PSOne Gaming

General purpose discussion about gaming and emulation.
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PSOne Gaming

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:50 am

I recently spent some time going back through some old Playstation games I remember liking. I never actually had a Playstation; I skipped that whole generation of consoles, as I was largely unenthusiastic about the big shift to 3D.

(Well, I take that back. I did own a Saturn well after the fact, but sold it when I discovered how hard it was to get the games I actually wanted. And I did inherit a Playstation in 2004, from a college roommate who moved away and abandoned it. I think I sold it to someone here, in fact).

Anyway.

Those of you who know me (and my long rants, which I fear this is probably turning into) know I'm a library builder; I like having a media archive so I can come back to things I enjoyed, and share them with friends/family. I skipped the Playstation/Saturn/N64 generation, because while there were a few standout titles, it largely felt like five long years of shovelware hell. And as I'm filling in the remaining gaps in my gaming library, I'm finding very little from that generation that I actually want to keep.

I was playing through a few games I remember enjoying for the system: Medievil, Symphony of the Night, Einhander, Metal Gear Solid, Spyro, and Grandia. And honestly, I was struck by just how much even most of these "good" games don't hold up.

Metal Gear Solid is still great, but I also have the revamped version for GameCube and it is decidedly better. Spyro and Medievil both feel clunky and unpolished, and while I remember having fun with them at my cousin's house in high school, they just don't hold up. The Spyro franchise has since turned to garbage, and even the first (and supposedly best) game feels like a relic. Medievil is floaty and inaccurate, and largely feels like an early alpha build of one of the (much better) Maximo games.

The sprite art in Grandia is very nice, but the 3D is archaic and the battle system pales in comparison the Grandia 2 and 3. Einhander held up, but I'd have to say it's the only one in the bunch to do so without any caveats.

Even my personal favorite, Symphony, showed its age in some respects. After so much time with the GBA and then DS iterations of the series, I'd forgotten how clunky SotN's submenus were. Also: having to equip a single-use item (such as food) to a hand instead of your weapon or shield, then use the item to throw it on the floor, then walk into it to actually use it...wow. I still do love this game, and it's probably the only PSOne game out of the system's entire library that I would still consider a must-have for my library. Maybe the constant tweaking and refining the series undergoes has spoiled me. But the menu mechanics in this game leave a lot to be desired, as does the ugly, blocky text that feels like a leftover from the 16-bit days.

And speaking of which: this is probably what surprised me the most about my little adventure. There are many games from last generation that I live, and still play with some regularity. There are some PS2 games, in fact, that I am still busy working on.

There are SNES and Genesis and TurboGrafx games that hold up, and still occasionally make it into my game rotation. I played through Mario World for eighty millionth time last month, and I still think the original Star Fox is the best one.

There are NES games that hold up. (Speaking of which: why the hell isn't Castlevania 3 out on Virtual Console yet?! They have 1, 2, and 4...). The recent Bionic Commando and Megaman games for PS3/360 have demonstrated that there is still strength in these mechanics.

And while it may still be early, I have a pretty good feeling that games like BioShock, Uncharted, and LittleBigPlanet will all be able to stand the test of time.

So: What the hell was wrong with the Playstation era? ;p
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by DuffMan » Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:36 am

That is funny that you consider the PSX/N64/Saturn generation to be filled with shovelware. This current generation is FULL of shovelware and piss poor games, with very few good games seeping through the shit. The N64/PSX generation holds games that are considered to be the best ever, and many top notch games had their beginnings on these systems. Zelda: Ocarina, Metal Gear Solid (Yes, i realize that it was on NES), Resident Evil, Goldeneye, ect... Yes a lot of games have shown their age if you play them now, but if you would have played them during their peak, nostalgia would overtake you. Maybe the reason why you don't feel for this generation is because you never experienced in its prime. IMO its one of the best. N64 for life.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Nico0020 » Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:59 am

kinda a side note, but I think the N64 stood the test of time much better than the PS1 did.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:16 pm

DuffMan wrote:That is funny that you consider the PSX/N64/Saturn generation to be filled with shovelware. This current generation is FULL of shovelware and piss poor games, with very few good games seeping through the shit. The N64/PSX generation holds games that are considered to be the best ever, and many top notch games had their beginnings on these systems. Zelda: Ocarina, Metal Gear Solid (Yes, i realize that it was on NES), Resident Evil, Goldeneye, ect... Yes a lot of games have shown their age if you play them now, but if you would have played them during their peak, nostalgia would overtake you. Maybe the reason why you don't feel for this generation is because you never experienced in its prime. IMO its one of the best. N64 for life.
You mention yourself, though, that they show their age if played now. To go through your list:

Ocarina of Time is still a great game. It's one of the few games from the generation that still holds up, in my opinion. (Interestingly, despite how its library is criticized, most such titles are N64 games). MGS holds up, and I did mention that.

