Seinfeld Is Unfunny / Video Games

" Super Mario Kart… is superannuated. It's been so thoroughly surpassed by newer games that while I can appreciate it, I was never able to squeeze much fun out of it."

Due to the rapid rate at which the medium is evolving (especially compared to other older media like Film, Music, or Television), video games are affected by the trope quite frequently.

  • Early Console RPGs plots seem to a modern audience like textbook cliché storms, or at best Strictly Formula. By now, quests to save the Cosmic Keystones, children stumbling into quests far bigger than themselves, and turncoats against The Empire are all old hat. Their low Story-to-Gameplay Ratio is only aggravated by the gameplay often demanding intensive Level Grinding. Some of the best known examples come from the Final Fantasy series.
  • Final Fantasy I was awesome for being more or less a video game port of the then-exploding Dungeons & Dragons game. Today, Neverwinter Nights exists, complete with a sequel, and they have many, many more features with more polish and fewer glaring bugs.
  • Final Fantasy III introduced the Job System, allowing players to switch character classes at will. This introduced or expanded many of the series' staples, like Geomancer, Dark Knight, and Scholar. Sadly, the game wasn't localized overseas for sixteen years. By then, Western players were used to the more complex and versatile systems of games like FFV and the Tactics sub-series, which allowed characters to have secondary abilities from other jobs, multiple abilities per job, and didn't include III's "adjustment period" where a newly-switched job has lowered stats for a certain number of battles. While the 2006 remake added much more in the way of characterization and graphics, it kept its mechanics largely in line with the original.
  • Final Fantasy VII in particular tends to suffer from this. At the time of its release, it was regarded as a revolutionary milestone and hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. Having a troubled protagonist (who may have Identity Amnesia) chase around a Unfettered Omnicidal Maniac might seem played out, but at the time you would've been hard-pressed to find many RPGs with that formula. While earlier Final Fantasy games had troubled heroes, Final Fantasy VII was the first with a hero who turns out to be an Unreliable Narrator questioning his existence. Also, on a technical level, the first few seconds of the opening sequence, with the camera panning out slowly from a classic piece of shiny magic rock to a dark futuristic city, were initially meant to be shocking — and they were. Finally, the Plotline Death of Aerith was originally a huge shock felt across the gaming industry, but is today perhaps the video-game example of It Was His Sled. It was not the first to kill off a party member for real (Final Fantasy II beat it to the punch), but it was the first to try to portray such a death with a feeling of loss rather than it being an intense, dramatic moment.
    • It's also hard for newer gamers to appreciate (in any sense of the word) the thoroughly screwed-up nature of the cast, even though FFVII was released long before BioWare made collections of tortured individuals de rigueur for Western RPGs. It even beat Planescape: Torment by two years, a game in which the thoroughly screwed-up nature of the cast is a major plot point.
    • Final Fantasy VII is frequently criticized for having a "Blind Idiot" Translation. While it does indeed suffer from a large number of spelling errors, wonky sentences, and outright mistranslations that future games in the series, and future JRPGs in general, would improve upon, the translation was very good for its time. The character limit for names was increased so that the named for people and items wouldn't have to be abbreviated, there was a lack of censorship that allowed for cursing and mature themes to be discussed, and the plot managed to be understandable despite the Mind Screw nature of it in the second half. It also has a lot of personality, with very individual vocabularies and speech patterns for each of the characters - something even a lot of modern translations struggle with.
  • Final Fantasy VI got rid of the Crystals, which were a key staple of Final Fantasy before. This was highly controversial at the time, and the game paved the way for the Anachronism Stew and Schizo Tech that the series is most widely known for. The exclusion of the Crystals is lost on most modern fans, and a common criticism is that the cast is shallow and unexplored and the gameplay is easy and simple. The game's Big Bad Kefka is frequently written off as a goofy Joker knock-off, but prior to Kefka, Final Fantasy villains fit the generic Tin Tyrant / Evil Overlord mold, and Kefka's insane wisecracks and clown-like appearance were a huge departure. Similarly, rather than turning into a generic monster as the Final Boss, Kefka became a Physical God, and the final battle had many parallels to The Divine Comedy. These days, JRPGs including Final Fantasy frequently have angelic and divine final bosses, and Faux Symbolism is par for the course, especially with Final Fantasy.
    • The opera scene is a particular victim — for gamers in 1994 who were used to getting virtually all speech and information in text format only, hearing any kind of vocalization was astonishing and groundbreaking. But while gamers at the time were able to forgive the midi/synth approximations of singing under the limits of the era, newer gamers used to full voice acting and lush musical vocals are more likely to find it cheesy.
  • Final Fantasy IV was revolutionary during its time because the game introduced a more developed storyline and had Character Development; characters actually think about what they have done and what they must do to have a better future for themselves and the story itself still has the "save the world" plot, but it also has much more behind it so that the story isn't just about world saving. Nowadays, people snub the game for having characters being predictable and the story being too simplistic, even though said people forget that the game using those concepts back when it was new was mind blowing at that time.
    • In addition, the gameplay is seen as rather "Generic" nowadays, yet many gameplay features in the game were pretty much unheard of. The active time battle system required the player to have more of an eye on battles than before in the series (and most other games like this on the market at the time). Not only that, but the bosses themselves would change their attack patterns depending on the battle phase. Thus, players would have to adjust their own strategy and have characters pick convenient times to hide or defend to ward off an incoming attack, adjust to the party's layout being messed with, knock down a shield so that the boss may be damaged, Shoot the Medic First, or wait because their actions would be countered. In an age with like Monster Hunter, Dark Souls, and World of Warcraft, it's hard to believe that these battles actually tripped people up back in the day.
    • Scarmiglione was itself a minor Kaizo Trap before Kaizo Traps became popular. The boss attacks you, you beat it, but once you take a few steps away, he announces that you did exactly what he wanted you to do and attacks you even stronger than before. Not only that, but he did so from behind, meaning your three squishy mages are in the front row. (Some players actually didn't even know you could swap rows in battle since you had virtually no reason to so at that point, meaning they battled with Cecil's damage output reduced!) Even when people played the remakes, almost everyone used the internet, had played it before, or knew someone else who had — so they knew to swap rows right before triggering the next event flag, then said "Scarmiglione is hard?" And compared to most Kaizo Traps... This boss is very forgiving.
  • Final Fantasy X: The use of voice acting rather than strictly text-based dialog was actually seen as a very controversial move, as many Final Fantasy fans feared it would detract from the series' sense of identifiability. Furthermore, while X certainly wasn't the first JRPG to use voice acting, it was the first to really make it an important part of the narrative and use it to enhance the game's sense of cinematic wonder.note  It turned out to not only be a change for the better but a revolutionary development for the RPG genre. The stellar voice acting and cinematics in games like Xenoblade? None of that would've been possible without Final Fantasy X taking this "risk" back in 2001.
    • Even before that, several games had voice acting before Final Fantasy X — games like Lunar: Eternal Blue and Tales of Eternia (which predated Final Fantasy X) indeed look quite cheesy today, and that's not getting into how many games like King's Quest V had voice acting before. Even in 2001, they had started to experience this.
  • Dragon Quest created many of the tropes still used by JRPGs today, to the point where the older games are often labeled "archaic" or "outdated".
    • The series has been doomed to almost-niche status abroad due to the following: long localization holdups with the 8-bit generation games in particular rendering them either obsolete or in competition with the new 16-bit generation, the temporary folding of Enix's American wing, and last but definitely not least, the game to break the genre in the West and define it, Final Fantasy VII, stood in stark contrast, being more about outrageous battle systems and cinematic spectacle.
    • While a few recent games have gotten some pretty good remakes, going back to the original Dragon Quest VII can be a bit hard. Even at the time it was released in North America (2001) it looked a bit dated. The game was originally made for the 64DD in 1996, moved to the PlayStation in 1997, and spent a few years in Development Hell. It showed, especially with successor systems within a few months or even weeks.
    • The twist of the original Dragon Quest was that once you defeated the Final Boss, suddenly he reveals his true form (or his pet dragon comes to avenge his master, but everyone, even the creators themselves, liked the translation better) and you get another, more powerful opponent to face before victory. While sequential final bosses are nothing new in games these days, at the time this was actually seen as a pretty big twist.
    • Dragon Quest II is similar — the apparent Big Bad of the game is fought and defeated, only for a sudden repeat of the previous game to happen - you have another boss to fight. That wasn't the Big Bad you just faced, it was The Dragon. Now you must fight The Man Behind the Man. Having an apparent Big Bad who turns out to be The Dragon or for the Big Bad to have The Man Behind the Man is pretty run of the mill almost thirty years after its release, and its sudden appearance at the end with little foreshadowing would get it labeled an Ass Pull or Giant Space Flea from Nowhere by today's standards.
  • Bokosuka Wars, originally released for Sharp X1 and MSX computers in 1983, was seen as a revolutionary game in Japan, where it helped to lay the foundations for the tactical RPG sub-genre. Its NES console port, however, significantly toned down the Strategy Game elements, instead making it look like a badly designed Action-Adventure. When the inferior NES port was discovered in North America, Bokosuka Wars was rubbished by retro gamers, and is even seen as a joke, especially its Game Over screen with the Engrish phrase "Wow! You Lose!"
  • Hydlide, originally released in 1984 for the PC-88 computer in Japan, was one of the first Action RPGs ever (along with Dragon Slayer from the same year), but by 1989, when the NES port was first released in North America, it was much more primitive than similar games, especially The Legend of Zelda and Ys series. As a matter of fact, both of those series were influenced by Hydlide in the first place, so much so that after Hydlide released in North America in 1989, it was wrongly accused of being a Zelda clone. Despite its negative reception in North America, Hydlide had a mostly positive reception in Japan, where it was seen as a revolutionary game (and not mistaken for being a Zelda rip-off, since Zelda didn't exist yet).
  • Golden Sun has a hatedom that has attacked the game for being a "generic Game Boy Advance RPG" — without realizing that there wasn't really that much else available on the Game Boy Advance at the time (maybe in Japan). Considering that the Game Boy Advance was a new format in itself, Golden Sun still had some rather detailed environments and perhaps the best use of the Game Boy Advance sound systems for a while — it was perhaps one of the first games released on the format to actually use a lot of the potential technology it had, other than a few others like Bomberman, Advance Wars, and maybe Mario Kart, amongst a slew of remakes (like Breath of Fire and Super Mario Bros.) and licensed games.
