Arcade Experience versus Story Based Content Games
by Brandon Russo on April 6, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT

Story based

Recently, I picked up Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I had to ask myself this question:

Are the days of pure arcade experience being pushed aside for more story based content?

It’s a common trait for anything to grow bigger and better as technology advances and people grow older, but where have all the hardcore platformers and difficulty-based arcade games gone?

Story driven games are constantly reaching new heights, as seen in recent AAA titles like Uncharted, and especially Bioshock: Infinite. Immersion is constantly getting deeper, but gone are the days of memorization and precision jumping. In Castlevania, if you misjudge the arch of your jump, it could result in an instant death. In Ninja Gaiden, if you are hit at the wrong time, you could fall back into a bottomless pit. These kinds of challenges are rarely seen in major titles these days.

Castlevania2FDS

So what is it that made these games so enjoyable, anyway?

If the games were beyond frustrating and took days of constantly replaying the same level over and over again until you could repeat the sound bites, then where was the enjoyment to be found?

It was found in the accomplishment. I have yet to feel as achieved in a game than I have with Castlevania and the like. You work so hard on completing one screen, almost giving up, but knowing you’re getting closer each time, and then you get there. You finally achieve what you’ve been working for, and because it was so challenging, it makes the moment so much more satisfying.

I haven’t really felt this way with the newest hyped up releases. Sure, you can crank the difficulty up and get a fantastic challenge, but with auto-saves and multiple strategies, it just doesn’t feel the same.

Personally, I feel like this isn’t an issue. It really comes down to me missing a particular type of challenge. Just because these games feel endangered, does not mean the big budget titles are on a downhill path.

Bioshock: Infinite has cemented itself as my favorite game of all time. It even has a 1999 mode, in homage to these older difficulties (which I’m very excited to start). There are also plenty of indie titles being released with this very idea in mind, but it would be nice to see a big budget game based around personal accomplishment. Dark Souls does come to mind.

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  • dakan45

    “Story driven games are constantly reaching new heights, as seen in
    recent AAA titles like Uncharted, and especially Bioshock: Infinite.
    Immersion is constantly getting deeper,”

    and gameplay gets simplier scripted and with totally lack of idea and complexity

    • Brandon Russo

      In terms of Uncharted, perhaps, but I’ve definitely never seen any game do anything on the level that Bioshock: Infinite has in terms of complexity myself.

      • dakan45

        ? bioshock infinite? complexity? The gamepaly is as simplified as it can get, more so id say. I didnt think they could dumb down bioshock and they did.

        • Brandon Russo

          The game play is pretty simplified, but it does offer a lot in terms of flexibility and personal choice. I have yet to go through any combat sequence in the same way as I did the first time. In terms of story and immersion, however, it’s more complex than a lot of literature I’ve personally experienced and I’ve yet to see any game have that amount of impact.

          • dakan45

            No it doesnt.

            You are stuck to whatever weapons you find and you can use a bunch of diffirent abilities taht are not particulary that varied as they seem to be.

            Honestly the story is a massive dissapoitment.

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