What ever happened to the long running video game?

Ok…I suspect some of us insane genuises cut our teeth blowing some serious time on such games as Defender (32 million, 7 hours) Sinistar (49 million and a permanent shiver of the words “BEWARE I LIVE!”),Pac Man, Asteroids, Frogger, and the speed gunner of its time Robotron 2049 (cool story, saw a kid try it and he could not advance past lvl 5 recently. I sat down and proceeded to blow my way through 20 something levels…young wiry reflexes my ass! ) Nowadays, there does not seem to be anything like it anymore. Does anyone else see this and know why? I mean you can say they want to run through the customers but I do not believe there is not a few out there kinda pissed to be shelling out a buck for a game that lasts 20 minutes and has no replay value.

Absolutely. I can’t get into the games today because they’re not intuitive, and I don’t feel like paying all that time and money to just learn and not have any fun.

Area 51 is a game that is just the opposite, though. Shoot the bad guys. Half an hour’s entertainment for a dollar. Except that it aggravates the hell out of the tendonitis in my hand. I had to give it up.

I miss the old game style too, Heath.

It seems all that’s out there now is the pseudo-judo games. I hate 'em!

The reasons I see behind the modern design:

  1. Cute is out. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Paperboy, etc. were cute games. Even Robotron 2084’s hero looked cute running between the evil robots. They all had a strategy that had to be discovered, which leads to my next reason,
  2. Dumb is in. How many IQ points does it take to slam every combo of buttons until the desired action happens. I’ve watch kids playing Mortal Kombat that I thought were having seizures.

While I could play several games for close to an hour (or to their programmed limit), I once played Spy Hunter (sit-down cabinet version) for close to three hours. I can still hear that jazzy theme drumming in my head 14 years later. :sunglasses:

I got one of the Midway’s Greatest Hits CDs for my Playstation. But sadly, without the original controllers the games are just not the same. (Marble Madness is too tough without the original trackball. [I once played it for two hours {multiple coins} and had a bruise around the perimeter of my right palm.])

I don’t care how cutsey it was, I want Mappy!!!

You can still play all those old video games, defender, pakman, etc etc, on your PC. Look around the net for an emulator called ‘MAME’ it has all the games in it. Usually it comes with 88 of those games. IE: MAME88x

Probably has to do with attention span.

How many kids today do you know that would continue to play the same game for 3+ hours.

They have to be doing something different all the time. They get bored easily.


One of my fondest childhood memories is of the day my dad came home in a U-Haul, and brought us a sit-in cabinet version of Star Wars. Vector graphics! Electronic speech! The words “Red 5 standing by” still make my pulse rate jump.

My high score is something over three million. Unfortunately I doubt I’ll ever duplicate it, because the display no longer works right and is practically impossible to replace. sigh…

Robotron Oh Yeah, Baby! Miss that one. Vanguard. Centipede. DigDug. Joust. Zaxxon. I could go on and on.

President of the Vernon Dent fan club.

“Dig Dug” was great.

My faves included “Armour Attack”, where you (and a second player) drove jeeps around a wrecked city, destroying tanks (and hiding from helicopters), and there was one game that I could go for hours with, some kind of 1930s gangster gunman thing, where if you did all the scenarios, you got one shot to snipe the big boss.

Also enjoyed the “Star Trek” video game.

Oh you guys are all old fogerties. Let me be Devil’s Advocate defend the current crop of video games.

Oh and Pac-Man was a high-IQ game? Donkey Kong? Paperboy? Both games were simplistic and repetitive as hell! Just don’t get hit by the bad stuff.
Avoid the ghosts/barrels/manhole covers long enough and you’ll advance to the next round. I know its charm for you was its simplicity but don’t pretend you were forging new neural pathways playing it.

These fighting games require a lot of creativity, strategy and improvisation. Different characters have different strengths and weknesses. And playing head to head with a human gives you new challenges. The main stategic move in Pac-Man is “Use the tunnel”.

The “decreased attention span” line is a sure sign of old-fart-dom.

Have you been to an arcade that has Mortal Kombat or a similar game?? Kids whittle away hours and hours playing one character on that game! Now I’m sure they’ll be criticized for not using that time to do their homework.

Hey, my personal favorites were Paperboy, Zaxxon and Dig Dug. Tapper was a stroke of genious. Especially getting to serve beer to aliens.

But times have changed, processors have improved. You have every right to wax nostalgic about wire-frame spaceships. But please, there’s some good stuff out there if you have the time and the quarters. Check out the XS arcade the next time you are in Times Square. Amazing stuff in there. Games can be a dollar or two to play, but don’t blame inflation on Street Fighter.

Otherwise have a moonpie and take a nap, Grampa.

OK, that was gratuitous. Sorry.

My eight-year-old boy has been playing the Gameboy version of Pokemon for about 9 months (in bits and pieces, gaw). As far as I can tell, it consists of roaming a maze and “battling” each pokemon as it appears. Big whoop. Stunningly boring, imho, but it has captured his attention (span) for an ungodly length of time.

Maybe because some people were pissed off that those games have no endings, and kept on going and going and going…

Pokemon is actually a collecting game. You’re suppose to win by collecting all the Pokemon in the game. :stuck_out_tongue: in my opinion. I agree with you, I can’t see what the kids enjoy in that game.

