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Do sequels retroactively make some games age worse? [roundtable]
As I was considering my collections for various Nintendo consoles due to the recent Survivor Polls, I remembered an odd dilemma I have with Mario Kart: I always rate them highly, but I rarely replay one over a generation old (outside of the first on occasion). The reason is because there've been so many MK games and almost all of them have simply built on what the previous ones offered, sometimes even including previous tracks for good measure.

By contrast, I also recently replayed Majora's Mask so that Sarah could experience it, and it still holds up as a sequel that's unique enough to not be a detriment to Ocarina of Time (despite the similar visuals).

Do you guys ever feel that "safe sequels" like Mario Kart or NSMB end up kind of hurting the replay value of older games in the series (older NSMB games in that series' case, not necessarily the original Mario platformers)? Fire Emblem Fates would be another example--I've thought Awakening was terrific ever since its release, but just the existence of Fates makes Awakening feel a lot less special, solely because there are now 2 (or 4) games all in that style.

Do you have this same issue, or is it just me? What games in your collection do you rarely touch since there are just better, later versions? What do you think is the best way to handle sequels?

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05/02/16, 18:50  
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For single player experiences, not really that often. They're still worth playing, as each version usually does something new and unique that makes it stand apart from the rest. Though I guess that depends on the series. Same with co-op multiplayer.

On the other hand after something like Super Mario Bros. 3 it is tough to tell people to go back and play the original Super Mario Bros. On the other other hand, people often do, and still enjoy it a lot.

Versus multiplayer? Depends. Usually a new multiplayer game is not trying to offer a totally brand new experience but more take the core that works and expand on it. In that respect going back to say... the original N64 Smash Bros... would seem sort of pointless now. More recent games in the series have done pretty much everything that it did better and then some. Some multiplayer series even try to include all the old maps / course / whatever and such.

Of course, there are still reasons some individuals will want to go back. There are probably better sports games now, but I'd still rather play NHL '94 or Tecmo Super Bowl because they are what I know and if I'm just hanging around with friends trying to play a multiplayer game quick I don't want to have to learn a bunch of fancy new controls.
05/02/16, 18:55   
Edited: 05/02/16, 18:59
Nah. If I found a game interesting to play the first time, I usually have reason to go back and replay it.

Keep in mind though, I'm a Street Fighter fan and I can go back and play any of the games in the franchise and enjoy them as much as I did upon release. And admittedly, those games don't change much from entry to entry. (even though they do)
05/02/16, 18:59   
I think a lot of it depends on if you were there back in the day or not, as nostalgia is a powerful drug.

When I look at the 2D Mario games, I still think that SMB3 & SMW are WAY better than the NSMB series. That's in spite of the fact that the New series is gussied up with modern graphics, resolutions, etc.

Would today's teenager crowd feel the same? I've got no reason to think so. Perhaps they'd view something like SMB3 as a curious relic from the past. Interesting on an intellectual level, but of little worth compared to the choices they have today.

It's like the early Doom games. I consider them timeless classics that simply do not age. But then again, I was there back in '93 when they were tearing down walls with innovation and mind-blowing graphics. So in my mind that's what they represent to this day. I could easy see a modern teen LOL'ing at Doom 1 & 2's primitive roots.

I think quality remains the same either way, but our appreciation and receptiveness to it can be a product of when in the subject's timeline we are introduced to the material.
05/02/16, 19:34   
I wouldn't use the word "worse", just dated. And not just sequels, but any game in a genre.

For instance, I'm really enjoying the Etrian Odyssey games, but I don't think I could live without their conveniences. I don't think I would get very far playing an actual old, punishing first person dungeon while charting my progress on graph paper.

Similarly, I have a tough time going back to NES RPGs and I don't really want to have to deal with their system of "if you target an enemy and it dies before your guy's move, you lost the turn" and other inconveniences. But I love modern games inspired by them.

Doesn't mean the original Final Fantasy was never good, or isn't good now. It just makes it dated.
05/02/16, 19:56   
@Guillaume I definitely struggled with Mother 1 because of how dated it feels. I still never finished that game.

Some new RPGs still kind of fall into the same traps though! I THANK THE LORD that I can turn off / turn down enemy encounters in Bravely Default easily because holy cow those battles are an annoying grind sometimes.
05/02/16, 20:07   
Well of course. Not EVERY new game is better/more convenient than the old ones. Just the good ones. Which Bravely Default is not.
05/02/16, 20:15   
I wouldn't say that samey sequels affect the original game(s) for me, but they do make the new ones feel less special. However, I've never cared too much about sequels being similar, and of course there should be at least some things that are similar in sequels as that's the point of sequels is to offer more of what made the first one good. I don't find NSMBU to be anything special, despite it being the best of the NSMB series, and can still go back and have some fun with NSMB on the DS. Mario games have always been about strong level design anyway and all the games still offer that.

In the case of multiplayer games, they usually do change a few things about the gameplay/formula and so it'll depend on if I like those changes. In the case of Mario Kart, I don't like the controls and item physics in MK VIII, and so I'd rather play MK 7. Before it lost its wi-fi, I preferred Mario Kart Wii, and still bust it out for local play. Smash Bros. is similar, the original N64 game still has the gameplay I most prefer.
05/03/16, 00:12   

That's probably a good way to look at it.

It's all relative. I mean, the original game hasn't changed at all, so it can't (in an absolute sense) magically become worse. It is what it is.

If you start looking at things with a sequel as the 'new' benchmark, of course it's entirely possible that it may seem 'worse' in comparison. But in and of itself? I wouldn't think so.

That's probably where @New Forms thoughts on nostalgia come into play as well. If you didn't play it originally and are used the bar being set higher from games further down the track, then your thoughts may be less positively disposed to the earlier titles.

That being said there are exceptions to every rule. Like New Forms, I think Doom is still pretty awesome and way more fun than most modern shooters. And any COD loving teenagers who think otherwise are idiots and wrong .
05/03/16, 00:34   

Totally agree with Doom. It's just as much fun as the day it released, much like the original SMB... I don't think any of the Mario games since have aged the original where it counts. I think you have to take this on a game by game case. Some games have it where it really counts (fun, timeless gameplay and design) and some don't.
05/03/16, 01:40   
Hmm. I think that they do make the previous games archaic or outdated, at times. For multiplayer games, I'd actually WANT them to, so I could just play the more convenient recent version.

I mean, I used to loooove Super Mario Kart, but it's pretty hard to go back and play. Mostly because of the controls, though. And I might be able to become reaccustomed to them. I dunno. On the other hand, Battle Mode in recent, non-portable Mario Karts is hot garbage. So Super Mario Kart still has its place. Then again, Mario Kart 64 pretty much took the Battle Mode crown.

In conclusion, I don't know. But it does bother me when a new game comes out that makes the old one obsolete... when I haven't even played my copy of the old one!

Fire Emblem is a weird case. I've never played more than a couple of hours of any of the games. I feel like I should really start with the Shadow and Light game on DS, since it's a remake of the very first FE. But people always say that it's the worst game. What am I supposed to do, just throw it away?

I feel like the original Smash Bros. still feels pretty different from any of the sequels. What few characters there are really pack a wallop in that game.
05/03/16, 15:21   
I consider Link's Awakening among the greatest games of all time and I played it in 2011.
05/03/16, 21:51   
Same here, but Zelda games are generally quirky and unique enough to stand alone from each other. They also benefit from different characters and stories sometimes, so it's a bit like FF7 not dating FF6.
05/03/16, 22:57   
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