Do classic games hold up? Making a list for a project

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Jumbs

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I was looking through previous GOTY lists from various websites and started wondering if these games of the past actually hold up.

So what games do YOU guys think are important, whether bringing something new to the table or just perfecting the genre they're in?

I was planning on actually playing through these "Classic" games (No matter how old recent they are) and writing about my experience with them, and deciding they actually hold up in regards to modern game design, or if they're now uplayable messes.

I know it's a broad question - for instance, I've never played Goldeneye single player before, and planned on playing through it, and sharing my experience with the game.

Thoughts/opinions/thanks people

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joshwent

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@jumbs: You should probably define what you mean by "classic" first. I'm 30, so classic to me is basically limited to anything at most early 16-bit and before, but as you mention things like "the internet" and "GoldenEye", it seems like you're looking for later games specifically.

Regardless, I still play through Mega Man II every few months and it holds up better than most modern action platformers, crazy lag and all.

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Slag

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#3  Edited By Slag

@jumbs: What @joshwent said.

To give you a useful answer, it would help to have some parameters. Also Mega Man II is dope.

Personally the oldest game I can think of that in my opinion absolutely holds up is Ms Pac Man.

(I guess there is a mobile version now? Why am I not surprised?)

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Milkman

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It depends. You mention Goldeneye and I don't think that game holds up at all. And I think you'll find a lot of games from that N64/PS1 era that were seen as classics at the time (like Metal Gear Solid) don't really hold up today, with some notable exceptions of course.

Meanwhile, I think most of the classic 2D platformers from the SNES/Genesis era still hold up great. Games like Super Mario Bros. 3 are just as good as the day they came out in my mind. I think that's why that style of 2D platfomer is still very much in vogue in the context of modern games because they really stand the test of time in both mechanics and art style in a way that a lot of early 3D stuff doesn't.

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Jumbs

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#5  Edited By Jumbs

Yeah, I'm not looking for a time frame, I'm looking to games from any time, on any platform.

The Last of Us could be considered, because people love it. So can Mario Galaxy. But so can Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts.

And games that probably DON'T hold up are also welcomed; I'm expecting not to enjoy goldeneye. But it's important in so many ways it's interesting to play through them.

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Daveyo520

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A Link to the Past still holds up and is still the best Zelda game. Super Metroid is also still pretty good. A lost of Super Nintendo games are still pretty good.

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Hunter5024

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I agree with Milkman, Playstation 1 and N64 era stuff can be kinda rough, because they were still figuring 3d out. Theres a lot of weirdness when it comes to camera control, and animation. Also unless they capitalized on 2d artwork with stuff like prerendered backgrounds, then games from that era look pretty plain as well.

Also I was too young for the NES, and I've never been able to go back to games from that era personally.

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BeachThunder

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@milkman: Yep, most polygonal stuff from the late 90s to early 2000s is really rough... :|

Having said that though, I'd strongly recommend playing System Shock 2 - that game is great (it does help that it's a PC game that you can mod).

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stonyman65

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  • Super Mario World is a damn near perfect 2D platformer and still holds up
  • Quake is a damn near perfect twitch shooter and still holds up
  • Metal Slug 2 still holds up well as a scrolling shooter
  • Although it's still fairly new, I think Call of Duty 4 is the best military FPS at this time. They did everything right.
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MetalBaofu

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I think Chrono Trigger holds up well. I have played pretty much every re-release/remake/etc of it and enjoy it every time. I recently bought it for my Vita during a sale a few months ago. I haven't gotten around to playing it on there yet, though.

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BeachThunder

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#11  Edited By BeachThunder

I think Chrono Trigger holds up well. I have played pretty much every re-release/remake/etc of it and enjoy it every time. I recently bought it for my Vita during a sale a few months ago. I haven't gotten around to playing it on there yet, though.

I know that the DS version is pretty good. They even got rid of that horrible word art stuff :|

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Corevi

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#12  Edited By Corevi
@stonyman65 said:
  • Super Mario World is a damn near perfect 2D platformer and still holds up

Kirby Super Star is a perfect 2D platformer and still holds up.

King of Dragon Pass still holds up because it's entirely unique and the art is fantastic. Not many people have played it but I've never heard anything but adoration of it from those that have.