Resident Evil...well, I've *never* liked Resident Evil. I WANTED to like Resident Evil, but I could never get past the controls. They made the game feel cumbersome even when it was new. That's one of the many reasons I loved RE4.

Goldeneye I have fond memories of, but going back and playing the game, it just doesn't hold up. This sort of surprised me too. I sat down over Thanksgiving and played it with my brother, and we turned it off after one round.

Also: I agree that the Wii, in particular, suffers from a massive load of shovelware. However, this generation is only two years in, and there have already been several pretty remarkable titles.

The point I'm trying to make is that it just seems like there weren't very *many* great games that generation, in comparison to the volumes and volumes of garbage, middling titles, and games that haven't aged well. Looking at the games I'd want to have in a library, there really just aren't very many from that first generation of 3D. I didn't have any current systems during that era, but it seems like everyone and their mother had either an N64 or a Playstation. I did play many of the games in their heyday; they just don't stand the test of time. Hell, even handheld gaming (Gameboy Color) during that era was a disappointment.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:20 pm

Nico0020 wrote:kinda a side note, but I think the N64 stood the test of time much better than the PS1 did.
Agreed, which is funny considering how much criticism was leveled at its library in comparison to the Playstation at the time.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Jeeba Jabba » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:11 pm

n64.. blurrovision.


and that gen was fun because it was the first 3d generation, much to the reason that the last generation was so boring, and why this one is so good.

a lot of you guys on here operate too highly on nostalgia. giving games more credit than they deserved because you were a kid playing them;
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:49 pm

Jeeba Jabba wrote:that gen was fun because it was the first 3d generation
Jeeba Jabba wrote:a lot of you guys on here operate too highly on nostalgia
:scratch:

Ahem.

Actually, your first point is the main reason I *didn't* like that generation. Since 3D was a newish thing, gameplay was often really unpolished. Not to mention the fact that good sprite work almost always outshines bad 3D models. Last generation (really, sort of starting with the N64, but mainly with the arrival of the Dreamcast and the PS2) is when developers started getting a handle on solid 3D play mechanics and game environments.

Honestly, I was very happy with the last generation of games. The Pikmin games, Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door, Rez, SoulCalibur, Viewtiful Joe, Wind Waker, MGS3, RE4, Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime, Super Monkey Ball, Wario Ware, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Ratchet & Clank, Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, Eternal Darkness, Rogue Squadron 2, God of War, Amplitude, Ikaruga, Timesplitters, Katamari Damacy, Okami...plus the rebirth of 2D on the Gameboy Advance. And that's just off the top of my head.

Part of why I got into the Dreamcast to begin with is because I was very much turned off by early, clunky 3D games, and playing games on the Dreamcast was the first time I felt that the transition to 3D was worthwhile.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Luriden » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:50 pm

PSX > *

Okay, it might not have been THAT good, but I'd definitely put it in my top three game systems. And I'm ranking it by the games, not the hardware.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:42 pm

Luriden wrote:PSX > *

Okay, it might not have been THAT good, but I'd definitely put it in my top three game systems. And I'm ranking it by the games, not the hardware.
I'm curious, then. What Playstation games rank the system that highly for you? As I stated above, I've never been overly fond of RPGs, so maybe the system was a totally different experience for people who wanted Final Fantasy and Lunar and...erm...whatever else. (Like I said, I don't really know). But as I've been gradually building my game library, there's been very little from the Playstation era I've wanted to hold onto...the only two I consider must-haves are Symphony of the Night and Metal Gear Solid. Maybe I'm just missing something?
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Ex-Cyber » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:07 pm

I'm an RPG fan, and I find it odd that so many people are so fond of Final Fantasy VII. It's pretty decent on its own merits, but to me it felt considerably less polished and more tedious than FFVI, like they hadn't gotten their heads around how big the game really was and it just sort of got away from them.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by U-said-it » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:23 pm

Games aren't like other entertainment formats. For instance music is timeless, It just depends on your taste. Movies the same...,Books...etc.

