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Dripfree

I remember a time when there were no bad games.

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A friend of mine who I often play games with suggested we try Hoops for nes. It was one of his original games from childhood. We tried it for about 5 minutes and both agreed it was garbage. He said "I used to play the crap out of that game. I got it for Christmass and was so excited, I thought it was great". I had similar situations. I didn't have many games but I loved all the ones I had. I certainly knew certain games were better than others. Some things never occurred to me. Like that the controls may be horrible I just thought I wasn't good at it, and I would still play it quite a bit and I never thought man this game sucks. Looking back this seems silly to me. I cant believe how much time I spent playing Heavy Shreddin on my NES, or Ren and Stimpy on my Gameboy. Im curious if anyone else experienced this and what games actually seemed good to you through the eyes of a child.

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Even when I was a kid, I knew that Back to the Future Parts II & III sucked. But overall we probably were more forgiving because we didn't get as many games.

Edited by mbd30

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There was no bad TV when you were a child, either.

 

Just bad taste!

 

We're particularly susceptible to blindness about the limitations of old games. I still think of Pitfall! on the VCS as a wonderful, diverse, entertaining game in 2016. By any objective measurement, it's old and simple. But when I play it, I'm 12 again.

 

We see something similar with stuff like Star Wars and Star Trek. Only our version, the one from when we were young, is the real deal, and everything else sucks.

 

This is also how shovelware on platforms like DS happens. Kids who don't know any better are drawn to the familiar licensed characters...and the publishers are rewarded for churning this stuff out, then we get more of it.

 

I still find something to like in just about everything I try, even now. But there are definitely bad games.

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Right now, I can't think of any game I played and greatly enjoyed in my childhood which I now feel is genuinely bad. There are some I feel are outdated and obsolete, but that's not the same thing.

 

However, I do understand the sentiment. The two games I can think of which taught me that not all video games were great were Star Wars: Jedi Arena and Night Driver.

 

Jedi Arena... well it had Star Wars on the box. How could it be bad? I tried and tried to enjoy it all during my Christmas vacation where I received it. By the end, I was forced to admit to myself that it just wasn't an entertaining game.

 

While I think Jedi Arena was my first step into a much larger world, Night Driver was the one that really drove it home for me. Night Driver was the first game I bought with my own money. I selected it because it was the cheapest game available ($24.95 before sales tax), and I wanted a video game. All video games are great, right? Well, the truth was that I was crushingly disappointed with Night Driver. It was just dull and was already obsolete by the time I bought it in 1982.

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I definitely spent tons of time playing the games that I had because that was all that I had. I generally reacted like you thinking "I must not be very good at this." One game in particular where this was the case was with Dragon Warrior for the NES. Someone will flame me for this, but that game is miserable. At the time, I just quit playing it. I knew I wasn't satisfied, but it never occurred to me that the game should be considered objectively bad.

 

A 2600 game that I got a lot of playtime out of was Championship Soccer (with the text label). Calling it bad is probably not a stretch - I guess. I had fun with it, but it is REALLY hard to go back to now.

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Any of the atari sports titles really. It wasn't untill nintendo that I found some sports games could be good. I did actually like the pong sports games but now days just cant get into those.

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Growing up I owned and played a lot of bad games, and I never thought of any of them as "bad" back then. To me they were just games, and it wasn't until about halfway through my teenage years that I started thinking of games as good or bad; before that they were all just games. A few that I remember most fondly were...

 

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (Game Boy)

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Game Boy)

Bubsy (Genesis)

Bubsy II (Genesis)

Brutal: Paws of Fury (Genesis)

Zool: Ninja of the "Nth" Dimension (Genesis)

Bubsy 3D (PlayStation)

 

Those are just a handful of them, and yes, I was a huge fan of the Bubsy series as a kid and played all three of the games on the Genesis and PlayStation for countless hours until I could practically beat them with my eyes closed. I had no concept of them being badly designed games, I just knew that I liked the characters and the games' visual styles so I kept playing them until I got good at them. There were still some games like Gremlins 2 for the Game Boy that were just too hard for me to beat as a kid no matter how hard I tried or how long I practiced, but I've since gone back and beat them as an adult so I'm not sore about it. I do think I'll pass on revisiting Bubsy 3D though. :lol:

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I was a huge fan of the Bubsy series as a kid and played all three of the games on the Genesis and PlayStation for countless hours until I could practically beat them with my eyes closed.