Finally, a subject I pretend to know something about. I have long maintained that there are fun games for any system you care to name, no matter how much computing power is behind them. On my computer now are copies of a pac-man clone, various Infocom games, Myst and Ultima Online. My Playstation get used a lot, but I still have fond memories of The Empire Strikes Back on my old Atari. A game’s playability has more to do with the creativity and immagination of the game maker than with it’s release date.

Ok… this is turning into a wrong forum discussion, so I’m going to spearhead the initiative to bring it back around :wink:

Why you can’t get them: Well, you can. MS packages a bunch of those old games these days with Windows (I’ve spent too much time playing Battle Zone - it beats Solitaire) and you can usually pick up a pack of four or six games on a CD at the local computer store for $19.95 or so. Which considering the size of these games, you should be able to get 300 squeezed onto a CD for $4.95, but that’s another story.

Why they don’t make them: Simple. They can’t compete. Someone drops $2100 on their new P-III 550MHz and they don’t want to look at Pac Man. They want to see real time adventure games with video added in and 10,000 controls and all the rest of it. No one cares about jumping barrels. At least, not enought to make it profitable to produce a game of that type and try to sell it against Armor Commander III: Nazi Invasion for $49.95. Probably one of the last real intutive games I’ve played was Doom. Easy enough… run around and shoot things.

My take: Well, I agree and I don’t. While I don’t exactly like the fact that you buy a game and it comes with a 600 page manual (or worse, comes with a 1.2meg DOC file you’re supposed to read) I have to admit that I’d rather play Civilization II than Paperboy most of the time. On the other hand, I love my C=64 emulator and a quick game of Paradroid is a nice release from the day. Yeah, I love the old game too, don’t get me wrong, but you couldn’t get me to pay $39.95 for Frogger.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

I loved those old games. I used to spend hours on the Atari churning through Frogger, Pitfall, and those others. Near where I live, an arcade still has Robotron, Tron, and a few other oldies, as well as the now-standard fighting games and shooters.

I don’t like fighting games like Mortal Kombat alot, but this is because I’m not very good at them. I really got into the Samurai Showdown games, though. For those who don’t know, SS was basically Mortal Kombat with swords. Pretty cool. I love gun games, though. Played Area 51 through a couple of times. I’ve got Virtua Cop 2 on my home computer, and have played The House of the Dead 1 & 2, along with most of the other shooters. I’ve never shot a real gun in my life, but if zombies invade, I can cap one between the eyes at 50 yards :D. One game, Gunblade, has a pseudo-machine-gun with realistic recoil. It’s a really nice feature, but by the end of a game you feel like you have Carpal-Tunel Syndrome. Definitely a game to be played in moderation.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

Games change with technology, the reason they were so simple back then was because that was the limit. Games today are basically the same, just more eye-candy. Duck hunt and Area 51 are both the same… you shoot a light gun, but Area 51 has better graphics and something of a story behind it. Todays Tekken will be some kids Pac-Man for the rest of us.

My mom used to be obsessed with Tetris. Ob - Sessed. All our high scores were by her.

Cutesy games: All I know is I miss Lemmings. I haven’t played it in some time and I want it back.

My favourite game concept would have to be the SimCity line.

And I’m 17, if that helps.

What I hate is, there are all these emulators and ROMs out there like Nesticle (for Nintendo games), etc., and yet you can get in trouble by downloading them. I mean, if Nintendo is serious about keeping people from playing its old, outdated games for free, why don’t they re-release them? Or is there some strange, unwritten rule that old games must be hoarded like dragon’s gold–the dragon can’t use them, but he won’t let you use them either!

I have started this thread elsewhere, but the best game I have ever played is Tribes.(if your teammates are good as well) I have been playing since pong and the atari vcs, and have had about every gaming system. The social aspect of Tribes (which is necessary to develop if you want to win) is what sets it apart.

I was in Santa Cruz last year and stumbled onto an arcade that was nothing less than a step back in time! Joust, Marble Madness, Star Wars, Tempest, Tron, Centipede, Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man… The list was non-ending.

I spoted an original B&W Asteroids (an amazing find) and was just getting ready to pump in a quarter when I heard a familier rythmic sound from the next console over. An honest-to-gosh, Space Invaders machine! Haven’t seen one of those in nearly 20 years! And it was apparently in perfect condition. If it wasn’t the original cabinet and controls, someone went to a lot of trouble to make it look like it was.

I played a few rounds of alien busting and realized a) how difficult and b)how uninteresting the game was. It was great for a nostolgic moment, but I’m glad we moved onto bigger and better things.

By bigger and better, I mean of course Joust and Spy Hunter. Now those were games!


I’m only 13, so I haven’t seen a lot of the “good old days” of videogaming at the time, but I do know that I’ve played the old games like Centipede, Asteroids, Tetris, and Battlezone, and I love them. They’re a lot better than some of the stuff they’re throwing at us nowadays.
Good news, though. A lot of the old games are still being remade. There are 3D playstation remakes of Asteroids, Frogger and Centipede (but, frankly, I’d rather play the original), and many many games with the same Tetris “feel”, such as Super Puzzle Fighter 2. Every time I go to an arcade sith SPF2 in it, I spend like $10 in quarters.
There’s also Tetrinet, which lets people play Tetris over the internet with up to 6 people. I play that all the time. Tetris is one of the games that will never die. It seems like there are 1,000 Tetris clones, and 10,000 Pacman clones. I even tried making a Battlezone-type game in QBasic (never finished it, though. :P)