  • Adventure for the Atari 2600 makes this Older Than the NES. Old codgers and video game historians recognize the game as revolutionary. Your character is graphically represented on screen. He can pick up graphical representations of items. The items can be left anywhere in the game world and the game will "remember" where they are. Graphically represented enemies with AI that changes based on the environment. And the game has an actual goal and ends when you complete the goal, instead of going on forever.
  • With modern processing technology, it can be hard to believe that Myst was once one of the most beautiful games on the market.
  • Half-Life, being the first modern, highly scripted first person shooter with adaptive AI, now seems somewhat typical after being endlessly copied, ripped off and modified by just about every FPS that came after it. (For a concrete example, see this forum thread.)
    • Half-Life also popularized the seemingly simple concept of placing weapons in realistic locations (weapon lockers, dead security guards, enemy drops) rather than the floating weapons of Doom or Quake. SiN did this too, and was released slightly earlier, but didn't enjoy the same level of popularity.
    • Its sequel, while absolutely revolutionary in 2004, now seems cliched when just about every single other FPS game now contains the level of physics, graphics, vehicles and what-have-you that made it such a hit at the time.
  • Bungie's Marathon series, or Pathways into Darkness, were among the first FPS games to feature a complex storyline that drove the gameplay, alternate fire, and the ability for computer players to move the mouse in order to rotate their character's view (including the ability to look up and down and side to side without restrictions). By today's standards, though, it's hard to believe that these games were once revolutionary.
  • Jurassic Park: Trespasser. Granted, part of the reason it was hard to get into was the fact that it was an Obvious Beta. But at the time, a game like that was actually highly ambitious. Tying back into Half-Life 2, the physics in that game wouldn't have been possible without the physics engine from this game as inspiration.
  • The first Mega Man Battle Network game definitely fits this trope, especially if you've played even the second and third games (considered the best with the fifth and sixth often competing). It was released in 2001, when the Game Boy Advance was still a very new format. Nowadays, it can practically pass for a touch-screen telephone game with how bare-bones it is compared to even the second, which introduced style changes for replay, the third which added customization outside of and in addition to style changes, and so on and so on until you get the Surprisingly Improved Sequel of the fifth and sixth. It can only compare to the terrible fourth game. It practically seems like an Obvious Beta when you play it, nowadays (very few wood chips, HP gets recovered, bosses top out at a thousand HP, game just gets disgustingly easy).
  • Atelier Iris got this, in an odd combination of Seinfeld Is Unfunny and No Export for You, when it finally came over to the U.S. in 2005. "So it's a standard JRPG with "alchemy crafting"?" While the "standard JRPG" bit is, well, not exactly false for Iris, what a lot of Western consumers fail to understand in shrugging off the crafting system is that the progenitor of the Atelier series, Atelier Marie, was the first JRPG to not only feature a very robust (in the case of Marie, absurdly robust) crafting system, but was the first JRPG to feature alchemy heavily. After Marie and its sequel sold a quarter million copies each, you suddenly had alchemy coming out of the woodwork in Japanese pop culture and nearly every JRPG in the wake of Marie has featured some kind of crafting system. The problem is, due to some poor business decisions on the part of multiple parties, practically everything else that was influenced by Atelier crossed the Pacific before it did, and the original games never came over at all. So the Atelier series is regarded as punctuation in the story of RPG history in the West, when in fact it seems to have had nearly as much influence on game design in Japan as other staple series.
  • GoldenEye 007, one of the first Video Games based on a movie that didn't suck (in some ways, it was better than the movie), now suffers from this. At the time, the game was basically the first console First-Person Shooter done rightnote  and is, in many ways, the reason why the genre became so popular on consoles (before, it was almost entirely PC based). But it holds up poorly by today's standards because of its lack of online play (not its fault, since it was on the Nintendo 64), crude aiming system, heavy dose of Escort Missions, lack of voice acting (again, not its fault, it was on the Nintendo 64 and was an early game on the console to boot), large amount of linearity (which is ironic, since at the time GoldenEye was possibly the least linear game on the market), dated graphics, and inconsistent framerate. Ironically, there was another James Bond FPS for the N64 that vastly improved the graphics, controls, missions, and plot, but it's not nearly as well remembered as GoldenEye.
    • GoldenEye was the first time many, if not most, gamers of the day ever had something like a sniper rifle to play with. Today, it's hard to realize how cool it was to take your buddy out from 300 yards away in any FPS, not just a console game.
    • Also, while GoldenEye wasn't the first FPS to deviate from the "shoot everything that moves while collecting the occasional keycard" style of gameplay, it was the first such game to have significant mainstream appeal. While things like actual mission objectives (beyond just flipping switches and collecting keycards) and allies/hostages you don't (or shouldn't) shoot seem pretty standard now, they were actually quite revolutionary in 1997. The latter being a concept that would later be expanded upon in the aforementioned Half-Life.
    • A revolutionary aspect of GoldenEye's single player campaign that tends to be retrospectively overlooked is its artificial intelligence. In a time when artificial intelligence models in first person shooters were usually limited to "shoot the hero when he enters the room" alongside some randomly generated movement, GoldenEye's more sophisticated AI (enemies dodged bullets, recognized noise, set off alarms, etc.) was downright amazing. Unfortunately, after games like Half-Life and Halo further revolutionized AI routines in first person shooters, the guards and enemies in GoldenEye seem downright moronic now (not least of all helped that long-time players have made some actual shortcomings in their AI very well-known).
    • Ironically, GoldenEye was also largely responsible for instigating this trope with a game released just a few months prior: Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Upon release, Turok was among the most critically acclaimed games on the Nintendo 64, widely praised for its impressive weapons arsenal and lush/detailed jungle landscapes. Unfortunately, once GoldenEye was released and blew everybody away with all the traits mentioned above, Turok's flaws (namely its bizarre and non-configurable control scheme and over-emphasis on item collecting) became much more noticeable. While Turok 2: Seeds of Evil was also highly regarded upon release (due in no small part to its at-the-time mindblowing graphics), subsequent Turok games garnered less enthusiastic responses, with Turok Evolution often being credited as one of several games that bankrupted Acclaim Entertainment. After the 2008 Turok reboot garnered a lukewarm response from both critics and gamers alike, it's pretty safe to say that the series is now Deader Than Disco.
  • Among the PC gaming crowd, Halo itself may count as well. Most shooters nowadays have Regenerating Health note , let you carry only two weapons at once, use the weapon you're holding as a melee weapon instead of using a separate weapon that you have to switch to (e.g., a crowbar), allow you to throw grenades without making you switch to them first, have enemies drop their weapons and equipment when they die instead of just having weapons pre-placed on the stage, etc. All of these elements were around before Halo, but never all in the same game. Halo was all that in one game, and on a console. It was also the first console game to include networked multiplayer, which soon gave birth to online multiplayer.
    • Of course, many classic FPS fans just plain don't like two-weapon combat or Regenerating Health, and consider Halo's innovations to be steps backward, which contributes further to this attitude.
    • For the console players, it was the first time ever being allowed to multiplay through local network, up to 16 players at a time, by hooking up TV sets and systems. Network play over the Internet for PC games was available since Doom, but it was considerably harder to set up properly, and even some of the more famous late-90s shooters that were designed specifically for online multiplayer, like Quake III: Arena and Counter-Strike still predate true online multiplayer for PC by a couple of years; in fact, what really constitutes a Seinfield is Unfunny option is the server browser. It is unthinkable today to ship a multiplayer game without a server browser or online match-making system on consoles, but there was a time where you had to manually search for games, and in that regard Halo was indeed the first FPS on console to feature a robust match making system.
    • For those whose prior FPS experience was limited to console games, the concept of moving in one direction while aiming in another direction was revolutionary. The Xbox could handle this because the controller had two analog sticks, while previous systems (like the Nintendo 64) offered one or nonenote .
  • Doom. A Space Marine Is You, demons, Foreboding, Benevolent and Malevolent Architecture, futuristic techbases... we've seen it already.
    • Back when it released, Doom gained much controversy for its use of violence and gore. With a few exceptions like Wolfenstein, Mortal Kombat, the occasional FMV game, most prior games were largely marketed towards children and families. As such, audiences were shocked by the amount of mature content and Doom became one of the main targets of 90s Moral Guardians with some even blaming it for inspiring school massacres. Nowadays, most gamers would view its controversy as overblown and its supposed violence to be relatively tame largely due to the dated graphics and lack of narrative . With improvements in graphical processing and contextual story telling, many modern games like Spec Ops: The Line and The Last of Us could depict more realistic violent events that would leave a more shocking impact on audiences. To younger audiences, the violence in Doom would seem too simplistic and bland to elicit shock and disgust.
    • With the level of detail and fancy graphics in most modern mapsets, it can be quite jarring to come back to the original official Doom levels and find them looking downright primitive in comparison.
    • Ironically, given the sorts of design directions that FPS games have taken since the turn of the millennium, Doom has become Vindicated by History in that its simple, fast-paced gameplay and free-form level design is considered by many as a welcome alternative to the slower and more "realistic" style of later games within the genre.
      • And we have mods that incorporate best of both worlds: the simple, fast paced action with highly detailed, organic level design.
    • In a weird way, even certain ports of Doom have fallen victim to this. The PlayStation 1 version is looked at somewhat unfavorably now, partly because certain features had to be removed. Many people forget that, at the time, it was probably the first console port of Doom to successfully stack up to the PC original and even hold its own in some regards (it introduced colored lighting, replaced the original's admittedly cheesy MIDI rock with a downright creepy ambient score, etc.). At the same time, the Super NES version is widely seen as a very shoddy port. Nevermind that, at the time, simply getting such a technologically complex game on the five year old SNESnote  was seen as a remarkable achievement. It also had arguably one of the best renditions of the original Doom soundtrack on any platform.
  • This has also affected the Doom modding community:
    • Older mods which were acclaimed back in the day may seem downright primitive by today's standards, in part due to evolving mapper skill, but also due to the introduction of increasingly user-friendly level editors which make it a lot easier to add fine detailing. Today's players are also a lot less forgiving of mazelike layouts and confusing puzzles and switch hunts. Megawads such as Icarus: Alien Vanguard and Requiem were considered some of the best back in the late nineties, but today they seem at best like a mixed bag.
    • This is apparent with maps by the Finnish mapper Iikka Keranen, who was named as the best mapper of all time by Doomworld.com back in 1999. His contributions to Requiem were applauded in part due to their groundbreaking tricks, such as 3D bridges, and attempts at realism. Now that the novelty has worn off, it becomes painfully obvious that the maps' cramped interiors really don't make for very good gameplay.