 

Sweet! First off check out the Bubsy Fan Blog, I think you'd like it.

Secondly, check out Fractured Furry Tales on the Atari Jaguar. I think you'd like that if you liked Bubsy 1 & 2.

 

Bubsy is a good example of a game I thought I just sucked at and last learned others thought the controls were bad. Or maybe the controls were good and we just had to learn the game. Does a game go from bad to good if you can find a way to enjoy it?

 

It is possible that maybe the player is just bad at it and needs to practice a bit?

Do all games need to be beatable within a week? Where's the challenge in that.

 

In short, I think what is actually a "bad" game is a bit subjective.

 

If we are talking about a game in 1982 are we rating it in eyes from 1982 or 2016?

 

Are we simply spoiled by newer graphics, game systems, and controllers?

 

Some games are made fun by playing them not as they were originally intended.

 

Playing Circus Atari and listening to the clowns splat. Now that was fun.

Playing Choplifter (Atari 800) and shooting down your own men as they try to run, also fun! :D

playing Brutal Sports Football (Jaguar) and just killing off each other while the ball bounces unnoticed on the field? A classic!

 

I think games are either good to play or good to rank and goof off in.

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I remember a time when there were no bad games

 

Atari time

Nostalgia's a hell of a drug. :P

 

I grew up with the NES and there were a few games my friends and I thought were kind of bad even back then--Top Gun, 10-Yard Fight, and X-Men come to mind--but we tended not to own many of them. Thanks to video rentals, we were able to try out games before we spent our hard-saved birthday and allowance money on them. As a result, we had mostly A-list games like Contra, Super Mario Bros, Castlevania, etc. (You know, games that sell for $40-50 a pop these days. Nostalgia's a hell of a drug!)

 

Of course we sometimes rolled the dice on the clearance bin games at KayBee or Software Etc, but even those were usually pretty good (Journey To Silius and Kirby's Adventure!).

Edited by BassGuitari
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See I miss rental stores from the old days. Yeah you an Red Box now for some newer games but back then we saw commercials and wondered how the game would be so either buy it or rent it. I would rent like 2-3 titles a weekend with friends and we would play whatever we brought home. Some good some bad and some better than we thought.

 

Sword of Sodan for Genesis...Bad

Last Battle Genesis.. playable and not real terrible.

Hard Drivin for Genesis ... Bad to the point of being fun sadly.

Faxanadu for NES... pretty damn good

Crystalis for NES... also damn good

 

Yeah it can be subjective but now you can get multiple views on games to get a better feel and then emulate or ROM it (ever drive style) before buying it.

 

I just end up buying games I can remember and then still seeing if they have lasting appeal or not. Some are definatly not keepers anymore.

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See I miss rental stores from the old days...

 

Hard Drivin for Genesis ... Bad to the point of being fun sadly.

I don't like the time pressure of game rentals. I'd much rather buy something cheap and have it for when I want to play it. The enormous digital market is perfect for me. No more scouring old video stores for "diamonds in the rough."

 

Hard Drivin' for Genesis was fun, for me, at the time. There weren't many other big-screen polygonal racers at the time, and I liked the arcade game.

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Nostalgia's a hell of a drug. :P

::cue the Rick James chuckling::

 

I think part of the nostalgia trip is not thinking about how limited our options were as kids. In the Atari days, how many places rented games? So you made do. Maybe it was the classic "you appreciate this [insert whatever here] and give thanks you have it" mentality. Or maybe the games, being more score based and more about how long you could survive.

 

In my subjective mind, unless the game was totally broke or just sloppily designed (like the game cash ins before the crash), the majority weren't really bad.

