Older Games

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Gaiablocks
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Older Games

Postby Gaiablocks » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:19 pm UTC

Doesn't anyone feel like the super Nintendo-playstation 2 era had the absolute best rpg games? Breath of Fire, old Final Fantasy, Suikoden 1,2,3, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Wild Arms, etc. Those types of games were the best, with amazing story and music, that in my opinion blow away todays competition, minus the graphics.

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Re: Older Games

Postby redraw » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

in your memory the graphic are as good as todays. it's only when you replay old games you relise how far the graphics come each year. At the time, everything is photorealistic!

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Re: Older Games

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:04 pm UTC

Gaiablocks wrote:Doesn't anyone feel like the super Nintendo-playstation 2 era had the absolute best rpg games? Breath of Fire, old Final Fantasy, Suikoden 1,2,3, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Wild Arms, etc. Those types of games were the best, with amazing story and music, that in my opinion blow away todays competition, minus the graphics.


Whatever era, whatever game, whatever system, you have to compare it to Ultima 7 : The Black Gate.

Nonlinear story about tracking a murderer (that also had a giant Fuck You to EA barely hidden in it) in a world where NPCs kept schedules as complicated as Skyrim's schedules, in a world where pretty much every object short of walls could be interacted with (and in some cases, walls could be interacted with), where you could literally spend time as a baking aprentice, making various baked goods by combining flour and water (or other liquids) with other objects, watching them bake and pulling them out before they burn, or harvest crops and so on...

All in the bygone year of 1992.

You're also discussing ... I can't tell if you're lumping three generations together, or if you're talking about the entire span of time. SNES was 4th Gen, N64 and PS1 were 5th, PS2 and Gamecube were Sixth. SNES release to PS2 Release* - not heyday, just release - is a 10 year span containing the golden year of 1998. If we use the PS3's release as the "end" of the PS2, that turns it in to a 16 year span. I'm assuming, given your mentioning of JRPGs exclusively, that you aren't talking about PC RPGs.

So, yes, it would be hard to argue that two to five year spans here and there compare to this goliath 16 year span of time, simply by volume.


*Note - I'm using Japanese release dates. North American dates were usually the following year and European dates the year after that until the sixth gen.
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Re: Older Games

Postby Mishrak » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:49 pm UTC

I've often found myself referring to the SNES to PS1 era as a "golden age of rpgs".

This time frame, to me, ranges roughly from 1991 (Final Fantasy II US) to 2000 (Final Fantasy IX). Granted there's some great RPGs before and after that time, and there's been some really good PS2 / PS3 RPGs and PC RPGs released since then, but generally speaking, there was a massive release of quality, classic games that people still value and play over and over today, during this time period.

There was a marked change with the release of WoW and it's minimap, ? ! quest system, and the success of Bethesda who essentially releases games that hold your hand the entire way through (post Morrowind). With those games, the decline in quality among rpgs was sharp and noticeable. There's a few odd gems here and there (Demons Souls and Dark Souls) but the trend of creating shiny, pretty, movie-like (in both visuals and acting) games that lack real depth and have even less replay value has left me continually revisiting classics and spending a lot less money on modern games and modern consoles.

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Re: Older Games

Postby Xanthir » Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:04 am UTC

The WoW/Bethesda effect is, I think, a symptom of technology, and specifically environment size. When games had small, limited environments (think FF7, where each map was *tiny*, and there weren't many of them) you could afford to go without a minimap (because you could just... walk to the other side of the current screen, and the rare maze-like things were intentional dungeon puzzles), and you could afford to let people be quest-givers without an explicit indication (because there were so few of them, and you could jump through their spammy text when they weren't saying anything interesting in seconds, rather than sitting through voice-acting). You could hide things in the environment because, despite the pretty pictures, the environments were generally small tree structures, and it was easy to tell when a path was leading to a dead-end (and thus potentially hidden treasure) or not.

When you move to huge, lush environments, you lose those easy affordances. If you continue to hide things, most of them will just be missed, rather than stumbled upon. If you don't have a minimap, people will get lost. 3d spaces are also a lot harder to navigate when you're not using a single fixed-omniscient camera angle. When you move from text to voice acting, people don't like talking to NPCs who spam the same convo constantly, and it's expensive to record too much conversation anyway. And the number of people on a map can get a lot higher, too - there's as many people wandering around Skyhold (most of whom are just window dressing) as in the entirety of FF7, within an order of magnitude. ^_^

The *entirety of all maps put together* in most SNES or PS1 RPGs generally covers less game-space than a single one of the major environments in DA:I, for example, often by a large amount.
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Re: Older Games

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:41 am UTC

Gaiablocks wrote:Doesn't anyone feel like the super Nintendo-playstation 2 era had the absolute best rpg games? Breath of Fire, old Final Fantasy, Suikoden 1,2,3, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Wild Arms, etc. Those types of games were the best, with amazing story and music, that in my opinion blow away todays competition, minus the graphics.


