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What Defines A Classic, and Why Does That Matter?



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 “classic†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 “classics†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.




The Past...




...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 “classics†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 “true†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.

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I think the last summary sums it up. Each person has their own definition of a classic even if their are a few games most seem to agree are classic. Like Super Mario Bros. Who dares argue that? xD


Also to be fair when the Dreamcast was out I didn't know what it was either, I think that's a bad example. My cousins where die hard otakus at the time and I wasn't very much in to it besides Sailor Moon. So I had no idea what a dreamcast was and why they would boy it over  PS2.


I wonder what ever happened to the Dreamcast... and their pokemon cards, and their dbz collection. I think they sold it all but darn they had good stuff lol.

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Personally, I believe classic is all relative to a single gamer's personal opinion and that is true to the definition as well.


From my personal point of view and experience, Final Fantasy VII is a classic. For me it set the standard for excellence in games. It's clear how FFX or FFVI could have done that for others too though and thus is a classic to them.

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To me a classic means it will still be good 100 years from now. Something timeless basically.

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Agreed with T and K (Tyler and Kezins) about FFVII being a classic because it was not just my first ever FF game I've played, but my favorite in the series. Someone on here said it was overrated. . .get out lol. It wasn't just the gameplay and graphics, but the story of it got me into it. Like I mentioned in my Meet the Podunkers, I talked about how it affected me and stuff. It matters to me because it made me what I am today as a gamer and being a JRPG fan.

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I think looking back as a person who didn't start with FFVII, those fans (myself included) say it's overrated. Simply put, I didn't enjoy it as much as I did FFVI, which was my first Final Fantasy title, and what got me into JRPGs. It's how I started exploring RPGs in general.


Thanks for reading and commenting!

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My first Final Fantasy was II (SNES)..now called IV here..also a classic. One thing I'd say too is a classic burns into your memory. I can go years without playing IV and still remember just about everything. Most game memories will fade with time.


7 was a classic because they got the fan to permanently invest in the characters on a personal level. Few games ever achieve that. I don't care about the cheese trend graphics in that game or the funny music. The story was a personal experience. I'd like to have Roger Ebert play FF7 and tell me while hooked up to a lie detector that it wasn't art like movies are. Lol

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It's funny seeing this conversation regarding what is a classic. While there are certain games we can all say are a classic (FFVII being the specific case), the impact varies from one person to another.

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