Opinion: Where Have All The Classics Gone?

Whilst I’m not the oldest gamer on TSA’s staff roster (they remember parchment based RPGs), I’ve been around long enough to be privy to the evolution of the medium. From cassette tapes to Blu-ray, every gaming generation has had their classics; the games that get brought out every now and again in ‘best of’ lists, or as part of a reminiscing session down the pub, or even dragged up to settle old fanboy arguments (face it SEGA fans, the SNES was better…).

The first time the camera panned round a fully 3D Mushroom Kingdom in Mario 64; four-player deathmatch in GoldenEye 64; the haunting silence of ICO; your first few steps onto the lush green grass in Halo –if you’re anything like me then these are the things that will always have a place in your mind, even if they’re pushed to the back somewhere.

Unfortunately the last few years have left me feeling slightly empty in this respect. This is in no way a slight on the games that have been released, because we’ve had some corkers, but perhaps more the way that games are now viewed. The constant stream of high quality content means that, in my opinion, new games are often no more than fads.

Two weeks ago Brink was the game to play, and what seemed to populate every slot in my friends list, but that’s old hat now and has been brushed aside as L.A Noire takes centre stage. That hasn’t got long though, because although praise is being heaped on its fantastic looking features, people are now getting their hands on DiRT 3. The cycle begins again; nothing seems to stick anymore.

I’m aware that perhaps I’m coming across as ridiculously old fashioned, and I certainly will have missed out on a few classics that I should really try and play. There is also bound to be loads of you reading this who will disagree, which is fantastic because I hope you all have fond memories of the current generation.

For me though, sitting here scanning through my game collection, there are only a couple of games I can see that will stay with me for many years to come; games that evoked not only an emotional response during, but an amazing sense of satisfaction upon completion.

“So what are the games?” I hear you ask. Ah, well that would be telling…




  1. This is a by-product of the internet and the Friends list. You see what others are talking about and playing and have to have it, abandoning the rest.

    Nothing these days will be remembered like Mario 64 or Ocarina.

    • That’s only because they are nostalgic to you (and me), reminding you of your youth. Once the younger gamers grow up games like Uncharted, AC and Dead Space will be remembered nostalgically as well, as that will be what they played when they were young.

      • The sad thing is, too many of the “classics” that kids will look back on are shooters, and violence. Barely ANY adventure games (Mario 64, Ocarina) and barely any innovative games (Crazy Taxi, Spawn, etc).

      • To Radiitz, they are there; look at LBP, look at Portal. But you’re right, they are in quite short supply.

      • @DrNate but will they be remembered? I’m not so sure.

      • I think you have nailed it on the head there Dr Nate , it sounds to me like Dan is in his late 20’s now and it hits us all (im 35) !!
        To me i think of the classics as being in the 8 bit Speccy days and on Atari 2600 because it was all innovative then .
        I remember a game called Driller that was basically what evolved into modern day shooters but you where piloting a craft on some moon planet that looked like it had been visited by the ancient Eygytians . I t was amazing ! (i snobbishly snort when i hear and read about classics like N64 games because to me they just seem like yesterday , but to 20 somethings they are their glory days ) I guess the pre-teens who are gaming now will be saying the same in 15-20 years from now .
        I still think there are amazing games , i remember the wow when i saw GTAIII on a PS2 for the first time and Wipeout and Crash on PS1 . This generation it does appear to be more sequels or amazing refinements on great genres like Tomb Raider becoming Uncharted etc .
        I love online gaming and i beleive this has a lot to do with it because if you want brand loyalty and to sell a sh**load of copies then its the road to take. The recent PSN outage reminded me how much fun offline gaming can be , I had a ball playing some games id barely even touched past 11% like the Saboteur and Valkyria Chronicles usually i play these for a week before heading back to my current online shooter of choice .
        Funnily enough the online shooters bar GT5 are the only games i have bought brand new in the last 2 years and i have well over 50 games .

      • @asparagushunter
        Like I said, barely any :(

      • Miner has summed up my thoughts perfectly really. I was too young to be gaming back in the Spectrum/Atari days, so the classics that people talk about from then are meaningless to me. I grew up with the Megadrive so will always consider games like Sonic and Streets of Rage to be classics. My first real experience gaming with groups of friends was playing Goldeneye, so that will be forever cemented in my memory as a classic, even though now it is very dated. Younger people now though wouldn’t have played Goldeneye, so it would be equally meaningless to them as Digger is to me. To them, 10 years down the line, Modern Warfare would probably be considered a classic they remember forever, if it is the game they grew up with playing with friends.

      • I meant to say that was in reply to Dan btw!

    • I don’t think so I’ve personally never bought a game because of a friends list. I don’t agree with the premise that there’s a lack of classics, I just think that people need time to let nostalgia sink in.

      It is worth mentioning that the games I remember playing most fondly aren’t the big titles like gt5 and uncharted, they’re the ones I took a risk on I.e. Demons souls, mag, and 3d dot game heroes, none of which could ever be considered classics.

      • I’ll definately second that. Demons souls has to be close to my favorite game ever, and it helped that it came totally out of the blue. no front page reviews and plastered over everywhere you look.