I'll say that Square / Enix's golden years are definitely in the late 90s and early 2000s. After that, you need to branch out. The "Tales of" series is truly excellent... and the Tales games start becoming awesome around 6th Generation / Gamecube with Tales of Symphonia, and remain solid through Tales of Xillia on the PS3. You probably weren't looking at Bandai / Namco for a JRPG though... but its pretty good honestly.

There are a couple of one-offs. The "Valkyria Chronicles" series set in a WW2-esque era is a truly excellent Strategy JRPG. For those who enjoy hundred-hour grindfests with deep combat systems, the more lighthearted Disgaea series will more than satisfy your urge. Beyond that, recent years have had great titles. Studio Gibli's "Ni no Kuni". You've got Hironobu Sakaguchi's "The Last Story" (Hironobu created the Final Fantasy series, but left Square / Enix a long time ago). I've personally enjoyed portable games like Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (2008, 7th Generation game), and Fire Emblem: Awakening (2013, 8th Generation Video Game).

And as... erm... terrible... as the fanservice gets in "Record of Agarest War", I have never played a game with a more complicated combat system than that game. Its AI is great too. Beating "Record of Agarest War" is a mental exercise, as the game really requires an insane amount of planning per turn. Too bad it was a crappy grindfest filled with creepy fanservice shots, but its one of the better combat systems IMO. Honestly, mastery of the combat system will take you those hundreds of battles, dozens and dozens of hours. So the game's battle system basically stands on its own.

You just gotta step out of the Square / Enix mode around generation 6. Final Fantasy 10 was still good overall... but other companies began to offer better JRPG game experiences. Although... I've personally missed out on FF12, but people tell me that it is a "forgotten gem".

The "golden age" in the late 90s and early 2000s was when everyone was playing JRPGs, and it was easy to talk to mainstream gamers to discover new JRPGs. Today, its more of a niche market. Mainstream has moved on to Call of Duty, League of Legends, WoW and so forth. You just gotta work harder today to find a good JRPG, because it seems like there are fewer people playing them and talking about them. But I'll bet you that modern titles like "The Last Story" or "Valkyria Chronicles" will go toe-to-toe with any JRPG from the past.

Heck, if you want a one-stop shop for JRPGs, just head over to XSeed Games. As Square/Enix USA got dismantled in 2004, XSeed Games developed as a company. XSeed basically rehired the old Square/Enix JRPG translators, and went to work translating the niche JRPGs as the mainstream market moved on to other games.

Xanthir wrote:If you don't have a minimap, people will get lost.


Etrian Odyssey. :evil: :evil: :evil:

The mechanic of that series is that YOU DRAW THE MINIMAP. The game's primary improvements across generations is just giving you more features on the minimap. Things like... conveyor belt arrow buttons that automatically walk you through the game. (but these can only be laid out by the player... and only if you've drawn out the map)

The *entirety of all maps put together* in most SNES or PS1 RPGs generally covers less game-space than a single one of the major environments in DA:I, for example, often by a large amount.


Case in point. Here's the entirety of Super Metroid, a game known for its large map in the 16-bit era. The Gold/Silver Map (including Johto / Kanto) is probably among the largest of all Pokemon games. But in the great scheme of things, its actually pretty small.

I think people get like ~60 hours typically on Pokemon Gold/Silver (not speedrun... but about "normal pace"). So you can see that a small map can actually contain a good amount of variety. That said, there's something to be said about maps of this size. I honestly am not an explorer type, and often get lost in MMORPGs and a lot of the bigger RPGs like Skyrim. I just don't like playing those kinds of games. Not my taste.
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Re: Older Games

Postby azule » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:05 am UTC

Nostalgia tells me that the Lost Woods in Zelda was just the most beautiful thing I've seen in a game. Later I saw a photo meant to be that area. I said, "yes, that's what I saw". I think the order games required much imagination. Imagination cannot be beat by 3d CGI.
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Re: Older Games

Postby Lostdreams » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:33 pm UTC

redraw wrote:in your memory the graphic are as good as todays. it's only when you replay old games you relise how far the graphics come each year. At the time, everything is photorealistic!


The thing about SNES and sprite graphics in general is that they age well because of the style. There are improvements of course, even in that style, allowing for more detailed 2D graphics but the overall feel isn't as diminished as it is with the first generation of games that made the jump to 3D e.g. Final Fantasy 7. This is especially noticeable in hybrid games like Breath of Fire, where the characters and some objects are sprite based but the environment is 3D.

