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5 Types of Video Game That NEED to Make a Comeback

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Posted May 29, 2013 by Rú Hickson in Games
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The advent of new and unique games like Minecraft and Super Hexagon has made us nostalgic for the special games we loved way back when, and the sad realisation that we’ll probably not see more of their ilk again. The games themselves will be remembered forever, but the category that they belong to may well have fallen by the wayside, in all likelihood until kingdom come. Every night, this particular Ramp writer stays awake late at night, hoping against hope that the revolution is nigh, and that the resurrection of some particular kinds of games will be an integral part of it.

Point and Click

Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, Broken Sword, Gabriel Knight 

Once upon a time the most popular and best-selling type of computer game you could throw money at, these days Point-And-Click is less adventure than dead venture. Considered too simplistic by modern control standards (you point at something and then you click it!), and abandoned for more ambitious video games by developers, their demise left a hole in the hearts of gamers who cherished their wonderful dialogue, scripts, characters, settings and laid-back gameplay. Like Eric Cantona, the genre went out on top with the release of Tim Schafer and Lucasarts’ wonderous afterworld P&C encyclopedia Grim Fandango – an authority on what made this type of game so special. There have been stragglers and variations on the genre since its release in 1998, but nothing close to being as worthy of your time as that particular opus.

Still alive as: Sam and Max

All-Action Real Time Strategy

Command & Conquer, Dawn of War, Age of Empires, Ground Control, Warzone 2100, Total Annihilation

Strategy games have become more tactical, more detailed and more intelligent in the last 10 years. Whether it was a natural, desired evolution, or the gaming world realised that nothing could beat the immediacy and bombast of Command & Conquer: Generals and they just opted for something else. Yes, the Total War series may well be more patient, thoughtful and cultured, but if you can’t gather resources at a desperate and infrequent rate, build up 1000 light tanks and arm them to the teeth with guns, knives, and bad manners, rush them up to the enemy’s front lawn and cause your computer’s frame rate to plummet from all the explosions, then what’s the point? Yes, it’s nice to carefully plan your next move in X-Com, even discuss strategies with friends and look up tactical advice online, then execute a perfectly organised order before repeating the same process, but if there isn’t a guy in a tank the size of a bank branch shouting “I am BEEEEG” while an angry mob throws Molotov cocktails at him, then it’s just not as fun.

Still alive as: Starcraft 2

Space Simulators

X-Wing series, Freespace series, Freelancer 

A prime example of dropping off the face of the planet, Space Simulators were all the rage, then just… died. Games from Lucasarts, Microsoft and Volition were deep, expansive, exciting, and interesting, but their sales dwindled steadily in the late 1990s for no particular reason, despite the titles listed above receiving consistently stellar reviews across entertainment media. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to ever see an official conclusion to the Freespace and X-Wing: Alliance stories. Little has matched the story or epic feeling generated by the former series in particular. Volition have since released the source code for Freespace 2, and it still feels like one of the most complete games ever made in terms of story, pacing, content, and fun.

Still alive as: Space Simulator for iOS

Stealth Games

Thief series, early Splinter Cell, early Metal Gear Solid

“Hold on a moment there, sexy Ramp writer” say you “Stealth is alive an well in modern video gaming!”. Yes it is, to an extent, but it’s not true, proper stealth – as in the game’s most important mechanics. Modern games incorporate stealth elements more than relying on being a true stealth master. Take Assassin’s Creed, where you quite visibly roam the streets, stab targets wantonly, then invariably run away over rooftops in the least conspicuous manner possible from twenty footsoldiers who just saw you spend 20 minutes talking to a carcass you created, and effectively the idea of stealth in the game becomes an illusion. Even with the best of intentions, getting away with unnoticed with a clean kill is not an achievable goal. It’s possible to get through the Thief and MGS games without an enemy fatality, and non-combat tactics are your friend. Being woefully outnumbered and outgunned is part of the thrill, forcing you to play more patiently and intelligently. Sadly, the MGS series has become somewhat more action-based in recent years, and Splinter Cell’s creeping tension is suspected to disappear in their first non-Sam Fisher game. Games have invariably been speeding up, and the necessity of being careful has been lost. There’s too much room for error, and the subtlety of a light, suave approach isn’t necessary, even if it’s more fun.

Still alive as: mostly in the Hitman series, Thief 4 (due out later this year, after a 9-year absence)

Half-Life

Goddamnit, Valve.


About the Author

Rú Hickson

Despite initial wealth, Ru bankrupted himself by acquiring every existing second-hand copy of Duke Nukem Forever and placing it in a pile he uses for the express purposes of urinating onto and crying over in an unhealthy, but surprisingly therapeutic, downward spiral.

  • Ciaran O’Brien

    God, I miss the Thief series, they’re still just unbeatable in terms of stealth and cleverness. I had high hopes for Dishonoured but it pandered to the action-obsessed demographic far more than the patient stalker. You *could* get through the game without fatalities, but most of the powers were geared towards noisy messy slaughter. Nice game, but so much wasted potential :(

    • Dennis L

      Dunno about that Ciaran. I played Dishonoured through with only about 3 kills. Thought it was an excellent stealth game… blink, freeze time, wind blast all being non murder powers.

      • http://www.ramp.ie/ Lisa McInerney

        I’m with Dennis on this one. I played through Dishonored for the Clean Hands and Ghost achievements and absolutely loved it (and I was delighted to see the same challenges pop up in Knife of Dunwall). Now it feels like a failure if I kill anyone at all or get spotted even once. Which is unfortunate, because I much prefer the High Chaos ending.

        Oh, and the Mostly Flesh and Steel achievement which prohibits the use of any powers or supernatural abilities (apart from Level I Blink, which you get my default) is tons of fun as well.

  • clint

    You can download remade HD versions of Monkey Island 1&2 on Xbox live & PSN. Stunning artwork & brilliant voice acting throughout, and if you prefer, you can switch to the original old skool game at any point. About a tenner each I think. Well worth it :)

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