Monday Musings: We need more old-school gaming

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Welcome to the latest Monday Musings, a regular meander through the random thoughts of members of El33tonline. It doesn’t always makes a lot of sense, but it does make us feel a little better sending whatever’s at the top of our minds out into the Internet ether.

This week, Pieter tries to make a case for the return of old-school action game mechanics as a counterpoint to modern-day features that make current titles easier and less exciting to play.


– Quake 3: Arena

It is the year 2014 and we as gamers are really lucky. With the new generation consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, not to mention what the PC can achieve and how mobile gaming has improved in just the last couple of months, it has to be the most exciting time to be a gamer. I’m not going to go on about all of that right now, though, because I want to focus on something I think the gaming world needs: We need some more old-school gaming again.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean retro games with high definition visuals – I mean old-school mechanics and features in games. So sit back and enjoy while I explain what I mean.

The Required Features

Take a look what we have now in the gaming world, for example the first person shooter (FPS) genre today. They all are different in their own way, but they all share the same basic features, like auto-regenerating health, a checkpoint and auto save system, and a cover system just to name a couple of examples. I would like to see games with some old-school features, just to refresh gaming again.

Games have their own difficulty settings, but most of the new standard modern features make the games easier to play, in a way – if you take it slow and always make sure you go into cover to heal, you will do just fine. What I think this did was just make less people play FPS games these days, to be honest. Where is the suspense of being low on health while looking for that next all-important medpack, or trying to locate additional armour to help you take more hits from the enemies. Things like this made games exciting!

Far Cry Classic - Screenshots zur Download-Neuauflage

– Far Cry Classic

I recently started playing Far Cry Classic, the high definition polished up version of the original Far Cry game. I have to say I struggled for a little bit in the beginning, as I wasn’t used to using medpacks anymore. You know that moment of having a huge gun battle and you are left with only five percent health left, but you’re not healing automatically because you need to find that important item to restore your health? Imagine playing the next Call of Duty or Battlefield with that feature. All I can say is that it will make the game a lot more interesting and fun.

Another feature I want to mention are cover systems, which are really cool and help you survive gun battles, but I do want to know what happened to just trying to stay alive with constant movement? Not many games have that anymore, which leaves kind of a big gap in the gaming world in my eyes.

There are still games like that today, like Painkiller and another game that focusses on old-school gameplay: Alien Rage. Alien Rage is a perfect example of old-school features working in a modern-day game, but what happened to the old classics? We need them to come back and that brings me to my next point…

Modern Creations of Old Classics

I really enjoy my military shooters like Call of duty, Battlefield, Ghost Recon and Counter-Strike, but I really believe that we need some good old fashion run-‘n-gun action shooters. You don’t need to worry about cover or ammo and all you need to focus on is killing the bad guys, staying alive and having loads of fun. You must be thinking to yourself, “What is he going on about?” Well I am talking about those classic shooters like Unreal Tournament, Quake 3: Arena and Half-Life.

Just imagine, for a moment, Unreal Tournament benefiting from modern-day visuals and harnessing the power of the PCs and consoles we have now – I have goose bumps just thinking about it. Games like Unreal Tournament and Quake introduced to us the very famous rocket jump, where if you had enough health and armour, you could just run, jump and shoot below you to propel yourself to reach new highs. Halo still (kind of) has this, but instead of using a rocket you can perform a grenade jump and your timing has to be perfect.


– Unreal Tournament 2007

Another thing I really miss about Unreal Tournament and Quake is the total free-for-all deathmatches. Imagine these games having the awesome connectivity of Xbox LIVE, Steam and PlayStation Network behind them! Free for all matches up to thirty-two players, where everyone is fair game, with no frag limit and just a plain old time limit to see who can manage the most frags in a match!

I know there are arena shooter that give us this excitement, but what I am really trying to say is that we need these titans to make a return. They don’t just have to be FPS games, they can be anything, really. Take one of your favourite third-person action shooters and imagine how it would be if it was recreated in the modern times, but with the old-school gameplay still there.

I know I am saying we need these old classics to return, but what I don’t want is them to just take the old game and place a new coat of paint over them – I want the games to be brand new based on the foundations that the originals have laid down.

Final Thought

Developers can create brand you game intellectual property with the old-school features in them, but I feel that we first need the classics to return and reintroduce us to the old-school mechanics. At the end of the day, we just want to play games and have fun, but the gaming world is continues to focus more on how a game looks and if they can add a multiplayer mode to it, rather than how it plays or how fun it can be.

Everyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about gaming – I’ve been playing games since a very early age and it has become a huge part of my life. I have played all styles and types of games and witnessed how they have changed over the years. It’s been an amazing journey through the years and I am really looking forward to what lies in the future for us all. It’s an exciting time for us all, no matter what platform you play on.

So which game features would you love to see make a return to make our games more interesting, or do you just prefer how games are now? Let us know in the comments section. Happy gaming.

Just in case you’ve forgotten what the older games look like in motion, I’ve included a couple gameplay videos for you below – enjoy:

Quake 3: Arena:

Unreal Tournament:

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