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Qui-Gon Joe Feb 1, 2014

longhairmike wrote:

'93-'95 were the greatest years ever for games

Aside from a few completely brilliant games (Super Metroid and FF6 come to mind), I don't see '94 as being a particularly good year for my tastes.  If I had to choose a favorite year for video games, I think it'd be hard to choose between '98 and '01.

avatar! Feb 1, 2014

I didn't watch the whole thing (thank goodness), but yeah, that was hilarious in many ways. I will say it was a different era, before everything became "instantaneous" and back then kids did not have to be online 24/7 in order to enjoy life.

Idolores Feb 1, 2014

What a delightful blast to the past that was. My memories of the 90's are so vivid that I sometimes feel I could reach out and touch them.

I didn't find any others like it when I searched, sadly. I'd love to see a FFVII-era Press release for Sony.

Amazingu Feb 2, 2014

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

Aside from a few completely brilliant games (Super Metroid and FF6 come to mind), I don't see '94 as being a particularly good year for my tastes.  If I had to choose a favorite year for video games, I think it'd be hard to choose between '98 and '01.

That's interesting. What happened in '98 and '01?
I think Ocarina of Time was '98, wasn't it?

Ashley Winchester Feb 2, 2014

I don't know... I think I'd have to sit down and actually make some lists if I was trying to figure out what the best year in games was. It's much easier to gauge the overall works available for a console than a specific year in my case.

However, and I know this is slightly off topic, but 1993/1994 were monster years for (non-VGM) music as far as I remember. Green Day's Dookie, Bush's Sixteen Stone, Soundgarden's Superunknown, Offspring's Smash, the list goes on for the music released those two years. Simply crazy.

avatar! Feb 2, 2014

I personally think that in general there's no such a thing as "best year for"... whatever. Certainly not for video games. To be honest, there were a bunch of games released last year that I would love to play, but don't have time. Same thing for the year before, and probably more so this year. As much as I loved the SNES, great SNES games were released intermittently. Today, we are spoiled by having access to a lot of really excellent games.  I think most people confuse nostalgia and greatness.

Amazingu Feb 2, 2014

avatar! wrote:

I think most people confuse nostalgia and greatness.

I kind of agree with this.
If I had to pick excellent years in gaming, most of them would be from the past decade.

That's not to say that the games of old weren't genuinely great games though. And they still are.

Qui-Gon Joe Feb 3, 2014

Amazingu wrote:

That's interesting. What happened in '98 and '01?

Taken from a "mix tape" I did of music from games from each year (note that I don't love all of these, but they're pretty major):
1998: Xenogears, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Resident Evil 2, Pokemon Red/Blue, Banjo Kazooie, Mega Man Legends, Parasite Eve, Alundra, Grim Fandango, Shining Force III, F-Zero X, Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Metal Gear Solid

2001: Shadow Hearts, Final Fantasy X, Phantasy Star Online, Golden Sun, Bangai-O, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Silent Hill 2, Pikmin, Ico, Halo, Super Monkey Ball, Paper Mario, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Metal Gear Solid 2, Devil May Cry, Luigi's Mansion, and Super Smash Bros. Melee

GoldfishX Feb 3, 2014

avatar! wrote:

I personally think that in general there's no such a thing as "best year for"... whatever. Certainly not for video games. To be honest, there were a bunch of games released last year that I would love to play, but don't have time. Same thing for the year before, and probably more so this year. As much as I loved the SNES, great SNES games were released intermittently. Today, we are spoiled by having access to a lot of really excellent games.  I think most people confuse nostalgia and greatness.

I see your point and I'll just say I don't agree with it. I feel like a lot of games today are bloated to maximize the amount of hours they offer people, how many different button combinations they can cram in, how many cinemas they can squeeze in, how they need to hold your hand for the first couple areas, etc. That stuff just wears on me, it's totally wasted on me because I don't have time or interest in it. That was one of the best things about Super Mario 3D World I thought was brilliant...Stupid, meaningless plot out of the way in 2 minutes or less and BOOM! Gameplay city!

I have trouble going by year because I tended to buy a lot of games long after their release dates. For me personally, 1998 was probably the best overall year just because I had gotten the Playstation and games were finally becoming cheap enough used that I was able to catch up on SNES releases as well as PS releases (I spent a lot of time on the older Ridge Racers). I remember when Spyro 1 and Megaman Legends released on the same day. I had also gotten the Saturn for a cool $40 and by year end, I was playing arcade perfect versions of X-Men vs Street Fighter and Marvel vs Street Fighter. Plus, Marvel vs Capcom 1 launched in arcades this year and I really became part of the local fighting game scene. I was emptying my bank account on a regular basis in 1998.

