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Gordon Bennett
15-02-10, 06:48
I was just thinking, as much as we like to remember the classics with rose-tinted spectacles, there is another side to nostalgia.

The awful games. The disappointing arcade conversions, shoddy licenced games, the bad ideas gone hideously awry. It's always a good bit of fun to tear them apart. Retro Gamer does an occasional Retro Shamer article, but it isn't nearly enough for my tastes.

At first, I thought it might be interesting to hear a sort of bottom ten. Then I thought, you are pretty booked, and the top ten should be saved for the good ones.

What I would like to hear is a section in which each presenter dredges up something to discuss. Obviously in order to keep it interesting, they shouldn't be the obvious choices. Atari 2600 Pac-Man and ET have been done to death. Plus those of us in the forums could suggest our own digital nightmares to share.

Besides, I always thought that ET deserved a bit better. It was a very ambitious game done in a short time with limited hardware, and Atari's legendary dumping of the game in the desert was more due to overproduction than it was to quality.

SubaruBrat
15-02-10, 07:09
We have something right along those lines in the RGRUP laboratory!

Edwards80
16-02-10, 12:32
Retro Gamer magazine do a similar section called "Retro Shamer"

It's usually quite an entertaining read. They covered Rise of the Robots this month. I was a victim of the hype for that game and it ate my pocket money :(

Look forward to hearing the RGRUP section!

SubaruBrat
16-02-10, 06:07
I liked Rise of the Robots, the way that you worked up from working robots like a forklift to combat models was cool. The cut scenes were good and the in game graphics were impressive for the day. I suppose the weakness was the gameplay, I stopped playing because I just couldn't advance past a certain point. I probably attributed it to my game talent rather than the game, perhaps I was wrong?

BydoEmpire73
17-02-10, 03:58
The worst game I own is Data Age's Airlock. It's truly awful to look at and to play: non-animated "character" graphic (literally a box with two pixels for non-moving legs and arms), one boring screen for you to get to the top of, "triangle jump" gameplay... I'm not sure it has any redeeming qualities other than the animated title screen. I'm glad I own it, just because it's so bad, but wow...

For what it's worth, I'm not a big fan of 2600 ET, but I always enjoyed 2600 Pac Man.

miner2049er
17-02-10, 09:53
.... I always enjoyed 2600 Pac Man.

Kindly tell my co-hosts how good it was as whatever I have to say about it falls on deaf ears. ;)

Edwards80
17-02-10, 10:41
I probably attributed it to my game talent rather than the game, perhaps I was wrong?

Which platform did you try it on?

I can only vouch for the Amiga and SNES versions. Both of which looked pretty at the time (although far from what the pre-release screen shots promised), but the gameplay was clunky and stopped the fun.

The difficulty did increase exponentially. It was frustrating to play even the easy opponents, so i'm sure a few joysticks got "over-waggled" at the frustration of the later ones.

In short, I wouldn't worry about your gaming talent :D

5% review is available here http://amr.abime.net/review_1662

SubaruBrat
17-02-10, 07:19
It was on the PC. I don't recall how I had it spec'ed out but I was very into PC performance in those days so it would have been on the high end of what was available.

bill_loguidice
17-02-10, 08:36
I remember going for a job interview at Absolute in the ~1995 time frame and they were working on Rise of the Robots 2. I asked them if they were going to fix the gameplay issues from the first game and the guy I was speaking to insisted that they were. They didn't. Pure cash in of a game that was a surprising success probably because it was ported to nearly every platform of the day and had pretty pictures (at least when not in motion).

leathco
17-02-10, 08:52
I also think the 2600 versions of pacman and et are decent. Et no one took the time to learn how to play, it's surprisingly deep for a quickly made 2600 game. Pacman entertained me a lot as a child. It may not be arcade perfect but it was still fun to play.

As a collector of console carts that also plays everything I buy, a LOT of early sports games were crap. Especially on the nes and early in the genisis life. Oddly enough, the sports games on nes I enjoy are not your standard stuff, but games like klash ball and basewars. On the 16 bit side I liked NBA jam and an early snes baseball game, the name escapes me but for baseball it was fun as hell.

Also I don't like legend of Kage but I like demon sword. How's that for odd.

bill_loguidice
17-02-10, 08:58
I also think the 2600 versions of pacman and et are decent. Et no one took the time to learn how to play, it's surprisingly deep for a quickly made 2600 game. Pacman entertained me a lot as a child. It may not be arcade perfect but it was still fun to play.

