What Are Some Reasons to Play Older Games?

First it has to be said that there are many reasons to play also older, or to use the right term, retro games. In this blog post I am going to explain and give some reasons that I and many others still play so to say old games. While there are many reasons to still play these games there are also reasons to play the newest games instead.

There are many things that have advanced in gaming technology. Happenings are processed more quickly since there is more memory to be used. Also, we have seen larger games. They contain more details. They have more complex scenery. These worlds offer even larger areas to be explored. The artificial intelligence of other characters than the main character has been improving.

This of course has a huge effect on what is actually happening while a player plays a video game. The game processes more data. The input of the player is analyzed more thoroughly. Some old games offer some nice game design solutions and today many game developers can make use of what was already designed in a game maybe even thirty or forty years ago. While technology has advanced also we have to remember some of these good solutions that old games had and still have.

One reason to go back to older games is of course the nostalgic feel that you get while playing a game that you have some memories with. You clearly remember the first time you started playing a game. You get the first reaction that you had and it reminds you of the feel that you had back then. The game hasn’t changed but your situation does have. The last time I had this kind of feeling was while I was playing Sonic Origins Plus. I got caught into nostalgic feel when I started playing the first Sonic The Hedgehog game. It was a huge game and also a huge character for Sega, The year that I first played this game was, I think, 1993. It brings back so many memories.

What about the way that we get to play retro games? It is a huge advantage to older game if it is easy to play it. I am talking of course about the importance of backwards compatibility. I have this way that I organize all my games. I keep these games in these two shelves that I am actually able to play with any console I have. I keep my other games in a storage. I do this because I think it is not so reasonable to keep games visible that I am not even able to play. Sometimes I like to demonstrate a game for someone visiting our home and sometimes a visitor picks up some game that he or she would like to play. And of course I myself can pick any game that I would like to play.

If you want to play retro games you have two different ways to do it. These ways are using original hardware or using an emulator. There has been a lot of conversation about emulation. I am not going to talk about so much of is emulating even legal or anything else like that. Lets just say that it is an option. Some think it is totally illegal and in a way it is. On the other hand preserving older games can be very valuable. After all we have to some way keep in touch with our video game history.

I have many gaming consoles in my setup. One part of my gaming setup has been already for some years these cool mini consoles. There have been mini consoles available for devices like PlayStation 1, NES, SNES and Mega Drive along with systems like C-64. You could of course just download an emulator for your PC and play these games but… Is it legit or legal? After all you are paying for something very interesting and valuable right here. The problem is that there just isn’t a mini console available made from all gaming systems. For example we are currently missing original Xbox and Sega Dreamcast mini console.

We talk on and on about what is the right way to play our retro games. I think the most important issue is that there has to be a connection between the old world of video games and the new world of video games. We have to somehow document our past. There are just so many games that game designers can take influences from. I think that it is a value for a game designer to know a lot about games. Of course if you know good games you can also design good games, right? You know the logic and what appeals to gamers.

Think about John Romero, one of makers of the classic FPS game, Doom. I mean, he started with playing old games in arcades. He played hundreds of hours of Pacman. He also had influences from Dungeons and Dragons, NES, SNES and Mega Drive games. And look what id Software did with Doom. It definitely revolutionized the way that we consume video games even today. Some games of this same era are Diablo and NHL 94.

So, it might not be possible to play every retro game. Do we have what it takes to document our video game history? Who has the power and responsibility to pass on these important lessons to our younger generation that doesn’t recognize all these older games? There can definitely be something to learn form them. While modern systems have the most power they also need the design. That’s where older games come into play.

Doom Guy – John Romero

Doom Guy is a book by John Romero that has been published in 2023. In short words it describes the creator of such games as Doom, Quake and Daikatana, just to name a few. The book goes through his whole life starting from being a child of an alcoholic father and some other issues he had as a young child growing up.

