Geek Revolt

5 Features I Miss About Last Gen Gaming

Nostalgia is one of those things that you just can’t beat. It always seems to be indubitably correct, missing all of the negatives in the process. However, there are times where it is hard to deny that things weren’t just a little bit better in the past, a sign of changing times that we may not all agree with. Hopping on to that train of thought, I present five things about gaming that aren’t around much anymore, or have disappeared altogether.

*Sigh*

Local Multiplayer/Bots – Perfect Dark, Red Faction 2, Time Splitters, what do these games bring to mind? Shiny graphics? Top-of-the-line particle effects? Textures that pop right out of the screen? No? Well, that’s because they weren’t known for any of that. These were games you could rent with a friend on a weekend, grab some two liters and chips, hook up some remotes to your console of choice, and game through the night together; be it the campaign or with some good ol’ bots in the death match.

These things aren’t entirely absent from modern games, but they aren’t around half as much as I would like them to be. With developers worried more with pushing the consoles to their limit graphically, it prevents them from including these beloved multi-player features. Rendering some games twice on one screen would grind them to a halt because they are already squeezing so much juice out of the console for just one player. There has been more than one occasion that I wish I could play some Uncharted with a friend sitting next to me.

Health Bars/Health Packs – I know I might ruffle some feathers with this one, but the fact that a large portion of video games nowadays have recharging health can really sap the tension out of them. Shooters, for example, have gone from tense, dare I say, atmospheric experiences to what can best be described as pure spectacle. All Michael Bay and no Alfred Hitchcock. Health packs may be looked at by some as annoyances, and I can sympathize with this point of view. There’s nothing worse than reaching a boss with too little health to beat it, setting you God knows how far back. However, this made games something of a slow burn; each corner turned with care so as to preserve health. I could also mention how this speaks to the problem of over-linearity that plagues many games this gen, but that’s another article altogether.

Lightheartedness and Character – With graphical technology constantly being pushed to its limits on the latest gaming PC rigs and a gaming community that is more concerned with visual fidelity than ever (sites like Lens of Truth provide all the evidence you need), this seems to have bled into the nature of games. Now more than ever, save for a burgeoning indie scene, developers seem really concerned with making it “gritty” and “hyper realistic.” The problem is, we are surrounded by reality every day. Games are there as an escape, and the obsession with simulation, especially in the realm of FPS’s, has kind of taken some of the fun out of it and made a lot of games look samey in their realism. Ever wonder why games like Timesplitters don’t exist and why platformers are seeing a very small presence this generation? There is your answer right there.

Unlockables – Speaking of Timesplitters, remember when performance in single player actually mattered? Getting through levels on certain difficulties, completing challenges, or getting a certain number of kills all meant you might unlock a new map, weapon, hidden campaign level, or multiplayer skin. Now, it doesn’t seem that these aren’t really a priority of developers unless we’re talking about fighting games. It’s all about the persistent online leveling, but where does that leave those that don’t want to compete in the hostile online environment? Nowhere good. In an age where many games are being criticized for their brevity, it would be nice to see a developer take the time to put in some extra unlockables that don’t require a digital transaction. Speaking of which…

ALL of the Features – I’d like to think that there are very few people on the face of this planet that would design a technology specifically to hurt or make worse people’s condition. In the case of console online compatibility, this was designed to bring gamers together. Online communities were formed for a variety of titles en masse, friends were made worldwide, and small bugs that slipped into a games code were able to be patched. While it worked great at first, it would seem that this generation developers and publishers have become both sloppy and parsimonious.

Games are shipping with more bugs than ever, and micro transactions have started to take over. Wheres that weapon pack and those character skins may have been unlockables in the past, now players are being charged for them. Sometimes, there is content on the disc that you have to pay to unlock. Serious bugs, especially in the case of games such as Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas, are breaking games and making certain parts unplayable. When I purchase a game at the store, it would be much more comforting to know that not only will I be getting everything that the developer intended me to see, but a finished product as well, as free of bugs as possible.

I leave you, dear reader, with a caveat. I’m a relatively young person, as you will see in my bio below. I have only been playing video games since the 64-bit era. What this means is that, obviously, there will be features from games long before that people must miss as well. If any of these come to mind, let us know in the comments below!