Pac-Man is playable to be sure, but it doesn't feel like Pac-Man, and even Ms. Pac-Man on the 2600 proved that a much, much better job could have been done given more dev time. Certain Atari management was obviously egotistical enough to assume that licenses, be it Pac-Man or ET, would be enough to unleash any old crap on the public. Sometimes it is, but not when such products are so amazingly important in so many ways, particularly then, particularly for the platform.

Also, I find it hard to blame gamers for ET's failings. Sure, its awfulness and role in the crash have been greatly exaggerated over the years, but the pit mechanic is very touchy and very broken. A major frustrating gameplay element is tough for even stellar gameplay otherwise to overcome, let alone arguably mediocre gameplay otherwise.

leathco
17-02-10, 09:33
yes pacman could have been done better, I just mentioned as a kid it entertained me. On it's own it's not a bad game, just not the pacman we know and love.

The pits in et never gave me trouble. Right before you flat out of one hold left or right on the controller ( opposite direction from the side you fell in ). You should be able to come out without any problem. I think most people let go right when they come out, which makes them fall back in.

Im not saying either game is exceptional, just that they get a bum rap for being horrible when there are much worse games on the 2600. Like Indiana jones. I could never figure it out as a kid. Foe the first two years I had it I thought you just used one control stick, not two. I never had a manual for the game so I had no clue.

I guess one mans crap is another treasure.


Pac-Man is playable to be sure, but it doesn't feel like Pac-Man, and even Ms. Pac-Man on the 2600 proved that a much, much better job could have been done given more dev time. Certain Atari management was obviously egotistical enough to assume that licenses, be it Pac-Man or ET, would be enough to unleash any old crap on the public. Sometimes it is, but not when such products are so amazingly important in so many ways, particularly then, particularly for the platform.

Also, I find it hard to blame gamers for ET's failings. Sure, its awfulness and role in the crash have been greatly exaggerated over the years, but the pit mechanic is very touchy and very broken. A major frustrating gameplay element is tough for even stellar gameplay otherwise to overcome, let alone arguably mediocre gameplay otherwise.

bill_loguidice
17-02-10, 09:39
Exactly about the tastes thing, because I consider Raiders of the Lost Ark pretty good. It's a surprisingly sophisticated concept for the time, and it certainly hampered your appreciation not having a manual. That's different though then Pac-Man and ET being below average.

Anyway, it's tough to say what entertained us as kids meant it was any good. Activision's Laser Blast entertained me as a kid, but there's no denying it's repetitive and heavily reliant on patterns (to the point where the score is easy to roll over), meaning - to me anyway - it qualifies as not a good game.

leathco
17-02-10, 09:50
I have odd tastes too, keep that in mind. I love Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy on the nes, though lots hate them cause of the required level grinding. But I also liked the universally hated mytic quest on the snes.


Exactly about the tastes thing, because I consider Raiders of the Lost Ark pretty good. It's a surprisingly sophisticated concept for the time, and it certainly hampered your appreciation not having a manual. That's different though then Pac-Man and ET being below average.

Anyway, it's tough to say what entertained us as kids meant it was any good. Activision's Laser Blast entertained me as a kid, but there's no denying it's repetitive and heavily reliant on patterns (to the point where the score is easy to roll over), meaning - to me anyway - it qualifies as not a good game.

bill_loguidice
17-02-10, 09:54
Indeed, and I consider most Eastern console RPGs far inferior to classic Western computer RPGs. The original Final Fantasy's random battles are maddening and certainly a broken game mechanic for my money. Otherwise, it was a solid clone of classic computer RPGs.

I do think though - outside of personal preference - good or bad gameplay mechanics are fairly universal concepts.

Duke.Togo
18-02-10, 04:37
I think some game mechanics are just preferred by different players. I've always been a JRPG fan, grinding and random encounters included. Sometimes I think RPG isn't exactly the right label for these games, as there isn't much role-playing to be had. They are a tightly controlled storyline, and I value the level grind mechanic as it allows you to progress through the story even with lack of skill. Boss too tough, no problem, grind some more and you're done. By the end of the game your characters have incredible powers, which is fantastic becuase you usually end up killing a god or two.

WRPGs on the other hand tend to give that open ended role playing experience, and sometimes they offer so much freedom as to leave me scratching my head as to what the heck I should do, or if I should even try to fight that thing in the distance. A lot of people like these, but it's just not generally for me.

Oh, and after listening to the latest roundup, I liked Donkey Kong on the VCS. Raiders was good too. I never actaully beat it, although I did understand the steps required to do so eventually. Very neat concept for the time!