Painkiller Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Painkiller RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Why old video games appeal more to me https://www.gameskinny.com/2vesx/why-old-video-games-appeal-more-to-me https://www.gameskinny.com/2vesx/why-old-video-games-appeal-more-to-me Tue, 03 May 2016 12:19:48 -0400 Damien Smith

There are plenty of modern video games out there that have given me plenty of fun and entertainment for my money. No matter how many modern games I play, no matter how good they are, they simply do not appeal to me the same way that old games do.

Why is this the case? What is it that old video games have that make me come back to them time and time again? Let's take a look at some old and modern games and see what it is old games have that modern games don't.

Modern video games

Let's take a look at modern games before having some blasts from the past. My two favorite genres of a video game are that of the FPS and RPG. One of the more recent FPS games that I played is Shadow Warrior. Shadow Warrior is a reboot of 3D Realms 1997 controversial title of the same name.

I do not deny that the reboot is a damn fine game in its right, but it has that typical modern issue that other titles of its kind also have. Such titles would include Serious Sam and Painkiller. The problem with the games is that while in combat, players are locked in a certain room or area.

Only after defeating all the enemies can the player progress to the next area where this repeats. The main reason for this mechanic is to ensure that the game doesn't suffer any frame rate issues due to large amounts of enemies. The problem with such a mechanic is that it slows down the overall pace of the games. In addition, it makes the game feel incredibly repetitive. It makes the player feel like they are trapped or forcibly blocked off from experiencing the world at their pace. It also gives me the impression of making the game feel longer than it otherwise would be.

Shadow Warriors has amazingly realistic melee combat, beautiful graphics and is fun in short doses. Despite all of that, it lacks the smooth, constant fast paced action of that which it is rebooting. Despite getting my money's worth of gameplay, it doesn't satisfy what I am looking for in such a game. RPGs are no different.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim I found to be the blandest of series. I will give the game respect where it deserves, and I will say that its world is one of the most beautiful and detailed you will find in any RPG. That is where my praise ends for the game.

With each new entry in the Elder Scrolls series, the games are becoming more and more dumbed down. They are losing more RPG elements and becoming more like action games than actual RPGs. As far as I am concerned, Morrowind was the last proper RPG in the series.

With each new addition to the series, there are fewer skills and less character building. I found the whole experience to be bland from the storyline to the quests to the combat. It was the only entry in the series that I didn't spend several hundred hours playing.

So, yes, modern video games are not scratching that itch that I constantly have. They always feel like something is missing. To find out what that is, we need to take a look at a retro FPSs and RPGs.

Blasts from the past

We have looked at the modern end of the spectrum, and now we need to look at the older end of it. My choice of an old FPS would be that of QUAKE. A game which the likes of Serious Sam and Shadow Warrior gain their inspiration.

The question is, what is it that QUAKE has that a more modern FPS of the same vein is lacking? Such an FPS is always about the gameplay above anything else. The action and the level design are the primary focus of the developers while the storyline and atmosphere are secondary.

That focus is QUAKE in a nutshell. The action and level design of QUAKE are second to none, and Id Software uses their new found technology in every way that they possibly could. Not only is QUAKE a fine FPS, at the time it was a game that would cause brown trouser time.

The gameplay was fluent, smooth and the only stops are when the player finishes a level. The level design allows the player to explore the levels as they see fit. Often, levels branched which added an exploration element to the game where players could seek out secret areas.

As long as the player continues to explore in a direction they have not yet entered, there will be enemies to combat. Unlike in the modern FPS of the same style where there is at times several minutes of just wandering around before the next battle.

They are missing that constant onslaught that made such classics like QUAKE and DOOM the legends that they are. There is no denying the games lack story, but if the game is repetitive and boring, what good is a story? There is nothing to keep the player interested while awaiting plot progression.

What about RPGs you might ask? There are tons of classic RPGs that I could use as a comparison, such as Anvil of DawnIshar Trilogy and much more. Since I used Skyrim as a modern example, I see it fitting that I use Daggerfall.

Daggerfall is the second entry in the Elder Scrolls series and to my mind the best of the series. "What is it that separates it from the likes of Skyrim?" You might ask. For a start, adventure. Daggerfall has a huge world that is 161,600 kilometers squared.

Of course, there is the argument that the world is created using procedural generation as opposed to hand crafted like in later games. That may be the case, but it also creates a world of wonder along with huge dungeons to explore. There is a certain element of excitement, journeying into a massive dungeon attempting to find an insane wizard that the Mages Guide hired you to kill.

It provides a sense of adventure that is lacking in the dungeons and caves of the later games. You would have a dungeon explored in Skyrim in approximately fifteen-twenty minutes, depending on how many floors it has. In Daggerfall, however, you could be exploring a dungeon for a lot longer.