Likewise, 1999-2000 was equally crazy. These were basically THE years for everything Dreamcast, many of the classic Playstation RPG's launched around this window, Neo Geo Pocket came and went (very underrated system to this day). There was just always something coming out that demanded attention during these 3 years, there really hasn't been anything like it since to me (and this taking the fact that I never bothered with the N64 or Gameboy into account, although I was always curious about the Pokemon games). I wasn't paying attention to the mainstream though and I underestimated how big Playstation 2 was with a lousy launch line-up. Most of the years blur together for me after that and not in the good kind of way.

I thought the classic NES games were spaced out rather well over time, ditto for SNES, so it's hard to choose individual years. In terms of impact, 1987 was pretty huge. Zelda 1, Metroid, Punch-Out, Gauntlet, Kid Icarus, Castlevania, Megaman, Wizards and Warriors, Burgertime. A lot of legends were born that year. If I were a teen with disposable income, I would have bought a ton of games that year. 1990 was the NES in top form: Mario 3, Ninja Gaiden II, River City Ransom, Double Dragon 2, Batman, Final Fantasy I, Super C among others. 1991 had the stupidly good SNES launch lineup (Castlevania IV, Final Fight, Super Mario World and Final Fantasy IV are all games I play regularly) and Sonic 1.

longhairmike Feb 3, 2014

when i think of greatness, the names of 2 great separate companies comes to mind. square AND enix.

Ashley Winchester Feb 3, 2014 (edited Feb 3, 2014)

This thread has got me thinking maybe I should go through my games and do a little research by year... but I can pretty much guarantee the PS1 years (like 1997-2001) probably had the highest concentration of titles I enjoyed. The PS1 currently leads the pack in my collection and well, not to make a biggest deal out of it but software prices were really favorable back then, especially when you factor in $20 Greatest Hits titles.

However, I do have to point out 1) I had to repurchase a LOT of games because of some bad roommates and 2) I've bought so many PS1 titles for the first time in the last five years that I obviously didn't experience when they came out. I've gotten some good deals on certain things but I'm sure people have noticed some of the retro stuff has climbed a bit price wise in recent years.

Edit:

GoldfishX wrote:

Final Fantasy IV

I don't know why but me and Final Fantasy IV have never gotten along for some reason. I know it's a great game but I'm just really passive and dismissive of it a lot of the time. It probably has to do with experiencing certain other games before it.

longhairmike Feb 3, 2014 (edited Feb 3, 2014)

SNES for me had the greatest games,, but the PS1 generation i had way more disposable income to get all the ones i wanted to play
and the internet was more widespread to get us all hyped up about each release. (although sony still sent out those ff7 preview vhs tapes)

Ashley Winchester Feb 3, 2014

longhairmike wrote:

SNES for me had the greatest games... (although sony still sent out those ff7 preview vhs tapes)

If we are talking about the SNES and VHS tapes I remember the VHS tape Nintendo sent my Jr. school with footage of the first Donkey Kong Country. Man, my friends and I were COMPLETELY blown away when we saw that game in action on movie night. Crazy thing is I never bought the original DKC until years later... although I did pick up DKC3 fwhen it came out for $70 bones because I couldn't find DKC2 (my fave and still my fave) for sale.

Still, the internet (and I guess Gamestop) has made finding games so easy. Back in the day you were totally at the mercy of what your local retailer stocked.

GoldfishX Feb 3, 2014

Ashley Winchester wrote:

Still, the internet (and I guess Gamestop) has made finding games so easy. Back in the day you were totally at the mercy of what your local retailer stocked.

Well for me, it was rentals. Every weekend, we'd rent games from the local video store. Of course, all the hot stuff was always out. I remember constantly trying to beat FFVI in one rental period because some asshole help erasing my save data, then finally I started looking for coins in the couch so I could buy the game and be done with renting it.

In a way, I'm thankful I went that route because I got exposure to a large number of games (some good, some bad). Games like Plok and Kendo Rage were great rentals, but no way I could justify dropping $60-$70 on them at the time. By 1997, I probably only owned maybe 10-12 SNES games. One reason for that was the used NES games at Funcoland were dirt cheap and I had really started to build up my NES library. I would actually save my lunch money and plan towards buying the next game. I remember coming home with Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2, Contra, Megaman 2 and Arkanoid for like $30 and feeling like I hit the jackpot.

But I also remember the shortages of NES games back in 1988. Zelda II and Super Mario 2 were actually quite tough to find and I never saw Megaman 2 available.

