Looking back 10 years ago, the year was 2003. The Gameboy Advance SP came out. The PS2, original Xbox, and Gamecube were all strong. Online gaming was starting it's way onto gaming consoles and was no longer just on PCs. The Playstation 2 Network Play had started in 2001. The first blockbuster online title for the PS2, SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals had been released in 2002. Xbox Live started service in 2002 as well. Gamer perceptions had only started to change at this time. Today, gamers seem to complain about everything. Relevant or irrelevant. I wanted to look back at how we thought ten years ago or even longer than before. I do not believe that if we talked to ourselves 10 years ago we would even imagine we would be thinking some of these things.

It might just be that we are getting more and more demanding in our games or really just have unrealistic expectations. It might be that we have deep nostalgia for games that we played in our youth. Regardless, I believe that some of us may have conflicting or even hypocritical arguments on why they do not like certain games. I hope this list addresses some of these issues or at least sparks some debate or discussion. Talk to your friends. Talk on the forums.

As games have developed, more and more gaming peripherals have been made and more buttons have been added to the basic game controllers. Motion controls and cameras have been forced on gamers that do not want them. I love the Super Nintendo controller. It had just the right amount of buttons and an excellent feel. It had eight buttons and a directional pad. The current Xbox 360 controller has eleven buttons, two analog sticks, and a directional pad. There’s a difference there.

Along with this issue comes the need to buy gaming peripherals for certain games. To be competitive in fighting games these days, most veteran players suggest you should buy a Hori or Sanwa Fight Stick and say regular controller or “pad players” cannot play the game as well or have the quickest inputs or be able to use the best combo or attack strings in the game. The Xbox 360 has a horrendous directional pad as well. So most people need to buy a gaming pad or fight stick to enjoy their fighting games.

Also, in certain racing games, a steering wheel controller is recommended. Being a regular member of the Forza 4 board, I know of a lot of players suggesting to buy a steering wheel controller if you want to set the best times on the leaderboards or even compete in certain online challenges to win in-game cars. Yes, it is optional of course, which is why I placed this into 10th place on this list. I just do not remember ever having to buy peripherals in games to be better. The only exception may be Turbo controllers, which I do not remember even using that often back then.

Dead Rising, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, and other games come to mind in having way too small text if you do not have an HDTV. Game developers are automatically assuming that everyone has an HD monitor or HDTV these days. After fans complained about the text of Dead Rising being too small on their standard definition televisions, Capcom made suggestions to “check your television settings.” This does not seem to be the case according to Gamefaqs users on multiple boards. However, the comments from people that say “Well just buy one already!” and flame messages about it are purely ridiculous. Not everyone has the money to buy HDTVs or High Definition monitors. We never had this problem 10 years ago. But I guess as technology continues to accelerate, this problem will not go away anytime soon.

As a side note, not everyone is so willing to throw out their old cathode-ray televisions. Older generation video game systems look better with older televisions. New HDTV’s tend to minimize the screen size or distort the graphics.

Did anyone really care that Bioshock 2 had multiplayer? Fans have been complaining ever since Bioshock Infinite decided to take out multiplayer. Games lately have had multiplayer tacked on as an afterthought. It takes away developer resources sometimes from a single-player or co-op campaign. It used to not be a problem to have a game is only single-player before the online-gaming phenomenon started. A lot of my favorite games have no multiplayer attached to it and even if they did have multiplayer, it was not one of the reasons it is my favorite game. I love multiplayer games. However, gamers need to realize that not every game needs multiplayer and some are better off without it!

This problem may have come about just because of how popular online gaming is today. Ten years ago, it was mostly PC and console gaming was only getting its footing on online multiplayer. When we played Nintendo 64s and the original Playstation, there was no multiplayer. I actually prefer split-screen multiplayer over online. But for larger games, online gaming makes sense.

The weird thing about this topic is I do not believe I have ever head "I can't believe this game doesn't have single player."