Hi all, this is Daniel Hill speaking. I'm a 23-year-old Duquesne Print Journalism/Digital Media Arts graduate whose interest in games turned into something of a long-term career goal. Besides gaming, I love reading, working out (I currently work in personal training at a gym), and recording music every now and again.
  • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

    Great article Dan, I miss a lot of these things too. I think all the DLC has ruined games, before devs would just put that stuff in as unlockables, now we have to pay extra for it. 

    Now I really don’t run into the “no health packs” thing because I don’t play a ton of shooters. I know Gravity Rush has health pick ups, and The Last of Us will have them too. 

    • Kaizin514

      Yea, I have to agree with you on this. DLC is probably the bane of this generation. And as far as health packs go, they are becoming nothing to a shooter nowadays, but yea, in other games they are still rather prevalent.

  • Paulmichael

    Uncharted 3 definitely has splitscreen, though only for two players and with much of the screen just showing symbols instead of the game!.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Ha-ha, well that’s unfortunate! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Hill/577748173 Daniel Hill

      Yea, I meant more along the lines of full fledged co-op support for the campaign. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001081180639 James Plus Rachel

    All of these things are still present on nintendo :)

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Bots? :)

  • http://twitter.com/senior1292 Jake Senior

    the thing I miss most is when you used to ramp up the difficulty (Mostly talking about Goldeneye and Perfect Dark) not only did you become less resistant to bullets and the enemys had more health like today, but you had to do more objectives too. It added another level to the game which I would happily see return.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Well said, cranking up the difficulty level should do more than make the enemies bullet sponges. More objectives would be a welcomed addition. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Curtis-Isabell/1036013363 Curtis Isabell

    the only problem with this gen is games are no longer worth buying. last gen a game lasted hundreds of hours
    this gen your lucky to get 8 hours out of it. even some single player games only last 20 or so hours.

    you sit there and complain about skyrim being buggy, which for me wasn’t because i was smart and got it on winbox. Skyrim was the only single player RPG to last past 60 hours, which is the line between a good buy and bad buy this gen.
    in my 200 hours of skyrim i haven’t had any game breaking bugs. skyrim was worth every penny

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      I agree, I’ve noticed that games aren’t lasting me as long this generation. It’s like most of them lack replay value, I play them once or twice and then I’m done. 

      But with the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube I would play games at least 5-6 times. Idk, maybe it’s just because I’m older and super jaded now.

      • XavierLeromeLangham

        LOL super jaded that’s hilarious 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Hill/577748173 Daniel Hill

      My complaining about the bugs was not speaking to the game’s replayability. When the game works properly, it’s one of the best out there. I was speaking to the issue of games shipping in an incomplete manner. 

      I really do not think you would try to convince me that the PS3 version of the game shipped complete when the game essentially stopped working after players hit a certain number of hours. It was an unfinished product and, as a side effect of this generation, they pushed it out the door with a “we’ll fix it later” mentality. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/damionthepenguin Damion Julien-Rohman

    Great post, Daniel. I remember working hard to get unlockables in games and how excited I was when I made that goal. It shouldn’t just be Nintendo doing this, and it seems like doing these have been dropped by a lot of studios in  what amounts to just laziness and cash grabs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002367454310 Jonathan Stoffregen

    some modern games have bots killzone,section 8,COD black ops thats sadly all i can think of :( i miss timesplitter

  • http://my.opera.com/raptor2022/blog/ Llewellyn Crossley

    I must say I miss the  “Lightheartedness and Character” part the most. This has become a very disturbing thing for me when playing games. I find myself getting frustrated because I miss the fun part of games. I am not the hardcore, seriously competitive gamer. Yet most games are aimed at the very serious competitive gamers with everything being online and you are going to have to be really good to enjoy the games otherwise you are just going to be owned all the time. What happened to the fun games? 

    Very glad the indie scene is growing stronger to quench that thirst for good old fun, non-competitive gaming.

  • XavierLeromeLangham

    This post was pretty epic all the point were very valid i miss the game working properly bit. with patches coming left  and right no one cares if the game is broken they have the i’ll fix it later attitude now sigh. i also miss the local multiplayer i remember playing Hunter The Reckoning Wayward for the ps2 with 3 other friends it’s rare that’s even possible these days.