As for quests and guilds, they were far more fulfilling than in later games. Completing quests and rising the ranks of a guild was far more exciting and rewarding. An example would be the Mages Guild. When the player first joins, they have access to only the most basic facilities.

As they progress, they can begin to buy magical items, enchant their items, and summon daedric princes to complete tasks for artifacts--all of which are extremely useful. In later games, the daedric artifacts were almost useless and enchantments were extremely limited.

Daggerfall allowed the player to create weapons of immense power but not without adverse side effects. It was up to the player to balance out the positives with the negatives in a way that would suit them. It is a game that only ends when the player wants it to as there is always something to do.

Less is sometimes more

Indeed, old games are not for everyone. Graphics and certain gameplay mechanics are a must for some gamers which would make such games not appeal to them. If you can look past dated graphics and gameplay mechanics that older games possess, you are sure to enjoy yourself.

Old video games have much more character to them along with much more depth. Modern video games have fallen into the trap of using the advancement in technology to show off as opposed to focusing on what makes them great.

I find that with modern games, for all their graphics and all the gimmicky mechanics it doesn't enhance the overall experience. In fact, they lessen it. Developers focus so much on adding cool mechanics and features that they tend to forget what makes a game fun.

I admit there are still excellent games out there which use today's advanced video game technology to its fullest to create fun and exciting experiences. We do, however, also get plenty more bland experiences. The technological limitations that developers faced while creating video games years ago forced them to use their creativity.

It is what gives old games such uniqueness. Developers often had to think outside the box to create the game of their dreams. Sometimes with video games, less is more, and that is why old video games appeal more to me.

What are your thoughts on old video games? Do you feel they have more depth to them than modern games? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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10 Bands Who Need to Compose a Game Soundtrack https://www.gameskinny.com/kfngr/10-bands-who-need-to-compose-a-game-soundtrack https://www.gameskinny.com/kfngr/10-bands-who-need-to-compose-a-game-soundtrack Wed, 22 Apr 2015 20:34:55 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

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What do you think about my crazy ideas? Which of your favorite bands would you like to see work on a game soundtrack? Let me know in the comments below! 

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The Pogues with Shane MacGowan
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As much as I enjoy Flogging Molly, The Dropkick Murphys, and other Irish/Celtic punk bands, there is no topping The Pogues, especially with Shane MacGowan on vocals. Along with fiendishly clever lyrics laden with black humor, The Pogues also had a knack for taking traditional Irish music and reformatting the folk songs to fit their punk sound, making the old new again. Look no further for your Irish punk fix!

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Dream Game:
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An interactive, multiplayer drinking game. I know you didn't see that one coming.

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Mastodon 
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Like their namesake, Mastodon is a mammoth in the metal world. Despite only being around for 15 years, the band has racked up countless awards and success for their music. Starting out as sludge metal, the band has added progressive elements, which make for one trippy and fantastic live performance. Known for immaculate musicianship, jaw-dropping drumming skills, and killer solos, Mastodon has become a fan favorite and metal mainstay.

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Dream Game:
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Their more progressive songs would be a great fit for the Escher visuals of Monument Valley or Antichamber. For their heavier stuff, a new Painkiller or Bulletstorm with Mastodon doing music duties would be pretty damn great. 

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Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman
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Nothing quite says over-the-top like Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album series. However, many people fail to recognize the massive influence Jim Steinman had on the two Bat out of Hell albums he composed. Meat Loaf encapsulates grandiose and overblown at its best, and the music is glorious for it. No one else could pull off performances like Meat Loaf does or the compositions Steinman effortlessly unleashed upon the world. Given the overblown nature of some games, they are practically begging for collaboration with these two.

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Dream Game:
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Racing along at breakneck speeds, causing vehicular mayhem and crashes in Burnout while Meat Loaf blares over the speakers would be a suitable match. Honestly though, is there anything Meat Loaf does not go well with?

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Weezer
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While Weezer’s newest album was a solid return to form, they have made some lackluster ones lately as well. As solid as any new albums may be, sadly, Weezer will never be as great as their peak as they were with Blue and Pinkerton. Blue was a masterwork of alternative power pop. With introspective and honest lyrics of being nerds, being rejected, and dealing with an alcoholic, Blue was a welcome departure from self-obsessed music at the time.

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For the follow up to the catchy, hook-filled Blue, Rivers Coumo went into self-imposed isolation and poured his being and soul into music. The result was Pinkerton, a startlingly, and at times, disturbingly honest release filled with anguish and loathing. Needless to say, the album was reviled upon release. Rivers went into a deep depression and subsequent Weezer releases returned more to the sound of the Blue album. In the following years, fans and critics realized the masterwork of Pinkerton and have clamored for a return to the sound.