Bayonetta perfected the character action genre and Vanquish perfected the third person shooter if you're looking for more recent examples.

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Rebel_Scum

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Yes classic games do hold up (in my mind).

Try Landstalker from the 16bit era (Megadrive). Its an isometric action adventure game that has a great story, great puzzles and beautiful music. Was highly rated back in the day.

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Hamst3r

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Centipede, Pac-Man, Missile Command, Marble Madness, Gauntlet, Arkanoid, Super Mario World, Contra 3, Mega Man X, Street Fighter 2, Decap Attack, Dynamite Headdy, Mortal Kombat 3, Gunstar Heroes, Turtles in Time, Mario Kart 64, F-Zero X, Doom, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Half-Life 2, F.E.A.R., Doom 3, Need for Speed Most Wanted (2005), DiRT, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Braid?

I've played a handful of these more recently and they held up just fine. As for the ones I haven't played recently, they still seem pretty fun in my head. I mean, when is NFS:MW or Contra 3 or F-Zero X or SMW ever not fun? Never.

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Corevi

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#15  Edited By Corevi

@hamst3r: Sorry to burst your magic dream bubble but Contra 3 was never fun.

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volkarin

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  • Jet Set Radio I think is aesthetically and conceptually awesome but the gameplay doesn't hold up.
  • Final Fantasy 6 is still by far my favorite Final Fantasy and it holds up alongside other JRPG classics like Chrono Trigger.
  • The whole Metroid Prime trilogy for me personally is a great implementation of Metroid in 3d and great game for exploration.
  • Streets of Rage 2, Sunset Riders, Final Fight.
  • Super Mario World.
  • Mega Man 2 and Mega Man X.

I need to stop or this list is going to be incredibly long.

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Hamst3r

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#17  Edited By Hamst3r

@corevi said:

@hamst3r: Sorry to burst your magic dream bubble but Contra 3 was never fun.

My magic dream bubble is perfectly intact. Contra 3 is RADTO THE MAX.

Fun is happening.
Fun is happening.

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Corevi

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#18  Edited By Corevi
@volkarin said:
  • Jet Set Radio I think is aesthetically and conceptually awesome but the gameplay doesn't hold up.

Quick tip for anyone who wants to play Jet Set Radio, play Future instead. It has all the stuff that made JSR great but has even better music and is actually playable.

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ripelivejam

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A Link to the Past still holds up and is still the best Zelda game. Super Metroid is also still pretty good. A lost of Super Nintendo games are still pretty good.

this, er these. Secret of Mana too. still gorgeous to look at, still incredible soundtrack and atmosphere. co-op was baller. perfect game yo.

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MetalBaofu

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@metalbaofu said:

I think Chrono Trigger holds up well. I have played pretty much every re-release/remake/etc of it and enjoy it every time. I recently bought it for my Vita during a sale a few months ago. I haven't gotten around to playing it on there yet, though.

I know that the DS version is pretty good. They even got rid of that horrible word art stuff :|

Not sure what you mean by "word art stuff," but yeah, I enjoyed the DS version. I don't think I ever got around to finishing it on there, though. If I remember right I was working on side stuff near the end of the game and got sidetracked with other stuff.

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BeachThunder

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#21  Edited By BeachThunder

@metalbaofu said:

@beachthunder said:

@metalbaofu said:

I think Chrono Trigger holds up well. I have played pretty much every re-release/remake/etc of it and enjoy it every time. I recently bought it for my Vita during a sale a few months ago. I haven't gotten around to playing it on there yet, though.

I know that the DS version is pretty good. They even got rid of that horrible word art stuff :|

Not sure what you mean by "word art stuff," but yeah, I enjoyed the DS version. I don't think I ever got around to finishing it on there, though. If I remember right I was working on side stuff near the end of the game and got sidetracked with other stuff.

The word "Lightning" is what I'm talking about when I say "word art stuff":

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Also, I'm going to have to agree with @hamst3r, Contra 3 is pretty great.

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stonyman65

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@corevi said:
@stonyman65 said:
  • Super Mario World is a damn near perfect 2D platformer and still holds up

Kirby Super Star is a perfect 2D platformer and still holds up.

By the time that came out I didn't really play many SNES games anymore besides Ultimate MK3, but I remember a lot of friends of mine enjoying that game.

