Old Versus New
There have been bad video games for years. Today, though, some of the big budget games that get released are still subpar at best. The games from our childhoods may not have aged incredibly well, especially in the thirty years since the release of the NES, but many of them are still better than some of the games we play today.
The 8-bit era has some gems that will still hold up fairly well even in the next couple of years. We’ve decided to put these classics against some of the worst games of the past six years, from 2011 to 2017. We’ll compare each game, looking at what each does and what makes it either terrible or a true classic.
Doom (original) vs Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem Forever was highly anticipated for years. Many thought that it would combine the old with the new, delivering the one-liners and strafe-heavy gunplay that shooters from that era are known for. The actual end product was a shoddy shooter with disappointing humor, poor level design, and shooting that felt very uninspired. It tried to be a love letter to games like Duke Nukem and Doom. In reality, though, you’d be better off returning to games from that era.
Doom still holds up beautifully, despite the fact that you can only look to the sides. Strafing through the well-designed levels and reducing demons to bloody pulps is as satisfying now as it was in the 90s. There’s a reason it’s still such an inspiration to modern shooters.
Sonic vs Sonic Boom
Sonic helped launch SEGA’s line of consoles and made the developer a household name. Over the years, the blue blur’s popularity waned, mostly due to the poor performance of his games. Sonic Boom was a new low for the hero. It wasn’t even a pure platformer, mixing the jumping and puzzles with lackluster combat.
The original Sonic the Hedgehog is still a fun platformer with clever design and a great aesthetic. It’s still a breeze to run through the game’s various stages and take down the evil Dr. Robotnik.
The Elder Scrolls II Daggerfall vs No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky biggest selling point was the vastness of its universe. The problem was that there wasn’t all that much to see. Hopping from galaxy to galaxy doesn’t reveal anything new, just more bizarre aliens and resources to plunder. The lack of things to do was the real disappointment, but even more than 20 years ago, games were already creating massive, bustling worlds.
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall offered a fantasy world that was not only incredible massive, but was also fun to explore. It was a technical marvel at the time, showcasing incredible graphics and deep systems for players to dive into. It looks a bit dated now, but it’s still a worthwhile experience.
ESPN NFL vs Madden 17
EA releases a new Madden every year with only incremental changes. The series hasn’t evolved much in recent years. Instead, the games seem to be getting progressively worse. Madden 17 is yet another mediocre football game, but back in the day, they knew how to capture the spirit of the sport.
On the other hand, ESPN NFL Football still offers up a great interpretation of the sport. It’s easy to plan out plays and feel like you are actively engaging in the sport. It was a more simplistic game but that meant that its strengths stood out even more, especially in today’s climate where each new Madden entry tries to add even more meaningless features.
Galaga vs Star Fox Zero
The newest Star Fox game didn’t move the series forward very much, instead reimagining some of the previous games and adding difficult to use motion controls that only made matters worse. For those who just wanted to embark on some great on-rail shooting missions, they were greatly let down.
Galaga is still a classic. One of the original shoot ‘em ups still delivers exactly what you expect it to: waves of enemies rushing at your small ship as you mercilessly destroy them all. It’s a simple premise: move left, right, up, or down, and kill enemies without dying while getting power-ups and racking up a high score.
Duke Nukem 3D vs Bombshell
The folks over at 3D Realms created Bombshell in the hopes of releasing a Duke Nukem for a new generation of gamers. Tons of blood, profanity, and bullets couldn’t save the game. It’s a bit different in its presentation. Instead of being a balls to the wall FPS, it’s a top-down shooter with just as much attitude as games from the 90s.
If you do want clever quips and some solid action, you’d be better off booting up Duke Nukem 3D. It wasn’t just the stereotype meshing character of Duke that made the game fun, it was the wacky story and punchy weapons that made it worthwhile to keep working your way through the game.
Mega Man vs Mighty No. 9
Mighty No. 9 was meant to be the successor to Mega Man that many had been clamoring for. The end result was a mere shadow of the blue bomber’s greatness. The addition of a dash mechanic helped to speed proceedings up a bit, but the core gameplay loop was still intact. You would work your way through stages until you came face to face with a boss that needed to be put down.
It tried to do what Mega Man did, but failed at recreating the pure fun and challenge. Because of this, many simply returned to the original games instead. Each level is crafted with care around a specific theme, ending in a challenging boss fight that tests your skill and patience. Even though some of the games are 30 years old, they still play as well today as they did upon release.
Skate or Die vs Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series established a name for itself incredibly quickly. The memorable levels and crazy tricks were always fun to master. It was arcadey enough to allow for crazy stunts and realistic enough to still feel like a legitimate skateboarding game. The latest entry in the series threw all of this away in favor of poor controls, glitch-filled levels, broken online modes, and missions that weren’t fun to tackle.
Skate or Die may be prehistoric in comparison, but at least everything it sets out to do works. The game is more focused. Want to ride a half pipe? You can do that. Want to pop a couple ollies? You can easily do that too. It knows what it wants to do and does each one of those things in an adorable 8-bit style.
Super Star Wars vs Rambo the Video Game
Video games based off movies can either be pretty good or terrible. Rambo falls into the latter of these categories. It walks players through the events of the film through shoddy quick time events and incredibly poor on-rails shooting. It doesn’t feel like a complete experience, especially when its adapting such an incredible film.
Super Star Wars, on the other hand, is a wonderful adaptation of a fantastic movie. It doesn’t stick right to the source material but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun to play. Leaping on top of sand crawlers and blasting scorpions seems a bit strange for fans of the film, but it’s a great game that still manages to draw from the source material in meaningful ways.
Metroid vs Metroid Prime Federation Force
Metroid Prime is by far the most popular of the Metroid subseries. When the Wii U was initially announced, fans were ecstatic at the idea of an HD Metroid Prime. What they got instead was an incredibly mediocre team-based shooter with the Metroid Prime name slapped on it. Playing it on the 3DS was even worse because the control scheme wasn’t good enough to keep up with the action.
It may be 30 years old and incredibly difficult due to some design issues, but the original Metroid is still incredibly playable, at least more so than Federation Force. It’s a straightforward 2D platformer with a structure that has been mimicked dozens of times at this point. It’s a tried and true game that still does exactly what it’s supposed to.