3 Games That Would Have Been Better if They Were Made 20 Years Ago

Let's agree to disagree to disagree.

Back in 1993, the two big consoles on the market were the Super Nintendo and Genesis; the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation were looming on the horizon, and PC gaming was in an even healthier state than it is now.

Thanks to the technical restrictions of the time, developers had to get a little creative to give players the experience they envisioned at the start of development. Visuals weren't exactly realistic back then, and there was often a lot left to the imagination.

Terra McBigFeet

There are a few series I would love to see return to their roots and get back to being about the fun instead of the graphics. I like pretty visuals in my video games but I do not enjoy the lack of depth and challenge that have become so commonplace. A little less cutscene and a little more game, please.

There are three games in particular released this generation that I just feel could have been much better if we had a Time Lord to take these games' concepts back to 1993 and hand them to competent developers. One is because I hate it and the other two because damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Minecraft

I want you to imagine a world where Minecraft was released on PC in 1993 and branched out into a series, potentially giving the sandbox genre a giant jump 20 years ago and affecting the gaming industry from then until now. See why this would be great?

Plus it would visually fit right in!

A Minecraft created in 1993 would be much more simple than the one we have, but imagine if the original 1993 release had exploring and building much as the game today--without a bunch of extra features. Each sequel or game inspired by it would be better and better, and developers of other genres would take notice that people enjoy non-linear sandbox games.

The reason I say Minecraft instead of a more goal-based sandbox title like Terraria is because the former stands as an excellent starting point for the genre. It has all of the groundwork set. Developers looking to expand on the idea could have their own takes on it and create their own unique games, but Minecraft itself would be the most likely to get a trend started.

A world where sandbox games are one of the most prominent genres is one I want to live in. Just imagine if the genre continued to be popular into the early 2000's and spawned nearly limitless player-made and -driven worlds within worlds. Imagine MMORPGs based off simple sandbox principles and the rules of classic MMORPGs like Ultima Online and EverQuest!

This whole concept just blows my mind. Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

Final Fantasy XIII

You want to go on an adventure, explore the world, and meet new friends with super cool abilities? Well too bad, you get a visually stunning yet boring linear adventure with enough variety to fill a thimble. I wish I could just think away Final Fantasy XIII like that creepy kid in the Twilight Zone.

The Final Fantasy series has always been dear to me as one of the first JRPG series that built the foundation for me to grow up into an idiot. Unfortunately I didn't see the writing on the wall before Final Fantasy XIII came out, otherwise I would have avoided it and its never-ending taste for my hopes and dreams.

This is just one game that I feel needs that old Final Fantasy touch. You know, that imaginary, comforting hand Squaresoft used to place on our shoulders before we started playing. That sweet, sweet feeling that you just knew you would be going off to save the world, care for your companions, get to see the expanse of the in-game universe, and have fun.

XIII's linearity is its largest drawback, and the extent in which we see it in this game is something no Japanese developer would have even imagined doing back in 1993. There was always that imaginary hand guiding your party, but there was usually at least a façade of you being free to explore. You, as the player, at least thought you were the one in control of your journey.

Don't give me that junk about the game letting you loose around the 18 hour mark either. There is no excuse for Final Fantasy XIII to be as boring as it is through the first half. To make matters even worse, I cared so little for the characters I can barely remember their names. Lightning is the only one who really stands out, and that is only because Square Enix keeps shoving her down our throats.

Lightning Lalafells are cute, but not necessary.

Sending the general ideas for Final Fantasy XIII back to the old Final Fantasy development team would either end in a game a billion times better than what we have today, or end in it being scrapped because it lacks anything memorable. That's it, that's all there is to it.

Today, Final Fantasy XIII and heroine Lightning are the biggest dividers between fans of the series. I say just pack it up and send it back in time to Squaresoft of 1993, because the Square Enix of today obviously doesn't know how to make a Final Fantasy game anymore. FFXIV 1.0 was further proof of that, and thank Yoshida for saving it with A Realm Reborn, otherwise we truly would be looking at a dead series.

Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

All that being mad made me hungry. Hungry for CAPITALISM.

Recettear is one of those games that you either have no idea what it is, or you have poured dozens of hours into. You play the role of Recette Lemongrass, a little girl in a lot of debt with a taste for blood and cold hard cash.

1-555-CASH-MONY

Recette must act as shopkeeper and be escorted through dungeons by a variety of hardy  adventurers. Buy! Sell! Beat stuff to death! All while being the kawaiiest of the kawaii with a love for them dolla bills.

Recettear made in 1993 would be amazing. I don't say this because it's a cute Japanese game, but because the game has proven to have a wider appeal than it looks at first glance. One Recettear title would inevitably lead to another if localized and published in the West. I wouldn't have the crushing feeling I do now; that another one will never be made.

As it stands, we will probably never see another one of these games. This is a shame because it is top of the line F-U-N. If you had told me 15 years ago that I would put 118 hours into a game where I play shopkeeper as a little girl, I'd have called you a madman.

Sending the concept and framework for this game back to a larger developer in 1993 would be fantastic. The game's developer, EasyGameStation, is a small Japanese doujin studio with no budget. Give a project like this to a studio in 1993 with a larger budget and more resources within reach, and you'd have yourself one of the most memorable games of the year.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that Recettear, if made with the love it in 2007, would be one of those games people reminisce over these days. You just can't make a big splash with a game like this in today's market, but I would bet cold hard cash that if it were released in 1993 on the Super Nintendo it would have gotten at least one sequel, a solid fanbase, and a lot more attention than it did in the West in 2010.

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Published Jul. 31st 2013
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    But it's soo pretty it must be good....right? No? Ok... Minecraft is great because of the lack of graphics. Look at Receiver also. Lots of great games with not many graphics, in fact the ones which push for graphics are terrible, Crysis 2 + 3? The exception to every rule being Far Cry and Crysis.
  • Raymond W
    Featured Correspondent
    I'm imagining a 16-bit FFXIII now and getting excited. Someone needs to take this to RPG Maker. The game would surely have kept me engaged if it weren't so linear; as it is, I quit by Pulse.

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