Still, there are many, very good games from that era. I am replaying Chrono Trigger right now. (Fuck the chancellor)
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Re: Older Games

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:00 pm UTC

i have great love for many games from that period, though feel its a bit of 'the media i consumed while growing up was the best media'. There have been great things since.

Lost Odyssey for example wasnt a great game, but it had these episodic short stories about life/immortality that were just beautiful. I think its always good to take what you can from a bit of media.
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Re: Older Games

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:59 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:i have great love for many games from that period, though feel its a bit of 'the media i consumed while growing up was the best media'. There have been great things since.

The other thing to bear in mind is that things that survive from the past generally do so because they have something that makes them better than their contemporaries in some way, while anything recently released hasn't been through that filtering process. There will be variation over time, but, on average, there will be roughly the same proportion of good games coming out at any given point - it's just easier to sort through them when they've already been picked through and analysed for a decade or two...

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Re: Older Games

Postby freezeblade » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:00 pm UTC

All you console players, pffft.

I played most of the SNES era Final Fantasy games on an emulator, but I think the RPG that got me most hooked was Arcanum or NoX, intrestingly enough, I never see to much about either of these online, no love for them?
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Re: Older Games

Postby Mishrak » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:17 pm UTC

I was an avid SNES player as a kid. As I grew older, I set it aside and was mostly interested in emulators if I was going to play SNES games. I set it so far aside that pretty much everything I owned as a kid has since been lost or stolen. Over the past year I've spent enough money on getting a proper SNES setup that I could have easily bought a PS4 for the same money. Part of that has to do with streaming games, but the other part of that has me really appreciating the experience of playing those games on original hardware.

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Re: Older Games

Postby mosc » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:37 pm UTC

freezeblade wrote:All you console players, pffft.

I played most of the SNES era Final Fantasy games on an emulator, but I think the RPG that got me most hooked was Arcanum or NoX, intrestingly enough, I never see to much about either of these online, no love for them?

All I remember is they crashed a lot. A LOT.

I have to say, I think some of these comments are great and some people just didn't experience much outside of a certain set of years in their childhood. Sprite games age well. Early 3D games were terrible as things like camera control, camera perspective, navigational aids, and interface were still in their infancy. I agree with all that 100%

But SNES/PS1 was not the foundation of the RPG or even the JRPG. There was a lot of stuff for the original nintendo and early PC that was very popular, influential, and still playable. PC had bard's tale and ultima and things like TES: Arena (lots of games like that existed). The nintendo had Dragon Quest 1-4, the third installment is spectacular IMHO and the 4th was immensely popular. It also had three installments of Final Fantasy. The original Pokemon games were for Gameboy which predate SNES.

The PS2 era had a lot of good RPG's as well. Dark Cloud 2 was incredibly hard to get your teeth into but it's depth and polish were amazing. I also think Final Fantasy released it's last great game with X, a height it will probably never reach again (though 12 was playable). The PS2 also had a lot of those other JRPG series that have some near hits and some mediocre games like Xenogears, Grandia, etc.

Going after that gets you Bioware, which is a lot of great stuff, and modern elder scrolls games. I mean great stuff did not stop at any point.

My top 10 RPG's span some significant time, listed in chronological order
Shining Force 2 1993
FF6 1994
ChronoTrigger 1995
Diablo II 2000
Morrowind 2002
Knights of the Old Republic 2003
Dragon Quest 8 2004
Guild Wars 2005
Mass Effect 2 2010
Skyrim 2011

I'd put some earlier stuff like 1988's dragon quest 3 and of course 1986's Zelda. I think ME3 was pretty good, exchange ending negative for multiplayer positive and I doubt Blizzard and Bioware are done with us anytime soon.
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Re: Older Games

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:24 pm UTC

freezeblade wrote:Arcanum or NoX,


So, Arcanum has a lot of flaws. It's a Troika game. Like all Troika games, it needs some fan patching to fix up and it has some problems that are inescapable, but it's a pretty fantastic game. The major problem I can see a person having with it today is that it's very Steampunk. It was also released 13 years ago, when the whole Steampunk thing wasn't nearly as oversaturated as it is now.