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TruthTellah

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#24  Edited By TruthTellah

Link to the Past

Super Mario RPG

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy Tactics

Symphony of the Night

Super Street Fighter II Turbo

Super Metroid

Star Fox

Tetris

Advance Wars

Metal Gear Solid

Zelda: The Wind Waker

(XCOM) UFO: Enemy Unknown

Super Mario Bros

Sonic & Knuckles

Chrono Trigger

Pokemon Red

Xenogears

Mega Man

Fire Emblem

Baldur's Gate II

Halo: Combat Evolved

Zelda II: Adventure of Link

Super Punch-Out

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impartialgecko

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I just started playing Symphony of the Night for the first time. Holy shit that game holds up well. It feels so tight and responsive and the audio/visual feedback when you kill stuff is immensely gratifying. It's really impressive how thoroughly modern that game feels, especially considering how games like Dark Souls have become so popular in recent years.

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doltz

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#26  Edited By doltz

Deus Ex. I played through it and invisible war before human revolution came out. It is kinda quirky but is still am awesome game.

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mjk0104

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Jazz Jackrabbit 2 totally holds up. I think Jeff recently mentioned it, but Earthworm Jim totally doesn't.

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Mirado

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#28  Edited By Mirado

Most NES or SNES era games considered to be the best back when they came out still hold up. By contrast, a lot of first generation 3D games that I considered to be amazing now look and play real fucking awful. Some, like Super Mario 64, are still great. Goldeneye? Not so much. I tried hauling out my N64 to play with some friends and...let's just say it wasn't like I remembered. And the list goes on:

  • FF6? Still looks, sounds, and plays great. FF7? Still sounds good and plays fine, but those blocky character models haven't held up like sprites did.
  • Street Fighter 2? Wonderful. Virtua Fighter? Nope!
  • Go back and try out the first Resident Evil again. Fixed cameras and tank controls, baby! And no analog stick support in the first release, so you get to do it all with a D-pad.
  • As the latest premium feature showed, Metal Gear Solid is still a wonderful ride, with great characters, a stirring sound track, and memorable set pieces. You also can't aim in first person at all, making the majority of your weaponry truly useless as you wildly flail around like a loose hose, hoping to catch a guard with your bullet spray. You're rewarded with in engine cut scenes featuring characters that cannot move their lips and might not have eyes. (I really don't expect the PS1 to be capable of realistic facial animations, but I also didn't expect a game to spend the majority of its time drawing my attention to them. Not that I ever noticed back in '98, mind you, but now it's rough.) The voice acting still holds up, but nothing on the screen is worth watching while the dialog plays.
Seriously, is he blind? Or really hungover and light sensitive?  It's like I'm being threatened by an action figure!
Seriously, is he blind? Or really hungover and light sensitive? It's like I'm being threatened by an action figure!

I love a lot of the games that I listed, but the mid to late 90s have aged far worse than the early part of the decade. The majority of companies hadn't grasped 3D navigation or camera controls, and it really shows. By contrast, the games of the NES or SNES/Genesis era were the pinnacle of 2D refinement, the tail end of the industry's first phase. They knew how to manipulate those pixels to an obscene degree, and it would take many years (more or less to the introduction of the Dreamcast) for the majority of developers to feel as comfortable with polygons. The PS1 and N64 were the industry's growing pains (what the hell was up with the N64's controller? Why did Sony not include analog sticks at the start?), and while they produced some gems, even the best are unpolished diamonds when compared to the jewelry quality rubies of their predecessors. Sure, once refined and perfected, they'd turn out to be more valuable, but that took time. In my opinion, that's the main reason why the N64 era doesn't hold up as well.

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Belegorm

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Gonna list some classic computer games here from the 80's and 90's; I don't think one could do a "classic games list" without some of them on it because computer games were so different back then compared to console games.

Dune II (first real RTS)

Ultima series (really notable storyline, open world and characters for such an old series)

Wizardry (basically is responsible for all JRPG's though it's a Western dungeon crawler itself)

Warcraft: Orc and Humans

Civilization

Monkey Island

King's Quest

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Heroes of Might and Magic

Warlords

Half-Life

System Shock and System Shock 2.

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hollitz

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I think "games holding up" completely depends on your age and nostalgia.