As a child, I do not remember having this many games on my backlog to play. I remember even beating games over and over. There did not seem to be as many games coming out all the time, or Triple A titles coming out annually. With constant sales on Steam, Amazon, Gamestop, and other video game retailers, new and used games have never been cheaper. Also, add to the fact that Indie game bundles seem to come out on an almost daily or weekly basis. I remember the days where I used to only have one game to play at a time (mostly because I was not making money back then and my parents bought the games for me). This might just be a problem of me growing up, but it also might just be a trend in crazy amounts of video game sales.

With video games becoming more and more popular and the vast amount of game publishers out there, there are more video games than ever to pick from. People today still buy games from former game generations such as Playstation 2 and Xbox. Also, with Classic Gaming on the rise and companies coming out with third-party alternatives to finding a Nintendo NES or Sega Genesis, this problem really will just continue to persist on.

Nintendo was the cream of the crop 10 years ago. The original Gameboy blew any competition away. The Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance was strong. Then, Nintendo's DS faced competition from Sony's PSP. Now the Nintendo 3DS faces competition from the Playstation VITA, Apple iPhone and iPad, and other mobile devices, Nintendo is not on top of the world when it comes to handheld gaming. Yes, there are examples such as the Atari Lynx, Nokia N-Gage, and Neo Geo Pocket, but those did not make such an impact in the United States. Also, the Sega Game Gear and Nomad never really stood up to the Game Boy in any way. The idea that handheld gaming may die and be limited to phones is hard for me to deal with.

NVIDIA’s latest announcement of the “Project Shield” handheld may shake things up for gaming. I sure do hope that handheld gaming does not go away completely. I do not want the game classics of the Nintendo and Sony handhelds to be replaced by Angry Birds and random free-to-play iOS and Android games.

Some may disagree with this statement. However, I was a lot less harsh on game graphics playing older games as a child than I am today. I have friends that refuse to play Borderlands because of the cell shaded graphics. Mostly younger gamers seem to think that the graphics make the game and ignore earlier classic titles on older generation consoles. Some developers today ignore gameplay and just focus on graphics. Since when did any of us play a game just for the graphics?

Doing a random Google search on “awful graphics” led to posts that Battlefield 3 and Halo 4 have terrible graphics. I saw posts that even Skyrim has terrible graphics. Skyrim? Are you serious? It is so easy for people to complain about anything, graphics usually being the foremost topic of complaints compared to gameplay. Yes, maybe ten years ago I did complain about graphics in some games. But usually, these complaints did not stop me from playing games!

A great example of games ignored solely on graphics is Okami (PS2, Wii) and Mad World (Wii). Okami has a beautiful, one-of-a-kind artstyle with vibrant and amazing gameplay. Despite rave reviews by game critics everywhere, it sold less than a million copies on the PS2. It sold just over 500,000 copies for the Wii. Mad World, a very over-the-top violent game for the Wii, may have just not sold because it was a Mature rated title for the Wii, but it might have also been because of the black, white, and red cartoony, cel-shaded graphics. Both games are amazing and highly praised by the right groups, only their graphics caused them to have terrible sales.

I know for a fact that the DLC problem wasn’t as widespread 10 years ago as it was today. Map packs, extra game content, DLC characters, and pre-order bonuses have made video game fans mad. I know I sometimes wait for the Game of the Year edition to come out for certain games and have friends still waiting on certain games to finally release a Game of the Year edition. Also, some games like Dead Island have released "Game of the Year" editions but never won any award of the kind. Raging on the forums about it, developers rarely seem to listen to these complaints as gamers buy more and more DLC.

Also, a noteworthy fact is there does not seem to be high praise placed on games without DLC. I have never seen a magazine or internet article ever have a Game of the Year category just for games that had no DLC. If we want the DLC flood to go away, we need to be more vocal on it changing and praise the games that are fully completed upon launch and do not force gamers to buy all of the DLC to fully appreciate the title.

This is just a buzzword. There is no clear cut definition of a game being "linear." But it is thrown around a lot in a very negative way. Great games have been ignored today for being too "linear." What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Games ten years ago did not have the open worlds of games like Skyrim, Just Cause 2, and Red Dead Redemption. Yes there are some examples such as Diablo and the early Elder Scrolls game having huge environments; however I never remember once complaining about a game being too linear 10 years ago. Add to this fact, excellent gaming graphics and huge open worlds do not always mix. Fallout 3 and Oblivion come solely in mind, at least for gaming consoles.

