: Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: September 9th

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Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: September 9th

Just like a lot of you, I frequent a particular game forum and on a daily basis I come across something that strikes me as rather odd. Perhaps one of the most common qualms I always read on forums is about franchises and their nostalgia. People will tell others that the love they have for a 10 year old game is purely nostalgia. And then there are those who want the current form of a franchise to try and mimic the feel of it during the 16-bit era.

Clearly, it's a pool of never ending confusion, but that's what makes forums so hilarious. Personally, to me nostalgia is bull. The only form of it I'd love to see is in the form of modernized remakes (see: Final Fantasy VII), and not little bits of it sprinkled into a drastically evolved game. Why would you want to throw in an archaic element into a PlayStation 3 game? It sort of throws off the balance, which is why developers don't do it. And if they do, it's implemented with much tweaking, to the point where it's barely recognizable.

I enjoy seeing games evolve over the years. Screw nostalgia. It baffles me when people actually say things like Metal Gear Solid was the best of the Metal Gear games. No. No. It really wasn't. Perhaps the only aspect where MGS1 withstands the test of time is its story. Visuals? Nope. Presentation? Ehh. Gameplay? Robotic and clunky compared to MGS3. Sound? Washed out and poorly compressed by today's standards. Is it still a great game? Sure. But to say it's better than its successors is pretty bold and crazy. Simply put, much of MGS1 hasn't aged very well. Furthermore, the 32-bit and much of the 64-bit era hasn't aged well, at all, in comparison to the pleasing simplicity of 16-bit games.

Now, of course I don't feel the same way about all series'. For instance, Zelda. I can still revisit A Link to the Past anytime I want, and enjoy it tremendously. Its simplicity prevents it from overachieving on an underpowered console (like Metal Gear Solid 1 or Gran Turismo 1-2), and so it remains pleasing to the eyes, even in this generation. Because it is a top-down adventure, it continues to control well. So in this rare instance, Zelda: A Link to the Past has aged extremely well. Moreover, Zelda: Ocarina of Time has also aged gracefully, falling under one of the few 64-bit games to do so.

It's unexpected to have such an old generation continue to look so nice in so many instances, meanwhile the newer consoles are aging worse and worse. I honestly can't play PlayStation games anymore, simply because of how pixelated and warped everything looks. Meanwhile I can power on my SNES and enjoy Zelda, Super Metroid, Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, and all without so much as squirming. Their simplicity allows them to look nice and clean, without ugly pixelation, framerate chops, and disfigured polygonal characters.

I never felt that PS2 games would age well. There are a few that I'm sure I'll still find enjoyable, but only the most polished of games. Aliasing and screen tearing will make a lot of these games unappealing to play, sort of like how PSX games are. I think in terms of aging, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will probably be the next Super NES. We've finally reached a level of 3D visuals where jaggies, shimmering, and texture pixelation isn't rampant anymore - a huge problem I had with the last-gen. Look at Gran Turismo 5, I can't imagine the cars looking any better years from now, and I couldn't say the same about GT3 or GT4.

Time will tell, though.

9/9/2007 Arnold Katayev

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