Debate of the Day: Can You Get Into Old Games You’ve Never Played?

Even though I grew up with video games, there were a lot of titles I missed because either A) I wasn’t allowed to play them B) I didn’t own the console at the time or C) I just couldn’t afford them because I was a broke kid on $5 a week allowance. Which all naturally went to Pokemon cards.

Since I have a job now, and consoles are backwards compatible, I’ve tried to pick up some of the older titles I’ve missed over the years, and I’ve found it…difficult.

You can go back and play games you loved, no problem. I still play Goldeneye and Smash Bros and the original  Halo to this day. But ones you never have? The connection is a lot harder, as you have to go back into the stone age of graphics and gameplay much of the time. One game I’ve had a major problem doing this with has been Knights of the Old Republic on the original Xbox. After you’ve spent almost a decade on a 360, going back there is just a strange experience, everything feels clunky, like you’re trying to knit with boxing gloves. I know these are supposed to be great games, but it’s just so hard to get into them in this format.

This is why I understand and appreciate the need for HD remakes of games. It gives me hope that I can still enjoy titles like Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, even if I’ve missed them previously. Does anyone else find it hard to try and catch up on old games? It doesn’t seem nearly as hard with shows or movies, but with games, it’s a bit difficult for me at least.

  • flash1049

    It really depends on the genre. RPG’s and FPS’s, unless they are really polished at the time, are really hard to go back to. But Action/Adventure, Fighting, Puzzle, etc. are much easier to get into and really like.

    I just recently went and played a bunch of classic PS2 titles I had never played like the Jak and Daxter series, the Ratchet and Clank series, Okami, Sly Cooper series, and Katamari Damacy…they were all a blast to play. Obviously, these are some of the best games on the system, so I’m picking from a crop of really good games anyway. However, I recently tried out Kingdom Hearts and wow, it is noticeable how much the genre has evolved.

    I know what you are saying about KOTOR, but try out a game like Ninja Gaiden Black on the XBOX and I promise it won’t feel clunky.

    Also, PLEASE play Shadow of the Colossus. Some of the things in that game felt clunky at the time and probably still do, but I’ll be damned if you can find a more awesome experience on any console.

  • Crispy

    To be fair KOTOR plays like NWN, so it easy to see why it seems clunky. I recently tried to go back and play the Deus Ex series in the months leading up to the new one, but I couldn’t do it. The virtual console is what is really getting me into old games, until i bought my wii I hadnt played through all of super mario rpg or secret of mana. Stil hoping the donkey kong 64 will get cleared for the virtual console just because its a game I had as a kid and never finished.

  • i get your point, i was trying to play morrowind on my pc and i can’t get into it after oblivion and skyrim…..

    but on the other hand, the final fantasy “remakes” on psp, like ff3 20th is very good to get into when never played, they are not real remakes, they still look as retro as back then.

    and shadow of the colossus is a must play game ^_^

  • Chris

    I would try playing KOTOR on the pc instead of the xbox. Graphics are vastly superior and the loading times are significantly faster. I’ve played it recently, and it might be nostalgia talking, but it really is one of my favorite games of all time.

  • Allison

    Definitely. A few years back I got an exboyfriend of mine to break out the old SNES and play Earthbound (circa 1994) for the first time. He fell in love.
    I think it all depends on the game and the story, some stand the test of time and others just don’t. Personally, I think very little of that has to do with the graphics. And sometimes, it’s fun to go back to the original games that have big budget sequels now, and see where the story all began. With so many games now, you can pick up from part 4 and still be completely fine with storyline, but I always enjoy seeing where it all tarted.

  • Nick

    Maybe I’m lucky that I don’t care about graphics. It doesn’t spoil my immersiion or my interest in the game as long as the gameplay is good and the story is compelling.

    @Crispy KOTOR plays absolutely nothing like Neverwinter Nights so I don’t get what you’re talking about. Care to elaborate?

    @Azenomei Is it because Morrowind actually required you to think?

    I joke but Deus Ex and Morrowind are such extraordinary games that you should force yourselves to play them. Get a few hours into the stories and you’ll soon forget graphics.

    I think the main problem is that many people don’t give old games a chance – they seem to equate graphics with quality when there is zero correlation.

    Deus Ex had poor graphics at the time it came out compared to its contemporaries yet is probably the best game ever made. It saddens me to hear of people who can’t cope with old games.

    I imagine the previous commentors’ heads would explode if they were faced with the prospect of trying something like Wasteland or Descent.

    But there is clearly a thriving market for them, at least on PC. Look at for instance. Good Old Games market themselves as the place to get these older games.

    So yeah, I feel like you are majorly missing out, so try harder to like them.

  • Wermine

    I played Hexen with my friend while ago. Even if I had 1440×900 resolution, it looked fugly when sprite monsters came in close quarter combat. Still had a blast!

