You are always on my mind (an ode to retro game coverage)
June 25, 2010

I've been thinking a lot lately about retro game coverage and how much I like it. Current games are great. I really believe that. There's exciting new stuff nearly every week, and certainly I can't remember the last time that a month passed and I didn't see two or three titles that seemed like they'd make a nice addition to my growing collection of games. Yet for all of the strengths that gaming currently has, there's a part of me that can't forget retro gaming.

I haven't been playing a lot of retro games lately. The new games are coming so frequently that I can't, and even if they weren't, a lot of newer games are a great deal more time-consuming than the older stuff because gamers have complained for years that games need more content or they're not worth buying. Developers have responded with mountains of filler--some of it engaging, some not--and so the job of a reviewer is becoming much more difficult.

But I think I'm going to change my focus. I plan to keep playing and reviewing new games, sure, but I'm finding it increasingly easy to send out new games to staff and freelancers for them to cover instad of tackling them myself. There are reasons to continue in that direction, too. Most of the time when someone I meet online for the first time has heard of HonestGamers, he comments that he likes our retro coverage. When I see incoming links to the site on other forums and such, they're links to our retro coverage. Unless we review a hot new game with a controversial score (or review a major release ahead of most of our competition), we're not going to get a lot of links.

So I'm thinking that as the year continues, I'll play more retro stuff. I've been saying that for awhile and I might be lying when I say it now, but still... retro coverage is something I like, it's something I do reasonably well and it's something that helps the site a lot. Don't be surprised if you see me covering a lot of stuff that wasn't even released this year in the months ahead.

Besides, there are lots of great retro games that have no review coverage at all on the site, and in some cases lack any real coverage at all. They deserve better. Anyone plan to help me with that?

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True True - June 25, 2010 (10:44 PM)
I, too, have been on a retro kick as of late. I think it's partly due to the new Lunar coming out, as well as Record Of Agarest War playing like a souped up version of Phantasy Star III.

Though I can't guarantee I will spit out as many retro reviews as you or others, I promise that you will one day see Shining Force III Scenario 2 and 3 covered by the greatest Shining fan in existence.
zippdementia zippdementia - June 26, 2010 (02:34 AM)
This pretty much mirrors what I was saying in your quest for site feedback. I think Retro reviews are the one thing we do better and more "numerously" than anyone else and I think it would behoove us, even if not everyone likes it as a writing medium, to make Retro Reviews our real selling point and focus.
blood-omen blood-omen - June 28, 2010 (06:19 AM)
i can try and help with retro PC games.....
EmP EmP - June 28, 2010 (04:16 PM)
Shining Force III Scenario 2 and 3 covered by the greatest Shining fan in existence.

True lies, I cannot promise that.
sashanan sashanan - June 28, 2010 (05:00 PM)
I promise that you will one day see Shining Force III Scenario 2 and 3 covered by the greatest Shining fan in existence.

But I don't even have those yet!
pickhut pickhut - June 28, 2010 (07:27 PM)
I still want to review more Saturn games, but the latest game I planned to review a few months back kinda turned me away for the time-being. Damn you, Time Warner Interactive's Virtua Racing!

Though, I do find it funny that I've reviewed so many Saturn games, that whenever I go to the Saturn section, there's like a 70% chance that one of my reviews appear in the corner back.
EmP EmP - June 28, 2010 (07:35 PM)
I also want you to do more Saturn games.

I'd like to do more myself, but my Saturn passed away, robbing me of Dark Savior, Shining Force III and Winter Heat. Maybe it's time to start playing with an emu.
True True - June 29, 2010 (07:47 AM)
Shining Force III Scenario 2 and 3 covered by the greatest Shining fan in existence.

True lies, I cannot promise that.


Is that a challenge?
EmP EmP - June 29, 2010 (05:35 PM)
Sure.

First one to cover all the Shining games wins.