On the other hand games you bought for 40-50$ ten years or longer ago would not be worth that today. As technology and video games progress there are standards you expect, for a 50$ game on say a *PS3*, like better graphics, high-def, sound, etc..

On that note, any older game may longer have the market value it had then, if any at all. But, the gameplay can still definitely be intact if you keep the context in perspective. Maybe it was the first game to have a groundbreaking graphical effect, original motion picture like story, or kick-a$$ soundtrack, when no other game *then* had anything like it...

I have a few sentimental favorites like FF7-9, R.E. 1-2, Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 3, Tactics Ogre, Tenchu 1-2, Castlevania SOTN, Fear Effect 1-2, Persona 1-2, etc...
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Quzar » Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:09 pm

I hold the same view that the SAT/PS pushed 3D before it was ready. I think the biggest difference with them and the n64 (other than time) was that nintendo teamed up with someone who knew about 3D to get their shit together. For me, most 3D PS games are such that the graphics hinder my enjoyment of the game, and this isn't in retrospect (well I guess it's ALSO retrospect, as my opinion on it hasn't changed), I didn't like them when they were new. That being said, there were a number of titles I enjoyed: Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy Tactics/Tactics Ogre/Journey West (2D strategy games that looked and played like upgrades to their SNES predecessors), DDR (what made it great was how many titles were released, allows for lots of variety of play), RPGS (there were many that tried to 3Dinate themselves and looked shit for doing so[to me the biggest example is FF7] but many just stuck with high quality 2D), and I may think of more.

Basically there were a number of games that were more of the same, but better using the higher storage and CD audio to enhance gameplay.

Now, I have to say something on the topic of shovelware, because I think it's a horribly abused term. Every generation has had massive amounts of shovelware. The only way that has proven effective to make a system shovelware proof is to make everything about it expensive. Even then, nowadays with the target demographic for the PS3 and 360 being 'ME WANT SHOOT YAY FPS' means that there is shovelware there too.

The biggest problem is the assumption that shovelware==simple games. I've seen many people label things like nintendo's Wii* series as shovelware, which is just stupid (what FOLLOWS is shovelware: horrible, cheap, clones) as well as many other wii titles simply because they cost less than the 60$ of a PS3 game.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by DaMadFiddler » Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:37 pm

What sparked this whole thought process for me initially was downloading Medievil on my PS3. I had fond memories of the game from when I played it at my cousin's house, and I was shocked by just how janky and imprecise it feels. That prompted me to dig up a few other old favorites, and...well, let's just say it was a very disappointing evening.

That also prompted me to compare these to some more recent titles. I have all the GBA and DS Castlevanias to compare to Symphony, and the Maximo games (Ghosts to Glory and Army of Zin) are a pretty good analogue for MediEvil.

Now, don't get me wrong: Maximo is fun, but it's nothing new, unique, or groundbreaking. It's simple, and the design feels dated. However, it is leaps and bounds above MediEvil. As I said in the initial post, MediEvil feels like a proof-of-concept demo for Maximo. Everything about it just feels...wrong. Unfinished, unpolished, imprecise, and unready.

The new Castlevanias, while decidedly less deep and expansive, were also far more polished and, in most cases, better balanced. In SotN you start off feeling really weak, eventually end up so strong that everything feels like a joke...then you go to the reverse castle, and are too weak again until you get the Alucard Shield, and then it's impossible to lose. I hadn't really noticed before, but it never felt quite balanced right. Still, Symphony is a keeper, whereas I wish I'd bought a hard copy of MediEvil so I could sell or return it :P

Speaking of unpolished: why on earth doesn't the PS3 have the option to upscale Playstation games? Playstation emulators are actually better than a real Playstation in this regard...my computer can render the game at a higher resolution, and filter the bloody textures. for me. That still doesn't make the game look modern, but it's leaps and bounds above the bleeding-eye fest that is low-resolution polygons with wobbly, unfiltered textures. The PS3's Playstation support is all software-based, anyway; would it really have been that hard to build that option in?