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Dream Game:
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Titles full of teen angst such as Life is Strange and Gone Home would be a perfect fit for the Weezer of yesteryear. 

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The Big 4 and Exodus
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Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax are the bands commonly referred to as The Big Four. The Big Four are known for pioneering thrash metal and bringing it into the limelight. Although Exodus is not considered to be a part of The Big Four, they deserve to be recognized with the rest for their work in the genre. Do I really need to explain why having these bands working on a soundtrack would be amazing?

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Dream Game:
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Let them have a crack at Devil May Cry and watch the sparks fly. Very metal indeed.    \\m/

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Needtobreathe 
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I’ll be honest; Needtobreathe is on here simply because Bear Rinehart singing in a game would be bliss. Seriously, this guy is insanely talented with one of the most passionate and soulful voices around. I had the privilege to see this band perform live not long ago, and I was blown away. While Bear’s vocals are great, the entire band comes together to create a beautiful harmony which is heaven for your ears. This is a band you want to see live if you possibly can.

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Dream Game:
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Let these guys make some vocal tracks like Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett did on Transistor, and you have a match made in musical heaven. Maybe even put Darren working with these guys since Bastion had such strong country, frontier-like sounds. I’m drooling just imagining the possibilities. 

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Devin Townsend 
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Devin Townsend is one of the hardest working and talented people in music today (not to mention possessing one of the best set of vocals cords around). Devin formed the beloved Canadian extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad way back in 1994. Despite being a hugely influential metal band, Devin also did solo work on the side which was vastly different from SYL’s catalog. When SYL disbanded in 2007, Devin began working on his solo career in earnest and has released nine albums since, on top of producing, remixing, and working on countless other albums. Thankfully, he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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The most striking thing is how varied his catalog is. His work with SYL sounds completely different from his solo work. However, even his solo work is incredibly varied.

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Dream Game:
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His album Ghost would be the perfect fit for a zen-like puzzle game, whereas Deconstruction would be right at home being the soundtrack to a gonzo, over-the-top action affair like Bayonetta

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Modest Mouse 
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Modest Mouse remains one of the quirkiest and interesting bands in independent music 22 years into the game. After 22 years, vocalist Isaac Brock still possesses a remarkable energy with a delivery few others can match. Besides having a unique vocalist with Brock, Modest Mouse has also embodied quirky with their music. While they are classified as indie rock, there is no other band that does what Modest Mouse pulls off effortlessly. Couple unique rhythms and sounds with thought-provoking and usually less-than-sunny lyrics, and you have an exceptional musical cocktail.

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Dream Game:
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Pair this band with the demented geniuses at Dejobaan Games and you have a winner!

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Meshuggah
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Sweden has proved to be a most fertile land for metal. At The Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquility are only a few of the legendary bands Sweden has given rise to over the years. In fact, these three bands were pioneers of a new style of metal called the “The Gothenburg Sound” which was named after the city where these bands were living when they became noticed.

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Unlike their melodic counterparts, Meshuggah is about as far from melodic as it gets. Known for their odd time signatures, rapid tempo changes, and jazz fusion elements, Meshuggah has stayed true to their roots and delivered uncompromising, extreme metal on each of their releases. A gargantuan beast in the underground world, Meshuggah is not for the faint of ears.

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Dream Game:
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They could make one hell of a soundtrack for a precision platformer. Meshuggah + Super Meat Boy!

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The Sex Pistols 
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While The Sex Pistols are not the only punk band nor are the necessarily the progenitors of the "punk" sound, but The Sex Pistols were perhaps punk personified. We are talking about a band from the U.K. who wrote a song ragging on THE Queen. They also refused to attend their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not only did their music tap into a vein of anger, the band themselves embodied the rebellious, punk spirit (as self-destructive as it was). The band only recorded one album, but that one album has proven to be one of the most influential albums not only in rock and punk, but music as a whole. 

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Dream Game: 
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The punk world of Sunset Overdrive would have been a perfect match for The Sex Pistols. 

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Game music has seen a wonderful evolution along with video games themselves. From the simple polyphonic scores of the NES to the fully-orchestrated works we have today, game soundtracks have evolved as much as games. There are an innumerable amount of talented composers working to produce lovely soundtracks. While I love the music we have now and the works composers produce, I can't help but wish some of my favorite bands would score or contribute to some game soundtracks as well. Stewart Copeland has worked on the Spyro series; so why don't more bands give it a shot?

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As with all lists, it's hard to narrow down candidates (especially when you listen to as music as I do), so I tried to focus on the bands who might deliver something special and unique. Are you ready to go down the rabbit hole of dreams?

"}]]]>