Ashley Winchester Feb 3, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

but no way I could justify dropping $60-$70 on them at the time.

Yeah, my SNES library was pretty limited growing up due to the costs as well. I know I got Super Metroid and Killer Instinct used... but I got most of my games as gifts (birthday and Christmas) so I never really knew the "actual" costs. Probably one of the most ironic ones was Street Fighter Alpha 2 on the SNES which actually cost MORE than the PS1 and Saturn editions despite being inferior to them. I still do have a soft spot for that version for some reason (e.g. nostalgia).

I remember getting the original Mega Man X for $20 new (I believe Capcom subcontracted a reprinting of this through a company called Majestico or something) and then the absolute pain of turning around a few months later and paying the full $70 for Mega Man X2. I never did find a copy of X3 during my youth. That would have to wait until about 2009 and even then I was damn lucky.

Amazingu Feb 3, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

Games like Plok and Kendo Rage were great rentals, but no way I could justify dropping $60-$70 on them at the time.

Oh man, I remember renting Plok and I loved it! I was absolutely blown away by how good the music was.
I did end up actually buying it, but not at full price.

Yeah, I guess we were all kids during those days, so obviously we could only buy very few games each year, and we had to save money for ages just to get one game.
It's a stark contrast with the present day, with games being cheaper than ever and us being old enough to actually afford a lot of them too.

avatar! Feb 4, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

I see your point and I'll just say I don't agree with it. I feel like a lot of games today are bloated to maximize the amount of hours they offer people, how many different button combinations they can cram in

Street Fighter 2

GoldfishX wrote:

how many cinemas they can squeeze in

Final Fantasy VII

GoldfishX wrote:

how they need to hold your hand for the first couple areas, etc.

Never played Dark Souls, have you?

GoldfishX wrote:

That stuff just wears on me, it's totally wasted on me because I don't have time or interest in it.

Maybe it is wasted on you. However, it's not wasted on others. Also, I think that Final Fantasy IV is one of those games that was great for the time, but has aged poorly. Other than the music, there's little good about FF IV today. Numerous random battles, grinding, and linearity make it great for nostalgia, but not much else. Honestly, games like Ni No Kuni remind me of FF IV in many ways (boy unexpectedly saves world, RPG, random encounters, magic, yadda yadda) and are no less "good". I can't say that Ni No Kuni will age well either, but at least it does NOT have random encounters, and I'm vastly enjoying that game right now. I doubt I would ever want to play it again, but it all comes down to personal preference, and I like to keep my mind open and enjoy some of the wonderful games that are being made today.

Ashley Winchester Feb 4, 2014

avatar! wrote:

but at least it does NOT have random encounters

Not to start a fight but why do people get SO bent out of shape over random encounters? Look, I'll be the first to admit I am still a little burned out on various J-RPG tropes (I played a ton of J-RPGs on the PS1 back in the day and it is hard for me to get one of them into my consoles today - even if I enjoyed it previously) but random encounters are far from being at the top of my personal annoyance list. The last game where random encounters really got in my nerves was Wild Arms 5, but that game has a slew of problems beyond it's incredibly odd encounter spike a few hours into the game. Developers have done a lot to counteract people's gripes with random encounters... hell, Bravely Default - from what I heard - even lets you adjust the encounter rate.

Ashley Winchester Feb 4, 2014 (edited Feb 4, 2014)

avatar! wrote:
GoldfishX wrote:

I see your point and I'll just say I don't agree with it. I feel like a lot of games today are bloated to maximize the amount of hours they offer people, how many different button combinations they can cram in

Street Fighter 2

It's a fighting game, it's going to have button combinations. Mortal Kombat's button link combos are more guilty - and then there are the burtalities. I think Street Fighter was always more about juggles anyway.

avatar! wrote:
GoldfishX wrote:

how many cinemas they can squeeze in

Final Fantasy VII

Not to be an jerk, but why would you even pick FFVII as a counter point when Xenosaga exists? FFVII is still like 95% gameplay.... Xenosaga on the other hand is a game where the gameplay seems like an inconvenience. I bought the Bonus DVD with the cutscenes and yeah, the game makes a better movie than a game. I tried to replay the game and I got absolutely nowhere before popping in my DVD seemed like a good idea.

avatar! wrote:

Also, I think that Final Fantasy IV is one of those games that was great for the time, but has aged poorly. Other than the music, there's little good about FF IV today. Numerous random battles, grinding, and linearity make it great for nostalgia, but not much else. Honestly, games like Ni No Kuni remind me of FF IV in many ways (boy unexpectedly saves world, RPG, random encounters, magic, yadda yadda) and are no less "good". I can't say that Ni No Kuni will age well either, but at least it does NOT have random encounters, and I'm vastly enjoying that game right now. I doubt I would ever want to play it again, but it all comes down to personal preference, and I like to keep my mind open and enjoy some of the wonderful games that are being made today.

