Recently, I’ve been on a kick of playing through the history of RPGs chronologically. I’ve culled my list from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_role-playing_video_games. Basically, I go year by year, checking out every video game’s wikipedia entry. If I like how it sounds, I try out the game. If I don’t love it within the first half hour, I’m done with it.
I’m up to the late ’90’s, and so far… not a whole lot of good games. Mind you, that’s partially because I’ve already played through a lot of good old school games, and so the cream of the crop is already diminished. However, I’ve checked out dozens of games, and honestly? Most just don’t age well. A lot of them trudge along with tired old plots that were old when the game was new, or are so simplistic by today’s standards that they’re snoozers; many don’t add a strong touch of creativity that would breathe some life into the simplicity of the game, and so I’m generally not impressed. The same goes for battle mechanics, which are often sluggish, antiquated, and simplistic. And then there’s the interface: graphics really do matter. They’re how you convey a good part of the game’s atmosphere. Part of it’s due to the limitations of early games; but also part of it is a lack of creativity.
I have found some good games, but my progression through the list is making me more eager for modern games.
Currently playing Arc the Lad. Just beat the first game (and yes, I really did do the Arena… again, all thousand battles. So glad I could do that by rote while doing more important stuff). On to the second one, which is massively better than the first.