The beginning of the book is kind of sad. But I can appreciate that Romero is so honest. Ultimately the story is a happy one all in all. Yes, it is a happy and amazing story of how a hobby that involves spending hundreds of dollars to play video games in arcades transforms to a career that molded the whole video game industry.

The story begins from about 1970s. In the 80s was when John Romero was already actively developing some kinds of computer games. There was going on a transition from games that took only one screen in use to some games, like Super Mario Bros 3, that were played as they scrolled along to the sidesof the screen. The screen was scrolling to the players movement. This was, back in the days, something that required the newest technology.

Apparently there were games like Commander Keen released by Apogee. Later, when the company started getting their actual form, they decided to call the company “id Software”. And the “id” in the name was pronounced like it was written (not like “ai dee” an more like “id”). This team also had a very talented and hard working member – John Carmack. Carmack focused mainly on the hardcore programming while Romero also programmed and made sure on his his part that the vision that they were moving to was the right one. Romero also made many tools the team used and had his fingers in designing new levels for their games.

So, Doom was a revolutionary game. Before that game id Software released a game called Wolfenstein – 3D. Doom was released in 1993. Their next big game would have the name Quake. It was originally ment to be more of a phantasy type of a role-playing-game. Quake was actually a game that can be described more like a FPS game with very nice graphics. So, the team had to make some adjustments and start in a way to move towards a different goal with this game. Eventually this lead to Romero leaving id Software and go on to work at Ion Storm that was a new game company.

I have to mention that role-playing palyed a strong role in the team of id Software being about the most innovative game development team in the whole world in the 1990s. They especially enjoyed session of Dungeons and Dragons. Romero brought the vision and Carmack workd long hours programming these amazing games. They also had people working as level designers and as producers of music. They had also people working with the business side of the company.

John Romero has been successful in his career. We have, throughout the whole history, witnessed also some of his games being somewhat flops. This was the fact with a game called Daikatana. It was a disappointment for many of Romeros fans. The writer, John Romero, still adds a thought that you kind of have to fail some times to learn and to succeed. This seems very sensible to me.

All in all Romeros book offers some very satisfying details about these games that he has been working with. There is also some very nice insight to how games were designed at this time around 1990s. I can definitely recommend this book for any fans of id Softwares games or to somenone who wants to learn how the gaming industry was back in the 90s.

What Made Tomb Raider So Appealling?

I wrote some time ago about Tomb Raider and how it’s 3D modeling made an impact to the whole industry. Now, we have seen Tomb Raider trilogy remake and I think it’s time to get back to this game once again. I actually got the remake collection and gave it some hours. The question here clearly seems to be that how and why was Tomb Raider so popular.

First of all I have to say that this game was a product of its era. 3d worlds were just beginning their story. The controls are clunky and not so good if we compare them to some more recent video games. There are many situations that you have to face when playing Tomb Raider today that just make the game seem a very old one.

The biggest problem seems to be how you control the main character Lara Croft. Jumping is hard and the camera is at times in a very bad angle. These 3D environments aren’t so impressive as they appeared to be back in 1990s. Tomb Raider was released in 1996. I have a copy for PC and PS1. The original game, that I happen to have in the form of the original CD, I think, can be updated so that the graphics will look even sharper.

What about the main character? Lara appears to be a female. This was still an exception back in 1996. Lara Croft was definitely one of the first female main characters. Of course these games are directed to these nerdy guys that are also into 3d and C++ programming. This was, back then, something for the real nerds.

You can feel the excitement as you play the original game. You get to interact with some very edgy and exciting environment. This can, of course, bring you many memories and make you feel the nostalgia. You start to think how could you yourself create a 3D game like this. And this game also gave programmers many ideas not to say anything about a mod that was available that made Lara seem to be totally naked in the game.

I really like Tomb Raider. Would I spend tens of hours playing it once again. Well, maybe not. Time has progressed heavily. Biggest flaw is the controlling of Lara. It just makes playing the game a pain. If you pick a good 3D game from an era of maybe even five years after 1996, say 2001, you can get something much more enjoyable. Why would you pick this one when there are many better games available.