  • Elite was completely groundbreaking when it was published in the mid '80s, with its open-ended trading and shooting gameplay and massive universe of stars and planets. It's still talked about with fondness by those who spent hours at a time playing it back then. To many who didn't play it in the '80s, it's hard to see what all the fuss is about.
    • The immediate successors, however, either due to slightly improved interface (or perspective shift), customization, or storyline, did not suffer so terribly. Chalk most of it up to youngsters these days being untrained to deal with vector graphics and unable to gauge depth properly. It is still a commonly used and cherished game mechanic, since it's tough to mass-produce this sort of thing to the point of disgust without sinking a company: Star Flight and Privateer, to name just a pair of the oldest.
  • The Super Robot Wars series has been around for a while, but licensing issues have ensured that a Western player is more-or-less forced to emulate if he or she wants to experience them directly. To date, the newest and best game in the series that has been fully translated is Super Robot Wars Judgment. However, playing it first is an excellent way to ruin all the other games currently available in English, including Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden and the localized Super Robot Wars Original Generation games, as all three make use of much more primitive interfaces, mechanics, and overall presentation than Judgment, and have a much less fair difficulty curve.
  • Point-and-click adventure games, mostly due to a combination of Guide Dang It, You Can't Get Ye Flask, and GUIs becoming popular (and easier to program). It can be a little hard for even some point-and-click fans to pick up old Sierra adventure games such as Laura Bow, King's Quest, Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry, text games like Zork, and more. It isn't just the ancient parser adventures — even the most advanced of Interactive Fiction games get overlooked now, because who wants to type their commands in, after years of You Can't Get Ye Flask leaving a bad taste in peoples' mouths?
  • Star Ocean, primarily the first two games when they were each given an Enhanced Remake. The first game was actually, for the most part, drastically different in story than most other RPGs (with a few exceptions like Fallout and a couple Shin Megami Tensei games who often used elements of sci-fi) and the fact that this game was actually credited as the one that pushed the SNES's technology to the limit. People often criticized it as "There isn't enough sci-fi, there's magic so it's not sci-fi", "It's Short, so It Sucks", or "They Changed It, Now It Sucks" regarding the changes to their PSP versions. The plot for the first Star Ocean game is very similar to an episode of Star Trek, and the plot for the second one (called a Cliché Storm by some reviewers who had played the PSP remake) was actually far more original for the time than it seems now. The entire skill system (which was actually pretty in-depth and thorough) is often ignored, and the amount of recruitable characters and somewhat complex recruitment branches (giving some more replay value than the typical "you get these eight characters but can use only three or four at a time"-RPG) is considered just one part of a cliché storm. Let's also not forget that it was one of the first games that featured optional "Private Actions" to develop characters since the plot was written with only the required characters needing to be involved.
  • Tales of Phantasia had this as a complaint when it was finally localized. The first two Tales games (Phantasia and Destiny) may also be somewhat hard to get into with how their battle systems (which was actually a rather major change in what RPG gamers have been accustomed to since the days of Dungeons & Dragons and what was just showing up in action games like World of Mana and Secret of Evermore) are much slower and simplistic than in the more recent games in the series like Vesperia and Dawn of the New World. You were restricted to just a 2D plane, there wasn't a lot of comboing, and the action froze to display spells & Special attacks. Also added was the fact that in Japan, Phantasia was called "The game that sings" for having a theme song, unlike most other games at the time. Nowadays everyone more or less expects the games to be fast-paced action or else they don't fulfill the Action Quota produced in part by Phantasia and Destiny. And having a theme song? Psssh... nearly every game's got one of those now.
    • Some of these were subverted by the Enhanced Remakes the two had (the PlayStation version of Phantasia is considered the best version of Phantasia).
  • When new technology opened up new potential doors for media for the video games' storytelling, it can be rather hard to appreciate some of the early attempts at adding voice and cutscenes to games, beyond the rather simplistic gameplay of Dragon's Lair. Especially games like Begas Battle, King's Quest V and VI, or the first two Lunar games. King's Quest V was a rather early example of adventure games and RPGs using more media to spread information and the story. Nowadays people will probably view the cutscenes on YouTube and just laugh at the stiff animation, the voice acting, or the syncing (Usually a fault of the software used to put the file on YouTube), often praising games like Daggerfall for "doing the FMVs right" without acknowledging that even the most recent of those games (Eternal Blue) was made at least two years before Daggerfall was even finished. (And even then, Daggerfall's videos could all be counted on one-hand.) Despite how rather laughable the cutscenes and voice acting is nowadays, one may have to consider that with the exception of Lunar: Eternal Blue (which was made in 1994), all of those games were released within the range of 1990-92, and even then, the technology was rather new for the time. (King's Quest V, for example, showed a lot of people the potential of using CD-based games as opposed constantly switching out floppy discs.)
    • Another funny example are the people saying that Ghaleon is just another silver-haired pretty villain who is a result of developers trying to create another Sephiroth. Now take one look at the release dates mentioned above and try reading that again with a straight face... By the time people watched Sephiroth burn down Nibelheim, the exploits of the Magic Emperor Ghaleon were already five years old. And when he returned for round two? Three years old... and don't even get some of these people started on the rather effeminate looking Zophar (who really isn't that effeminate looking on the Sega CD until he absorbs the power of Althena) who is also considered another Sephiroth ripoff... despite trying to take over the universe of Lunar at least three years before Sephiroth did.
  • Full motion video. Many early attempts in the '90s are seen today as really, really corny (Morgan Webb of X-Play said on one episode that there was once a time in which community theatre actors could find work in games). Heck, the FMV games nowadays have this really "grainy" appearance, while the old attempts at CGI now look like everything is made out of plastic and rubber. It can be hard to appreciate some games like The 7th Guest, which was one of the first games period to even use the CD format, let alone combine live-actors acting out scenes and pre-rendered CG-I (of course, the game in question may be hard to get into for other reasons beyond how dated it is).
    • Rebel Assault II was released two years before Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, and was the first piece of Star Wars media to use live-action footage since Return of the Jedi. It was a huge deal at the time, and brought Lucasarts a giant surge of popularity (to the point that it had several compilation packages based around its inclusion). Today, it's hard to look at the footage from II (especially compared to the aforementioned Knight, which has actual actors and actually feels like a legitimate entry into the canon, rather than just a Gaiden Game) and not laugh at the stilted dialogue, cheap props and bad effects, even though it was the Killer App for the company.
  • Voice acting. Many classic games from the late '90s such as Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and to a lesser extent, Metal Gear Solid have some pretty narmy voice acting by modern standards, but at the time, they were considered revolutions in video game story telling. Indeed most of the best remembered video games of the PlayStation era were hits because of the then fresh and exciting "3D graphics, voice acting, movie inspired plots" formula.
    • Gex fell hard on this. When the game was released in early 1995, its sheer volume of voice samples was impressive. But even more impressive was that they were done by a professional comedian (until then, most video game voice work was done either in-house or by local talent). Those playing the game for the first time today are likely to find Gex's constant one-liners both annoying and outdated (expect lots of Totally Radical slang and unironic references to 90's pop culture like Full House). A matter not helped by the fact that his mouth doesn't move when speaking them, and they don't blend with the remaining soundwork in the game. So they sound more like external narrations than character quips.
    • The inverse is also true in Metal Gear Solid, as it was one of the first video games to take voice acting seriously in order to deliver a compelling story, which is now the norm these days.
  • This was actually what one of the criticisms when the Sega Saturn version of Magic Knight Rayearth came out. The reviewer found no problems with the game itself, he considered the localization of a game that was 3 years old already a wasted effort.
  • Hydro Thunder has fallen victim to this. It's very hard to imagine how it was innovative when every aspect of it (outside of the boat racing) has been immitated (mostly very poorly) and used. Mention it to anyone who wasn't around or into the arcade scene in the late '90s and you'll be bound to hear a bunch of groans complaining how they've seen it all before.
  • Metroid. Samus Is a Girl. So what's the big deal? It's quite forgotten that the original game was released at a time when female protagonists (or any female fitting any trope besides Damsel in Distress) in video games were essentially unheard of besides Ms. Pac-Man. Even the trend of required token females in fighting games hadn't started yet. A rather dull twist today was one hell of a shocker at the time.
    • The game itself also suffers from this, as Samus's jumping is floaty, you take lots of knockback from damage, you can't crouch or shoot diagonally, many of the rooms look the same, there's no map you can reference, and you can only save when you die, after which you must write down a complicated password and then grind back all the health you've lost. However, this was the first ever platformer of such a scale, back when going any other direction than right in a Platformer was unthinkable. While the environments don't change up much over the game, this allowed for a very expansive overworld for an NES cart, by far being one of the biggest games for the NES, and helped set the Metroidvania genre into motion.
  • Mortal Kombat' and its depiction of digitized characters mutilating, decapitating, and just plain murdering each other with their Fatalities caused quite a stir during the early 1990s with both players and parents. Nintendo caved in to the Moral Guardians when it came to "their" version of the game for the Super NES, which had all the blood removed and some of the Fatalities Finishing Moves changed, resulting in significantly less units sold than its uncensored Sega Genesis counterpart. Arguably, Mortal Kombat could be cited as the game that single-handedly created the ESRB. Nowadays, the violence of the Mortal Kombat series seems cartoony and tame compared to some of the more disturbing games released since the rating system has been established, such as Manhunt and Silent Hill, or even the newer games in the franchise itself.
    • Not to mention the game seems almost like a gimmick nowadays, what its graphic violence and intriguing atmosphere/storyline hiding an otherwise primitive fighting system, both of which can now be found in more complex games.
    • Mortal Kombat 4 specially suffers from this. While the game was nothing special in the gore department, the use of swift good-looking 3D graphics made it a successful game. If you check the reviews of the time, it usually got pretty decent scores (6.5/10 to 8.5/10). Most people nowadays consider it a horrible game, forgetting that it was the first 3D Mortal Kombat game not to hit the Polygon Ceiling.
    • Admittedly, Mortal Kombat did drift from its harsher origins over the course of the series. Fatalities in later titles were less about the raw violence and more about the spectacle. Kano went from ripping people's hearts out in the first game to using his Eye Beams to blow up his enemies by the third. It's still a finishing move, but the extremeness of the MK3 fatality just lacked the cold-bloodedness and disturbing vibe the first game had.
  • Night Trap also helped cause the ESRB to be formed, or was one of the prime motivators. Seeing it now, it's amazing to think of how it was supposed to be so offensive on the Sega CD. Of course, even then, there wasn't any actual violence (implied, not actually shown), and many of the things that were shown were so fantastical people couldn't possibly replicate it (as it was filmed). However, the sex... oh boy... a girl in a nightgown that looked like something in the '50s.
