Category: News Archive
Written by WorstUsernameEver
Jay 'Rampant Coyote' Barnson muses on the subject of old-school RPGs and what makes them that in his latest blog post, of which I'm going to quote a snippet:
For exampleâ€¦ turn-based vs. real-time (or â€œactionâ€). Action-based, â€œreal-timeâ€ RPGs have been with us for a very, very long time. I like to refer back to Gateway to Apshai, published in 1983 (yeah, over a decade before Diablo), which was pure action-arcade-RPG. You had the trappings of an RPG, gathering loot and gaining levels as you used the joystick to do action-based battle against pixellated bad-guys. We can also go back to Ultima III or Telengard, two of the earliest CRPGs I ever played. These were â€œreal-time turn-basedâ€ if that makes any sense. You had time limits to choose your actions. Worse, the only â€œpauseâ€ command was getting into some input loop where the games were asking for additional details or confirmation of your action.
So really, as far as Iâ€™m concerned, and as much as I like to refer to â€œturn-basedâ€ games as â€œold schoolâ€, the truth of the matter is that both have been with us about as long as weâ€™ve had commercial CRPGs. Thereâ€™s absolutely nothing inherently new or improved or better about action-based gaming. And there were absolutely no technical limitations preventing RPGs from being real-time / action based back in the day, Mr. Findley. (Hopefully heâ€™s repented of that attitude now that theyâ€™re working on Wasteland 2). There were lots of action-RPGs back then.
We canâ€™t even agree about a time-period for â€œold-school.â€ Maybe itâ€™s my age, but I still have a tough time thinking of any game published in a year that begins with a â€œ2â€³ as â€œold-school.â€ Itâ€™s likeâ€¦ for me, you take the history of commercial computer games, which for me begins around 1979, and mark it at the halfway point between then and now â€“ which would be about 1996 â€“ and set that as the â€œold-schoolâ€ demarcation. Yeah, Iâ€™ll give it a little bit of extra slosh, but I have a tough time thinking of a game like Oblivion as old-school. Frigginâ€™ kids. Plus, as Iâ€™m a retro-gamer who is still playing older games for the first time (I just recently finished Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords), I have a tough time thinking of some of these games as being all that old.