 

When the NES hit the scene and games became more complex and started to have an "end", that's when you could really see the crud. I rented a lot and I came across games that were horribly designed. No nostalgia glasses there-there were obvious crud titles back then. The LJN titles come to mind like "Friday the 13th" and "Jaws".

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I had my VCS when I was young, and at the time I thought all game carts were "multigames" given the pack-in was Combat, so I loved Combat and bought AirSeaBattle and liked that too but when I bought a couple of single screen games (human cannonball was one of them) I was terrified :twisted: that there was no "variant" that I particularly cared for .... so returned them .... we were not rich people and having 1 cart every 6 months or so was huge for me (it usually coincided with Xmas and birthday and that was it).

 

Then the home computers came about (Vic20, ZX-81, ZX-Spectrum, C64, MSX) that supported tapes and in my home country piracy was the norm so much so you could buy pirate multigame tapes at the newsstand shrinkwrapped and with glossy "brochures". Still we were not rich people and at the time maybe I could afford 1 "newsstand tape" every couple of months or so. Those tapes had in them anywhere from 5 to 30 games.

That's when "good game"/"bad game" started to be a little more obvious to me ..... I had more to choose from hence I was far less vested on any one of them.

 

At a certain point game reviews and magazines came about and then critics etc... etc.... at the beginning it looked like it was in good faith (can't tell how much or how little) then in later years you could see which publisher was paying money to the "critics" and you couldn't trust them anymore.

 

I spent the 16bit time a few years earlier than consoles came about as I did my gaming on the 16bits home computers (Amiga mostly) where again piracy was the norm, by that time I had a little more personal money and could afford to get a few new floppies every month (still summer months were atrocious and had to make do maybe on one new game ... which was hardly any good usually).

 

So yeah there were always bad games, we were just less akin to consider it that way and when you're young the novelty effect itself is a big fat plus, if you can pass from one novelty to the next before it wears off then it looks like it's always gift season and that alone gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling.

 

 

EDIT: funny thing is that during those same years I frequented the arcades and as I had to put my own quarters bad-game/good-game in that setting was much more obvious. I had to get some entertainment from the game and some quality time out of it or my quarter went somewhere else, with the exception of a few WOW factor games (Dragon's Lair comes to mind). The same games port on home computers were instead treated differently no doubt in part because I had them for "cheap".

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I'm STILL digging out retro reviews and discovering stuff I missed from the olden days. Of course there's a lot of crap (true of anything) but there's more good stuff out there than lifetime to enjoy it all.

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Games that were bought for me by my parents (early 80's) and coming home to plug them in for some utter disappointment:

 

Atari Football

Night Driver

Haunted House

Swordquest Earthworld

Pac-Man (it wasn't total shit...but you know the story)

 

I remember looking at the cool box art for some these, thinking this is going to be awesome and then...boom....heartbreak.

 

During the NES era I had my own money for the most part so I picked and choosed a little more carefully so I didn't really own any major disappointments.

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::cue the Rick James chuckling::

 

I think part of the nostalgia trip is not thinking about how limited our options were as kids. In the Atari days, how many places rented games? So you made do. Maybe it was the classic "you appreciate this [insert whatever here] and give thanks you have it" mentality. Or maybe the games, being more score based and more about how long you could survive.

 

In my subjective mind, unless the game was totally broke or just sloppily designed (like the game cash ins before the crash), the majority weren't really bad.

 

When the NES hit the scene and games became more complex and started to have an "end", that's when you could really see the crud. I rented a lot and I came across games that were horribly designed. No nostalgia glasses there-there were obvious crud titles back then. The LJN titles come to mind like "Friday the 13th" and "Jaws".

I agree about liking the games you had because it was what you had. I can appreciate that. In fact, I like to do little experiments on myself where I'll pull out a random system and a random half-dozen or so games out of my collection of hundreds, and play only those for a few days or a week or whatever. On occasion I've found that some "bad" games really aren't that bad...and also that some "great" games really aren't that great. ;)

 

But, when I see people making claims that there were no bad games during the Atari's heyday, I think of such gems as Skeet Shoot, Sssnake, Sorcerer, Karate, Scuba Diver, Airlock, or any of the Swordquest games, and I have to call bullshit.