  • Phantasy Star gave birth to a lot of the tropes of JRPGs in general, including the mash-up of sci-fi and fantasy elements, customizing party lineups by swapping out party members, and the emotionally shocking but dramatically effective storyline deaths of important protagonistsnote . Now it's all par for the course. In addition, while the Phantasy Star games were generally Darker and Edgier than the Final Fantasy games of their day, ever since Final Fantasy VII, the majority of RPGs have been at least as grim as anything in the quadrilogy.
    • It does technically hold onto one claim to fame, though it is unfortunately at home in the 'Dark Horse' of the original quadrilogy. And that is a branching storyline caused by marital succession. Granted, such a thing is probably a massive pain in the arse to script then implement, so it is no surprise few others have a constantly refreshing cast of characters.
    • Most of the early Western RPGs (such as Heavy On The Magick on the European 8-bit computers, or Dungeon Master on the Amiga and Atari ST) had little plot intrusion in the game with much of that sort of thing being in the "The story so far..." section of the instruction manual. Nowadays, while there are still segments of the gaming population that prefer games to have as little story as possible, even a story-lite game like The Elder Scrolls still has a main plot thrown into the game with a few token cinematics.
    • Amusingly, early RPGs copied each other so much there was little effective difference between them: Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy were, if not the same, at least very similar thematically. Now, due to the proliferation of the RPG format, there are any number of different RPG genres. Which sort of makes it the reverse of Seinfeld Is Unfunny: earlier RPGs copied shamelessly, newer RPGs are much more diverse. Sort of.
    • Early Western RPGs were so mechanically similar that you could frequently import parties developed in other games. You could play Bard's Tale 2 with your Wizardry party.
    • A more straight example: Shin Megami Tensei I was one of the first major RPGs (another was Makai Toshi SaGa, also known as Final Fantasy Legend) to include heavy Christian imagery and cast God as a villain. It predates Neon Genesis Evangelion by three years, Final Fantasy Tactics by five years and Xenogears by six. It also focuses heavily on story (a rarity at the time), includes a free-roaming environment, has Multiple Endings and gives you the option of choosing what kind of morality you want to follow based on the actions you take in the game, which significantly changes the story. One of the villains destroys the world partway through the game two years before Kefka did it. And most importantly, in a genre filled with Cliché Storms at the time, this was an Urban Fantasy set in the real world that quickly shifts into After the End. This isn't even mentioning the ultimate twist, which rarely leaves its series to this day — you only had two party members, while the four other spots were filled with Monster Allies. Of course, since all of these controversial themes kept it inside Japan for over a decade, most fans don't even realize it was a trendsetter because they just never had an opportunity to play them and by the time they did come over, the themes that are frequent fodder for the franchise had already become commonplace.
  • Speaking of Makai Toshi SaGa, its leveling system was an improvement of the one in Final Fantasy II, and was subsequently improved in the following games, making the original look rather old by comparison.
  • Quake 1 was an immense hit in its day due to its technological innovations. But its once-shocking 3D graphics now look... underwhelming, due to low polygon counts and lack of texture filtering. Though the overall atmosphere and art design still hold up quite well despite the limitations. Even its other claim to fame, being the first widespread online FPS is relatively unimpressive to today's gamers. Today, with gaming networks like Steam, Play Station Network and Xbox Live Arcade, Quake's lack of a server-browser, let alone a gaming network (excluding early 3rd party networks like MPlayer and MSN Zone) seems downright primitive. Still, considering today's gaming dominated by multiplayer FPS's, Quake's popularization of online gameplay makes it one of the most important technical feats to this day.
  • Alone In The Dark 1992 was probably the Trope Codifier (along with Resident Evil) for most Survival Horror tropes. Yet the animations for it and some of the voice acting come off as narmy and act as nightmare retadants. The game itself doesn't look very dark either, and lacks the sorts of graphical elements that make more modern games actually scary. The game's tech does give an Uncanny Valley feel to it that can be quite creepy in its own right.
  • The original Street Fighter. Back then, arcade games were almost universally simple affairs. Punch, kick, jump, shoot, duck, defend on occasion, maybe if it got really wild, you had an alternate weapon. Large sprites, one-on-one gameplay, a pair of analog buttons which produced a variety of strikes (later replaced by the now-standard six-button grid), holding back to block, super-lethal attacks unleashed by secret joystick movements, and unique opponents with a variety of styles and attacks... all of these were amazing innovations. Especially for Capcom, which at the time had almost nothing but platformers and various Shoot Em Ups. It was a huge success, better than anyone could've imagined. Today, good luck finding someone who remembers that this game existed, much less will admit to liking it.
    • Street Fighter II accidentally introduced animation cancelling, and as a result, the entire concept of combos in fighting games. This glitch single-handedly extended the life of video arcades for a decade. Today, the system seems clunky and sometimes unresponsive, and overpowered to bootnote ; then again, it was a glitch, and not an integrated component of the game engine.
  • Super Mario 64, in addition to being widely considered the first example of a 3D platformer done right, was the first to successfully create a seamless 3D world and show what could really be done with the small addition of the Z-axis. For quite a while, it was the premiere example of the Video Game 3D Leap and set the standard for just about every 3D game thereafter.
    • Or, hell, even the original Super Mario Bros. 1 for the NES. With its abundance of repeated level styles, there's some people who don't realize that this game kickstarted Nintendo's juggernaut of a series. Back in the 1985, 32 side-scrolling levels (with many secret areas) was simply immense for a game world (at the time of The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, many games made do with only a few static screens), and Mario's Goomba Stomp and forgiving Jump Physics made for much livelier gameplay than most earlier platformers, where characters couldn't jump high and often needed a powerup to have any chance of defeating enemies. And, double hell, even the smooth scrolling qualifies — for literally anyone born after 1980, it's impossible to see how that could be a big deal, but in 1985, SMB's larger-than-single-screen levels that scrolled smoothly at the refresh rate of the television were absolute goddamned voodoo, and other developers actually struggled for a little while to replicate the buttery smoothness of the level scrolling and progression in SMB.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES was considered groundbreaking back in its release of 1988 (1990 in North America and 1991 in the PAL regions) with its expanded power-ups, more variety in the worlds, bigger back-story, and just more depth in general. However, younger gamers who did not grow up with the NES will wonder why older gamers find the game to be amazing today and will just think of it as a standard Mario platformer.
  • Spelunker, with its pixel-perfect jumps and death for falling a quarter of the screen height, is seen by many retro gamers as some sort of sick joke. These infuriating characteristics were shared by many early Platform Games on 8-bit computers.
  • Donkey Kong, in its day, was the Arcade Game that Nintendo couldn't manufacture enough copies of to satisfy worldwide demand. Players who grew up in an age when only the most amateurish Platform Game would have only four screens might wonder why it became so phenomenally popular. It doesn't help that most people have only played the NES version, which only has three levels out of four. note  To date, the only "complete" home versions are an unlockable arcade port in Donkey Kong 64 as well as a special NES Original Edition on Virtual Console that was only given out on a couple of occasions.
  • Ape Escape is nowadays plagued by Damn You, Muscle Memory and what is now considered terrible camera controls (in part because a standardized control scheme is "Right analog stick for camera, left analog stick for movement"). However, at the time, it was a huge experiment in 3D control, as well as for the PlayStation in general. For one, it was the first game to require the DualShock controller.
  • Tomb Raider was also praised for its detailed, realistic interactive 3D environment and use of set pieces, which was groundbreaking at the time. Nowadays, the original game rarely gets the respect it deserves, and even then, it's mostly remembered for the fanservice (she has big boobs, therefore the game is sexist and completely cancels out every other positive aspect of Lara's characterization) that is mentioned rather than the many other things it did and the major part it played in establishing the 3D Action-Adventure genre in general.
    • Lara Croft herself was also the first female protagonist who gained a lot of her attention due to her "assets". Back in the mid 90s, a female character made for sex appeal was controversial. Nowadays, no one bats an eye.
  • The System Shock games, System Shock 2 in particular. Despite being one of the most undersold games ever, never really moving beyond Cult Classic, System Shock 2 was a very well put together and innovative PC game. It was so good it has at least two Spiritual Successors. Both BioShock and Dead Space copy its sold blend of Survival Horror/shooter in a Sci-Fi environment with vending machines, upgrade stations allowing for a good deal of customization, and special powers (often used in puzzle solving), and a plot where everyone's turned into monsters and the only normal people are either on the other end of the radio, die five seconds after you meet them, or are the villains. However, improved graphics and gameplay, combined with the fact that not as many people played System Shock create such moments as Dead Space being described as "like BioShock, but on a spaceship."
  • The Tokimeki Memorial series as a whole, being the series which made non-H Dating Sims and Otome Games popular, and having created or popularized a number of Romance and Harem Series tropes along the way, suffers from this nowadays. Especially notable in the case of Tokimeki Memorial 4, the latest game in the series: it's generally accepted that it's on par, if not superior to the best episode in the series, the back-then groundbreaking and extremely popular Tokimeki Memorial 2; but it's mostly shrugged off by critics and gamers alike as "so Nineties" and "so old-school", being used by games such as The Idolmaster and Love Plus.
  • Ultima was once described by Yahtzee as "needlessly obtuse", which would make sense if there was anything better available at the time the games were released (which is only true for Ultima IX and perhaps Ultima VIII).
    • The early Ultima games were often described as "RPG/adventure hybrids" at the time, because they brought into RPGs such revolutionary elements as talking to NPCs and solving puzzles beyond "use key on door".
    • It also was the first source of a morality system in an RPG, in Ultima IV.
    • The Ultima Underworld games, along with The Elder Scrolls: Arena, revolutionized RPGs with 360 degrees of 3 dimensional freedom, before the term FPS had even been coined. It looks less impressive compared to today's RPG hack-n-slashers.
  • The first Virtua Fighter is horribly bland if you've played any 3D fighting game that came later (let alone later entries in the series), yet words fail to describe how innovative and astonishing it was when it came out. Of course, the very name indicates that it was made to demonstrate something new at the time.
