90s gamestalgia real quick

First, [games should be] fun, with no excuses about how the game simulates the agony and dreariness of the real world (as though this was somehow good for you). Second, they [should] be challenging over a long period of time, preferably with a few ability “plateaus” that let me feel in control for a period of time, then blow me out of the water. Third, they [should] be attractive. I am a sucker for a nice illustration or a funky riff. Finally, I want my games to be conceptually interesting and thought-provoking, so one can discuss the game with an adult and not feel silly.

Star Controll II designer talking about how games should be via Filfre.net on Star Control II.

It’s really something I miss from the early 90s gamedev culture: do something dope, challenging but not brutal. Serious, but not that serious either. Teams were striving for balance to serve an unknown, yet big market.

These days we have optimized our production to cater to very specific demographics so much that, if you like one thing from a game, you have to eat so much of other things that you might not like. We specialized gameplay and wrapped it in some aesthetic and no other. Say I enjoy FPS. I have to deal with ultra-heavy military settings and themes because that’s what FPS players enjoy. But I don’t. I just enjoy the shooting/hide and seek mechanic.

I don’t miss the 90s ruthlessness of how game developers didn’t care so much about you having a great time. A bit too much of “I make the game I want to play” type of process.

But when said developers had an entirely new game, interesting gameplay, universe, story, characters and so forth, like Star Control II or Day of the Tentacle? Man, it was the best times ever. Like, life-altering.

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