How about the PS1 version that we have on this featured image right here? Well, it is the same game that was released for PC but with worse graphics. It is nice to handle Lara with Dual Shock controller. You can also pick a retro PC, one that has 486 processor, and play the game.

In conclusion, I don’t recommend going back to the world of Lara Croft. The game was something different. Take a note on the use of the word “was”. I know how inpiring this game was. Its impact was enormous. It broke the ice for something bigger and better. So, I suggest you get something some years newer for a new game that you would like to play.

The Role of Technology Has Changed

I really think that the role of technology has changed. I am talking about the last, maybe, thirty years. We can go back to the 1990s to see how things were back then. I am old enough to remember these matters today. All this time has passed. What has changed and how things were.

I had some experience already with a personal computer. During 90s I was first introduced to Sega Mega Drive and later to Sony PlayStation. I had a moment in my personal history in which, can you imagine, I didn’t really play video games. This was when I started high school in the beginning of 2000s. I got back to gaming again during the 2000s. So I do have a relevant personal history to write about this.

I can also clearly remember how things were with smart phones and how they started to conquer our free time. One important technology is internet. It has brought us connectivity and ability to play multiplayer games on-line. Also memory cards aren’t used anymore. The games evolved from lasting maybe three to five hours. Suddenly you couldn’t complete the game in a day. Games became longer and a possibility to save was becoming more and more important. This has everything to do with hard drives and the advancement that made more and more space available to use.

Video game consoles technology advanced very quickly. We can go from the beginning of the 1990s to 2000s and have a comparison. Mega Drive might have been the most popular gaming console along with NES and later SNES. Basically you couldn’t save a game. There were batteries included in the game cartridges that enabled this. Game had to be fit in a space of only some megabytes. This changed when CD drives came available. Also at some point disk drives became a norm in gaming consoles.

So, the technology advanced fast. We went from getting a benefit from technology to today when we are being somewhat even controlled by technology. Do you get what I am saying? The role of technology is what I wanted to talk about in the first place. How is it with this matter, today?

While I was growing up we didn’t have internet. We didn’t have smart phones. There was no GPS. If you wanted to search for information you probably went to a library or tried to find a book about the subject. Things have changed a lot.

When I was young there was this kind of positive thinking that was common that technology would improve our lives if we just kept studying it and building and developing it. So, many young people were introduced to mathematics, physics and computers. I was among those that were very interested in technolgy and wanted to study it and also have it as a hobby.

Technology has made huge leaps. We are today in a society that uses internet and smart phones to several functions. We handle paying and buying with these tools. We use them daily. How has this made our lives easier? It seems to me that today everyone can use a smart phone to perform any functionality that is needed. These huge technology companies have formed a business about us and our normal lives. This is basically how the role of technology has changed.

I could go on and on about these changes. This is still just a one blog post. I didn’t even go to how big data affects and has already affected on the situation. We are here right now. We understand where we are. Technology has become part of our lives. And everything can be changed tomorrow. Our choices are what matters. Companies like Facebook and Google have made the technology avaialble to us. How can we make it so that it gives even some benefit to our functioning?

Back Again to Play Some EA WRC

I have been recently playing some EA WRC (again). I first got into this game when it was first released in the end of last year. It is a very good rally and racing game. Last year also a new Forza Motorsport game was released. There was a sort of a competition going on with these two on which one would be the greatest racing game of the year 2023.

I am playing EA WRC with a game controller. This is the way I have been playing racing and rally games since I first stumbled on Gran Turismo and Colin McRae Rally 1 and 2.0 back in the dominant era of the first Sony PlayStation. I got a wheel and pedals for PS3 in the 2010s but I never truly played racing games with them. Although I did purchase a converter to adapt my PS3 wheel and pedals to PS4. I also got a stand for these. I never had a racing seat. That would have been expensive and I didn’t really get into this so much after all.

