released each year now than ever before.  Superior technology means more possibilities, and the creative ideas and quality-of-life improvements just keep building on the previous generations.

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True, superior technology does open doors that were previously locked. But when those doors were closed, it left the developers more time to create a unique and different story/plot. They didn’t have to focus as much on how pretty the game was because the graphics were so much simpler. 8-bits is a hell of a lot easier to script than RDR2. Less time on appearance, more time on story.

That’s my POV, anyway.

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28 minutes ago, The Blackangel said:

True, superior technology does open doors that were previously locked. But when those doors were closed, it left the developers more time to create a unique and different story/plot. They didn’t have to focus as much on how pretty the game was because the graphics were so much simpler. 8-bits is a hell of a lot easier to script than RDR2. Less time on appearance, more time on story.

That’s my POV, anyway.

 

I'm not sure I agree with you there. More modern games with the better tech used to craft them really blur the lines between video games and motion pictures and have allowed developers to tell stories in a more contemporary way. Even if you're right and developers could spend less time fussing about with graphics and focusing more on story, let's be honest, back in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, most developers didn't exactly take advantage of that. Most games told pretty much the same, clichéd stories like save the princess from the evil lord whatever or some shit.

Edited by Shagger
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It's not really about technology per se for me. I get exactly what Blackangel is saying about how things were back in like the '70s and '80s when there weren't any pre-existing game franchises to build off of yet and game development companies weren't generally large enough yet to have lots of focus groups and other forms of market research, so they tended to just wing it and go with the idea that if they, the people making the game, liked it then someone else probably would too. And the resultant games felt like it too. They often felt like games that were made by someone who wanted to play that game themselves. I think there's something to be said for that spirit. There really is.

But there's something about today that I think this strictly nostalgic view misses: the rise of the independently-developed games market over the last decade or so. Smaller game developers have made a pretty epic comeback since the success of Braid back in 2008 proved that precisely that original approach to games development can actually be appreciated in today's world, with or without spectacular AAA graphics and 50+ hours of content. Celeste. Undertale. Crypt of the NecroDancer. Kentucky Route Zero. Butterfly Soup. Hades. Untitled Goose Game. Return of the Obra Dinn. This War of Mine. Knights and Bikes. Dead Cells. Hyper Light Drifter. Gato Roboto. Hollow Knight. Freedom Planet. Streets of Rage 4 (incidentally!). The list goes on forever! What's even better is that smaller developers who insist upon creative freedom are starting to find publishers who will respect that approach to development and provide them with the resources they need to fully realize their visions. Games like Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Death Stranding, and one I just completed called The Medium come to mind in this category. There are also major developers like Naughty Dog who are afforded a similar amount of creative freedom by their publishers, even when it involves taking great commercial risks. So I mean to me it's not just about better technology being there, it's about internet services like Steam leading to a revival and renewed appreciation for smaller, bolder developers who have new ideas, maybe something to say through their games, and a willingness to take risks, and all the genuine masterpieces that have resulted from that and other consequences thereof even in the more mainstream AAA space that makes me happy with the present and optimistic about the future of video games.

Edited by Jaicee
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9 hours ago, Family sedan said:

I loved the late '90's/ early 2000's period of gaming.  It seemed really awesome.  And console durability was good too.  I still have my '97 Playstation I got for Christmas that year.

I tend to agree with this, but I'm pretty biased as this was when I grew up. I had a PS1 as a kid and loved games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, but I also finally got an N64 earlier this year and was very positively surprised by how well these games have held up. Games like Banjo Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing, GoldenEye, Gauntlet Legends, Starfox and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron are still so much fun to play.

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