Some time ago, I found this great story, which tells the tale of a father playing video games with his kids, and how each generation of gamers will have their own perceptions as to what is a good game to them. Each generation of gamers will have their own classics and standards that they use, and the games that defined said standards.
The dictionary defines â€œclassicâ€ as:
1. of the first or highest quality, class, or rank,
2. serving as a standard, model, or guide,
3. of or adhering to an established set of artistic or scientific standards or methods
I started gaming during the SNES and Genesis days, when side scrolling beat em ups was the big thing, and those have really had an impact on me. Not only that, but 2D games and art in general. Those games are the â€œclassicsâ€ for me. Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage, Shinobi III, Final Fantasy VI, Yoshi“s Island, and many more are the games that left a strong impact on me. Because of those games, I very much love the game Viewtiful Joe, and am glad that 2D has made its come back, such as Dragon“s Crown. While games have become more complex and much more expensive to develop, I have also found that there are times where I really like the simplicity of games like Streets of Rage, and Double Dragon. I don“t need the complexities of today's standards to have fun, or to be immersed in the game.
...and the Present
"The gap between my gaming knowledge and that my of sons“ is vast. My oldest son recently asked me what a Dreamcast is. My kids don“t really know why Mike Tyson“s Punch Out!! is significant in gaming history.â€
Just like how VHS tapes are no longer around, some people nowadays don“t know what a Dreamcast is. Time and technology keeps moving forward. The new generation is out now. The Playstation 2 is 2 generations ago, and is considered old. Some PS2, Xbox and Gamecube titles are considered â€œclassicsâ€ now, even if they weren“t franchise starters. I consider RPGs like Final Fantasy VI and Lufia II to be classics, as they were my early exposures to RPGs. Final Fantasy VI showed a rag tag team with no â€œtrueâ€ main character, while Lufia II took a simple story, made it great, and combined it with a powerful, yet sad ending. When will Final Fantasy X be considered a classic, and to whom? Final Fantasy X already has an HD remake.
For better or for worse (ok, mostly better), gaming is being taken seriously on various fronts: Narrative, cinematography, voice acting, elements that were only considered for certain types of games during the early life of gaming. Now almost every game has movie like cutscenes. The option to use 2D or 3D is available, thus providing more flexibility in choices. It“s astounding how much the gaming industry has grown in such a short time. Everyone is going to have his or her own opinion on what makes a game so great. It is all a matter of timing. Is Halo a classic, or Goldeneye on N64? I can“t really give you the answer to that, but both are certainly some fun games that set their own standards.
So I guess the author of the piece was right. Everyone will have their own standards as to what is a classic to them, because there is just so much variety now. The newer generation of gamers also has history on their side to make an impact on them as well as the new generation of games. They (everyone does actually) have the option of playing the new games and going back to see how things started. Good games will always come back and stand out through the test of time.
My first RPG, and an amazing one.