This is a great age for video gaming and one in which top games can make more money than Hollywood blockbusters. That hasn’t always been the case and classic games didn’t always make the sort of money that you would expect them to make in this day and age. Despite that, these games often offered something that modern ones didn’t and in many cases they were the games that inspired the modern blockbusters.
In this guide we’ll take a look at classic games vs modern games, focusing on the former and detailing the reasons they differ from their modern counterparts as well as the ways in which they inspired them.
Championship Manager vs Football Manager
The early versions of Championship Manager don’t look a whole lot different to the modern versions of Football Manager, which is essentially the same game. There are some key areas though, including the 3D match engine and the introduction of press interviews and more of a backstory for players and staff. The changes have been slight over the years though, so much so that those initial releases look amazing. These games were released in the 1990s, a time when PC gaming was in its infancy, and it’s incredibly impressive to think what was achieved with the limited technology that was available.
Gameplay has remained the same and FM is better than CM without a doubt, but for nostalgia alone it’s worth picking up and playing it again.
Point and Click vs Modern Adventure
The Blade Runner game was one of the first point-and-click adventures that changed everything for me. Monkey Island was also huge in this respect. These games just offered so much more than you get from many modern adventure titles. The immersion was better, even though you weren’t technically playing and the storytelling was considerably better.
Released in 1997, Blade Runner was created by Westwood Studios, who were also responsible for the Command & Conquer series of games. It doesn’t copy the story from the book or the film and instead creates its own, serving as a “sidequel”.
There is detective work, there are puzzles and it’s a point-and-click adventure based in a dystopian world. What more could you want? If this game had been released now, when the attention is firmly on the industry and not the late 1990s, when great games often went unnoticed, then this would receive high praise indeed.
Fallout 1 and 2 vs Fallout 3 and 4
This has always been a big game and it was well known at the time of its release. However, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 have ensured that the previous games in this series are all but forgotten.
Fallout 2 was turn based. It didn’t have the big graphics of the newer titles and it didn’t have the Hollywood worthy voice acting. But it was much bigger, you could do so much more, and it stands up even today. In Fallout 2 you could visit vast cities and towns and explore all kinds of side quests and stories. In one city I remember stumbling on a boxing gym and trying my hand at prizefighting. In another, I became a Private Investigator, and in another there was something akin to a haunting going on.
You could do anything, be anyone and spend hundreds of hours playing the game without doing the main quests. Nothing has been created like it since and because games today have big graphics that consume a lot of power, we’ll probably never see anything on this scale again.
Arcanum vs Skyrim
Arcanum was basically the fantasy version of Fallout 2. It was to Fallout 2 what Skyrim is to Fallout 4. It is huge and it lets you do pretty much anything, but rather than being set in a post apocalyptic dystopian world, it was set in an ancient fantasy world. The scope is still massive, as is the world in which you are placed.
I stumbled across all kinds of side quests in this game, including one where a serial killer like Jack the Ripper stalked the streets late at night and the only way to stop him was to figure out his MO, to find potential victims and to follow them, knowing that they would be targeted by the serial killer and that such an act would lead you right to them.
This was a true sandbox game where anything was possible and where the entire virtual world was at your disposal. It was released back in 2001 and while it went on to become a big seller for the company, they earned less than $9 million from over 250,000 sales, a fraction of the 80 million that GTA 5 sold and the millions that other modern titles sell.
Alice vs Resident Evil
Take a classic, much-loved children’s tale of wonder and fantasy, turn it into something dark and twisted and what do you have? If you answered Alice: Madness Returns, then you are one of the few who didn’t let this gory, beautiful and morbid title slip through your hands.
This Alice, like her inquisitive counterpart, is also lost in a Wonderland, but it’s filled with armed monsters that want to tear her limb from limb, and not kooky hatters who want her to join their tea party. This is a twisted take on a terrific tale, and one that turn Alice from a lost and helpless girl, into a walking, talking slashing war-crime—she’s a felony waiting to happen.
The initial title, American McGee’s Alice, was advertised everywhere upon release and I remember seeing it on countless billboards and gaming magazines in 2000. It was a successful title and a game-changer at that, but the follow-up, Alice: Madness Returns, improved on it in every way, except for the sales. So much so, in fact, that the publishers, EA, refused to release another title in the series and the makers had to turn to Kickstarter to get funding. That’s always a shame when it happens to good games, but it’s a tragedy when it happens to games that were released on major consoles (360 and PS3) and got high ratings from all major critics.