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Thread: "I'm Staring at the Future of Gaming"

  1. "I'm Staring at the Future of Gaming"

    With each passing generation of gaming, a combination of the narrowing delta in the quality of gaming visuals and my own age make those moments where my jaw really hits the floor looking at a new game seem fewer and further between.

    I remember growing up, once every year or two, I'd see a new game doing something that seemed just outright impossible. For me, the milestones were:
    • Star Wars (1983 Atari arcade game) - first 3D game I ever saw
    • Space Harrier - Maybe the first 16-bit game I saw, definitely first sprite scaling
    • Phantasy Star - Those 3D mazes were amazing at the time.
    • Galaxy Force - Nothing I saw moved like that before, the sense of depth was tremendous
    • Hard Drivin' - This was pretty much my first experience with filled polygonal 3D games and it floored me just like it did everyone else.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog - Again, it was more just the way it looked in motion that blew me away
    • Alpha Waves - The first real 3D polygonal PC game I played
    • Wolfenstein 3D - One of the first VGA games I played, to say nothing of the texture mapped 3D
    • Daytona USA - I was never blown away by Virtua Racing, seeing it as old hat so many years after Hard Drivin, but the first time I saw Daytona, I knew things had changed.
    • Doom - I remember a friend of mine told me about this before I actually had a PC that could play it. Then I went to the store and saw a demo of it on display, and I thought it was goddamned impossible what I was seeing.
    • Scud Race/Virtua Fighter 3 - I'm not sure which I saw fist, I think Scud Race, but this was such a huge leap over everything that was out at the time, the shading, the filtering, the detail of the models... That's when I knew 3D hardware was the future.
    • Under a Killing Moon - In the wake of Myst, there were countless pre-rendered first person adventure games, and I assumed this was just another one of them. Then I hit the space bar and started to glide around the room... I couldn't believe it was even real. Might sound funny now, but it looked that far ahead of everything else.
    • Quake - One of the last times I remember seeing something that truly felt like a paradigm shift to me. The use of shadow-mapping in particular was just mind-blowing to me. Later, the first time I saw it run on a Voodoo card, I knew I had to have one. I don't think any game graphics have had as great of an impact on me since.
    • Sonic Adventure - This brought me back to console gaming. I was working in Toys R Us that summer, and they got DC demo units in well ahead of the September launch and I would play SA every day after work.
    • Gears of War - Especially the early Unreal Engine 3 demos before the game had a name, I had never seen effects like that. It had lost some of its impact by the time it came out though.
    • Crysis - Just the best looking game ever when it came out, and maybe still to date.

    Of course there were plenty of games I never played until they had aged a bit an what-not, and these things are subjective. What were the big milestones where you knew gaming had changed?
    Last edited by Frogacuda; 22 Nov 2011 at 04:43 PM.

  2. I have a few of these but this is the one I remember the most:

    Downloading the shareware version of Doom from a shitty BBS knowing absolutely nothing about it beyond the fact that it was from the Wolfenstein guys broke my mind. Shit was magic.

  3. Quote Originally Posted by epmode View Post
    I have a few of these but this is the one I remember the most:

    Downloading the shareware version of Doom from a shitty BBS knowing absolutely nothing about it beyond the fact that it was from the Wolfenstein guys broke my mind. Shit was magic.
    Yeah, that's one of the things that changed too... You could get caught by surprise just walking into an arcade or whatever. Now there's so much hype for everything, it's almost like a set up for disappointment even when it's great. I feel like I'm floored more by trailers and early demonstrations than I am firing the game up for the first time.

  4. To this day, the most blown away I have ever been by the way a game looked was when I saw Star Fox in motion for the first time. Keep in mind I wasn't into PC gaming at the time, so that shit blew my mind.

  5. In addition to some listed above...

    Star Fox - I was getting ready for a Genesis purchase until I saw this in Nintendo Power. SNES 4 life.

    Ultima Online - MMO's and the stab at a living world. It didn't pan out quite the way it seemed but it was nice to think about.

    Xbox Live - there was a cheesy demo video that looped at the store I worked before it came out. The feature set was so far beyond what we were getting on the PC at the time, no HPBs, univeral voice support, etc. It didn't pan out quite the way it seemed but it was nice to think about.

    Revolution X - music is the weapon

    Body Harvest - open world

    Gran Turismo - it had something like 160 cars and 12 tracks when most games were content with about 15 and 3.
    Last edited by Diff-chan; 22 Nov 2011 at 05:20 PM.

  6. Kinect

  7. Quote Originally Posted by Frogacuda
    Wolfenstein 3D - One of the first VGA games I played, to say nothing of the texture mapped 3D
    There were these circular stands like the ones used to put comic books in, and they had one at a local drug store that was a display for various shareware games that was just a plastic sealed floppy and one screenshot of the game. I would buy those all the time and naturally most of them were crappy. Then I saw the one for Wolf3D, and seeing that 3D screenshot on it made me think they were fucking with me, there was no way the game could look like that.