I did play recently some Dirt Rally 2.0. That game was released a bit earlier. It was released in 2019. I first got the game for PS4 but I have also it for PC and Xbox Series S/X as a digital copy. If you know anything about the history of Codemasters it is not needed to say that it basically was the rally game company of the 90s and even 2000s . It has brought us some very memorable classics.

There is however another good rally game series that has to be mentioned here. It is the WRC series. It has had the official license of WRC. It has brought us many very good rally games and especially in the recent, say, five or ten years. So there has been a healthy competition. Codemasters hasn’t earlier had the opportunity to make a rally game with a license but now it was the time for that since EA WRC was finally released last year.

We can have some sort of a comparison between Dirt Rally 2.0 and EA WRC. I think these both games have a similar price so this is a good way to think about which one should you get. Which one has the most value out of these two games? The price is actually about 30 euros. I can only tell you how it feels to play these with a controller. Graphics are awesome in both. Music in the background and defnitely while in menus is great also in both. What makes me go to the direction of EA WRC is how the controlling of the car feels.

I find myself constantly spinning or flipping my car around while I play Dirt Rally 2.0. The driving feels realistic and I don’t know if a wheel would actually make the steering more comfortable. So I think this is an issue  with playing with a controller. So, EA WRC feels better in this sense. Of course also in the last mentioned some cars like RWD and Group B feel also more difficult to handle.

I have put about 20 hours in these games solely on Xbox Series X. I am more familiar with the older game that is Dirt Rally 2.0. I would think that playing one game more would make it a bit easier in the end but I guess that the experience with game pad only makes the sense in this one. So my conclusion to the question at hand is that I would be rather playing EA WRC if I have to use a controller and not a wheel and pedals.

Okay. I hope that this post once again gave you something. I am trying to write to the blog more often. It has been a while since the latest post. It was nice to write you about my experiences with gaming lately. Have a nice day and I hope to see you again soon.

Itchy, Tasty – The Book About Resident Evil

Itchy, Tasty is a book written by Alex Aniel. It tells the story of Resident Evil video game series that was developed by this huge game developer Capcom that became famous by releasing Street Fighter II for arcades and Super Nintendo. Street Fighter wasn’t their first game but it might have been the game that took Capcom to the top. The book has been published in 2021. It holds well over 250 pages and is focusing on the games that were released in the series before Resident Evil 5.

Resident Evil begun with a game titled Sweet Home that was a NES game. There were debates about releasing a horror game for such an childish and powerless gaming console. While there do exist many great games on Nintendo Entertainment System the developers at Capcom thought that it would be difficult to release a good horror game for this system because of its limitations. The music and graphics would have been too unimpressive to satisfy the vision they initially had about the new horror game that was about to be developed.

Itchy, Tasty describes how Resident Evil managed to create something completely original and new in video games. It can be held responsible for creating a new genre of survival horror. It took some elements, the weird and stationary camera angles, just to name one, from first games of Alone In The Dark series that was released some years before the first Resident Evil. You can probably figure how Resident Evil impacted on games like Silent Hill and any other survival horror game that has ever been released.

For me Resident Evil 2 was the first game in the series that I actually played. It wasn’t the first PlayStation 1 game I played. That honor goes to Gran Turismo. But that piece of survival horror really impressed me. Well, it made me also feel agony but in a somewhat desirable in a way. It is hard to describe this game to a person that hasn’t played it. I think about RE2 as a retro game. It was something impressive back in 1998.

Soon after, maybe some moths or something like that, I had beaten RE2 and wanted something more to play. So, I picked up the first Resident Evil. I soon found that it was also a very good game. I also completed the third game. As there were several spin offs that I haven’t got into I cannot say that I would have played every game in the series. I do have completed Resident Evil 5 but that is just out of the scope of Itchy, Tasty.

