Which games did NOT live up to your rose-tinted memory of it?


This one is kinda hard for me to answer because I feel like sometimes this is caused by my not realizing how poorly designed the game was when I played it as a kid, while sometimes it’s just that my taste in games has changed so much that I don’t enjoy the game for that reason.

For example, a while back I tried the X-Men beat em up arcade game. I played this game constantly at Chuck E. Cheese as a kid and thought it was so good. Going back to it now, the controls feel mushy. The hit detection is extremely frustrating, among other things.

Whereas a game like Skyrim or Fallout: New Vegas are both well designed games with tons to do, but I have such little free time these days that I would much rather play a short, sweet experience like Tacoma than a sprawling open world epic like the Bethesda or Ubisoft games…there are exceptions to this though. I love ancient Eygpt in general, so I thoroughly enjoyed AC: Origins despite not liking an AC since Brotherhood.


The first one that comes to mind for me is Tony Hawk’s Underground. I had rented it in grade 10 I think, and me and a buddy stayed up all night playing it. It was great. Big levels. You could get where you wanted to go since you could get off your board. Lots of customization options. Create a trick was alright. Just overall good improvements over the previous titles.

Then in my third year of university my PS3 broke so a friend brought over his Xbox and we hit up a local mom and pop game store. It was one of the games we got. It’s not good. Every level had a vehicle and they all handled like shit. The story is corny as Idaho and Bam fucking Margera’s antics don’t age well.


I went to an arcade vendor that was doing a freeplay event a few years back, and I found that arcade games just held so little appeal to me in a modern context. There weren’t really any machines that I wanted to play more than 5 minutes. I spent the majority of my time there just playing Dragon’s Lair out of curiosity because I’d never actually seen it before.

I dodged a bullet watching Ben Pack stream out a bit of Kingdom Hearts 1. I had been thinking about picking up the PS4 remaster and trying to play through it with my kid, but after watching the first few hours of Ben play it, boy am I glad I didn’t. It starts out so slow and unintuitive and all the controls and platforming are just awful.

I really liked the NES TMNT game as a kid, but it’s actually awful by every measure.


NIGHTS: Into Dreams for me. I think I probably only had the demo version… and we didn’t own a Saturn, so I would only have played it on rare weekends when we rented a console (remember console rental, old people on the forum?)… so this is prime opportunity for rose-tinted glasses.

As it happens, it’s much much less chill than I remember it being.


Graphically, basically every game on the N64.

(S)NES games all hold up because their graphics are limited to a different scope. The original Mario Kart pushed it and it looks iffy because of that.

Then you get to the N64 with Mario (still great, but that camera), GoldenEye, etc. when they first ventured into true 3D, and it’s kinda painful to see all the limitations. Even Ocarina looks bad.


That’s where I’m at too. With exception of Mario 64, it is difficult to go back to any N64 game without cringing at the graphics or camera or basic controller commands. You mentioned Goldeneye and the thing that I remembered when I tried to revisit was how awkward using the guns felt when you tried to aim and do precision shots with the sniper rifles. It felt intuitive when I was a kid, but now it feels awkward as hell.


I do have a really fun GoldenEye memory though… back in junior high, my friends and I would have sleepovers and just play games until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. One time we played Man With the Golden Gun in Stack. First to 100. I got it and never died. My friends hated me for the rest of the weekend.

Good times.


Is that an N64 specific issue with low-poly 3d rendering? I think there’s a certain purity to the really early / simple 3d stuff [say, Damocles, or even Star Fox on the SNES ], even extending as far as the first Quake… and then it all falls down in the “late 90s” era of 3d stuff.


I think so. SNES 3d was not really trying to be authentic, so it doesn’t age as much.


Late 2D games look infinitely better than early 3D games this is an objective truth. Nobody knew what the hell they were doing and almost all the art direction was obsessed with realism when it wasn’t yet achievable. In contrast, the limitations of 2D had had more than a decade of development and were well understood.


Fallout 3 was a formative experience for me, it was the first time I played a game with over a hundred hours of content, but looking back at it a decade later it super doesn’t hold up, even without comparing it to New Vegas.


All of the 3D Zelda games for me. Every time I boot one up it’s a torturous tutorial and a set of dungeons that seem to want nothing more than to zoom the camera in on the exact thing I need to do. I know they do this less later in those games and not as much in the N64 ones but also the entire world building of those games just feels like half assed attempts at things done better elsewhere in Ghibli movies or Dark Souls in the case of Majora’s Mask (which I grant is not a fair example for a few reason but is still something that keeps me from getting into it these days)

It also has the issue I have with the Persona games where every time I try to go back to them I’m just reminded of all they ways the devs have failed to mature in regards to anything to do with LGBT people and women in general and it bums me out. Like I could deal with Persona 4’s issues in that regard if Persona 5 had seemed to learn anything but it has not and it makes me feel very:


Phantasy Star 2 was re-released for iOS and current consoles 1 or 2 years ago. I remember that as one of the hallmark JRPGs in the Genesis era. I had to stop after 1 session. It wasn’t just that the graphics were outdated. The gameplay and combat was shallow and grindy. The story was basic. RPGs have evolved so much since that time.


