How long passed initial release before a game is eligible for classic status?

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Posted by liquiddragon (3526 posts) 1 month, 7 days ago

Poll: How long passed initial release before a game is eligible for classic status? (109 votes)

2-4 years 8%
a generation (5-8 years) 40%
a decade 31%
2 generations 11%
anytime, right away (aka instant classic) 8%
poll 1%

I tend to think we need time and distance with all this stuff but I do really value the initial experience I have with any entertainment. But in the end, I gonna say we need at least a generation's time before we can deem something a "classic" just 'cause I think that means something a bit particular. If something is a classic, I think the value and the impact of it ripples through time and tends to last, clinging in our memories. A lot of games might leave good impressions and maybe even win honors in a given year but most of them still get lost in the ether.

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#1 Posted by Efesell (4565 posts) -

I dunno I feel like for games it needs to be a long time. Like it needs to be something that survives that feeling way later of "Oh god this is what we thought games were?"

I've played a lot of games that I thought were 'instant classics' and some of those bore out but you really need that time to put them to the proof.

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#2 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

Hmm, damn. I wanna say 5-8 years actually. Long enough to be able to really look back and honestly answer the question "okay, which 'classics' are really essential?"

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#3 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1405 posts) -

Ten years sounds good to me. Ten years is longer than a generation AND is still a solid 20+% of the time video games have been a thing.

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#4 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

I think it needs to stand the test of time (10+ years), but people don't really agree on what constitutes a "classic", so it's kind of a useless term, like masterpiece.

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#5 Posted by fisk0 (6953 posts) -

Leaning about 15 years, 1UP's Retronauts used to make a case for that as I recall, and I think that's a reasonable time span. That's enough time to see how the game affected games after it and all that.

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#6 Posted by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

@relkin: well, I don't think everyone has to agree. It's more of a consensus. You don't have to think Super Mario World or Link to the Past are classics or masterpieces but it's pretty much set in stone. Tho if you think it's useless, I guess that ends the conversation.

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#7 Posted by cmblasko (2946 posts) -

How long has Breath of the Wild been out.

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#8 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

@liquiddragon: It just seems that people try and apply these terms to the things they like in an effort to elevate a personal favorite of theirs to something that's above criticism. For example, the way you just said:

"You don't have to think Super Mario World or Link to the Past are classics or masterpieces but it's pretty much set in stone."

Super Mario World is one of my all-time favorites, and I think LttP is a good game, but that sentence is super dismissive to an opposing view, and it just rubs me the wrong way. Sure you don't have to like them, but everyoneagreeswithmesoooo...

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#9 Edited by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

@relkin: well I'm certainly not coming at it from a dismissive angle. I haven't beaten SMW or LttP but I think a classic or a masterpiece status has to mean more than whether a game is good or bad. You can like it or not but they were foundational games, influential ones that moved the medium forward and ppl have to respect that.

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#10 Posted by Efesell (4565 posts) -

@relkin: Some things are pretty hard to assail, regardless of how you feel about them. I don't think it's all that dismissive.

For instance I really can't stand playing Tetris, I don't really think any of its incarnations are very good games, but it would be wild if I tried to claim that it wasn't a classic.

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#11 Edited by Relkin (1214 posts) -

@liquiddragon: You won't get any argument from me that those two games (or Tetris, like @efesell mentions) are wildly influential games; that's undisputed. But I don't think that how influential a thing is has anything to do with whether it's a classic or not.

This right here is why I think the term is useless; we don't agree on what it even means, so having a conversation about it leads to misunderstandings. Is it how influential the game was, is it how well it holds up? Some sort of je ne sais quoi? Never mind the issue of how much time needs to pass before it should be considered one, what is one, even? That's the real conversation here, I think. What good is it to call something a classic if we don't agree on what it means?

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#12 Posted by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

@relkin: It can be both or either as long it's well argued. I'm open to hearing ppl out on why something might be...a classic. I don't think it needs to be some concrete definition but those aspects can and often are part of it. Why don't you tell us what constitutes one in your mind, you obviously have one, instead of suggesting it's useless. Talk about being dismissive. I don't think it has to be some super serious thing, just trying to maybe start a fun conversation. I'm not some authority on this stuff.

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#13 Posted by nutter (2292 posts) -

It depends. I don’t think you can put a time box on it. Halo: Combat Evolved was an instant classic. I think God of War 2018 and The Last of Us are as well. Mario 64 immediately comes to mind, as does Super Mario Bros and Tetris.

Some games just get it, and you don’t need time and distance to see that.

Of course, there are games I adore, that will never be considered classics, but some games out there...you just know.

