A Little Bit of Something About Old Gaming Trends…
Over the years, there have been a lot of gaming styles that have come and gone. For a while it was a nonstop litany of Grand Theft Auto clones, and then it was the EA formula of ‘climb tallest spot to unlock area’ games, and crafting games, and MOBA style online games. Lately, as you may be aware, there are a glut of Dead By Daylight ‘4 v 1’ type games. Trends guide an industry, but sadly, that always means that something gets left in the dust – and what it leaves behind isn’t always as good as it once was.
Here are a few gaming trends that have died down that I really miss.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I live for puzzles. I spent many a night hunched over my Nintendo, trying to solve a level of Adventures of Lolo or Kickle Cubicle. There are games out there now that embody the classics of puzzlers of years gone by, but they range from the ‘one concept over and over’ like the many Lighton series of games or the variations of Sudoku – to the infuriatingly hard like the games created by puzzle genius Zactronic.
With exceptions out there like Filament and The Pedestrian, there aren’t many well thought puzzle games that grind your brain into the best kind of dust.
Back in the day, we had two kinds of music, country and/or western, rock and/or roll, hip and/or hop. Well in games it was action and/or adventure. Action games were all about running, gunning, shooting, blasting, moving. Adventure games, like the Sierra ‘Quest’ games, 7th Guest, Maniac Mansion, and the best selling game of all time (until 2002), Myst.
Sadly, adventure games, with the ease they can be created with simple engines, a glut of ‘escape room’ flash games and impossible to figure out ‘moon logic’ style games (even amongst the best) have made it really hard to find the gems amongst the trash. The best of recent years is the Sam and Max series by Tell Tale and Life is Strange.
Ok, so I’m sure you’ve caught on that this list is a lot of old genres, and maybe – if you are an old game nerd like me, you’ll go ‘Hatton, there are text adventures coming out every year’ — and the rest of you are utterly confused… but it’s true. Every year, a group of ever-shrinking fans of the old school ‘GO WEST’ ‘OPEN MAILBOX’ ‘READ FLYER’ fans are hiding in their dark basements, fearful of being eaten by a Grue.
There’s a reason though, that the advent of graphics and the much more reflex oriented gaming styles took over and text adventures are more often than not an easter egg or a sly wink in a much bigger game production. That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there – and I highly recommend ‘Stories Untold’ for blending that nostalgia and modern gaming sensibilities gorgeously. I just wish there were more like it out there.
So, oldschool computer nerds – what genre’s do you miss? You know how to tell us. Want to nerd out about Castle of Dr. Brain? Drop a message to @STSTCAST or @REVVOICE on twitter, and we’ll see you next week.