GO!
sashanan sashanan - June 29, 2010 (06:25 PM)
*stretches*

I have no fear. I'm sure I'll have played through the hard to get Shining Forces by the time you guys get around to reviewing Neo. And Exa. And Tears. And God knows what else has come since.

Especially since we're all upstanding reviewing folk here who wouldn't dream of reviewing a game we haven't actually played through. That requirement alone should delay your Neo reviews by some years.
True True - July 01, 2010 (08:19 PM)
I have no fear. I'm sure I'll have played through the hard to get Shining Forces by the time you guys get around to reviewing Neo. And Exa. And Tears. And God knows what else has come since.

Especially since we're all upstanding reviewing folk here who wouldn't dream of reviewing a game we haven't actually played through. That requirement alone should delay your Neo reviews by some years.

I have Neo...and Exa and Tears. I unfortunately am much further than either of you, though I was serious about the challenge. I think it would be fun, and help us put up some more retro reviews.
aschultz aschultz - July 01, 2010 (08:52 PM)
Y'call that retro? Hmmph!

Seriously--I have a lot of games I've thought about re-reviewing, or re-writing. I have a lot of new perspectives, and I have different standards for my writing than before, and I've replayed some games several times and noticed neat new stuff each time. Other writing gets in the way, though.

Games from the 80s work for me because they had to focus on making certain things good--or else--and the surviving, well-remembered ones did. They're like the 120 page book people say isn't big enough to be important as that 600 page one.

People knew they could only do so much with 64k/128k and frequently they got very creative. They were sort of forced to focus on the good stuff. People still can do that, but the tempation to slap on bells and whistles is greater. Not that it wasn't there. '80s games' attempts to dazzle now fizzle. Heck, they fizzled back in the '90s.

I also have to admit to total snobbery here--when I see a game about morals, I am sure Ultima IV is way, way better. They didn't have the disk space to make any big statements--but they still made something that worked, elegantly, and if I don't have time to play the game, I can still picture my way playing through it, or how the eight virtues work, or so forth.

But perhaps most importantly you really needed only a few ideas to develop a game--you didn't have to make some terribly tangled storyline and have people work through it for 60hrs+, and they didn't need all that time to replay it.

And I've managed to look through a lot of fun retro games--it's been a year since I played Robot Odyssey, but that's an example of a game I missed, heard about, and got down to playing--and enjoyed it. (Also, I enjoyed the ability to emulate it, or it might have been much harder.) Haven't found any lately, though.

So maybe it is time I stop giggling unprovoked at stuff like this and move into the 90s for new games that could be fun retro.

Still, I can't really speak against today's games, other than to say I'm unimpressed by the plots I've read in various guides etc. & none seem to stack up to my favorites.
EmP EmP - July 01, 2010 (08:56 PM)
I'm just as serious. I've played SFII pt I & II, so I'm one step further already. I also have the best SitD review in the world, so anything you write on that title will be second rate at best.

I could also easilly rack up 2,000 words on the whole Working Designs balls up of Shining Wisdom and how SEGA Europe ensured that the best version of that game in English was PAL.
True True - July 01, 2010 (09:18 PM)
Why do you have to bring the mean out of me, Emp, and make me compare sizes with you?

I have Shining Force I, Shining Force II, Shining Force: The Resurrection of Dark Dragon, Shining Force III Scenario one, Neo, Tears, Exa, Shining The Holy Ark, and before the Tournament is over--hopefully--Shining Force III Scenario 2 and 3.

Just secede. It will make your life so much easier.
EmP EmP - July 01, 2010 (09:30 PM)
So you don't have Shining Wisdom, either Shining Soul, Shining Feather or the Gaidens?

Whoops. I do. This would be a cakewalk.
darkstarripclaw darkstarripclaw - July 14, 2010 (09:28 PM)
I have been doing some retro FAQs (Gameboy stuff), so I may as well bang out some reviews to go along side.

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