    I think I debated buying that game for a couple days, convinced that it was a ripoff and was actually showing a screen of some unplayable segment or the title screen or something. When I finally bought it and took it home I was in absolute shock that it was real.
    Quote Originally Posted by epmode View Post
    I have a few of these but this is the one I remember the most:

    Downloading the shareware version of Doom from a shitty BBS knowing absolutely nothing about it beyond the fact that it was from the Wolfenstein guys broke my mind. Shit was magic.
    YES. Except mine wasn't from a BBS, it was some friends of mine. They were talking about how awesome it was and when I asked if I could get a copy it astounded me that it took five floppies when all of Wolfenstein fit on only one. Then I got it home and it was like pure distilled amazing.
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  8. Most of the games that really wowed me were arcade games:

    DarkSiders- Capcom in it's prime! Loved all the wild character designs and the animation could not be touched.

    Mortal Kombat- This was 1991 or so? So I was 10? The digitized characters and gore just amazed me.

    Sega Rally- Seeing this for the first time in the arcade stopped everyone in their tracks. Thinking about it, that goes for almost every arcade game Sega was putting out.

    Virtua Fighter 1 and 3 and Virtua Racing- Never saw anything like this, played really sharp and just shook up the fighting game scene. 3 because that game graphically kicked everyone in the teeth at the time. The animation couldn't be touched too. Racing really knocked me for a loop too, big change from the norm of OutRun.

    Sonic Adventure- what a showcase to show how old the PS and N64 were. Textures that looked like the actual texture of what the object was supposed to be made of!

    Mario 64- This game freaked me out when it came out. Big Mario fan then and seeing him run around in 3D was just surreal. The transition to 3D was much better than Sonic's.

    Sonic the Hedgehog- the big selling point for me was how different it was from a Mario game. The speed this game moved was just so much faster than anything before. Hook line and sinker on that Blast Processing marketing.

    Quake- just a genre defining game. 6 full degrees of movement, one of the first PC multiplayer games I really got into.

  9. #9
    Great thread, despite what some asshat will inevitably come in here and say.

    I'm trying not to look at others' lists so that mine is as pure as my fading memory allows. Here goes:
    • Pac-Man/Donkey Kong (2600) - "I'm playing arcade games at home!"
    • Castlevania (NES) - "I can kill vampires and have scrolling levels? Sign me up!"
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) - The rich colors and parallax on this one really scream next generation compared to its NES contemporaries.
    • Samurai Shodown (Neo Geo) - I think this was the point where I decided I needed a Neo Geo. Intellectually, I understand it was 16-bit, but it sure didn't seem it at the time.
    • Batman Returns (Sega CD) - The combination of FMV and scaling/rotation made this seem like a new platform, despite its Genesis-based limitations.
    • Dracula X (PC Engine Super CD) - So this is what the CD storage is really all about... Redbook audio combined with traditionally awesome gameplay. This was also one of my first imports and created an expensive monster.
    • Daytona USA (Saturn) - This was my favorite arcade game, and I could play what felt like a near-perfect version at the time at home.
    • Astal (Saturn) - This was the evolution of the Sonic feeling described above.
    • Resident Evil/Tomb Raider (PlayStation) - To this day, these games define the 32-bit generation to me. Being Kojima free is a feature as well.
    • Grand Theft Auto III (PlayStation 2) - Getting less than 100% in this one never felt like a realistic option. It really showed where the future would head in terms of story, AI, and freedom.
    • Star Wars Galaxies (PC) - I missed EverQuest, so this was my introduction to MMOs. I still contend the period after the bug fixes and before the "combat upgrade" kicked the shit out of WoW and everything else, especially in terms of the crafting and player based economy.
    • Gears of War (360) - Multiplayer doesn't always suck balls... just usually.
    • Uncharted (PS3) - "I'm playing Indiana Jones."

    edit: I almost left out Bethesda for bringing me back to RPGs after the Japanese ones went completely to shit. Aside from Gears and Uncharted, those are this generations most important games to me.
    Last edited by Yoshi; 22 Nov 2011 at 04:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Ultima Underworld is the one that stands out the most for me. I bought it because I really liked the Ultima games, without being aware of what it actually was. And it was amazing. This, to me, was the future of gaming: immersive, interactive worlds with logically consistent design that allowed for freedom in creating your own solutions to problems. And it was only possible because of the incredible realtime 3D engine. Unfortunately Wolfenstein 3D delayed that future for the next two decades, and only now are we seeing games following the Ultima Underworld tradition that don't directly descend from Looking Glass.

    King's Quest IV. I never did buy the game, but I saw it at a computer show being used to demonstrate the Roland MT32. It was unbelievable - the audio sounded like a real orchestra. Though nowadays I think Amiga mods have aged better, for the time this was head and shoulders above anything I had ever heard come out of a game.

    Elite. It felt like my computer was less of a computer and more of a viewport into another world. Or universe, in this case. It's amazing how much atmosphere was added through the inclusion of ships that aren't out to kill you. It made the universe feel alive, in a way that I had never sen before.


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