Poll Question 049 – Which do you prefer: Old Classics or Latest Releases?

21st September 2007

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3

Before you go rushing off voting for the Latest Releases, take some time to think about it.

Read the rest of the post and allow me to present both sides of the argument.

Which do you prefer: Old Classics or Latest Releases?

Even Playing Field

To begin with we need to try and make things a little fairer. We should discount features like improved graphical appearance and the inclusion of Physics engines.

Latest Releases

Let’s start with the Latest Releases. Games like Half-Life 2, Bioshock and FarCry have really brought the genre of Sci-Fi games into a new era. Gone are the simple plot lines and almost insulting objectives. The game world we play in is now much more complicated and choices are never as simple as we hoped.

The ability to free roam is another important aspect, perhaps the most important. The Old Classics always felt that you were in a corridor and shot whatever was in front of you. In comparison Old Classics hardly seem a step up from paddle tennis.

Let’s face facts. The Old Classics were simply exciting at the time because they were better than anything else available at the time. Not because they are inherently “Classic”!

Old Classics

Well, if you have just read the above then maybe it’s easy to believe that the Old Classics were not that special but there’s more to it than that. These games, and their makers, created a genre from nothing. Of course the graphics have improved but has anything else? Are the Latest Releases any more immersive than Unreal or Half-Life? I don’t believe so. Having more features doesn’t make a game better, just more complicated. Perhaps the current makers of games feel they simply have to add more to get attention.

We need to look at the essence of first person shooter gaming and that is feeling the tension and motivation of moving around in a world and shooting your way out. I’ve mentioned Unreal already and a good comparison would be Unreal 2, which in my humble opinion was a completely wasted opportunity. At no point did I feel the emotions I felt in the first game. Yes, it was beautiful but that’s not enough.

The Old Classics, had, and still have, a simplicity that beauty cannot replace. Graphics can’t replace fun.

Think carefully before you vote!


  1. When I was looking for a suitable image for this poll question I found this site:
    *chilli*technology* and I had obviously been thinking about the same thing!

    I also found this image of a Doom movie concept. It’s pretty cool. Almost looks like something from an Unreal 3 engine promo shot.

  2. zeroth404

    Games since about 2000 have been utter crap.There were less gamers in the 90s than there are today. games today are made to cater to the countless pigs that can get their fix on any piece of crap. People no longer care about the experience, they just want to waste their time.

    No, I am not a gamer. That would imply I sit around all day playing games — there aren’t enough games for that.

  3. zeroth404

    Phillip, that Doom movie concept picture — I’ve seen it before, but it more resembles a quake shambler than anything out of doom.

  4. Luke L

    Discounting all the advanced made in terms of technology between the old and new, I think I’d have to say the new games that are coming out. Nowadays games come with proper stories, decent characters and other things, whereas the older games were merely; get key, open door, kill monsters.

  5. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    I’ll have to pick old classics, since I like to go back and pick up the good stuff now and then. FPS such as Strife, Blood or Redneck Rampage were great, Adventure-FPS such as Realms of the Hauntings (haven’t got far though) which is again good or FPRPG like Daggerfall all have their charms.

    These days a lot of games are dumbed down for the consoles, games such as Oblivion for example which I never found nearly as good as Morrowind. Or the obvious one people complain about from Deus Ex to DX:IW (latter I haven’t played) or even System Shock 2 to BioShock (which I’m sick of hearing, though wish to play it myself – both games)

    [/rant] =X

  6. Kerberos158

    Oh man I really love the classics. I remembe the 1st time I played Half Life 1.. Man that was astonishing. I have been also on Doom 1, I used to play a Floppy version of it, in diskette, with my father… Man, those were good times, I just pressed Ctrl to shoot :)! I grew up in the middle of games, and nothing made nowadays will replace tha fun I had while playing games in the 90’s and the 1st time I saw Half Life1, Counter-Srike 1.5, Unreal aswell. All of them are marked in my memory and no games such as Half Life 2, FarCry and what-have-you in complexity will replace them inside deep my memory. Never. Ever.

  7. I won’t vote it’s really 50/50 in my case…

  8. AI

    Face it weather you like ’em or not, without the “old classics” I dought you would have the “new stuff” ya got now! I have stored lots of them (old stuff) PC wise, back to “Doom” ect. and lots of DOS games also! I enjoyed ’em way back and still do! I like the free roaming you can do with the new games like HL2,Far Cry and others, also with “no clip” to explore everywhere else! All this new stuff means I have to better my computer to handle the load, so far so good. So as far as I’m concerned the old ones will not die out and the new ones keep getting better!
    BTW “OINK”

  9. JohnXmas

    Original Quake, Doom, Myst or Unreal, to name a few, still stand installed on my rig. I enjoy re-run them with pristine sensations, even after all that time. Meanwhile a lot of recent stuff loses its juice very soon. New games I don’t even finish and quickly erase their glittering heap of gigs… Believe me, most of recent games tend to vanish from my memories as fast as they do from my hard disk!