And while I'm ranting: I'm also not especially thrilled about the "virtual memory card" system the PS3 uses for Playstation/PS2 games. I understand it was the easiest thing to do for compatibility reasons, but it's still the same old 8MB for PS2, and once I run out--as I am starting to--I have to create another virtual memory card, unmount the current one, mount the new one, and remember to swap them around each time based on what game I'm playing. That's not exactly convenient or user-friendly.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Code-Red » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:02 pm

It's true, the PlayStation's games have not stood the test of time - at all. I bought a PS1 a while back (the SCH1001 or whatever it was, with the GameShark port on the back), and got a bunch of games I remember really enjoying back in the day; Twisted Metal 2, Final Fantasy VII, Tekken, Gran Turismo, etc. I tried sitting down and playing them, but I couldn't. Like both Quzar and DMF stated, they pushed 3D far ahead of gameplay. The textures and models are just so ugly and bland, nostalgia can't keep me from getting past them and enjoying the game. Hell, I couldn't even get 10 minutes into FFVII before turning it off, tired and disgusted.

Like James Rolfe said, the SNES was truly the last "classic" system. The Saturn, N64, and PS1 were a grey area, and other than a couple of N64 and PS1 titles, I couldn't care less for collecting or emulating any of them. I had about 50 or so PS1 backups in a CD binder, and when it was time to move out of my apartment, I didn't even second guess taking them or not - they went in the garbage. The only PS1 game I have left is a real copy of MTV Music Generator, and I kept it because it was somewhat hard to come by.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Specially Cork » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:49 pm

I agree with that generation not really holding-up too well. A great example is Tomb Raider. Those first couple of games were getting 90%+ scores from reviewers, winning awards, and generating millions of dollars in profit. This continued for about 3 instalments, until suddenly everybody decided that the gameplay was shit. Why? Because when you're playing one of the first third-person adventure titles out there, you have no basis for comparison, let a few years pass though, and we did.

The Playstation/N64 era had a lot of "revolutionary" stuff, but refinement didn't come until later.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by TyBO » Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:28 am

Ever heard of Echo Night? It's a first-person adventure/survival horror Playstation game with a fantastic story. Highly recommended.

I agree though, most of what was released in the Playstation era is a bore to play today. Back then, people were so thrilled to be playing games in 3D that they failed to notice most of the games were garbage. :P
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by impetus » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:10 am

The good PS1 games basically boil down to scrolling shooters, Castlevania, and Skullmonkeys.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by |darc| » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:34 am

Jeeba Jabba wrote:n64.. blurrovision.
And the PSX was the opposite extreme, you felt like your eyes were about to get cut on the edge of a polygon if you got too close.

I have to say N64 titles were much more refined than PSX titles, and looking back, with the exception of RPGs, I'd have to say the N64 was the better console with better titles. PSX was fun back then, but (again with the exception of RPGs) a lot of the games really don't stand the test of time, while the N64 had a lot of true gems.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Jeeba Jabba » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:35 am

i still think the Playstation has the best roster of RPGs yet.
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Re: PSOne Gaming

Post by Luriden » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:04 am

DaMadFiddler wrote:
Luriden wrote:PSX > *

Okay, it might not have been THAT good, but I'd definitely put it in my top three game systems. And I'm ranking it by the games, not the hardware.
I'm curious, then. What Playstation games rank the system that highly for you? As I stated above, I've never been overly fond of RPGs, so maybe the system was a totally different experience for people who wanted Final Fantasy and Lunar and...erm...whatever else. (Like I said, I don't really know). But as I've been gradually building my game library, there's been very little from the Playstation era I've wanted to hold onto...the only two I consider must-haves are Symphony of the Night and Metal Gear Solid. Maybe I'm just missing something?
I'm embarrassed to mention some of these, but these are all games I've always been particularly fond of:

Gex series
Crash Bandicoot series
Metal Gear Solid
Resident Evil 2
Parappa and Umjammer Lammy
Tomba
Spyro series
Alundra
Blast Chamber
Twisted Metal 2
Medieval
Apocalypse
Toy Story 2
Chocobo Racing
Skullmonkeys
THPS1 and 2
Persona
Bugs Bunny: Lost In Time
Croc 1 and 2
FF7, 8, and 9
Silent Hill
One
Oddworld
Discworld

FF7, 8, 9 and Persona are the only RPGs on that list (unless you count Alundra, which was a top-down action like Zelda). I really enjoy 3D platformers, and PSX had plenty of them. Most find them crappy, but once I got over the crappy camera I really started to enjoy them. Gex 2 and 3 especially, I still go back and replay through those when I'm bored.
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