    • there a lot of games that are way better than what you have just mentioned nofi you must be in a time warp.

  2. Man, I only played Ocarina about 10 years ago, so not really as nostalgic as Transformers & Dizzy on Spectrum, or Batman on C64

    • loved Dizzy but if I had to chose this gen or back then it would be this gen.

  3. I’m with you on this one. I’m a retro-gamer myself. Infact, I’m that devoted to older games, and I got so sick of the lack of classics in the making types of games, that I have smashed my 360 (posted on youtube XD), sold my PS3, and soon to be selling my Wii for the next Nintendo console (in hopes that Nintendo can bring me into the 21st century a little more. All I have by my TV now is a Dreamcast, and a Wii. The rest of the retro consoles I play games on, run on emulators on my laptop (N64, PSone, etc) whilst my mobile phone (X10 Mini pro) runs the older console generations (Snes, Nes, Master System, etc). More convenient to keep the now not-so-powerful consoles in 2 portable devices.

    And guess what? I’m a frickin’ 18 year old. Most other people my age are just into COD, Fifa, more COD, Halo, etc.

    Great article, btw!

    • One more thing. Its going to be hard looking back 10 years from now and seeing kids of today saying “Remember how epic COD and Halo were? Those were some real classics!”


      • Emulators on x10 Mini Pro (: They keyboards like a mini game pad for me

      • I agree! I upgraded from the original X10 mini to the mini pro. I actually got it this morning (I was sat on the sofa at 9am, staring out the window like a cat waiting for the postman, and then the Royal Mail van pulled up!). Have to say its a lot easier than it was playing it on the original mini, using the touch screen. Ugh. Touch screens aren’t for buttons in games.

  4. Oversaturation in the market looks to be the problem; it means that it’ll take a little longer to work out exactly what the classics of the time really were.

    It also helps that although we get 109,046* new releases of COD, FIFA etc. a year, getting fantastic games is more common now; the trouble with looking back at Ocarina is that there wasn’t really that much competition to it either on the same console or elsewhere. With the multitude of games we have now, it’s harder to pinpoint a ‘classic’ because there are more good games.

    *accurate at time of writing

  5. I think even recent games now will be looked back on as classics. I currently consider Super Mario Bros Deluxe, Sonics 1-3, Crash Bandicoot and plenty others as the true classics I’ve played growing up.

  6. I think that games from this generation will be remembered just as much as those from previous generations but by diferent people. It all depends on when you were playing thegame because i imagine the games most people remember as classis are the ones that they played when they were younger and grew up with. Because of that i think that games of this generation such as some of the COD series will be remembered as classics by those who are quite young now. Plus, in general i think you get more cynical as you get older and so although many may regard recent games as nowhere near as good as older ‘classics’, other people may love them.

  7. The games that are still popular when I look down my friends list some time after release – gt5, gta4, cod, FIFA. I’m not so sure that’s the best way of measuring classicness. Games that stick in the memory this gen? A lot of people say oblivion though it wasn’t massively my cup of tea. I’ll look back in a few years with very fond memories of mass effect 2, to me, that is a true classic.

  8. your forgetting games like Heavy Rain, these will be remembered, I guarantee it. as for classics, each generation will remember what was important for them, for instance my friends and I used to get together every weekend, go and play football then in the evening play N64 goldeneye multiplayer, or wwf no mercy.

    Then you have Metal Gear Solid, and it’s brilliant sequel with its rain swept opening FMV and level.

    coming into this generation Infamous was brilliant, uncharted 1 was great, but the storyline and film like excellent of UC2 will be burned into my memory or decades.

    anyway I could go on like this all night, but then how would I solve these murders in LA Noire!

    • Agree with Heavy Rain, it’s on the list :oD

  9. I just find games boring these days, and im always trying to work out why. it’s not nostalgic because i recently brought some PS2 games ive never had in my life and preferred them to most of my PS3 collection. One thing i did found is that when you look back at older games, you dont care about the graphics because it’s old anyway, so the gameplay makes it a good or bad game, and the only graphical effect that makes an old game play better is the framerate.

    Point is that the current gen just make games look as good as they can and just churn out FPS after FPS with dull palette colours running at 30fps or less. If you played that in a few years you’ll look past those graphics and see quite a dull and repetitive game, and wont be a classic. It’s time game devs stop caring about the graphics and start thinking about the gameplay.

  10. Game series I would think’ll be looked back at as classics- Uncharted, LBP, Portal, RDR, Dead Space, Mass Effect.

    Some games I’d consider classics- Bomberman, Panzer Dragon, MGS, Wipeout, Sonic and Mario 16bit era games, Daytona, Crazy Taxi, GTA, GT.

    Some classics I’d love to see resurrected in some form or another, be it HD update or full remake/sequel- Road Rash, Toejam & Earl, Manic Miner, Alex Kidd, Jungle/Desert/Urban Strike, Sensible Soccer, Streets of Rage, FF7, Power Stone.

    • Yeah it would be cool if Sega did another pack of remakes, It had the very first Outrun remade in yesterdays graphics (PS2) and some others. Alex Kidd would be sweet and a new Streets of Rage WOULD be awesome.

    • Road Rash… been saying it for years! So want an updated version of that game.

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