  • Welcome To Pia Carrot was made in 1995. Like many other adult games and dating sims, it lingered in No Export for You territory. By the time a Fan Translation of the PC-FX port was made in 2009, the art style looked quite old (on the other hand, only a few other similar games in English in 2009 had simulation-style gameplay).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda I, compared to the newer games, would look like it's missing a lot of the elements that are staples of the series (such as towns full of NPCs, traveling by way of a horse or vehicle, and lots of dialogue and cutscenes) but at the time, it was an epic adventure the likes of which was almost completely unheard of in a console game, just because you had a more free-range environment, a whole arsenal of inventory items and needed a save feature just to finish it (this was an early NES game, and most of those games at the time were the kind you could finish in a single sitting [at least in principle], or used a password system). The save feature in particular is nothing remarkable anymore since save features are now taken for granted in video games.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was the first Zelda game to add more intricate lore and characters for the series, and also introduced the series' classic formula (get three MacGuffins, major plot twist, collect five more Mac Guffins and defeat the final boss). It was one of the most epic gaming adventures of all time at the time of its release, but nowadays it suffers from this trope more strongly than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, even if it's not as well known: the game can come across as campy and simplistic to fans of modern Zelda games, even compared to OoT itself, and many of the characters and environments aren't as intricate as the ones introduced in later games. 2013's The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds deliberately harkened back to ALttP, using a similar aesthetic and tone, and failed to make as much of a splash as many other modern Zelda games do.
    • For that matter, the Nintendo 64 games. They were a spectacular Video Game 3D Leap at the time, and are the base for every third-person game that exists now, having introduced features such as the now ubiquitous Camera Lock-On. However, just like Super Mario 64, the low-poly graphics and mostly square environments don't look nearly as good today, especially when compared to newer games. The 3D remakes remedied this.
      • On the note of the Camera Lock-On, this was seen as a huge step forward for gaming in general, as it finally allowed players a sense of accuracy and strategy when it came to combat. Thanks to the multitudes of action games that have since refined and expanded what was seen (including later entries in the Zelda series itself), the usage in the N64 games can come across as rather clunky and unintuitive.
    • OoT's spiritual successor The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess suffers from this. It was highly anticipated and unanimously praised at its time of release for being a return to Ocarina of Time's beloved formula after the unconventional and controversial (at the time) Majora's Mask and Wind Waker. Its Real Is Brown aesthetic was also praised for being a return to the "mature" Zelda style fans had been clamoring for, especially since Wind Waker and Minish Cap had raised fears that the series was falling into the Animation Age Ghetto. Nowadays, Twilight Princess is more contested for these very reasons: some feel that its formula is too derivative, and that its "realistic" graphics come across as dull, drab, and slightly outdated, especially since Zelda games have shown a much wider variety of formulas, artstyles and tones ever since.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog evokes this in two ways: firstly, the speed which the eponymous Blue Blur ran through the levels in the first game in the series really seemed quite blistering to gamers of the day, even if nobody would think twice about it now. Also, in order to truly see the heavily promoted "edginess" of the character, you really need to be aware that when Sonic first appeared in 1991, the vast majority of platform heroes were promoted as squeaky-clean everymen. A teenage hedgehog with a spiky hairstyle and a self-confident smirk was enough to seem uber-cool by comparison. Not to mention that in earlier adverts he was promoted with long hookteeth while playing in a rock-band. The fact that the 2000's would introduce us to stuff such as an anthropomorphic rat with razor-sharp claws that plans revenge on the civilization that killed his grandfather and enslaved his entire race just shows that today Sonic really seems like the thing that it wanted itself to distance from. It is not like if Sega is unaware of this though, since they attempted to make something edgy in the Sonic universe in the form of Shadow the Hedgehog.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog CD was unique at the time because of its focus on time travel, as well as environmental themes, but those are now frequent.
    • Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 are two notorious sufferers of this trope. At the time of their release, they received massive critical acclaim for their impressive graphics (note that this was when the original PlayStation was still dominating the gaming industry), elaborate story and characterization (at a time when Sonic games had as much of these elements as a typical Mario sidescroller), and unique take on the series's gameplay style that managed to accurately convey Sonic-style platforming in a 3D world. Nowadays, the graphics are a very frequent source of mockery due to the over-the-top animations and admittedly terrible Lip Lock (particularly in the English dub of Adventure 2, where characters frequently interrupt each other due to the dub writers apparently not realizing that Japanese is a much more compact language than English), the characters and stories are both considered to be quite hammy and clichéd by modern series standards, especially due to some of Sonic's lines being Totally Radical (which may or may not fall under We're Still Relevant, Dammit given the first game's 1999 release date), and the gameplay is commonly derided for being full of bugs and oversights, particularly in the Gamecube ports. When comparing the Adventure games to more recent 3D Sonic platformers (other than the 2006 pseudo-reboot), the former shows its age quite a bit.
  • Logistics and diplomacy in a wargame. From the west came Virgin Interactive with Overlord with trade, military pacts, and planetary bombardment, and from the east came Koei, with Nobunaga's Ambition. Both were the first in their genres to combine obsessive resource management with the trappings of a standard setpiece wargame. How much your troops had trained and with what. How much food you had. The market of the food itself. The market behind your weaponry. Spying. Assassinations. Treaties. Aid pacts. Black markets. Taxation. Dividends. And in Nobunaga's case, even marriage was accounted for, as an alternative option to uniting your empire with another's. The information overload was staggering for its time, possibly even for some now. This was not merely there to bolster the wargame part ala Total War either. It was vitally important to do all these things at once lest you fall behind and face unexpected defeat in the coming battle.
    • Similarly, M.U.L.E. was all about managing and developing your resources on a newly founded colony world.
  • The original Battle Arena Toshinden was in its time a revolutionary 3D fighting game and one of the most highly rated games for the original PlayStation when it originally came out. It was one of the most advertised launch titles for the platform in North America and Europe, as well as the third game to ever get a score of 98% from Game Players magazine (the other two being the SNES port of Super Street Fighter II and Final Fantasy VI). Toshinden was credited for taking the fighting game genre into "true 3D" with its introduction of the sidestep maneuver, and it was also the first 3D fighting game to feature weapon-based combat. However, the sequels got progressively worse reviews (the fourth one wasn't even released in North America), and the release of the superior weapon-based 3D fighter Soul Edge (itself influenced by Toshinden) eventually rendered Toshinden obsolete. Many today now compare the game unfavorably to the Soulcalibur games (or later Tekken and Virtua Fighter games), without realizing just how revolutionary Toshinden was for its time.
  • The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series is a microcosm of this trope. When the Marine player character in the first game is permanently killed by the nuke in "Aftermath", it was a huge break from other FPS games of the era. The fact that you controlled a dying character in the middle of a nuclear blast zone (and had no say over whether he lived or died), and that all your efforts in the American campaign were for naught was a huge deal then, and flew in the face of conventional video game tropes. The two sequels, however, doe the same thing 5 times combined, not to mention the slew of other post-CoD4 FPS games that also do it at least once, and for players who played MW2 or 3 before the original, the effect of the "Aftermath" level is lost.
  • The Baldur's Gate games are considered Western RPG landmarks. Try telling that to BioWare fans who got on board circa Knights of the Old Republic, when the developer had started going more for the cinematic angle, or to fans who got on board after Mass Effect, or Dragon Age, when they had perfected the style.
    • To a minor extent, the bonus merchants in the Baldur's Gate 2 Collector's Edition. At the time the game was released, having these two merchants was a huge deal, as they not only were highly exclusive bonuses that were only limited to a comparative handful of game owners, but the equipment they sold was much better than anything else at the beginning of the game. Fast forward through a generation of Pre-Order Bonus and CE content offers, and its hard to see what the big deal is.
    • Even Knights of the Old Republic was revolutionary at its release. It was the first RPG out there in which literally every line of dialogue (other than the lines chosen by the protagonist) was fully voice acted. While voice acting was common in RPGs by that point, it was usually reserved for narrative-focused scenes with text boxes sufficing for non-critical interactions. KotOR did a lot to drive the immersion in its universe by giving even minor characters a literal voice.note  Most RPGs that came after would reach for the same bar so often it became ubiquitous.
  • The SOCOM series, full stop. During the PS2 days, SOCOM blended the best aspects of PC tactical shooters (mainly Counter-Strike, Delta Force and Rainbow Six) and made the gameplay palatable for console gamers. Combine this with the ultra-popular PS2 and the result? Six million total sales between the first two games. However, SOCOM's relevance was symbiotic with Sony's problematic online gaming support, which suffered from the PS2's lack of a built-in hard drive (making patching impossible and dropped games were common). Then Halo 2 was released, and Xbox Live's popularity exploded. And then, the worst combination for the series: PS3's lackluster launch handicapped the console, developer Zipper did not make another SOCOM game for years, and many different tactical shooters flooded the console market (e.g., the "Tom Clancy's" line of shooters, Battlefield variants, and especially Call of Duty). By the time SOCOM 4 was released, only longtime fans remained interested. Worse, SOCOM 4's attempts to convert new fans was a failure, and the remaining fans are caught into a bitter civil war with the franchise. Now that developer Zipper has shut down on March 2012, the franchise looks to be a footnote of the PS2 days, and little else.
  • Genre Savvy people are predicting this to happen to the original Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars because it was released on an engine considered "outdated". A lot of other early MOBA games in general after other games like Demigod, Heroes of Newerth, League of Legends and DotA 2 improved and played with the formula a bit more.
  • A couple of Super Mario World hacks have actually fallen into this category as well.
    • The Second Reality Project was one of the first major Super Mario World hacks. Completed in 2002 (around Lunar Magic's really early years), the game just had level edits and nothing else. But the creator did do a remake incorporating newer graphics, levels and other things.
    • Heck, Rob-Omb's Quest probably looks lousy today compared to other Super Mario World hacks, but around the time it came out, (many) people were impressed by the custom Super Mario Bros. 3 music, overworld and level ideas. One world in particular revolves almost entirely around direct remakes of levels from Super Mario Bros. 3, which is something that can get a hack rejected from SMW Central these days.
      • Even the SMB3 music seems bland compared to the custom music that can be inserted into a SMW ROM hack now.
    • For a hack made in 2003, Super Demo World The Legend Continues is a fairly impressive 120-exit hack, with a nonlinear overworld, custom graphics, and even some ASM; commonplace today, but unheard of then. And while people would rave about the large levels and "puzzles", today the oversaturation of item babysitting and overall cryptic design would be criticized.
    • The first hack that demonstrated what ASM editing can do? Brutal Mario was pretty famous for the custom bosses, sprites and other features, but had bad level design. Nowadays, there are many other hacks that incorporate ASM, and the custom bosses are largely considered pretty lousy themselves.
    • Kaizo Mario World, due to two big factors. At the time, all those cruel tricks were actually original, and even things like the Kaizo Trap or invisible coin blocks were used sparingly and in a clever way. And things like invisible/underwater Bowser, that Big Boo boss in the second, the final Reznor fight and many of the levels were actually fairly well designed, it's just the imitators that came since copied so much of it that the game itself is old hat. The second big problem is a bad stigma among the ROM-hacking communities: since Kaizo Mario World is among the most famous Game Mod out there and had so many imitators, it can make people think the ROM-hacking communities only produce Platform Hell games, which is quite aggravating to most ROM-hackers.
