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Retro Gaming and Nostalgia! Where PacMan swallowed his first pill.

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Old 23rd July 2009, 11:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default They don't make em like they used to

Recently i've been going through a phase of checking out some of the older RPGs i used to play.

It all started when i DLed daggerfall from internode and it has spread from there like a wildfire.

In the past week i've dug up some of my older dusty ones like Might and Magic 3-6, Wizardry 6 and 7, Wizards and Warriors and Ultima Ascension.

I'm surprised that most of these still are able to run on vista (with a few tweaks) and this is mostly due to crazy fans like myself who have gone to great lengths to find out how these babies can work on the newer OS's.

The conversation has come up with a friend who's another RPG fanatic, why don't they make RPGs with such complexity and detail anymore?

The theories are varied, but we feel it comes down to something like this.

1) The average gamer wouldn't have the attention span to cope with some of these RPGs.

2) Game developers don't have the time or resources to make RPGs with such detail.

3) Game designers need to keep it simple in order to make sure it can be ported to a console.

4) Game designers that used to make these sorts of games aren't around anymore and thus, current designers tend to make something similar to what is around at the time.

5) Current way of thinking is big RPG can only be a MMO

I'm sure there's more to it than that and i'm sure it's a bit of everything in most cases.
But i myself lean more towards #4.

If you are an old timer RPG addict like myself, you'd understand the qualities of RPG content that just aren't around anymore.

RPGs that would take you half a day to read the manual and the other half to roll up your characters.
RPGs with a huge range of classes, races, spells and abilities.
Ones with massive scale for the world you explored.
Ones that would take you weeks to months to finish.

A lot of these elements may sound like the sort of thing you'd find in any RPG on the market today. But to be honest, nothing much has been around on the market for quite some time that would come close to the sort of scale you used to find back then, even as little as 7 years ago.

To give an idea about the sort of RPGs i'm talking about.

Bards Tale, Ultima, Might and Magic, Wizardry series, just to name a few off the top of my head.

So, is the age of the hard core western RPG gone and never to be seen again. Or is it just a sign of the times that designers stick to what works currently and it would take someone to make a hit that goes against the grain in order for the style of these oldies but goldies to return to their rightful place at the top of the RPG ladder?

Thoughts and opinions appreciated as always

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Old 27th July 2009, 04:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree. My first RPG of any kind was Ultima V when I was in middle school. It sucked because our computer was only nominally compatible and half the time when loading from a floppy I'd get random tiles blocking me in. But the scope of the game, the depth of it, particularly for that time period... I got more interaction from NPCs in that game than in just about any game since then. I still have a CD with the first eight games (including the pre-Ultima I game Richard Garriot did) that I play frequently.

One thing to keep in mind is that back then, resources couldn't be thrown into 3-D graphics and surround sound effects, so depth of plot and gameplay was all that mattered. We're visual creatures, and most people are more attracted to seamlessly animated graphics heavy games with clickable navigation and scenery than plot-heavy games involving lots of typing. If it looks better in advertising, they will sell more of them, and publicly held companies must follow the quick buck.
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Old 27th July 2009, 12:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This week i went back to Wizardry 8.

I was surprised how easy it was to run on vista 64 and at such a high resolution. i think i'm running it at 2048x1536 just using the normal game setup.

Took me most of an afternoon to plan out my party. There are classes that are easy to manage and ones that are hard. Previously when i played it i had no idea about the class balance and played a few of the harder ones in a non-efficient way.

This time around i looked up some character creation advice and it's been a totally more enjoyable experience.

The depth of character progression that you can undertake as well as the game environment make it at least up to par with any RPG out there today. For a game that was published in 2001, that's pretty damn good.

The one thing i totally forgot was some of the character voice overs and acting in this game. It can be soo freakin hilarious at times.

well worth revisiting

Wizardry 8 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 27th July 2009, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think you should add "Planscape - Torment" to the list
I only played it through once, around 2001 sometime. (I cant remember when exactly) but I still remember it as one of the cleverest, most enjoyable RPGs ive played.
It ran on the Baldurs gate engine I think, but the character development was much better than the BG series.

I might try and dig up a copy from somewhere
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Old 28th July 2009, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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bout a week ago i installed Kings quest 6 outta boredom..

256 colours hurts the eyes after a while nowdays
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Old 31st July 2009, 05:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There are still some hard core RPG games around such as Neverwinter Nights II. However, the production costs needed to carve out a game world for modern systems is soooooo much higher than it was when all you needed were a handful of graphic tiles and a grid editor. The production costs have gone up, but the returns haven't changed much. Overall the amount of people buying games like that hasn't grown a lot, so you've got much higher production costs and only a marginally larger audience so the genre has kind of imploded upon itself.

However, there's a massive and ever growing groundswell with indie games and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the gaps were soon filled with alternative takes on the genre. We might not see many more big production RPGs with complex systems but I don't see any reason why we wouldn't see some old-school sim-heavy RPGs in the indie space over the next decade or so.
. . . .
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