The PC, a place where games never age
On last week's podcast master producer, Andy Bauman, asked if I thought StarCraft II was going to feel a bit antiquated after all these years. No way, if anything, the PC is the last bastion for oddballs and old school designs to not only exist, but thrive.
The way I see it, we're a blessed bunch here on the PC because there's no such thing as out-of-style. Frankly, there's too damn many of us, and we demand variety. When we start to identify certain aspects of a game as out-dated, that is, should no longer be used, we start limiting what we think games ought to be, and devalue the medium as a whole. Even if we're tired of the tedious base building in Command & Conquer (whole sites are still committed to the game), surely we can't deny the hours of enjoyment we've drawn from the series.
For a recent Game Club, the crew and I jumped into Uplink, a 2001 release that looks like something out of 1995. The entire game is played on a sparse pseudo-desktop, and all of your interactions are either clicking icons or filling in text. It's hardly cutting edge in presentation, but what it lacks in gloss, it makes up for with timeless design and a unique style that's yet to be matched. And that's just it--on the PC, conventions can't become antiquated--for every one of us that's repulsed by the tapioca C&C shot above, there's another that wants to marry it.
Okay, so some designs are just bad, and I'll be the last to argue they're not (I'm looking at you every escort mission ever), but old designs can still be good designs, even if we're tired of them. Believe me, if it's a good design, you'll eventually be back no matter how over-played it may seem; hence the remake madness we've witnessed and mostly enjoyed over the last few years. What I'm saying is, it takes all kinds, and we're lucky enough to be on a platform that permits them. So the next time you're ready to toss a game you'll never play again, take a step back and try to appreciate it for what it was. Be a curator and really figure what made that game so great for you in the first place, then toss it--it'll be awhile before you're ready to see that crap again.