te72

Games that were ahead of their time

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So I've been replaying Suikoden with my fiance lately, and noticed something. It was really ahead of its time, as far as RPG's go. My reasoning is as follows:

 

-The experience point system isn't linear. A level 40 character might only get 5 or 10 exp from the same battle that a level 20 character would get 5000 exp from. The lower your level versus the challenge of the battle, the more exp you get. This levels out once you get to an appropriate level for the challenge of the area. I love the exponential growth of characters, if you survive, as it gets you up to speed quickly. Not only that, but this system discourages grinding, as well as makes over-leveling your party tedious and unrewarding. This... then preserves the challenge.

 

-Speaking of grinding, I don't have time for it. Not sure how many of you do, but I can really think of more rewarding things to do with my limited time here on earth. Enter... the Champion rune. This little crystal of awesome eliminates significantly weaker random battles from even occurring. You'll still fight anything that is worth your time, but the pointless battles aren't even brought up anymore once you equip this rune. Unfortunately it requires a rune space, and those are precious in this game, but hey, that's the sacrifice you gotta make if you wanna make the most of your time. Only downsides here, are if you are playing the game for the battle system, in which case, leave it off, the other being that it is obtained about 2/3 of the way through the game. Really... this should have been something you could get around the time you establish your home base.

 

-Gaspar. For those of you poor souls who haven't played it (it's on PSN and very reasonably priced if you have a PS3, PSP, or Vita), there is a man named Gaspar in the game, who runs a gambling den. In it, you throw dice into a cup. I won't spoil the details, it's a fairly simple game, all dependent on luck, but suffice to say, it's an easy moneymaker. You can easily max out your funds (of which you will likely want a lot of throughout the game, armies aren't cheap, ya know?) in a matter of a few minutes.

 

Konami knew how to make a solid RPG back in the 90's. All of these things speak to one common quality... the developers respected the player's TIME investment into their game. Vandal Hearts was similar in this sense, there was no grind to speak of, which, in the 90's, in an RPG, was an uncommon quality. For so much content, and such a rich world, the Suikoden games sure had a way of going by quickly. :)

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Can't think of any games that were ahead of their time....first thing I can think of ahead of its time was Sega's 3D Master System...pretty crAy for a 1986 system to have shutter glasses 3D tech. Same with Sega CD...games on CD that early in the timeline...2 years before the PlayStation.

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Never realized the Sega CD came out here in the US in 1992... that was early, three years ahead of the PS1! Yet, it was reasonably priced compared to the other CD system of that era, the 3DO. I don't have much frame of reference for the Jaguar CD, only ever saw them in the bargain bin at $20 (new!) at a KB Toys, sometime in the mid 90's.

 

For all that fancy new tech, how were those early CD based systems? Were there any noteworthy games? I barely got to play any of them, and apparently they didn't leave much of an impression...

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6 minutes ago, te72 said:

Never realized the Sega CD came out here in the US in 1992... that was early, three years ahead of the PS1! Yet, it was reasonably priced compared to the other CD system of that era, the 3DO. I don't have much frame of reference for the Jaguar CD, only ever saw them in the bargain bin at $20 (new!) at a KB Toys, sometime in the mid 90's.

 

For all that fancy new tech, how were those early CD based systems? Were there any noteworthy games? I barely got to play any of them, and apparently they didn't leave much of an impression...

CD tech was positively ancient in Japan by the time the Sega CD launched in 1991.  The CD attachment for the PC Engine (TurboGrafx 16) launched in Japan in 1988 and was hugely successful there - way more popular than any of Sega's systems including the Genesis/Mega Drive.

I believe the PC Engine's success in Japan can be directly tied to the huge number of dating sims and "mature" games released for it.  The CD attachment allowed for voice acting and videos, which made these types of games even more appealing.  Of course, since those sorts of games don't sell outside of Japan, the system was a failure in the rest of the world.

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I had a sega cd back then....it was meh cuz it didn't add much better color to the games and all the FMV games weren't really all that fun to play. Mortal Kombat was cool to have the real music, sounds and voices though. SNES games still looked better to me but I was Team Sega and would never admit that to my Team Nintendo friend back then lol

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4 minutes ago, kitsunebi77 said:

CD tech was positively ancient in Japan by the time the Sega CD launched in 1991.  The CD attachment for the PC Engine (TurboGrafx 16) launched in Japan in 1988 and was hugely successful there - way more popular than any of Sega's systems including the Genesis/Mega Drive.

I believe the PC Engine's success in Japan can be directly tied to the huge number of dating sims and "mature" games released for it.  The CD attachment allowed for voice acting and videos, which made these types of games even more appealing.  Of course, since those sorts of games don't sell outside of Japan, the system was a failure in the rest of the world.

Weird how Japan has some systems a full year+ before they even came to North America. Either I didn't realize or just forgot that Japan actually had the Mega Drive almost a year before North America. That's a long time.