    New games very often just revamp what was already done years ago. Add a lot of wow factor, eye candy and top notch technology to good old ideas and you’ll get barely 90% of today’s production…

    In early era of computer gaming, design was very simplistic, partly due to low specs machines and display techniques. It was a much better field to expand developers and players most powerful addictive engine: imagination, the best “free roam” feature ever!

  10. Ezequielhl

    Old classics of course!

    I can’t say more things about why in any particularity: you all just named it. I still play HL, checking here to grab the mods of HL1. I purchased all Quake 1 and 2 saga with expansions, and those games are funnier and more difficult than the actual games!

  11. Manual_Monaro

    I think of it like this…

    Pre-2000, you pretty much had a majority of classics and “good games’. Every game released pretty much broke the ground with every aspect of a game. (See Half-Life for, what I think, is the best example.)

    Now, it’s post-2000. It pretty much screams “generic” upon every turn. Nothing much comes out as “new” or “groundbreaking” (Bar the graphics… But that’s not what games are about!) But then, every now and again, you get a masterpiece or something that JUST IS ground-breaking. (See Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Far Cry (I’ll admit I didn’t like Far Cry, though. Didn’t even finish.) as good examples.

    But that’s just my take on it.

    After some hard thinking…

    I’m with Stef. 50/50, so I’m not voting. Thing is, you’ve got the old classics, which have SO much charm, (I like to play Half-Life without the Hi-Def pack on!) that “classic-feel” gameplay, the simple stories (Bar Half-Life, System Shock 2, Deus Ex and a few others.) and even that retro feel.

    They also provide us with amazing “gaming moments’. Nobody can forget Half-Life’s opening sequence. (Except me… I played Half-Life 2 first… Shame on me! No wait, I lie! I played the Uplink demo when I was very young and hated it! But now I’ve played HL2 and afterwards HL1 and the expansions and haven’t looked back!)

    But then you have the new releases. You have the masterpieces. The ground-breakers. The shining examples of video gaming that stick out above the trash and “generic-ness’. These things challenge you in new ways but give you new ways to face it!

    And that’s my look on the subject.

    I will have to say I’ve contradicted myself a bit, though. I play these so-called “generic” games and I’ve actually gone on to like some of them! (E.g. I liked both Star Trek: Elite Force games, despite the sequel being considered mostly trash. I also liked Unreal 2.) But everyone has their own selection of “games your supposed to hate, but don’t’!

    Well, at least they should… Shouldn’t they?

  12. Old Classics! Hussars!

    Doom. Classic, II and, Ultimate. I still love to charge around on Ultraviolence brandishing the Super Shotgun. And, how could you forget the BFG? Aaah, s**t.

    Unreal. And, Return to Na Pali. Who can’t resist playing Messiah to an alien race? Love the inventive arsenal, Splurge Gun, Flak Launcher… Who muttered Gravity Gun? Still as un-nerving and tough as it ever was on Unreal.

    Half Life. Opposing Forces, Blue Shift, countless player mods (alright 436). Inventive opponents. Great Scenario. Gordon. The HEV Mark IV. Give it to me hard, baby.

    Quake II. Die Strogg die! They picked on the wrong Space Marine. Some truly mean adversaries roam the levels. Don’t give me any of that it ain’t Quake guff.

    Still great, involving, inventive, engrossing gameplay after all these years. Plus, it’s all either free or dockside cheap and, you don’t have to own a PC that NASA would be proud of to play.

  13. Tetzlaff

    “The ability to free roam is another important aspect, perhaps the most important. The Old Classics always felt that you were in a corridor and shot whatever was in front of you.”

    This is not true. The games I would count as “Old Classics”, such as Doom1/2, Quake1-2 or Unreal1, were much less linear then today’s FPS. Just look at the map layouts, there are alternative paths, you can chose freely where to go first, level areas you can roam arround, lots of additional secret areas to discover and so on.

    FPS games started to get extremely linear with games like Soldier of Fortune and Unreal2, and this trend continues until today.

  14. retro

    I do love the classics.

  15. dr33v3r

    old classics are what all the new games are based off of. without doom, there wouldnt be any good fps games. without quake, there would be no 3d models. classics are what created all this new crap people are playing 😉

  16. I tend to like the old classics better. Sure the newer stuff has nice features, but the old classics created some incredible stuff with some very limited resources and they pushed the limits of what the game engine they had could accomplish. Now game engines provide incredible resources, but I’m not seeing even HALF the level of creativity as I did with the old classics.

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