I don't even like Final Fantasy IV that much but I think you're kind of missing the point. Correct me if I'm wrong but I didn't think FFIV was really celebrated for its gameplay - outside the invention of ATB. Wasn't IV's bigger draw increased focus on story line and character development? Cecil and his comrades story may seem pretty basic now but it was rather layered for 1991 if I'm not mistaken.

I will concede that one shouldn't just write off today's game because they are newer. However, I think you have to admit that as gaming has grown (and profits have become even more important because the technology has made it where you need like two hundred people to even make a game) some of the creativeness we saw back in the earlier eras has been weeded out. Many games today are based on what are seen as cravenly safe ideas. Oh wow, it's another black and brown shooter just like the last three hundred and fifty that are already out! Oh joy! Please wake me when people get sick of shooting things. I think this is what Goldfish is referring to and I pretty much feel the same way. Also keep in mind while one person may think newer Final Fantasy titles are/have evolved, some really see SquareEnix's latest works as a regression... it's pretty much a matter of personal interpretation which means there really is no correct viewpoint to this conversation.

GoldfishX Feb 4, 2014

I guess "button combinations" isn't really a good term for what I was trying to say. What I meant was when game designers try to design the most convoluted, annoying controls that try to use virtually every button on the pad. Coming from "A to jump, B to shoot, pad to move", I think a lot of game designers do less with more nowadays. One thing I can congratulate Nintendo on was dumbing down the the controls on a lot of games, for the better. At least for their non-motion sensing games. In any case, Street Fighter 2 stands out to me as having just the right amount of buttons (SNK games don't have enough, nor do the more recent 2D fighters that only use 4 main attack buttons). There's a reason six buttons became the standard for Capcom fighters.

FFVII didn't have much in the way of cinemas, they were pretty few and far between. I thought it was a good balance of gameplay and story overall. Granted, it was a pioneer in introducing long-winded cinemas into games and making them a more cinematic experience, but the game itself is well balanced. Don't really understand why you picked this particular game as an example.

And FFIV has something that many RPG's (and games in general, especially today) completely lack: good pacing. A lot of memorable events happen in the span of the 20 hours it takes to beat it, including a romance that is better and more believable than the ones in any of the more cinematic FF's (it also helps that Cecil is neither a whiny emo punk like Squall or a clueless douche like Tidus...I thought they got the balance just right with him). Lengthwise and pace-wise, it's perfect. A lot moreso than games where you're just getting to the good part 15-20 hours in. The only RPG I feel is better in this sense is Chrono Trigger. And I happen to find the battles extremely strategic and fun. The game is not afraid to flat out murder you later on if you're unprepared (although I give FFX credit for this too) and even when you're prepared, it's still damn close sometimes. That just wouldn't fly with todays soft RPG players. And remember, this was effectively a launch title for the SNES in 1991 and we got the bad version of it.

Never played Dark Souls, but I've played and seen a lot of games with obligatory training area right at the start that takes forever to complete.

Not gonna touch the random encounters thing, it depends how well they're implemented. FFIV and FFVI, as well as the Dragon Quest and Suikoden games had snappy battles, so they didn't wear on me as much as later Playstation games did. A good RPG should force you to manage resources to survive the random encounters, both the DQ games and Phantasy Star games did this extremely well. I liked Earthbound and Chrono Trigger for many reasons, but viewable encounters weren't really one of them.

Ashley Winchester Feb 4, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

FFVII didn't have much in the way of cinemas, they were pretty few and far between. I thought it was a good balance of gameplay and story overall. Granted, it was a pioneer in introducing long-winded cinemas into games and making them a more cinematic experience, but the game itself is well balanced. Don't really understand why you picked this particular game as an example.

I can't speak for Avatar, but I seem to remember that Nintendo's present back in the 64-bit era made a snide comment about FFVII's video playback when confronted about the Nintendo 64's lack of that ability and Squaresoft's defection. He pretty much went on a game play this, game play that rant. Joke's kind of on him because like you said FFVII really wasn't plastered full of FMV and retained the gameplay of previous FF titles. I will admit FFIX did have a lot of videos but even then they didn't detract from the gameplay.

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