Games That Still Hold Up

With all of the crew’s recent discussion of the first Red Dead Redemption, and how poorly it holds up 8 years after its release, I found myself thinking about games I loved from years ago and how well they hold up today.

Though some aspects may feel dated, many of my favorites still shine with repeat playthroughs.

I came up with 5 favorites from the last console generation or older that hold up now, despite most of them being released around the same time or earlier than Red Dead Redemption.

  1. Panzer Dragoon Orta (2002)
  2. Katamari Damacy (2004)
  3. Super Mario Galaxy (2007)
  4. F-Zero GX (2003)
  5. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor (2009)

What games do you love from years ago that still hold up in 2018?

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I feel that is a toss up for me between either New Vegas, Dark Souls, or Peace Walker for the most recent. However for much older games this would be Fallout 1 and 2 for the spiritual successor to Wasteland, along with the strong world building (though some of the humour is very out of touch, especially in the cut content).

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Metal Gear Solid 3.

The backpack was good, back off.


I really need to play Star Successor, I have a weird affection for the N64 game.

Star Successor is so good. It has some of the best use of motion controls I’ve seen on the Wii, because it controls like the first game except that the shooting becomes like a light gun game, which feels so natural for a 3rd person rail shooter but which I’ve only seen utilized in that game.

Maybe cliche to say, but Super Smash Bros Melee still holds up remarkably well after all this time. It’s incredibly easy for newcomers to jump into and have fun with, and its graphics have aged remarkably well, too.

Gamecube has definitely had the most longevity when it comes to graphics, no doubt.

i’m replaying pokemon platinum right now and that game still rules in my humble opinion


Quake 3. A bunch of 90s shooters probably do, just from how weird the trajectory of that genre has been and the fact that it kinda got set back quite a bit when it shifted to consoles.

Also, turns out: Tetris.

idk if i would say it holds up but i really enjoy vanilla wow

Rez (2001) easily fits this for me. Although I think quite a lot of games from the turn of the millennium hold up extremely well (the big knocks being weak cinematic storytelling because the tier we find acceptable has moved forward so far and controls that had not yet been standardised and so feel clunky to go back to), Rez manages to completely sidestep the pitfalls while collecting music that stands up rather than becoming instantly dated. You can keep rereleasing it basically untouched (except changing the native res that same way you can upscale emulated games of the era to get a cleaner presentation) because there’s no need to update anything about it.

Reaching back significantly, X-COM (1994) [UFO: Enemy Unknown as it was released over here] still bangs. The interface isn’t modern but it does fundamentally work as a comprehensible mouse GUI and as long as you are happy adapting to action points (the superior system) then it’s got a lot of what people enjoyed in the reboot. A game I can drop 100 hours into within the last few years just fine and not feel like I’m stepping back a quarter century.

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Didn’t the way MGS3 treated EVA makes James Clinton Howell leave Metal Gear scholarship altogether? Looking back on all the ways that game lets the player mistreat her, it makes for real uncomfortable reading.

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So I have to be the first person to say Resident Evil 4?

I’d also throw out Killer7, TWEWY, and both Sly 2 and 3.

Here’s the thing: Every Hideo Kojima game is like this. Every single one. There isn’t one exception in the bunch.


This. I think MGS3 just gets a pass from a lot of people because it’s the most focused and well-structured game in the series and has the one okay female character that the series has to offer. It still bears all of Kojima’s problematic authorial fingerprints.

Max Payne 2 still holds up as a bizarre post-modern sequel to an already self-conscious game. I still love how the physics work in that game. Just straight Havoc nonsense cranked up to the nth degree.


I have trouble answering this question because what might hold up for me could very well not for others. As much as I try to separate the nostalgia I feel for certain games from my actual thoughts on their quality, it’s undeniable that the first experiences I had with them, closer to the context they were in around their initial release, still colours my impression of them to this day.

With that said, I still think Shadow of the Colossus largely holds up. The scale of the boss encounters might not impress as much today but I think the muted world design and ambiguous plot are still stand-outs, particularly among the rest of Sony’s first-party lineup. Though I have my criticisms of the remake that was put out this year, I think that also offers a good way for folks to experience the game in (most of) its former glory without having to opt for an older console.

I would also say that a lot of the indie games I’ve played over the years stand a far greater chance of holding up (both in terms of their presentation & game feel). The smaller emphasis on looking cutting edge in contrast to a lot of the AAA gaming space means they don’t go out of fashion whenever there’s new developments in the visual fidelity of games. Though they still face some challenges in terms of standing out amongst the crowd. I’m sure if I were to show someone an older pixel-art indie game now they might immediately feel a sense of been there, done that.

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Thief (1998) and Thief 2 (2000) are great all these years later! I played them both this year and they’re still among the best stealth games around!


I’m going to mention a bunch of games that I didn’t play when they came out but got around to playing years or decades after they came out and still had fun.

I played Final Fantasy VII for the first time in 2005. It was great. I’ve played it three times since then as well and still enjoy it.

I played Resident Evil on PS1 for the first time in 2012. I enjoyed it and didn’t have any problems with the tank controls.

I played Castlevania Symphony of the Night (PS1 version) for the first time on my Vita. That’s a great way to play that game.

I bought a 3DS and have been gradually working my way back through the catalogue as I stopped playing in Gen 3 and came back in 7. Was stoked to pick up Gen 4 then saw that hell vid on Twitter of someone one-hit killing a high-levelled Chansey and waiting like 30 seconds for it to faint.