> I think that we all suffer from the same thing - evolution. As time goes by,
> more advanced game systems are developed. As newer systems are introduced,
> older system fade into the sunset. Every now and then, you fire up one of the
> old systems. As you start playing games you think "man, are these graphics
> bad", forgetting the fact that, at one time, this was the system to beat. After
> a bit, you stop playing the older systems again and start playing the newer
After trying to make all the art assets for a game I wanted to make, I will never say that about any game no matter how crummy it looks.
Plus, I have a lot of appreciation for what people can do under limitations. Demos like Second Reality or Crystal Dream 2... hell, if you've seen the clever tricks people do with bit shifting operations...
Just extracting the full potential out of a certain hardware platform is art enough for me. There are some incredible looking games on the PlayStation with tons of tricks. Squaresoft wrote custom compression/decompression routines just to load the amount of stuff in RAM they needed for the Final Fantasy games on PlayStation. Crash Warped on PSX had a software z-buffer.
On the Genesis, just look at Mega Turrican. Play through it with cheats on but just look at the tricks they did. Gunstar Heroes is a more popular one.
On the SNES look at Donkey Kong Country 2, that has some amazing raster graphics considering the SNES hardware, they really extracted what they could from the PPU when they had mode 7 and transparent honey & shit in that level with the honey dripping down when you're in the cargo compartment of the sailing ship for example.
It's interesting because of the small touches added by the developers to complete the illusion and make it all seamless. The earlier the system, the easier it is to understand the mechanics behind achieving the effect and why it is so ridiculous on the hardware.
If you have a technical mind and you know the hardware behind the various machines you can be blown away. On newer systems it becomes harder to appreciate the technical achievement. Take for example the 360 and PS3, most of the earlier games were ports, and the newer ones just blow you away by having games designed for that hardware in the first place. By the time developers start learning how to take advantage of the hardware they'll have to concentrate on the new generation. Now it's more about art assets, which is interesting but on another level and doesn't really have much to do with exploiting processing power.
> To put things into perspective even more, just think - the Gameboy Advance is
> already a system in the past (as, to my knowledge, no new games are produced for
> it). And how long ago was the PS2 the top system? Now, that system is in its
> twilight. Who knows what will happen in three years from now (which isn't a
> very long time at all) The NDS and maybe even the XBOX will be "retro"
> systems. How weird does that look, reading "retro" and XBOX is the same
> I think anyone that's been around the gaming industry for long enough to be
> around when the NES and SNES (I go way back to the Atari 2600) ruled the gaming
> world can relate to feeling melancholy. It's the way of the gaming world I
You can still play those games though and they are still interesting in their own way. It's still interesting to see developers take older concepts and apply them with today's technology and gameplay expectations and succeeding in a spiritual successor that you'd actually rather play than the original, or create new genres altogether. I think now the focus is more on what you can do with gameplay rather than graphics or other limitations in the hardware.