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I definitely spent tons of time playing the games that I had because that was all that I had. I generally reacted like you thinking "I must not be very good at this." One game in particular where this was the case was with Dragon Warrior for the NES. Someone will flame me for this, but that game is miserable. At the time, I just quit playing it. I knew I wasn't satisfied, but it never occurred to me that the game should be considered objectively bad.

 

I'm with you, brother!

 

I got Dragon Warrior for free from Nintendo Power, I was a big D&D nerd, I thought it would be awesome.

 

But it's terrible. I knew it was bad. I traded it to someone for Ninja Gaiden II. I win!

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I also want to add that bitd I used to spend time playing videogames WITH MY FRIENDS, not as much as in multiplayer games (although those were the bomb) even when just trading places at the joystick. The communal experience made all the difference, sometimes a mediocre game made good enough material to spend a few evenings, week ends with friends going at it just because.

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I'm with you, brother!

 

I got Dragon Warrior for free from Nintendo Power, I was a big D&D nerd, I thought it would be awesome.

 

But it's terrible. I knew it was bad. I traded it to someone for Ninja Gaiden II. I win!

 

Same here. Free with Nintendo Power. I remember thinking how much it tried to copy Ultima but it was much more simple and cartoony. The JRPG was born.

 

The grind in those games were far worse than anything I ever played as if they couldn't balance the game out. Like "hey, check out the AD&D monster manual and DMG experience tables and program your game for leveling balance".

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In the Atari days, how many places rented games? So you made do. Maybe it was the classic "you appreciate this [insert whatever here] and give thanks you have it" mentality. Or maybe the games, being more score based and more about how long you could survive.

 

In my subjective mind, unless the game was totally broke or just sloppily designed (like the game cash ins before the crash), the majority weren't really bad.

 

When the NES hit the scene and games became more complex and started to have an "end", that's when you could really see the crud. I rented a lot and I came across games that were horribly designed. No nostalgia glasses there-there were obvious crud titles back then. The LJN titles come to mind like "Friday the 13th" and "Jaws".

 

Yeah, I never heard of a place renting video games where I lived until the Nintendo years. Thanks to rental places, I got to play a lot of NES and SNES games.

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I remember back when the 3DO was all I had, absolutely loving the system, and trust me I still do - it's one of my favorites because memories and all that stuff - but nowadays some of those games just aren't as good as they were to me. Here's a few examples:

 

-Phoenix 3. I just hate those stupid platforming segments, but I used to call this one of my favorite games.

-The Mad Dog McCree games. I have a Gamegun that I used to use, and I used to sit there "man it's like I'm a real cowboy!" but I kinda lost that whole feeling to it.

-Demolition Man. Yeah I used to love this game, the segments where I could use the gamegun were cool little shooters to me, the driving segments were all the driving game I had apart from Need for Speed, and the fighting segments I just mashed buttons. Now, I just find the whole thing boring and not that well-made.

-DinoPark Tycoon. Holy crap I used this disc a ton, and I don't think I can ever hate it because of all the time I put into it just having fun. But now when I look at it, it's really dull compared to something like Zoo Tycoon which was one of my go-to PC games right next to the Rollercoaster Tycoon games.

 

So yeah, 3DO was just about my only option and I used to love every game I owned for the stupid thing. If I didn't want to play that, I had to play Xbox but we didn't really have many xbox games, but occasionally my parents would let us go to a game/movie rental place right next to a Giant Eagle in Milcreek PA and rent games - there were some real good ones, but there were some bad ones (dang Aquaman, made me lose $5 and a weekend) that I still somehow found ways to enjoy. Really, I guess it's all because I didn't have many options. I didn't read critics reviews - we got Gameinformer but my brothers just kept all those - and I didn't have much of an option for what to play, so I found ways to love what I had.

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I had some 'bad' games growing up. I enjoyed some (pac-man, airlock, tutankham) some were too easy (space attack) too confusing (fireworld) or too boring (blackjack). I was more forgiving, but some games got no play.

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