Nox is what people played while waiting for Diablo II to be released. Then it was released and promptly forgotten. It's not a bad game by any means, it just released six months before Diablo II. That's the only real problem it has, so a fair chunk of the market that would have played it had it been released a year earlier didn't, choosing to wait for D2.
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Re: Older Games

Postby Mishrak » Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:48 pm UTC

mosc wrote:But SNES/PS1 was not the foundation of the RPG or even the JRPG. There was a lot of stuff for the original nintendo and early PC that was very popular, influential, and still playable. PC had bard's tale and ultima and things like TES: Arena (lots of games like that existed). The nintendo had Dragon Quest 1-4, the third installment is spectacular IMHO and the 4th was immensely popular. It also had three installments of Final Fantasy. The original Pokemon games were for Gameboy which predate SNES.


Agreed. The foundation was most definitely shaped by the early console games, and early computer games. But the innovation and sheer volume of quality rpgs created in the SNES - PS1 era remains unrivaled. That era includes PC games of course.

The PS2 also had a lot of those other JRPG series that have some near hits and some mediocre games like Xenogears, Grandia, etc.
Did you mean Xenosaga? Xenogears was a PS1 rpg that is pretty far from mediocre.

I mean great stuff did not stop at any point.


Agree. There's still very very good RPGs around today. They're just a lot harder to find.

My top ten list, in chronological order. This changes all the time, depending on my mood. But for now its:

Crystalis 1990
Secret of Mana 1993
Final Fantasy 6 1994
Fallout 1 1997
Final Fantasy 7 1997
Suikoden II 1999
Morrowind 2002
Demons Souls 2009
Dark Souls 1 2011
Wasteland 2 2014

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Re: Older Games

Postby freezeblade » Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:23 pm UTC

Arcanum's quirky nature was forgivable for me at that age, and I loved the steampunk aspect. Here's my top 5, in rough order of hours spent, of RPG games that ate the most of my time during my formative game-playing years. As a note, Diablo II probably has twice as many hours (or more) than any of the other game.

1. Diablo II (2000)
2. Final Fantasy II (1991) [played IV technically, on an emulator]
3. Arcanum (2001)
4. Baldur's Gate (1998)
5. NoX (2000)

I never really thought about how close together all thoes games were released, besides the one I played on emulator.
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Re: Older Games

Postby Gaiablocks » Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:30 pm UTC

Mishrak wrote:
mosc wrote:But SNES/PS1 was not the foundation of the RPG or even the JRPG. There was a lot of stuff for the original nintendo and early PC that was very popular, influential, and still playable. PC had bard's tale and ultima and things like TES: Arena (lots of games like that existed). The nintendo had Dragon Quest 1-4, the third installment is spectacular IMHO and the 4th was immensely popular. It also had three installments of Final Fantasy. The original Pokemon games were for Gameboy which predate SNES.


Agreed. The foundation was most definitely shaped by the early console games, and early computer games. But the innovation and sheer volume of quality rpgs created in the SNES - PS1 era remains unrivaled. That era includes PC games of course.

The PS2 also had a lot of those other JRPG series that have some near hits and some mediocre games like Xenogears, Grandia, etc.
Did you mean Xenosaga? Xenogears was a PS1 rpg that is pretty far from mediocre.

I mean great stuff did not stop at any point.


Agree. There's still very very good RPGs around today. They're just a lot harder to find.

My top ten list, in chronological order. This changes all the time, depending on my mood. But for now its:

Crystalis 1990
Secret of Mana 1993
Final Fantasy 6 1994
Fallout 1 1997
Final Fantasy 7 1997
Suikoden II 1999
Morrowind 2002
Demons Souls 2009
Dark Souls 1 2011
Wasteland 2 2014



That is an excellent list^^

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Re: Older Games

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:29 pm UTC

My favorite old RPG style game that my friend got addicted to and changed gaming was:

The Bards Tale (1985)

It had classes and was based on D&D.

We would take turns playing our saved version of the game and just watch everyone take a turn on the same computer fight through the dungeons and try to level. It was fun because everyone played a different class and the same class that they would generally play in our D&D gaming sessions.

Then I feel like all the games were basically the same until Ultima Online and once again there was a new sense of playing something different and exciting and 'not just another game'.
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Re: Older Games

Postby Yablo » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:48 am UTC

freezeblade wrote:All you console players, pffft.

I played most of the SNES era Final Fantasy games on an emulator, but I think the RPG that got me most hooked was Arcanum or NoX, intrestingly enough, I never see to much about either of these online, no love for them?

I was hooked on video game RPGs well before I found Arcanum, but that one always stands out for me. A large part of that is due to the setting/genre; it was my first real exposure to steampunk fantasy. I keep thinking about running an Arcanum-style tabletop game, but so far only my wife and a cousin have shown much interest.

Ixtellor wrote:The Bards Tale (1985)

I used to love that one, too. There's a game called Devil Whiskey that is very similar, and I would highly recommend it to and Bard's Tale fan.
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