  • Adept55

    I agree with Nick, its kind of sad that the people in most of the above comments cant play a game just because it has poor graphics, in my opinion thats what makes old games so great, for that games time, it was like the MWF3 or Skyrim of now. Appreciate it for what it is, thats why they are called Classics.

  • Ed

    Couple months ago, I tried getting to into Planescape Torment. The combat is so dreadful, and the visuals have aged a lot. As much as I wanted to experience the story and answer the question: “What changes the nature of a man?” I just couldn’t do it.

    It really depends on the game though and how open you are. Though I believe one is more likely to play an old 2D game than an old 3D one.

  • Ed


  • Bad Acid

    I went back and played Fallout 1 and 2 after playing Fallout 3, and when I got New Vegas I was really glad I did. The engine was kind of tedious since it was an old game, but the whole point, for me, was letting it be plot-driven. So, if there’s a decent story or something then yeah, I can see playing old games. Sometimes, though, it’s just clunky and boring trying to deal with an out-dated engine.

  • lonster91

    I don’t have any problem playing old games. I’m a Fianl Fantasy fan but have never played 7, 8, or 9, however i bought them on the PSN and absolutely love them …they are taking almost as much of my time as Skyrim. I think it really comes down to wetnher or not you play a game for its story and challenge or if you are just playing the new maistream stuf because it’s ..well new and mainstream.

  • Some games I’ve loved several years after they came back:
    – StarWars Ep3 (Xbox)
    – StarWars BattleFront II (Xbox.. until they unplugged the servers)
    – Zelda: Oracle of Ages / Seasons (10 years later)
    – Okami (playing now on Wii… just a couple of years old)

    I guess it depends on how old the game looks and how much you have to “forgive” that in order for the game to work. For example, Jet Force Gemini (Rare, N64) is a great, great, great game (think of Megaman in 3D the way it SHOULD HAVE been)… but I do imagine it would be hard to pick up today, especially since the controls feel a little clunky at the start…

  • ****Woops, that was “years after they came OUT”

  • Crispy

    @Nick Kotor is nwn, just with different skins and text. The game mechanics are all the same. The combat is round based, abilities take up one round to utilize, unless you are under another effect. The major difference is the top down perspective vs the over the shoulder.

    And the reason I couldn’t play Deus Ex wasn’t the graphics, its the fact that its first person. At most I can only play 15-20 minutes of first person perspective games before I get a headache, its the same with consoles. In 15 minutes chunks I couldn’t get into the story because it felt disconnected, but that’s my limitation.

  • JZ

    You’ve never played KOTOR? I am so sorry

  • Devin

    I totally agree, once you are so used to the graphical quality even a game of such caliber like KOTOR its just hard to go back to something that looks so stone age in comparison to Bioware’s most recent projects like Dragon Age (even if it was lacking and had a very similar fighting system to KOTOR) and Mass Effect series. It’s just a difficult transition and I understand, since skyrim I’ve tried to play Morrowind and I giggled relentlessly at how far they’ve come since that game, Oblivion is almost hard to play. Though, storyline could definitly help with this, because I have played KOTOR and still am in love with the game, its still magnificent considering how old it is. Then again I played it when it was top of the tier, and am overly obsessed with Star Wars…. so I may be a bit biased.

  • Joe Chava

    Playing old games is almost the only way I play games. I’ve never been one to buy into hype and so I don’t get around to the big or well-received games until later. It was only about a year and a half or so ago that I played the first Halo. A short time before that I played the first Zelda on Gameboy Advance. I don’t play much, so when I decide to play something that had fanfare I do a little research. When it’s compared and assimilated with a game that I am familiar with and that I enjoyed, I’ll settle on it.

  • Yeah, I’d say FPS, survival-horror, sports or fighting games are mostly out of the question. But I thoroughly enjoyed playing “Majora’s Mask”, “Conker’s Bad Fur Day”, and others for the first time, at least a decade after their release. Same story with “Portal” and “Grim Fandango”. Cartoonish graphics don’t age as badly, and as long as controls or story are sharp, it’s all good. I don’t see the point in being a graphics whore.

  • Uncle Phil

    The old RPG’s work for me. I still troll around on Amazon every now and then and snag up one’s I haven’t played.

  • I’ve done this multiple times. I never played any Half-life games except in the last few years. I love picking up games for cheap and playing them, as long as they’re quality games. When enough people tell me about a game, it’ll pique my interest. Especially with how busy I am now, I almost never have the time to play games when they come out. That, and games of systems past, are what I look forward to for semester break.

  • Ash

    I agree with you 100%, can easily pklug in my N64 and play goldeneye/ SM64, and banjo kazooie etc. But trying to get into games i never played is tough.

