Two quick thoughts
I’ve been working on a column about backwards compatibility in video game systems, and it’s exploded a bit (in a good way). So while I’m sorting out the pieces, I wanted to put out the one thing that I know for sure. I’m deeply interested in backwards compatibility, and right now to me it’s an important sign of a good system. I find, however, that I do not tend to use backwards compatibility to play the same games again and again. There are some exceptions to this—I’ve played at least three different versions of Final Fantasy IV—but for the most part I don’t find it fun to pick up old NES games. Most of them aren’t very good, and I’m immediately reminded that I was never very good at them.
I’m excited by the idea of backwards compatibility much more because of that handful of old games that I’ve never played but want to play now. The first Zelda game I played was Wind Waker on the GameCube (no lie), and while I’m not sure I feel a need to play the first two 8-bit Zelda games, I would really love to play A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. I want to play Chrono Trigger and Silent Hill. I really need to give Halo: Combat Evolved at least one more chance. It was important to me to be able to pick up Red Dead Revolver after playing Red Dead Redemption, just as it quickly became important to put it down again. (Seriously, there’s really not much special about Red Dead Revolver.)
I need to play at least one of the Grand Theft Auto games.
I’d also be really interested to hear from other people—how important is backwards compatibility to you in a game system? What old games do you still play or what old games would you like to play? What system would you be most likely to use? Let me know in the comments or send me an email at craiggav [at] idler-mag [dot] com.
I’ve started playing BioShock, and my first impression—other than holy crap it takes a long time to install on a PS3—is that it’s a very lonely game. Red Dead Redemption is every bit as violent, but the sandbox environment of RDR, even in the open, empty West, means that you encounter people who are indifferent or even friendly. There are plenty of missions where dozens and dozens of people are shooting, stabbing, or throwing dynamite at you, but you can also ride into town and play cards, have a drink, or walk around and let people say hello. In BioShock, at least in the early stages of the game, everyone you directly encounter is hostile. For a game vaunted for its complex take on morality (I know, I’ll get there when I get to the Little Sisters), it’s actually a bit draining to just shoot at everything without really having to think about it. (And rather different than RDR, where, feeling genuine guilt, I once restarted a gaming session after shooting a person I hadn’t even realized was there.)
Gavin Craig is co-editor of The Idler. You can follow him on Twitter at @craiggav.