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2 minutes ago, kitsunebi77 said:

CD tech was positively ancient in Japan by the time the Sega CD launched in 1991.  The CD attachment for the PC Engine (TurboGrafx 16) launched in Japan in 1988 and was hugely successful there - way more popular than any of Sega's systems including the Genesis/Mega Drive.

I believe the PC Engine's success in Japan can be directly tied to the huge number of dating sims and "mature" games released for it.  The CD attachment allowed for voice acting and videos, which made these types of games even more appealing.  Of course, since those sorts of games don't sell outside of Japan, the system was a failure in the rest of the world.

You know, I never played any of the TG systems. Always saw ads for the games in the magazines back then, but nobody I knew had one. I have played the really good Castlevania game that was on it, via the Dracula X Chronicles version on PSP. :)

2 minutes ago, vice350z said:

I had a sega cd back then....it was meh cuz it didn't add much better color to the games and all the FMV games weren't really all that fun to play. Mortal Kombat was cool to have the real music, sounds and voices though. SNES games still looked better to me but I was Team Sega and would never admit that to my Team Nintendo friend back then lol

Sounds about like I remember of it. Perhaps it paved the way for the PS1, so I'd say it was totally worth it!

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37 minutes ago, te72 said:

You know, I never played any of the TG systems. Always saw ads for the games in the magazines back then, but nobody I knew had one. I have played the really good Castlevania game that was on it, via the Dracula X Chronicles version on PSP. :)

It failed pretty quickly in the US. I've never really played it much, either, but my impression is that most of the decent games that made it to the States were shooters, which isn't a genre I particularly care about. 

In Japan, the PC Engine launched in 1987 and continued to regularly release games until 1996 (its final commercially released game was in 1999.)  Think about how incredible that is - it's obvious that something about the PC Engine appealed to Japanese gamers in a way that just didn't apply to the rest of the world.

39 minutes ago, vice350z said:

Weird how Japan has some systems a full year+ before they even came to North America. Either I didn't realize or just forgot that Japan actually had the Mega Drive almost a year before North America. That's a long time.

Well, the NES launched in Japan in 1983 and didn't get nationwide release in the US until 1986.  So it could have been worse.:)

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31 minutes ago, vice350z said:

Ah was not aware of a limited NYC release and rest didn't get till the end of that year. Interesting. Another fun fact learned today, thanks lol.

For me personally, I never even heard of the NES until I met someone who owned one, and that wasn't until 1988.  But from there, it was no time at all before everyone at school was talking about the NES, a copy of the newly launched Nintendo Power in their hands.  That was the year the NES really took off in America, at least from my perspective.

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PC Engine had quite the lifespan in Japan... 9 years is a long time! Sony's systems seem about there, 8-10 years each, but those last few years always seem to be crap games for the most part, given that the new Playstation is out and into its own life cycle a few years.

 

Kitsunebi, anything in the PC world come to mind as far as being ahead of its time? Deus Ex was pretty incredible...

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6 hours ago, te72 said:

Kitsunebi, anything in the PC world come to mind as far as being ahead of its time? Deus Ex was pretty incredible...

Goodness.  What a question.  I'm not really sure how to answer.  In the West, almost all game design innovations happened on computers.  Any innovation on the console side of things was almost always of Japanese origin.  Which isn't surprising really.  PCs never really caught on as a gaming platform in Japan, so all of their designer talent went towards developing console titles.  Whereas in the West, PC game development offered much more freedom to the designers than they would have developing for consoles, so that's where most of the talent concentrated their efforts.

All of Japan's great game designers are known for their arcade and console titles.  Most great Western designers are known for their PC games.  They've got Miyamoto, we've got Meier.

Of course, "ahead of its time" doesn't always mean great (or even good.)  I recently uploaded some advertisements for Castle Wolfenstein (NOT Wolfenstein 3D, btw).  An innovative game, but I would never claim it was a good one .  Released WAAAAYY back in 1981 on the Apple II computer, Castle Wolfenstein is particularly notable for two things.  It was the first game to include digitized speech.  It sounds terrible, but is sort of understandable and pretty impressive when you consider how primitive the hardware was it was running on.  Also, it was the first game to incorporate elements of stealth gameplay.  Nazi guards not only had line of sight awareness of the player, but they could also be alerted to your presence if you fired your weapon.  Finding and wearing a Nazi uniform would allow you to sneak past some enemies without being detected. 

Again, I wouldn't call the game entertaining (at least, not now. Perhaps it was more fun 37 years ago?:lol:)  But it certainly was ahead of its time.

 

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Good suggestion. Retro magazine had a nice writeup on the Wolfenstein franchise in one of their issues. I was rather impressed with what I learned about the roots of that series... sounds like it may have had a big effect on Kojima's Metal Gear series!

 

Anyone ever play Micro Machines? I feel that one was perhaps innovative. It certainly felt fresh, due to the variety of vehicles you could race, and the environments you raced in.

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