    • Other hacks have issues with this too. Ore World 1 and 2 were extremely old examples of Mario hacks with lots of ASM in the form of custom bosses and sprites, and were actually kind of impressive back in the olden days. Nowadays though, the fact their custom sprites/bosses are extremely basic and somewhat poorly designed, along with the fact everything but the ASM was generally low quality has meant that the games have practically been forgotten. Another example is the Super Mario World Returns hacks by KT. They were notable about a decade ago for being the first ever hacks to have custom sprites in levels, having enemies from other Mario games as basic mooks you could fight throughout the adventure. Now of course, with sprite tool actually existing and many more interesting examples of custom sprites being made, their design is just coming across as dated to anyone who plays them.
  • Breath of Fire II, for the Super NES. Compared to today's games, its mild swearing (a single "damn" and "hell"), explicit references to death, and religious themes (including a Corrupt Church and explicit references to gods) may seem tame; nonetheless, it was definitely Darker and Edgier than anything ever before seen on a Nintendo system.
  • Resident Evil did for video games what Night of the Living Dead (1968) did for movies. Zombies. Used to be, zombies were about as common or less likely for one to encounter as the old 1980s stand-by enemies, the robot and the ninja. Then Resident Evil came along. Nowadays, zombies are almost as ubiquitous in games as crates. Not to mention the entire shift in what a Survival Horror title even is. These days, the genre is more focused on action, with combat being quicker and more frantic and story and level progression more fast-paced. This is a far cry from the "tank/turret-style" controls and complex puzzle-oriented gameplay of the first Survival Horror titles.
    • Resident Evil was also a stellar example of game developers using relatively limited technology to their advantage. The dispensing of real-time polygonal worlds in favor of pre-rendered backgrounds that were dynamically switched as the player triggered a certain "hot spot" (ie. opened a door, reached a certain point on the image, etc.) was a clever way of coping with the PlayStation's limited 3D rendering capabilities, while creating a genuinely creepy and unsettling environment. Of course, this had the major caveat of the dreaded "tank controls," meaning players needed to become accustomed to a cumbersome control scheme that, even when "fully mastered," was still very wonky and awkward. Now that technology has advanced enough that it's entirely possible to create believably creepy and bizarre worlds in real-time, it might be difficult for players accustomed to games like Silent Hill and Dead Space to go back and enjoy the first few Resident Evil games for anything more than their campy voice acting and ridiculous B-movie plots.
  • Renegade was the first "belt-scrolling" Beat 'em Up and pioneered such features as throwing enemies. The Japanese version launched the Kunio-kun series, and the Westernized version was popular enough to get its own line of sequels. Even as a Beat 'em Up it gets little respect nowadays, likely in part because even the arcade version lacks the Co-Op Multiplayer that became a staple of the genre. Seanbaby, describing the NES port as one of the "Top 20 Worst NES Games," claimed sarcastically that "there just weren't any other games involving guys walking around and fighting bad guys on the street." To a large extent, there weren't: it came before such better-remembered games as Double Dragon and Final Fight.
  • Similar to Kaizo Mario World, Fire Emblem ROM-Hacks. Mageknight 404 mentions that in his Blitz Tactics Universe series, the hack is really dated, but at the time was probably the best rom-hacks of Fire Emblem Elibe. It was actually one of the first games to do stuff like change around the event data, so that the characters were not actually just cutting the lines from a Fire Emblem Elibe game and replacing them with their own. However, playing it now, you'll notice that the characters are obviously splices or edits, while some of the custom faces fall right into the Uncanny Valley. In addition, the custom music will seem out of place, the events will seem weird, there are glitches (Such as brigands with sword ranks) amongst other things like a Purposefully Overpowered character based on one of the sprite artists. However, it -was- merely a beta, after all, and recently the game was revamped and re-released, given a name change to The Last Promise, and is generally a vast step up from the original version.
    • The idea of a main character who was a Jeigan was also a rather novel concept.
  • Grand Theft Auto III was both revolutionary and hugely controversial when it came out in 2001. While games like Driver and Body Harvestnote  had done Wide Open Sandbox gameplay before, none came close to the scope and production values of GTA III. The game had respected Hollywood actors voicing characters both major and minor, and combined driving, exploration, and combat in a way that had no rival at the time. Players could run around an open world, steal cars and run down pedestrians with them, kill anybody they saw (including cops) with a wide array of weapons, and pick up prostitutes to get health (and then kill them to get their money back), earning it the award of "Most Offensive Game of the Year" from GameSpy and other publications.

    Nowadays, with many Wide Open Sandbox games that have built upon GTA III's gameplay foundation (including later installments in the Grand Theft Auto series itself), things like the clunky shooting mechanics, the Excuse Plot, and the long load times between areas of the city stand out more. The presence of Hollywood celebrities voicing characters isn't that impressive when nearly every AAA game released nowadays has big-name voice talent. Lastly, the edgy content seems tame in comparison to Manhunt, Saints Row, God of War, and the "No Russian" mission in Modern Warfare 2 (the F-word isn't even used in the game).
    • And, if you want to go back even further than Body Harvest or Driver, there's Quarantine. This 1994-released vehicular combat game was arguably the very first 3D Wide Open Sandbox. It had a massive (for its time) city to explore, pedestrians you could pick up (you were a cab driver) or kill, and missions scattered throughout the city that you took on to advance the plot. Plus, the game was violent and gory as Hell. However, games like GTA or Saint's Row make it seem normal.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was also revolutionary in that it was one of the first mass-market games ever made to feature a soundtrack made up almost entirely of well-known, licensed music tracks from more than one artist. Typically, a game either used in-house music (which tended to be fairly simplistic) or had a single artist or band (more often than not a fairly obscure one) produce the music. The fact that Vice City had nothing but licensed music from many of the most famous artists of The '80s, across multiple genres, blew the minds of both reviewers and the public at large, and is credited as being a big part of the game's '80s vibe. Now days, licensed music tracks tend to be the rule rather than the exception in many Wide Open Sandbox games and even some non-sandbox games.
  • The original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was probably the first mainstream game to use an extensive licensed soundtrack. While most of the bands (except maybe Primus) were pretty obscure outside the Punk community, it was quite impressive at the time to hear such a wide range (ie. more than just one or two) of different bands in a video game. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, meanwhile, perfected this formula by offering a wider range of musical styles (basically anything from Punk to Rap to Metal) and larger assortment of mainstream bands. Just about every game with licensed music thereafter has owed a lot to the first two Tony Hawk games.
    • Before THPS, Road Rash for the 3DO pioneered the fully licensed soundtrack with bands like Soundgarden, Monster Magnet, and Paw.
  • When Duke Nukem 3D was released in early 1996, just hearing the word "Damn!" uttered at the very beginning was pretty hardcore, let alone being able to do things like dance with (or kill) strippers. Today, with far more brutal and foul-mouthed games having been released ever since, it's hard to look at this game as little more than a standard mid-'90s FPS with a cheesy 80's action movie gimmick, as the lukewarm reception for Duke Nukem Forever demonstrates.
    • Beyond that, the gameplay was an immense leap forward from the DOOM era only three years beforehand. The environments represented multiple realistic buildings with destructible environments, scripted cinematic events like missile launches, interactive items like light switches and playable billiards, working mirrors and remote security cameras, and incredible use of verticality with the jetpack and underwater segments. Just being able to look up and down was a technical achievement and is now of course taken for granted.
    • Not to mention such trivial things like the electrical sockets shocking you if you use them. There were a lot more nuances planned, but didn't make it into the full game. Like the tripmines laser reflecting off mirrors.
    • And then there's the character of Duke himself. In the mid-90's, he seemed like a perfect embodiment of masculine pride. And, while he wasn't the first FPS protagonist to deviate from the generic A Space Marine Is You characternote , he was probably the first to gain significant mainstream attention. When you consider the major leaps in narrative the FPS genre has made ever since (protagonists now have complex backstories and fully developed personalities) and the way recent video games have depicted "manly" characters who are reasonably fleshed out and developed (or, at least, infused with a healthy amount of self deprecating humor), Duke's rather un-ironic depiction of the stereotypical "manly man" seems extremely goofy at best and mildly unsettling at worst.
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was the first FPS that deliberately set out to be "cinematic". The endless imitators that followed, Call of Duty series most prominent of allnote , have led to its 10th anniversary and impact going nearly forgotten.
  • Connected with the previous one is, well... the WWII era of Call of Duty. While there certainly had been FPS games before where you fought alongside groups (including the Omaha Beach level of the aforementioned Allied Assault), the idea that you could constantly be having a squad (or larger!) of men fighting alongside you for basically the entire game, with at least a few of them having something of a personality, was such a leap forward that the marketing slogan for the first game was "Nobody Fights Alone." Nowadays, that's standard operating procedure in basically every military FPS. Ironically, while the WWII Call Of Duty games were among the best-selling FPS of their day, they are now more of a footnote compared to the more modern setting games.
    • Hell, Call of Duty has suffered from this badly in general. Call Of Duty 4's multiplayer was viewed as pretty advanced for the time, with class customisation, smooth multiplayer and reasonably good graphics. However, the problem seems to be that the series has become too formulaic, with a lack of general change until the announcement of Black Ops 2.
  • The original Cool Boarders was the first major snowboarding game on the market. It set the bar for an entire generation of snowboarding franchises like Amped, SSX and Shaun White's Snowboarding. Yet, Cool Boarders had a whopping five tracks, two characters, a handful of boards, an incredibly slow top speed and absolutely no competitive mode to speak of. It looks like a glorified demo in comparison to later snowboarding games, especially within its own series (to the point that Cool Boarders 2 in 1997 is considered to be the "true" start of the franchise). Later franchises reused Boarders' Competition mode, trend of qualifying jumps, unlockable characters and boards. However, all those franchises wouldn't have succeeded (or would have been drastically different) if Cool Boarders hadn't started the trend.
  • Xevious was one of the earliest and most influential Vertical Scrolling Shooters, but nowadays reviews aren't so good for an Endless Game with bland 8-bit graphics, boring enemy designs, an annoying soundtrack and a total lack of power-ups.