I had a Genesis as a kid, so going back to play the SNES stuff that I missed hasn't been a great experience. Super Metroid and Chrono Trigger are the only two of the SNES classics that I found to be good--or maybe even great. Link to the Past is my least favorite Zelda, FF4 is my least favorite FF.

Probably would have been revolutionary experiences had I played them when I was younger. But, ya know, Sonic had that 'tude that was irresistible to an awkward 90's kid.

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hermes

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#31  Edited By hermes

There is hardly anything more "classic" than this. And it holds on perfectly...

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mousse_gallon

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I think the 1st two generations of Pokemon hold up fine but its alittle more fun to play the remakes.

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peritus

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Chrono Trigger was still great in 2013. Pretty sure it still holds up. :-p

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Dan_CiTi

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Tetris, Super Mario World, A Link to the Past, Deus Ex, Starcraft, Quake 3, Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, Symphony of the Night, and Chrono Trigger are the greatest games of all time.

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gaff

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Well, if we're ignoring time frames:

  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (2010). Arguably the better of the two Ezio games.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009). The one that started the whole Arkham franchise, and probably still the best one.
  • Mass Effect 2 (2010). Dumbed down for the masses RPG Third Person Shooter. Also, actually fun.
  • Valkyria Chronicles (2008). Reinvented XCOM before XCOM.
  • Grand Theft Auto 3 / Vice City / San Andreas (2001, 2002, 2004): The first open world crime murder simulator.
  • Final Fantasy XII (2006): Troubled development aside, has the benefit of 100% less Tidus.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001): The best Metal Gear Solid game.

I probably missed a lot? I'll stop now before I hit the PS1 / SNES era before I start talking about Vagrant Story.

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GnaTSoL

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Super Metroid is still the best metroidvania game ever and holds up perfectly. No other game has ever masterfully done atmosphere quite like Super did and it's even more respectable considering they accomplished the feat in a side scroller with literally no dialogue.

....

....

.I just came here to confess my love for Metroid. Bye now.

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TobbRobb

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#37  Edited By TobbRobb
  • Symphony of the Night and or Super Metroid.
  • Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory and or Thief 2.
  • Devil May Cry 3 and or Bayonetta.
  • Chrono Trigger.
  • Resident Evil 4.
  • Quake 3.
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Amikron

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#38  Edited By Amikron

@corevi said:

King of Dragon Pass still holds up because it's entirely unique and the art is fantastic. Not many people have played it but I've never heard anything but adoration of it from those that have.

Man KoDP is a badass game.

I just wanted to mention that.

Also its out on android now in addition to iOS and is available on GOG if you want it for PC.

On topic, Fallout 2 is still one of my favorite games of all time and I think it holds up if you go in knowing it is a turn based strategy game. I concur with the suggestion of System Shock 2 and would also suggest that if you have never played it, Half-Life is a great choice to play through as it isn't as rough as a lot of 3d games from that era. All are important games that have had a huge impact on creative development across the medium.

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mosespippy

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Having played FFVII, Resident Evil, and Castlevania SotN each for the first time over a decade after they were released I can tell you that they hold up. I'd also say that Hot Shots Golf 2 and any of the Need for Speed games from 3 to 6 also hold up. I'm not sure Tony Hawk 1 holds up but I do think 2 does. That's how important manuals were.

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veektarius

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Well, people are covering the console stuff pretty well, but let me throw out some PC games that I think hold up... Majesty, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Tyrian 2000, Starcraft, Doom 2, Theme Hospital

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jimipeppr

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I think Super Meat Boy will hold up pretty well. The controls are so tight I can't imagine it becoming outdated.

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nightriff

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Journey (2012) will hold up forever I believe, well as long as the servers are still up and you can experience that game with someone random (even though it is perfectly fine by yourself).

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Redhotchilimist

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#43  Edited By Redhotchilimist

It's gonna be a different call for everyone, right? I thought 16-bit sprites would never age, but now that the resolution has become higher, TVs have become much larger and some companies have begun using HD artwork for their 2d games, I find it harder to look at much of that stuff. Outliers are the games with very neat character animation, like the Jojo and SF3 fighting games Capcom made. And sprites from earlier then the SNES era? Ew, all unpleasant colors or weird squares that don't look like anything. On the other hand, I think PS1 games look kind of neat now. It looks kind of abstract to me, and when I see them played on the PS3 at least, it looks like there is some sort of overlay of small dots on them that I think looks neat. And games that are old and unique will sometimes get modern remakes that do the same things but better, like the Punch Out!! wii game, and at that time I find it hard to appreciate the original just for being "first".