Chameleon Twist 2 was way less fluid than I remembered it. I think I had to quit, though, when I got to the Stage 2 boss - a giant hamburger - and, in this game that consists of you licking up food, you couldn’t eat him. What. You can’t make a game about eating stuff where you can’t eat the hamburger boss!


The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

My first Zelda was Windwaker, which I loved and continue to love. (As far as I’m concerned it still holds up wonderfully to this day, in no small part due to the art style.) I was stoked for Twilight Princess when it was announced, as it was releasing with it’s darker tone that matched my dark and edgy pre-teen needs. Playing it for the first time I loved Adult link and his exploration of a more “mature” Hyrule.

Going back now, even with the HD WiiU release, boy howdy does it not hold up well. The art style is muddy and drab, but not than that the game feels like a 20 hour tutorial, which I ascribe to exactly one thing: the f*ing light bugs.

The lightbugs are initially presented as a means of understanding the mechanics of Wolf Link, so each subsequent encounter with them feels like an extension on that tutorial. The game feels like it finally starts once you can freely transform, but that takes a good 20 hours. Some of the later dungeons are legitimately fantastic, but nothing is worth the slog of the first half of the game.


As much as it pains me to say it, KotOR. I tried to play it on XB1X backward compatibility a few weeks ago.

I know it has a notoriously slow start, but it was excruciating to the point of being unbearable. Clunky, floaty controls. Questionable voice acting. Combat that is basically two groups of people blindly shooting at each other from 10 feet apart until one dies.

If you’re making a game about Jedi, putting the lightsaber 20 hours in is maybe not the best idea.


I played Mario Kart 64 a couple of years back and goddamn have people’s eyesight got worse because of how blessed we are with good graphics? I finished half the courses well after it stopped being funny because I couldn’t tell what was path and what was a wall.


Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

Memory is a weird thing and there are certain distinct memories I have that are so established that I can almost lay out the positions of everyone involved. Then you look back at the timing of everything and somehow it doesn’t seem to work anymore. For example, for years I’ve remembered Simon’s Quest for one specific reason; it was the first game I ever beat before my older brother. I remember sitting in the old brown leather chairs in our basement, I remember exactly how I beat Dracula with the fire, and I remember him sitting there and quietly stewing over it.

The problem is that game came out in 87, making me either two or three assuming it was a Christmas gift. Even if we both took forever to beat the game I’d maybe be four. It just doesn’t line up, but the memory persists.

That said, I have no idea how either of us would have ever beat that game. I can only assume we clung to the Nintendo Power guide like some sort of Rosetta Stone for the undecipherable gibberish that game was communicating in.


All three of these are probably Gaming Heresy in other parts of the internet, but…

  1. Goldeneye. Shooters have come leaps and bounds, and Goldeneye is essentially unplayable by modern standards. The controls are janky and slow, and the graphics are blocky trash. When I was a kid, it was a revelation, but… it hasn’t held up. At all.

  2. Mass Effect 1. Full of early installment weirdness, the least responsive controls in the franchise, and the most grindy combat to boot. The story is still great, but it’s a lot thinner than either 2 or 3’s, and it’s just… as a whole, the game is full of “we’re still figuring this out” flags from the developers.

  3. Dragon Age: Origins. The lack of protagonist voice acting, the slow and plodding conversations, the auto-attack combat feels slow and drags on very quickly… just… like ME1, the only part that has aged well is the overall story. But unlike ME1, the graphics also look weird and flat now. My first playthrough of the game (and most of the DLC) took 54 hours, and I did it over a long weekend plus a couple days after it. I tried firing it up again recently and it’s just… a Very Late-Oughts Game.


I’ve been playing a bunch of SNES RPGs in a row, and the first two examples that come to mind are Secret of Mana and Lufia 2.

SoM tripped me time and time again with its “quirky” programming resulting in awkward situations during battle and just plain world traversal. The whole plot feels very incomplete too, which is a shame seeing as its graphical prowess could’ve easily amplified the impact of a good story. Besides, the sequel does everything better: more plot choices, multiple party compositions, grinding is super toned down, and the plot, while simplistic, gets the job done and is way more consistent that of SoM. I know the game had a troubled development cycle, something that becomes doubly clear when you see just how good of a game the sequel was, but still… I just don’t see why people hold this game up in a pedestal.

Lufia 2 is a fun and captivating game… during its first half. The second half is filled to the brim with filler dungeons that the plot barely makes an attempt at justifying their traversal. It’s a shame too, because there’s a bunch of environmental puzzles in the second half that would’ve had a bigger impact had the developers compressed 4 or 5 dungeons into one…