Oops: Your Pixels are Showing

sc-chaos-theoryAs nostalgic as it is to pick up an old game and go retro for a bit, often times it’s a bit risky. While we do love those old games and the kinds of flavors they bring to us, games have progressed so much in terms of gameplay, design and more obviously, graphics. That’s why you never know what you’re going to get when you pick up an old game. Will you find a title that has gotten better with age like a fine wine, or pick up a clunky mess that was only good because it was the first of its kind, and has since been passed by much better endeavors?

Just the other night I finally caved in and re-downloaded one of my favorite titles from last generation – Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. I’m not sure what made me do it, but it was probably the combo of playing a new sneaking game such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, as well as JJ buying it, so I knew I’d have a buddy to do some co-op with. Speaking of co-op, the two player missions in that game were mind-numbingly good for their time.

So how did they (and the rest of the game) stack up?

To be honest – great. The game seriously looks awesome for its age, which makes sense considering I thought it was the best-looking game of last gen. For some reason, it still does some marvelous things with light that we haven’t really achieved in this generation, and the gameplay feels as tight as ever. JJ and I even hooked up for some co-op action, and they were still as fun as they were four years ago, when I first played it in college. One of the cooler mechanics of the game is that when you speak over your headset mic, the enemies can hear you, making it tricky to plan out how you’re going to take them out in silence. As a game mechanic, you hardly see anything that creative these days.

Anywho, this is one game that definitely isn’t showing its pixels in terms of how it’s aged, and I’m totally content with my decision to finally buy this longtime favorite of mine. What about you guys? What older games have you played recently that have aged well, and are still fun to play despite being from a previous gen? What games do you know of that haven’t aged very well?

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

11 thoughts on “Oops: Your Pixels are Showing”

  1. The especially nice part was that I picked my copy up for $5 at a used book store. I bet if anyone out there doesn’t have a copy and wants to check it out, there are plenty of other cheap used copies out in the wild

  2. Ever since I saw your tweet, Eddy, I’ve been feeling the need to play a little Chaos Theory myself. I played the hell out of that back in high school; I even cleared every single player level 100% (my social life didn’t start moving until grade 12, lol).

    For me, games that have aged too much for me to enjoy them as much as I did would have to be anything pe-GameCube era. I tried to boot up Ocarina of Time a little while back, but the chunky graphics started to hamper my enjoyment of the game. Same with Metal Gear Solid. What can I say, I’m a bit of a whore in that respect.

  3. Metroid Prime 1, Hitman Blood Money, Shadow of the Collosus and SSX3. Their graphics are still fine (Metroid Prime and Hitman especially) and gameplay is still kickass. I’ve still to see a level as technically impressive as the Mardi Gras level and a game to match the, uh, the… um, METROIDYNESS of Metroid (loneliness, exploration, fun).

  4. Max Payn and Half Life 2 nuf said.

    also you can find games for really cheep at thrift stores (it can tend to be a hit or miss though), my brother got Oblivion at one for $4!

  5. I actually had just got this game installed again aswell, though for the Xbox, because it has compatibility issues with Windows 7 and my card…
    I really have to say that it is holding up to some of the newer games, and is by far way better compaired to Double Agent. Especailly because I can get the bank mission 100% on the Hardest mode.

  6. I bought Chaos Theory for 9.99 (Canadian) about a year and a half ago, but haven’t been able to play it once because it won’t run on Vista 64bit. And ofcourse, they won’t patch it, they’re on to better things. Just need a dualboot of xp or run my old machine.. just too lazy.

    Another game I feel always looks great is Mafia. I also agree with Gadfly Jim about Hl2 and Max Payne. Payne always looks great.

    Its funny because the guys I live with now are all older than me and were never much of gamers. So I brought my SNES here and they have a 64, so I get to go back in time with them, and they’re seeing that all for the first time and are in love with it now. Then I get to come to my room with my i7 and Geforce 275 and play some Fallout 3 on Max settings hehehe.

    Best of both worlds.

  7. Well, like you said Eddy, a retro game could either be an amazing nostalgic re-experience, or a clunky piece-o’-crap that is a husk of its former glory. As for me, it depends on the game; it’s a case-by-case issue.
    My top 5 games that I’ve gone back to and loved are (whether they’re 8- or 16-bit or recent-gen stuff):
    5. Pokemon Red/Blue (first game ever, and STILL awesome!)
    4. Assassin’s Creed (I played it twice and loved it still. that’s just how I am)
    3. Metroid Fusion (my favorite of the Metroid series and my favorite GBA game)
    2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (needs no explanation. I’ve played this game through literally eight times. good stuff)
    1. Fallout 3 (I restarted and had so much fun when I got to the end again, and that’s really what marks an incredible and replayable game.

    As for old games that don’t shape up…uh, I don’t have anything really. I’ve probably forced myself to forget. lol

  8. My friend recently bought a NES from garage for 15 bucks, with a bunch of games. We were up all night playing Super Mario 3 and Duck Hunt. We didnt even turn the 360 on.

  9. Rise of Nations. That was the first game I remember playing where units were actually “Squads” and it was really just a EE imitator but I still love it.

    Full Spectrum Warrior. This is freeware now and I think it is the best tactical game I’ve EVER played. Small-Scale modern Warfare. It definetly made me happy to play.

    Call of Duty: Finest Hour. This is my first Call of Duty game. Took me quite awhile to beat on my Xbox but when I did I was HAPPY. This is also what got me into the Call of Duty franchise and I view this as a nicely made game. I just wish the British campaign was longer.

  10. Oblivion still amazes me, great one to pick up, but really its not THAT old.

    Ace Comabt 4 for me is one I can still pick up and play, its great!
    Battlestations Midway is also one I could pick up and the game is still fun. Its sequel is 10x as pretty graphically and has so many more options, but midway had that special feel to it and still does. Halo 1 also has that classy feel to it

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