To state some games that I think hold up:

Super Smash Bros. Melee. Much faster than its sequels, with stronger physical response instead of additional light effects on attacks. People are still playing it instead of Brawl that came after it, but maybe it'll change a little bit with Smash 4. Even as a casual player that could never do anything on a tourney level, I appreciate the speed. It's the kind of game I play with my brother whenever we meet.

Shadow of the Colossus. One of a kind, a huge 3d game with giant bosses that's at the same time exciting and subtle. Much better than Ico, and while being an inspiration for later games with its giant battles, none have attempted to do the same thing it did.

Batman: Arkham Asylum. Probably the most influential game on this list, other games have stolen its simple but enjoyable combat as recently as Shadow of Mordor. It's got weak spots, like the awful boss battles, but it's still a very successful 3d Metroidvania-like game that has a world large enough to feel open and be worth exploring without being overly huge. That world is what successfully sets it apart from its successors and mimickers, and makes the riddler trophies be fun instead of annoying.

@ripelivejam: As an example about what I said of this being a different call for everyone, I could not get into Secret of Mana when I played it for the first time on the Virtual Console. Magic that hits automatically and stops all the action in my action RPG, what's that about?

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Murgatroyd

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, I really enjoyed the first Red Faction game as a kid. I think at the time the shooting felt really nice and I hadn't seen their terrain deformation stuff anywhere else. I remember playing the demo repeatedly and doing multiplayer stuff on consoles at least semi-regularly with friends.

Replaying it 13 years after launch, it's really kind of terrible. It boiled down to 2 long escort/"stealth" missions, a couple bullet-sponge bosses, and a terrain mechanic that is meaningfully exploited in the gameplay maybe once over the 10 hour completion time. Kind of bummed me out. I think at the time, all I needed was solid mechanics and a novel twist on gameplay, being able to affect the area you played in. Playing it again was interesting; it was indicative of not only how games have changed, but also how I've changed, and how what I want from my entertainment has evolved.

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tmthomsen

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I played through the original Shadow Warrior and its expansions for the first time recently and had a blast. I think certain games can stand the test of time, but most will probably be terrible. For instance I can't imagine going back to GoldenEye singleplayer and enjoying it for other than nostalgic reasons.

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Rowr

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@doltz said:

Deus Ex. I played through it and invisible war before human revolution came out. It is kinda quirky but is still am awesome game.

I don't mean to isolate because I feel many of the games mentioned above fall into the same, but personally I would say for me this is a game that doesn't hold up so well. Don't get me wrong I understand why and how it was the bees knees, I just don't feel it demonstrates quite so well nowdays.

@jumbs: Based on the above observation I would recommend that you qualify what it means for something to "hold up". I mean I guess it's sort of a personal assessment for many people.

I would recommend mostly looking at the earlier 2D games and genres that have kind of hit their limits graphically and mechanically, generally popular modern genres like FPS for example are super quick to become outdated and refined upon in following titles causing them to not "hold up" so well IMO.

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The_Nubster

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#47  Edited By The_Nubster

Resident Evil 4 is still the best game ever made.

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T0FFE

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I still play trough Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III for the US people) at least once a year. You should also play Killswitch and see where the concept of cover-based shooters came from.

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attishno1

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I play counter strike, and I know the game is quite old. I know some players still play Doom. Quake 3 is also a classic game of sorts.

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SomeJerk

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#50  Edited By SomeJerk

Warlords as I'm of that age, I only have a 50hz version in this Jakk Games paddle, but it holds up, it's there, it gives the feelings of adrenaline and thrill that are essential, along with the rewarding feeling once you smash that last enemy and move onto the new screen. Pac-Man and the likes I think haven't aged as well, that style has evolved immensely over the years. I'd rather add Breakout to the list than Pong or Pac.

If you find something from that era of gaming that can still do all the stuff in the first line, that's something to write down. If I worked in games media again I would be the old retro-fart.