The author of Itchy, Tasty, Alex Aniel, is very much involved in the gaming scene. He writes firmly about the history and development of this series. Every game that was released before Resident Evil 5 is covered. Even a game for Game Boy Color has been mentioned. What I found as a very interesting piece of knowledge was the part of describing how the first game was ported to Nintendo 64. You know, it was originally developed for PS1. What is the main difference between these systems? Well, N64 used 64 MB game cartridges while PS1 had an optical disk drive that used CD-ROMS that had 650 MB of space.

This wasn’t the only difference between these systems. N64 was faster when it came to loading the data that game used. It is miraculous how it was actually possible to fit RE2 to a N64 cartridge. Later the series moved on to GameCube. For a while there was a decision in place that RE games would be developed only for Nintendo GameCube. As you might know already this wasn’t a long lasting decision as you can today find RE4 for PS2 also from your favorite gaming shop.

I can recommend this book especially for someone that is a fan of survival horror games. There are many interviews and a lot of background information that makes clear how the writer of the book has come to the writing of this material. Mainly persons that worked closely on the series have been included in these descriptions.

 

Double Life – Music for PlayStation

Double Life – Music for PlayStation is a music compilation CD featuring various artists. There is also a demo CD for PS1 included. It has demos of games: Ape Escape, Wip3out, Ridge Racer Type 4, Omega Boost, Anna Kournikova’s Smash Court Tennnis, Tomb Raider 3, Um Jammer Lammy and Crash Team Racing. So it has eight game demos.

This might not be the most meaningful find I have ever bought. Just something I got interested in while I was in the local flee market. It didn’t cost a lot. I think I got this for two euros. The CD plus PS1 demo disc have been released in 1999.

I do have a memory of seeing this compilation back in the days while visiting a record store. It might have been a super market. I really don’t remember so clearly.

The music featured on Double Life is the type of music you might hear while playing PS1. I didn’t like everyt track. Obviously I didn’t buy this thing for the music. I just thought it would be something I would like to own.

If you aren’t so familiar with PS1 demo discs like the one included in Double Life let me reminisce and also explain what they actually are. So, back in the 90s it wasn’t even possible to buy digital games. As PS1 was the most popular, maybe the best, gaming console out in the market there had to be some way for gamers to know what games were going to be released in the near future.

The promotion of new games was very much a responsibility of video game magazines. Well, there might have been some gaming websites already but my point here is that web wasn’t in the end  of the 90s what it is today. Today you can definitely download a game demo easily and watch the trailer online also.

PS1 demo discs were released to promote new and upcoming games. They had several demos of games. I remember clearly playing a demo of Resident Evil 2 before buying the game. You could test the game and play one demo for maybe 15 minutes or something. Just so much that you could make an opinion on if the game would be interesting and something that you would actually buy. There are several tens maybe even hundreds of these demo discs released.

So, just wanted to write a blog post once again. There haven’t been anything special happening in my life. I have played my video games and I have been, lately, reading a book about Resident Evil series’s history. I might write something about that book next in this blog. So, stay tuned for some more content.

My PS1 Games Collection (Currently)

I recently wrote a blog post about the first PlayStation. This gaming console was first released in 1995. That makes it almost thirty years old. I had to make a decision and move my PS2 away to storge from my gaming setup. I replaced it with my PSOne console. That made me to take a look at my current PS1 games collection for this retro gaming system.

I have well over sixty games in my collection of PS1 games. Some games are definite classics. I have to mention the Final Fantasy series. I have four games in this series. They are FFVI, FFVII, FFVIII and FFIX. I would like to own some day FF Anthology and/or FF Origins. There is also a pixel remaster collection of FF games from I to VI for Nintendo Switch out there and I have a feel that I might some day buy it, also.

PS1 was actually my second gaming console that I owned. My first console was Sega Mega Drive. PS1 turned to a more mature way in a sense. It also introduced real 3D graphics to gamers all over the world. I sold my PS1 and all games and other accessories in the beginning of 2000s. This is something that I greatly regret.