The early Mario games were linear. Every beat-em-up you have ever played is linear. Sly Cooper, Jak and Dexter, and Ratchet and Clank were plenty linear. Any game that involves a main quest or storyline is linear in that regard! Why does every game have to have a massive in-game environment that you need to explore? Why is linearity in a game always such a bad thing? Is coherency in a game so bad sometimes?

With problems like Skyrim on the PS3, Fallout: New Vegas on PC, and random game breaking bugs in early release days now makes you wonder if game developers are skipping QA procedures or are just not caring. Let early game buyers be the beta testers. Yes, there are examples of early games having bugs that were not patchable, however it was very rare for a game to totally just not work or be virtually unplayable.

Most recently, The War Z came out on Steam. Widely hyped as the must-play zombie survival game, it was the top-selling game on December 17th, 2012 on Steam. However, multiple features described on the Steam page were not in the game and many users complained to both the developers and Steam. Steam pulled the game quite quickly (within two days of launch) and offered full refunds. Adding insult to injury, The War Z developers quickly apologized saying that users “misread” the Steam page. It was only a few days ago, that the game developer issued an open apology to game fans.

Not every game developer does this. However, the ones that do need to realize that releasing an incomplete game is a lot worse than delaying a game’s release. I am proud of the fact that video game fans have been willing to be very vocal to developers about this problem and hope this issue will fade away in the future.

As a side note, the early days of Fallout: New Vegas were hilarious and I would highly recommend to anyone reading this list to look up videos on gameplay before all the patches.

Please stop using the word repetitive in reviews to describe gameplay. It really just makes no sense. What makes a game so repetitive? Is repetitive always such a bad thing? What is the difference between repetitiveness and consistency?
We used to play games that were totally repetitive. Beating the original Mario brothers over and over, classic beat-em-ups like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. Arcade games were constantly repetitive but they ate up money like no ones business. But no one really complained back then that games were too repetitive. It was what it was and it was fun. Now games seen as "totally repetitive" are cast aside. All games eventually do get “repetitive.”

As Chaos_Missile on Gamefaqs said..
"Mario? Run and jump and maybe your way to enemies. Rince and repeat
Zelda? Collect the same weapons by a different name, defeat boss, collect heart, beat Ganon. Rinse repeat
Megaman? Shoot, shoot, jump, jump through stages, beat 8 stage boss, 4 fortress boss. Rinse repeat
Any RPG game ever? Enter random encounters, grind till you drop/cant grind anymore, beat boss. Rinse repeat
Sports? Eh...nuff said.
Any FPS games ever? Shoot everything in sight and generally be "macho" and "gruff" and talk crap"

Repetitive isn't so bad now, is it? Playing any game long enough will make it “repetitive.” Consistency in gameplay is not always a bad thing. If you can understand the game controls and game mechanics, it may be “repetitive” to some, but to others it gives them a full appreciation on how the game was meant to be played. Or in cases as Quake III Arena, amazing exploits such as rocket-jumping. Also, it should be noted that longer games are so much more likely to be repetitive. Mostly because you’ll actually be playing them longer.

I hope all of you took away something from this list. It is not perfect by any means and I did not want it to be overly wordy or complex as I mostly wanted it to spark discussion and hopefully somewhat change gamer expectations today in a more positive way. Buzzwords such as "repetitive" and "linear" which have no clear cut description or really any sort of logic justification should not be readily accepted by gamers everywhere.

In no way am I saying in this list that games were so much better ten years ago. There are excellent titles being made as we speak. This list is to hopefully spark discussion and change certain gamer perceptions. To think back ten years ago or farther to when you started playing video games is a fun experience. It's an excellent debate topic or something to reminisce or talk about among friends.

I would like to thank the "Top 10 Lists" board on Gamefaqs for helping me with this list. Specific thanks go out to: CTLM, lambunny, DetroitDJ, FreshFeeling, MotherKojiro, wheresatari, and Chaos_Missile.

List by Kazmakistan (01/24/2013)

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