  • Wermine

    Forgot to mention, Super Bomberman 2 for SNES is awesome for four players. I played it with my friends from big screen and all had good time. Graphics fulfill their purpose perfectly.

  • Dan

    The problem is literally all in your and just about every other gamer’s head. Games we have played before and are favorites have already made an impression on us so we can just enjoy it for what it is. But games we have not played before are subconsciously ranked against our current game standards which are use to a newer generation of game. It is tricky but if your determined you can find the worth in classics. Though i would recommend if ever possible try playing them on PC. Old republic is a great example since they have a excellent mod community who i believe even have a patch to improve the textures a bit

  • Limitus

    totally agreeing with dan here. about the comparison and stuff.
    nevertheless there are still games who can simply amaze by story. i’m going to bring “beyond good and evil” here. played through that some time ago (but i’d say it was still 2011) and was blown away.
    on the other part, there are games from the same era as bge which i can’t get really into.
    for me it’s trial and error. played “deus ex” long ago, so i could get into that pretty easy before human revoltuion came out. the second one was horrible and i quit after the first two lvls. so it really depends on the game^^

  • Ben

    I’m 28 years old and I played Chrono Trigger for the first time 2 years ago and absolutely loved it! I guess I can play games that don’t have the “best” graphics as long as the story is good. I guess that’s the main thing to me. Graphics aren’t nearly as important as how engaging the story is.

  • Nick D Pags

    If games aren’t good enough to stand up with their old graphics and draw you in. It just means you’re not that into them.

    I support old games being ported so that new people can play them but HD versions seem like a waste of time to me.

  • thegreatfatsby

    Shadow of the Collossus is one of those games that you either love or hate, and I know where my love of the game came from.

    After a particularly ill-advised bout of Ecstasy abuse, I found myself playing the game. There was a particular jump in a water-filled lake that I could not pull off, no matter how much I tried, because I was, well, destroyed at the time.

    Five hours later my friends woke up to find me still trying to complete that jump and laughing their asses off at me. The whole night I’d spent just trying to get that jump off, but I’d not noticed the time going because of the drugs and the fact that the game is amazing.

    Retro-gaming can be immense fun when you’re older. I just got myself FF8 and 9 and am having a blast with both, as well as having a rip on the original C&C and Red Alert. Fun games to play and even though they look graphically like shit, they’re still great games

  • Diva D

    I haven’t had a ton of experience with this, but I thought Shadow of the Colossus held up shockingly well, while Prince of Persia just felt boring. Part of the problem with PoP was that game mechanics have improved so much that playing a specific skill game like that just kind of underwhelmed me. Shadow of the Colossus is more about atmosphere, story, and overall design (with relatively simple mechanics), which I think helped it stand up to the problems of aging better.

  • Jake Stone

    I love how everyone is mistaking “good” graphics for “photorealistic” graphics. One of the finest video game experiences I have ever had was Wind Waker. The graphics were like playing a cartoon; irresistible style. Those graphics went beyond good, to great. And, I can still play that game today; a truly great video game is timeless.

  • Matt

    I wondered the same thing last week. I had never played Ocarina of Time, and I love the zelda games. I found an n64 and a bunch of games I’d never played before, and I’m absolutely loving Ocarina.

  • Reed

    I never played Ocarina of Time. my friends have been hassling me to play it, but I feel that games have been made since that have likely improved on the formula.

  • nbk978

    I’ve just finished Chrono Trigger on Super Nintendo a couple of days ago. I played it for the first time, because it’s kinda hard to get here in europe since there’s no PAL version. But a friend gave me her ntsc version with an adapter. I loved the game. Innovative story, adorable characters, great 2D graphics. Generally I think good 2D graphics back then are still good today, while old 3D graphics are hardly bearable.
    I also love retro style games like VVVVVV or the bit.trip games.

  • FNG

    agree, if some of the games feels dated it’s really hard to get into KOTOR is one of them for me. but the classics? man the classics are classic.

  • Charlie

    Fortunately, I played KOTOR before it was dated. Unfortunately, I know exactly what you mean. My 360 has spoiled me to the point where I can barely even play the games that I used to love anymore, like the Max Paynes or Grand Theft Autos. I never graphics would be so important to me, but here I am.

  • Shiki

    I agree that it is really hard to get into an old game, but some games are really legendary and worth it. For me games like MGS (the one for PS1) or Monkey Island were some of those games. Yeah, the graphich are pretty bad and all, but they are still great games.
    I think it is great that they are making reboots of old games (Monkey island 1 & 2), imagine if you had a game like Chrono Trigger reboot or KOTOR (hell yeah!) with HD graphics, voice acting, cool new cinematics and so on…. it would be a blast, wouldn’t it?!?!?!

  • Edgarska

    Good games never get old.
    Most of the best games I’ve played have been classic games, evn ones I hadn’t played before.