I also think it’s easier to tell once mechanics and design ideas are mature and established for an era. Early 3D games were kinda dicey, from a technical perspective. Look at 3D PSX games, or N64 games. I think from a hardware and software perspective, we were still learning. Console shooters also took a while before Halo established an enjoyable norm, that has only continued to evolve.

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#14 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

@liquiddragon: My definition is, well, the standard definition of the word:

"judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind."

Of course words should have concrete definitions, or at least be somewhat nailed down. So when I say or write something, the person who is hearing or reading what I've said/wrote understands what I'm trying to convey. That's how language is supposed to work.

I'll back out here and stop being a nuisance. Didn't mean to start a fight, was just putting my two cents in.

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#15 Edited by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

@relkin: ok but it’s a creative medium. There are so many ways to fullfil that simple definition. Think about the great games in your mind, im sure they are great in different ways.

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#16 Posted by FinalDasa (3231 posts) -

Dividing by generation is odd only cause generations is just arbitrarily divided. Especially when you have consoles like Wii U and Switch straddling Xbox's and PS's console lifespans.

I figure around 10 years is when a game seems to slip out of more modern designs and starts to show age in some fashion. Early and some mid-Xbox 360 games have started to seem more "classic."

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#17 Edited by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

@finaldasa: The idea is not to divide by generations. In this case, it's just a fun unit of measurement that everyone understands. Like The Last of Us came out in June and the current gen started a few month later. It'd be crazy to judge that game the same way something that came out way before like Uncharted 2 or Batman AA. Just trying to say "around the length of a generation before something can be judged."

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#18 Posted by cikame (2911 posts) -

I consider Half Life 2 to be a classic, so i guess i'm kind of between the 1 and 2 generation mark, but i'm feeling generous so i voted 1 gen.

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#19 Edited by someoneproud (623 posts) -

Hmmm, for me PS1 era definitely qualifies but I'm not sure about PS2 era and I definitely wouldn't class 360 era as old enough to be "classic" sooo maybe 20 years. Christ I'm getting old.

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#20 Posted by MrGreenMan (230 posts) -

what are we considering generations here? Technically there are something like 8 generations of game consoles. If a game still holds up past 10 or so years after the fact, then I would at least consider it a classic but that line is more and more blurred in the last decade as not a whole lot has really changed.

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#21 Posted by MagnetPhonics (88 posts) -

I remember the arrival of decent emulators circa 1997/98 and people using them to play those "classic old games" like Chrono Trigger

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#22 Posted by FinalDasa (3231 posts) -

@finaldasa: The idea is not to divide by generations. In this case, it's just a fun unit of measurement that everyone understands. Like The Last of Us came out in June and the current gen started a few month later. It'd be crazy to judge that game the same way something that came out way before like Uncharted 2 or Batman AA. Just trying to say "around the length of a generation before something can be judged."

Oh I totally get that! I just don't do it cause I like the clean cut off of 10 years or so.

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#23 Edited by vinone (330 posts) -

For me I'd say it's like 20 years or so. I guess with the video game industry being younger than most it could probably be shortened but even games from the PS2/GCN/Xbox era I kind of have a hard time considering "classics". Definitely nothing from the PS3/Wii/360 era ranks as classic for me.

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#24 Posted by SloppyDetective (1618 posts) -

I believe in instant classics. But that is not going to apply to most games. For just a regular old boring classic I would say a generation is a good amount of time.

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#25 Posted by FacelessVixen (2667 posts) -

I mean, I don't think of video games in the same paradigm as rap music, so... Shit, I dunno. Two generations old I guess? Could I call Saints Row: The Third a classic?

...Yeah. Sure. Fuck it. Answered my own question while typing.

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#26 Posted by notnert427 (2289 posts) -

I don't really like the idea of putting restrictions on what can/can't be considered a classic and some timeframe that must be observed. There are games like Halo: CE, Super Mario 3, et al. where they were a goddamn moment and it was readily apparent immediately that they were something special, and that hasn't ever changed. Then you have things like Red Dead Redemption that don't entirely hold up character-wise, but are undeniably deserving of regard as a classic. Conversely, there's stuff like Titanfall where the game wasn't really some huge deal at the time, yet introduced something new which had massive influence to the point I'd consider it a classic. I'm tempted as well to call games like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Red Faction: Guerrilla that are greatly missed from a standpoint of being the last game of their style classics for that reason. I further reject the idea of semi-iterative games in a series like the Forza Horizon games being ineligible for consideration as classics. While all of those games are somewhere between good and incredible, each has been better than the last and has thus replaced its predecessor as a classic in my book. Finally, I'm fully prepared and willing to call HITMAN/2 a classic because there's nothing else like it.

I don't want to fall into the Dan thing of just calling games I like "masterpieces", but I really think people take the "qualifications" on this stuff way too seriously in general.