Some other games that are of good quality are the first three Resident Evil games, Vagrant Story, Colin McRae series of two games, Tenchu 1 and 2 and also Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 to 4 and the first two Grand Theft Auto games. These are just few good titles that come to mind when I look at this collection.

Some PS1 games are cheap and some are expensive. You can get a sense about this as you browse through your favorite gaming web shops. The library for PlayStation 1 is enormous. There are almost eight thousand games in it. You have to understand that some of these games haven’t been sold in every region so there might be some games that are only available in some areas of world. PS1 was in production all the way to 2006 and it received new games through all these years. I believe there are no limitations for a new game to be released for it even today.

I am keen to find some new games for my collection. I think I do have almost every most important game that I used to play back in the days. I also have some titles that I somehow didn’t have some way an opportunity to get into and that I just recently had a chance to get into. I think there is lots of games still out there waiting to get discovered.

Visually PS1 graphics are appealing but you definitely cannot expect so much from this retro console. If you desire I can also recommend to getting into some DreamCast or GameCube  games if you want some more powerful graphical experiences. There definitely are limitations in these retro games. You have to remember that these games are retro and you yourself have to like retro games if you wish to play PS1 games in 2024. And this is why we are using the term “retro” all the time.

PS1 was there among one of these 3D capable gaming consoles. It introduced gaming to many of us. I remember hearing for the first time that some over or almost 30-year-olds were also getting into playing video games. PS1 was the most powerful of Sony all the way to when PS2 was released. There were over 100 million units sold. PS2 sold over 150 million units.

Alone in the Dark Series

I have played lots of games during my whole lifetime. I just thought that it might be interesting for readers of this blog if I would write about Alone In The Dark game series. They might not be the best of the best in survival horror at the moment but their influence to this genre is huge. There is also a new Alone in the Dark game getting released in 2024.

The first game in this series was published in 1992. If you were playing it back when it was released I think there is a chance that you played it on a PC. Some of the first three games of Alone in the Dark were also released for PlayStation during 1990s. There are a total of seven games in the series.

What makes the influence huge was how the camera angels were adjusted. It made the game a scary one. Also the game utilises 3D graphics in a way that was never ever seen back in 1992. The most popular game that took influences of Alone in the Dark was Resident Evil and it was released in 1996 at least for PC and PS1. I obtained a book about RE some time ago and I am hoping to get to read it soon. I just have to finish the book that I am currently reading so I can begin with the book. It is called “Itchy, Tasty” and it is written by Alex Aniel.

Games in the series that were released during the 90s were of good quality in the standards of the games of that era. I think it might be a waste of your time to get back to them seriously. Well, maybe if you want to experience something old. There might be a retro feel in them.

So, is there a game in this series that would be a nice game to play even today? If we take a look on two games that were released in 2001 and 2008 we can figure an opinion for this question. Let’s face it. These two games are poor games. They don’t live up to standards and they defnitely don’t match my expectations. Out of these two the one released for PS2, Alone in the Dark – The New Nightmare, is better but it isn’t in any way a great game. It has also received a score of 66 out of 100 in Metacritic.

While these two games weren’t so good there are of course excpectations gathered towards this new Alone in the Dark game that is set to be published this year (2024). The genre of survival horror might bem rising its head again since there are rumours about new Silent Hill and also Resident Evil games getting released soon. There was already a short Silent Hill game released recently. It was only for PS5 and its name was Silent Hill – The Short Message. The game was released for free and it takes maybe three hours to complete. So, it is a short game for the fans.

One of my favorite game shops is saying that the new Alone in the Dark will be released in 19th of April. It will be released for PS5, PC and Xbox Series S/X. You can buy the PC release for example from Steam. The game has received open and cheerful welcomes and many fans are expecting this game to be good. For now we must wait for some more information. There are some trailers and early previews of the game avaialble online. You can also order it in advance if you wish to play it as soon as is possible.

 

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