  • The original Sierra games like King's Quest were revolutionary at the time, and the American games industry would not be the same if Sierra adventure games had not existed, yet, even a relatively short time after the originals came out, everyone with a computer and their dog could program a game like that. It was when they grew the beard with King's Quest III and onward, introducing such things as evolving plots, characters that functioned as people rather than just obstacles, varying flesh-out environments and graphics that actually looked liked there was an actual artist on board rather than a 5-year old with a paint program that they began to stand out as legitimate products rather than just simple high school projects. In fact, King's Quest was often used to train new programmers, and while it shows with one and two, take a look at three or even four that look far more polished.
  • Video game vocal tracks, in the '90s, were actually a pretty big deal. Mind you, certain songs (such as the DK Rap) were panned even then. But JRPG vocal tracks in particular, such as "Wings" and "Eyes on Me", were highly regarded at the time. Today, with fully licensed music being the norm in video games and Western RPGs like Fallout 3 and Mass Effect having overtaken the JRPG's spot in terms of popularity nearly a decade ago, modern gamers see these songs as sort of overdone and kind of show-offy attempts at depicting emotional scenes, utilizing the PS1's CD format.
  • PaRappa the Rapper was a major innovation back in 1997, because no one else had seen a Rhythm Game before (this was before even Dance Dance Revolution), and the Paper People graphics was considered revolutionary for a game back then. Years later, Paper Mario would re-revolutionize Paper People graphics, and further rhythm games would re-revolutionize the rhythm game genre. Parappa's simplistic rhythm mechanic is considered completely obsolete, as every rhythm game after it uses a better system than "Press a certain button at basically random times". On top of that, PaRappa and each of its sequels would feel unforgivably short, as no game in the series has ever had more than 8 songs (all of which were made in-house for the games, compared to most rhythm games now having a licensed soundtrack or at least record industry people making the music), meaning you could finish any PaRappa game within an hour even at a low skill level. Compare that with modern rhythm games, which have at least 30 songs, with best-selling franchises having hundreds per game.
  • Joe Montana II Sports Talk Football, released back in 1991, was the first football video game to actually have continous commentary.
  • Devil May Cry 1 was lauded on release for its fast action and deep gameplay; today many players who try it find it kind of slow, clunky and limited (not to mention the infamous triangle jump). It has the right to be, since it basically set all the foundations of the modern Beat 'em All genre, four years before God of War and Itagaki's Ninja Gaiden.
  • Even edutainment titles are not immune. Any young one who was raised on games like that from the mid-90s to the late 2000s probably played an interactive book of some sort — the type where you can choose to have the story read to you, or have it read first and then being able to click on everything in the page and have it come to life. Some of these included the Disney Animated Storybooks and GT Interactive's games based on the Little Critter stories. They filled the edutainment market so much that it becomes easy to forget Living Books started the whole trend. Back when they did it, it was unlike anything that had been done before. It's not as glaring as some other examples since very few of the clones were able to live up to the standards Living Books set, but it's definitely part of the reason Living Books didn't last forever.
  • In Japan, the best-loved Fire Emblem games are Marth's, having been the originals and with a lot of fans citing a love for the cast/world. For fans outside of Japan, though, the series effectively started seven games later, with all the advancements made since then (including the weapon triangle, the Support system and the ability to see a unit's movement and attack range at the touch of a button rather than having to check their Move stat and counting spaces). Thus, international fans weren't impressed when the remake of the first game eschewed many of the newer features in favor of staying faithful to the original. The lack of the Support system (which gave the casts of the later games much of their characterization) is a particular sore spot.
    • This is even happening within its own series - someone used to the sheer number of support options available in Awakening (as well as the less Guide Dang It ways to get them) will find the supports in Elibe to be much less rewarding. For example, Chrom in Awakening, who is the most limited in terms of his support options, still has more romance options than the main characters in Elibe and Sacred Stones, and won't lock out of getting them to S-Rank if he goes up to an A support with his best friend first.
    • This also happens between the two Elibe games. Because the west got the Sequel First (well, prequel), many going back and playing Binding Blade via Fan Translation find it feeling very primative by comparison. All mission objectives are seize, thieves can't promote, no weather effects, many weapons that are now staples of the series (the Tomahawk and Spear, for example) are enemy-only, axes have HORRIBLE accuracy even by their standards, character balance is overall very off, most characters are shamless copies of those from Marth's games, and the plot is very basic and formulaic (especially compared to its prequel, which has one of the most original plots in the series). And then there's the support system, which comes off as very basic compared to later games (For one, only Roy, the main character, has romantic supports). Binding Blade was, however, vital in shaping the series as we know it today, as not only did it introduce the support system, it was also the first Fire Emblem on a portable system, where the series now finds most of its success.
  • Anyone who counts the post PlayStation 2 era as the main base of their video game experience will be extremely unlikely to appreciate just how revolutionary Shenmue was to the Wide Open Sandbox genre. It was one of the first truly interactive city environments that actually felt like a living breathing world: NPC's were at work or home depending on the time of day, real time weather effects that could actually be set to mimic the actual day to day weather of 1986/1987 Japan, arcades that featured classic arcade games such as Space Harrier, the range of dialogue was extensive even if it did constantly loop itself and, most importantly, invented the Quick Time Event. Today however it has been copied and surpassed by so many internationally famous franchises such as Grand Theft Auto all it is most likely remembered for by modern gamers is its infamously bad voice acting that admittedly even at the time was outdated when you consider the original Metal Gear Solid came out a year beforehand and set the trend for all vocal performances to come.
    • The note here about Quick Time Events needs to be expanded because unlike its overshadowed contributions to sandbox games; QTE's are now more or less in every genre of modern game imaginable from third person shooters to RPG's. They are now in fact so widespread that some reviewers today are so sick of them they even downgrade their ratings just on the basis of their presence, nowadays considered to be lazy design at best and a jarring and often-unfair sudden obstacle to progress at worst. Jontron even made a video about it Yet as hard as it may be to accept now, back in 2000 the concept of having such interactivity in a cut scene on a console game was unheard of. The closest we had were basic things like the odd text box popping up with a simplistic right or left style choice.
    • Shenmue is also something of an aversion of this trope because, in many ways, it is still utterly unique, having done things that no game had done before and no game has done since. There are no Shenmue clones.
  • Dance Dance Revolution was quite revolutionary when it was released in 1998 ("A dance game played with your feet?"). However, with the proliferation of motion sensor dance games in The New Tens such as Dance Central and even Konami's own DanceMasters / DanceEvolution, those who aren't already familiar with the BEMANI franchise find DDR to be outdated and irrelevant ("Why be restricted to stepping on four directional panels when there are games that make you use your entire body?") It doesn't help that many expert players hold onto the safety bar while playing, a practice that, while essential at high-level play, looks unappealing and nothing like dancing to those not familiar with the series. It still has its players, particularly in Japan where Konami continues to produce arcade DDR versions and update them with new content from time to time. DDR has also been called "Guitar Hero for your feet," despite the former predating the latter by seven years.
  • Pong is the ultimate example of this trope. Whilst not the first ever video game as is widely believed, it is the first game to truly make the medium popular, which is far more important in establishing whether something will become commercially viable or not. Indeed, this sheer popularity is most likely the reason why essentially no one today can name what came before it without the aid of Google. It's a pity that even gamers who grew up with it probably think of it as nothing more than two lines and a dot on a hazy monochrome screen. It doesn't help that the game is designed to be played with dials, while most modern versions use a d-pad, touchscreen, or mouse.
  • Xenogears, in the late '90s, almost didn't see an American release because of its religious overtones. Compared to what a lot of more recent games get away with in terms of religious content, it's hard to believe that the game's surprisingly reverent treatment of the topic was met with so much controversy. Even stranger: Final Fantasy Tactics, released almost one year earlier, had much stronger and harsher religious overtones. But there were no qualms about giving that game a US release. And let's not even get started on the Satanic overtones of ID Software's mid-90's games.
  • Front Mission was essentially Band of Brothers with giant robots with a bit of 24 mixed in. However, Square thinking that westerners wouldn't appreciate such a story and had created a route meant to cater to the American Public with a more traditional anime inspired plot and another which is very similar to previous titles. Too bad they didn't realize that nowadays, moral greyness and protagonists with complex personalities are the norm, as seen with Front Mission Evolved.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has fallen victim to this, but not in the way you might think it has. Rather, it was among the first video games to use context-sensitive gameplay, meaning that you were given unique abilities based on the situation at hand. How? By stepping on a Context Sensitivity Pad, where you were granted otherwise impossible abilities until stepping off. Compared to the context-sensitive gameplay of later games like God of War, Conker's seems very clumsy and limited. On the other hand, the game's liberal use of Vulgar Humor is still pretty unique, and probably the only reason one would be likely to choose it over a platformer like Ratchet & Clank or Super Mario Galaxy.
  • If you're used to modern iterations of Tetris, the slower piece movements and the stricter engine (pieces lock into place once they touch the floor or object, rather than being allowed to slide for a few frames) of older entries, such as the ones released for the NES and the Game Boy, can feel like poor quality and Fake Difficulty in hindsight.
  • Older Shoot 'em Up games, especially compared to more modern games that specialize in pretty visuals and Bullet Hell. Show Raiden or 1943 to someone who got into the genre through Touhou or CAVE games and you'll probably get some negative remarks about dull visuals, boring patterns and enormous hitboxes.
  • The first Valis game, as originally made for the PC-88, is practically unplayable by modern standards, with its choppy framerate, stiff controls and grinding for health. Even the cinematic cutscenes (predating Ninja Gaiden by two years) are barely even animated. Yet this Japanese PC game was popular enough to spawn a series that went on to greater glory, despite the original development team going (temporarily) independent and the commercial failure of the Famicom version that frustrated players in its own way.
  • More than 15 years after the release of The Longest Journey, a modern-day gamer might be surprised to find that back in the day, this game was rated "M" — perhaps the only reason it was rated so was the innuendos between April and Flipper, as well as a part where you have to drop aphrodisiac into somebody's coffee. If released today, The Longest Journey would get a "T" rating.
    • Another good example of the times changing is the fact that Fire Emblem Fates, a game released in the west in 2016, got away with not one but two gay options yet still manages to have a "T" rating... on top of all the innuendo. A game like that would have easily been even more Bowdlerized if it came out in 2006 if not even given an "M" rating.
  • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica suffers from this big time. When it was first released on the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast in 2000, the game was praised for its use of fully three dimensional characters and environments, as well as successfully continuing (and concluding) Claire Redfield's quest to find her brother Chris. Unfortunately, the game's massive praise and fanfare died down pretty quickly. Its beefed-up PlayStation 2 port garnered mostly So Okay, It's Average reviews (despite being seen as an improvement over the DC original) for comparing poorly to Devil May Crynote .
