Reading a gaming-related article, going on Youtube and watching a gaming channel, listening to a podcast by some gamers, you always hear it. Old games were so much better. Why is it such a widespread phenomenon in the gaming world? Were old games really better even though the technology was vastly inferior? If yes, what are the reasons for it? And if not, why is it such a widespread misconception? This article will talk about the very real reasons why some old games are much better designed than newer games and some reasons why it is only our distorted perception.

Real Causes for Why Games are Worse Today

There are some very real reasons why some games have experienced a drop in quality, and if one were looking at the trends over the last few decades, the forces driving this drop are quite obvious.

The Curse of Technology

Games now are much more intricate than just a decade ago. The things that are possible right now, 0from large open worlds to highly detailed, gargantuan monsters that you get to fight, were impossible. Even 3D games that dominate the industry right now were something very new just two decades ago, and that rapid pace of technology is hard to keep up with.

Game devs have to contend with much bigger projects and account for a lot more variables than ever before. Couple that with the fact that video games’ share of revenues hasn’t increased by much in the last two decades, adjusted for inflation, means that project managers have the same amount of employees to deal with the increased workload.

In an industry where being overworked is already endemic, it is just not humanly possible to check a game for each and every bug – it’d take limitless resources to make sure a game is perfect before releasing it. This usually means that newer games have a few more bugs and issues, and a person needs to wait a month or two before they get the flawless and smooth gameplay they’d get with older games on release.

Things seem to be changing, however. There has been a general backlash against devs that release their games with plenty of bugs in them, and there’s been an effort to develop tools that help testers detect bugs more efficiently. That’s why it is possible that the market forces will force game devs to make sure their games are bug-free in the future.

Reasons Why Games aren’t as Bad as You Think

However, it is more than likely the “quality decreasing” narrative might be blown out of proportion, and there are some reasons that could serve as potential explanations:

Rosy Retrospection

Nostalgia, sentimentality, rosy retrospection or whatever else you call it is an undeniable part of human nature. We often look at events in the past more favorably than it would be justified if we were objective. This is especially true for gaming.  

Most of us started gaming at a very young age – when we were in elementary school, and some of us even started sooner. At that age, we really didn’t care about how many bugs were in the game, if the story made a lot of sense, or if the difficulty was uneven between levels, and most of us didn’t even have the capacity to analyze those things. That’s why when we think back on the older games we’ve played, we always think they are really good, which, in fact, isn’t the case most of the time.

This coupled with the fact most of us were playing with our parents and siblings and have a lot of fond memories competing, fighting, and overcoming missions together has completely skewed our views of old games.  Or maybe you’re one of those who started gaming with the MMO craze of the early 2000s – most teenagers started playing those games right after school, and it served as a place to escape from the normalcy of everyday life and meet a lot of interesting new people. However, when you grow up and can travel anywhere you want, those appeals diminish, and you’ll look back fondly on those days thinking they were better than they actually were. If you don’t believe it, why don’t you get one of the LoL leveled accounts to skip the grind and see how you’ll feel playing it now.

Mass Media

There are millions of review sites, gaming forms, and YouTube channels discussing and analyzing every aspect of every game and the industry as a whole. This has amplified the problems in the games, and we are all aware of the issues in each game, even if we’ve not experienced them personally.

Not to mention, the internet favors sensationalization and extremism and magnifies controversy and mistakes, which makes negative sentiments much more prominent in our collective consciousness, which skews our view of the world.  It’s hardly news and outrage worthy when a dozen games don’t get censored or don’t have any bugs whatsoever, but it feels like the world is ending if one game gets censored.

Article By: Rachel Connoly