Gaming again

Last week or so, I mentioned that I’d installed MAME back into this machine. In the day or two that followed I set some hi scores (note: it is not ‘high score’ it is ‘hi score’) and unsurprisingly I have, in a couple of games, yet to beat those scores. (I actually got to, but failed to bomb, the final base in Scramble on my first go). But playing Rainbow Islands last night, I realised another thing that was missing from so many games now (apart from gameplay) – older games had two elements you could beat – the score and progression.
Take Rainbow Islands for instance. My hiscore is around 2.1 million and finished on the last section of Doh Island. But I could beat that score but not get as far, or I could get further but have a reduced score. The goal of course is both – but I can’t recall a recent game which has such dual goals. Sure, GTA and the sequels do have scores, but are they used ? No – they are almost incidental. Ikaruga has both and I would guess most shoot’em ups should have this, but that genre is a small one, a very small one (despite the fact that the roots of videogaming being deep into that territory). This duality lead to arguments over who really was best – the gamer who got the furthest, or the gamer who got the better scores through a better technique. (I always sided with whichever was best for me at that point :) ) I can think of only one game that I have played and wanted – and got – both. Rez. One of the best console games ever.
These posts must make me seem like some whinging old codger who bemoans the new-fangled stuff, but in reality I just think that the majority of what are sold now as games have lost that indefinable edge, that special something that made them games.

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