  • In the late-1990's, "hardware acceleration" was a major buzzword in the video game industry. In October 1996, the 3dfx Voodoo 1 video card was released. Approximately one month later, Tomb Raider (see above) became the first computer game to include out of the box 3D card support. What 3D cards did was give home computers an easy outlet for generating sophisticated 3D graphics and special effectsnote . Throughout the late-90's, "3D accelerated!" was a major selling point for new computer games, and 3D cards superseded sound cards as "the hot new gaming accessory." Today, with 3D acceleration being a standard item in every home computer released after about 1997 (and, thus, taken for granted by the public at large), it's easy to forget what a major revolution it was in the late-90's.
  • The ice bucket from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Whilst little pieces of 3D interaction had been on the PC for some time, back on the PlayStation 2 in 2001 the idea that you could shoot a bucket full of ice off a minibar and watch each individual cube slowly melt before your eyes was so amazing that some period magazine reviews supplied screenshots of the event or advised you to save beforehand just so you could watch it a second time. Needless to say, it's unlikely anyone today would be quite so enthusiastic.
  • The original Star Fox was a ground-breaking game, and it was impressive how, thanks to the Super FX Chip, it could give convincing 3D graphics. Today, despite its clever use of sprites, because of its low framerate, obvious clipping and other limitations, it would be considered nearly unplayable by a large range of young gamers.
    • Star Fox 64 invokes this in two ways: 1) Upon release, the game's use of force feedback (made possible through an attachment called the "Rumble Pack") was considered revolutionary. Today, with force feedback being taken for granted (due to modern controllers supporting it from the start), it might be hard for modern day gamers to see what the big deal was in 1997. 2) The game's at-the-time extensive use of voice actingnote  and real time cutscenes were seen as downright impressive for a cartridge in 1997. After later N64 games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Rogue Squadron significantly upped the ante in terms of cinematics, the rather campy dialog and repetitive cutscenes in Star Fox 64 didn't seem so impressive anymore.
  • Upon release in 1998, Gran Turismo was a major step forward for the driving game genre. Until then, driving games were typically arcade-like racers with limited car or track selections and little in the way of customization beyond choosing "Manual" or "Automatic" transmission. Gran Turismo was probably the first driving game to put a heavy emphasis on almost RPG-like customization (even being lovingly called a "Car-PG" by some fans) and depth. Plus, while it wasn't the first racing game to emphasize realistic physics and car handling (Top Gear Rally and the original Need for Speed did it before), it was probably the first to emphasize realism without compromising accessibility or fun. By today's standards, the game's once awe-inspiring level of customization seems rather quaint, and the jagged low-resolution graphics look downright horrible compared to modern driving games. Nonetheless, Gran Turismo established the blueprint for the driving game genre, and its influence is still felt to this very day.
  • Minecraft popularized the Sandbox game, even though it was not by any means the first of its kind - Second Life, Furcadia, and Garry's Mod were already old news by the time Minecraft was in development. Because Minecraft was the Trope Codifier for sandbox build-your-own-world game, this has led to some people saying that games like the above were ripoffs of Minecraft.
  • The impact Working Designs had on English language localization is probably far too easy to overlook nowadays. Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's, Japanese video games were often given highly literal English language translations by non-native English speakers (essentially, they took a Japanese word and then searched for its English language equivalent in a Japanese-English dictionary). Working Designs, however, put great care into making sure their translations were both sensible and appealing to American audiences — which meant not only translating individual words, but also rewriting sentences, removing jokes or pop culture references that would go over the heads of (or offend) Americans, keeping NPC dialog varied and interesting (ie. avoiding Welcome to Corneria situations), etc. Their stable of voice actors also maintained a much higher standard of dubbing than the under-rehearsed line readings of too-literally translated scripts typical of games localized in the CD-ROM era. Today, with Japanese game developers typically hiring professional translators and doing far more thorough translation jobs than before, Working Designs' translations (which, even in the 90's, had a tendency to be too pop culture focused for their own good) don't seem so special anymore.
  • Donkey Kong Country 1 was deemed revolutionary upon release on the Super NES in late 1994. In addition to being a pretty darn good platformer, the game's main draw was that its graphics were almost entirely rendered in 3D — which was, until then, unheard of in 16 bit video games. Granted, it was a sprite-based game, so nothing was rendered in real time. Nonetheless, its graphics were impressive enough to sell truckloads of copies and arguably make it the game that finally pushed sales for the SNES ahead of the competing Sega Genesis in North America for good. Today, when compared to the far more sophisticated rendering that has developed ever since, the once awe-inspiring graphics don't look so impressive anymorenote . Meanwhile, its gameplay (while still very good in its own right), has been largely surpassed by its sequels — particularly Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and the Donkey Kong Country Returns games.
  • The Quest for Glory series is one of the oldest examples (if not the Trope Codifier) for the Old Save Bonus. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, it was a huge deal to be able to port over your saved data from one game to another (five in total), including your character class, level, weapons, abilities and gameplay aspects that still aren't used with regularity in modern games (namely, importing a character from I to II and acting in a virtuous way allowed the player to get access to the hidden Paladin class, or the Thief class having several specific items that transfer between games). In the wake of many modern RPGs that have gone much further with this concept (namely, the Mass Effect series), it can be hard to appreciate just how important the Quest series were to gaming as a whole.
  • GITADORA was the first Rhythm Game series to simulate a rock band, featuring up to two players on the guitar component, GuitarFreaks, and one on the drum component, drummania. It was quite revolutionary back in 1999, when the rhythm game genre was still fairly fresh and Konami was picking up as the developer of rhythm games. However, Guitar Hero and Rock Band came along mid-next-decade to provide a number of Westerner-friendly staples such as full-length Western licenses and consoles in mind as opposed to arcades, and now GITADORA is seen by Western gamers as little more than a poor man's Rock Band, citing the lack of availability (No Export for You doesn't help) and the 2-minute song cuts (which are necessary due to the format of giving the player three to five songs per credit), as well as differences in guitar chart design.
  • SEGA's 1988 arcade version of Tetris is quite revolutionary for its time. Unlike the NES and Game Boy Tetris games, which were released a year later, SEGA Tetris introduced several big staples that are essential for high-level play: Fast sideways movement, fast soft drop, lock delay (when a piece hits the stack or floor, it has a split-second to move before it locks into place, unlike in Nintendo Tetris where pieces instantly lock), and a standardized piece color scheme. Many of these features would go on to appear in Tetris: The Grand Master, and lock delay and standardized piece colors would later become part of The Tetris Company's Tetris Guideline, a series of requirements for official Tetris games. Nowadays, especially amongst Westerners, it's seen as yet another Tetris game at best and a third-rate clone at worst; it doesn't help that it only has one direction of piece rotaton and that it doesn't feature "Korobeiniki" (aka "Tetris Game Boy A-Type music"). It also was released a year after the Atari version, which was beloved in the US because you could choose between 4 Russian music track and had a CPU versus mode and a difficulty select screen that included handicaps that was also absent in the Sega version, but never was released anywhere else due to Atari being forced to realize that they did not have the rights to it. Nintendo's versions generally avert this trope due to being marketed much more sucessfully and resulting in nostalgia for many players, while SEGA Tetris never found success outside of Japan.
  • Pole Position was truly ahead of its time when it was released in 1981, being the first driving game in three dimensions; driving games prior to that use a top-down view instead. But it has since been usurped by newer racing games that refine the genre further and are far more popular; Pole Position's lack of proper racing mechanics (such as positions/ranks) and excessively volatile cars (as in, cars that blow up if they so much as rub paint with each other) means that most players see it as a stepping stone for the genre at best.
  • The Apple ][ game Mystery House, released by Sierra in 1980, practically created the graphical Adventure Game genre, and inspired other programmers around the world to create their own. Even compared with slightly later games of the same generation, it looks hardly worthy of the commercial publication it received.
  • Looking back at World of Warcraft, it's hard to appreciate just how "newb-friendly" or even "Casual" the game was back in 2004, with all the things that have been changed and replaced with Anti-Frustration Features today. The fact that the worst you had to worry about dying was your equipment eventually breaking was considered a MASSIVE headache relief back in the day. In fact, you couldn't lose your items (Especially if killed by another player) or de-level. Another big factor was the fact that the game provided a lot of content that could be done by yourself, and in theory it was possible to reach the max level without ever having to group with another player.
    • Interestingly, the game is quite interesting in that it has had this trope happen with itself - the world was revamped back in 2010 for Cataclysm, and this has resulted in Burning Crusade being considered to be quite dull and grindy. (Back in 2007, the Burning Crusade world was considered to be top notch) Many of the old dungeons (That have not been remade for later expansions) are quite dull by today's standards with lots of boss fights being Tank and Spank.
      • Many players have also become quite spoiled by the changes made to balance and class performance over the years - one reason finding a group was so hard in Classic World of Warcraft was that there was literally only one class that could feasibly tank: Warriors. Druids and Paladins could not do it as they were better off using their abilities to heal. Druids also had virtually no damage-dealing ability and very little survivability, resulting in them becoming quite rare.
  • In StarCraft professional play, this is the reaction a lot of newer fans (especially those who joined with Starcraft II) have to the (now retired) pro player Boxer, who is considered a serious contender for the best Starcraft player of all time. People go back to watch Boxer's games at his prime... and they see a lot of common, even obvious Terran strategies that everyone uses. Sure, they'll admit that Boxer had amazing micro-managing skills, but those alone aren't worth the hype he gets. What these fans fail to realize is that all those "common" strategies that Boxer used, he invented. At the time, no one had seen them before, which made them devastating, and that's a large reason why those strategies are so common now. In fact, at the time Boxer came on to the scene, Terrans were considered a garbage race that only a noob would pick: Boxer proceeded to more or less singlehandedly develop the entire Terran metagame and make the race a serious contender.
  • Thanks to a mixture of this and No Export for You, this actually happened to a game's spiritual predecessor. Final Fantasy Tactics was a Spiritual Successor to a game called Tactics Ogre which came out originally on the Super Famicom - which did not see an international release. It was later remade for the Playstation, which did see a release. However, a lot of people had played Tactics first, which featured a much more in-depth class system than Tactics Ogre did. In addition to the fact that Squaresoft did not have their name on it, a lot of people thinking that Tactics Ogre was a ripoff of Final Fantasy Tactics, despite being made by the same people and coming out sooner. However, this trope became subverted when the PSP remake was made - the PSP Version is an Enhanced Remake that takes several features from the later Tactics and Tactics Advance game, funded by Square-enix even.


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