Games we once loved, but now hate

Fact: Children are stupid. They read books about pooping. They wear hand-me-down socks. They watch movies starring computer-generated chipmunks and listen to music sung by pedophilic purple dinosaurs. Their opinions cannot be trusted.

So why should we trust ourselves as kids? Why would we believe that any of the stuff we liked when we were younger is still worth liking? Especially something as dependent on current technology and taste as videogames? We shouldn't. And in this article, we won't.

Here are seven games, picked by seven GR editors, that pathetically fail the test of time and adulthood. Share yours in the comments below.

Wolfenstein 3D

Editor: Charlie Barratt

Why I once loved it: Wolfenstein was more than my first shooter… it was my first truly immersive gaming experience. Before 1992, everything was side-scrolling, top-down or some other useless two-dimensional perspective.

Suddenly, with Wolfenstein, I wasn't just watching and controlling the hero from afar. I was the hero. I was inside the game, surrounded on all sides, able to look and move and shoot evil Nazis in any direction (except up or down, of course). To a kid raised on 8-bit Nintendo and PC point-and-click adventures, Wolfenstein might as well have been virtual reality.

And the first ten levels were free!


Why I now hate it: Wolfenstein was too damn good. Too damn influential. The game wasn't merely the first step in shooters becoming a popular genre, or in 3D becoming a viable format… it was the first step in shooters becoming the only genre, and in 3D becoming the only format. My beloved PC adventures and 2D side-scrollers were the first to die off, of course, but eventually every type of game – and every type of gamer – was affected.

Today, virtually all games are in 3D. Virtually all games value action over story. Halo and Call of Duty are the biggest sellers, while even RPGs like Fallout and Mass Effect are basically hybrid shooters. If I knew back then what kind of trigger-happy, bloodthirsty monster I was helping to create, I never would have downloaded Wolfenstein in the first place.


Editor: Brett Elston

Why I once loved it: I cannot understate how influential Zelda was in my formative years. The sense of adventure, of exploring the unknown was so strong that it pushed me out into the untouched wilderness of my Midwestern backyard in search of anything remotely resembling treasure. Soon, I realized science fiction, with its lasers, spaceships and horrific monsters, was more my speed and thus Metroid became the new obsession.

The massive planet Zebes was calling, unwilling to give up its secrets but I knew, eventually, I'd find all the weapons, all the power-ups and ultimately save the whole damn galaxy. Each area was visually distinct and occasionally creepy as hell (the music for Kraid's Lair still gives me goosebumps), with all the same adventuresome spirit found in the comparatively welcoming land of Hyrule. So many games of the day were left-to-right jumpfests. Metroid was a true solitary quest.

Why I now hate it: Not because Super Metroid did it infinitely better a few years later. Not because of the 2004 remake, Zero Mission, that updated the original with better graphics and tighter controls. No, I hate the original because it's practically unplayable, fighting you every step of the way with its tortuously long hallways that repeat over and over again, with its 24-digit passwords that take ages to copy down and then type in again, and with its utter lack of hints or guidance of any kind. It was designed to stump you, but not in a fun tease kind of way - no, Nintendo wanted to sell guides, magazines and get people calling the fart-ass expensive game counselors to figure out what the hell to do next.

I'm a massive fan of the series, and have beaten every single game in the franchise (yes, even Prime Pinball), and I'm a huge NES/SNES fanboy. I can deal with classic games and their age-old quirks. But Metroid, the original, is a flawed, artificially lengthened dick I'm tired of sucking. That said, you should check out Zero Mission, because the game buried underneath all this extensive bullshit is still solid. You just had to wait 18 years to get it.


Editor: Mikel Reparaz

Above: Some of my happiest memories, circa 1989-2000

Why I once loved them: When I was still a teenager and free time was ample, Japanese RPGs were a perfect confluence of all the things I was into at the time. I was a huge D&D nerd, so their sword-and-sorcery aspect immediately hooked me, and the perception that they were “smart” games was irresistible to any kid arrogant enough to think of him or herself as a genius (which I did). And as the technology progressed, their anime influences became more and more pronounced, something that dovetailed neatly with my discovery of 1990s Japanese pop culture.

By the time the PlayStation era was in full swing, JRPGs all but consumed my life; they always had the best stories, the best characters, the best graphics, the most fleshed-out worlds and the most diverse action. I played and beat as many as I could get my hands on, and always wanted more.

Above: Man, eff these guys

Why I now hate them: Growing up and getting a job didn’t leave a lot of free time for gaming, and even once I’d lucked out and landed a newspaper game-review column, the weekly review cycle made it impossible to devote the kind of time to JRPGs that I used to. So I started to ignore them in favor of shorter, more immediately rewarding types of games.

By the time I was ready to give them another try, gaming had taken great strides forward – but JRPGs hadn’t. The immersive, story-driven experiences I want have since been taken up by other genres, while JRPGs still fixate on monotonous grinding, overlong cutscenes and the same rigid, restrictive structure they’ve had since the underpowered old days.

Worse, their plots and characters are almost always committee-written rehashes of the same tired, anime-inspired formulas. Is there a demure healer who secretly harbors feelings for the hero? Check. A token cool guy who’s the most grizzled, world-weary 28-year-old you’ve ever seen? Check. A protagonist who’s either brashly selfish, naïvely idealistic or who has no discernible personality whatsoever? Check, check and check. Factor in plenty of inane dialogue and too many nauseatingly cutesy heroines, and I’ll stick to games where I can make something blow up in the first five minutes, thanks.

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  • meeeeep - March 22, 2013 5:57 a.m.

    Yeah, about the whole every game is a 3D shooter thing, well, that or it's pixelated.
  • 2cute2Bcruel - April 26, 2011 1:18 a.m.

    Phantasy Star wasn't a part of my childhood but I tried to play it in the Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection to get a context for the other games. Those labyrinths are an fing nightmare to play.
  • JosefMotley - April 3, 2010 7:44 p.m.

    totally agree. the JRPG character comparison was brutally effective. never played phantasy star but the first mother game was pretty similar in the not being able to walk more than three steps away from your house for the first five hours stakes. you should have added grim fandango though, for the tragedy of the horrible control system combined with the best presentation of any lucasarts game ever. maybe next time....
  • blitzpoisonpunk - March 29, 2010 3:42 p.m.

    I still love just have to sift through the crap
  • WhiskeyBit - March 26, 2010 8:46 a.m.

    @Howetzer, Amen! Those liberal-commie, socialist bastards can shove it! Can I get a witness?!?! @pikachu2000, Listen up, you might learn something. In general, you don't create accounts to websites that you despise. Food for thought.
  • brian003 - March 26, 2010 2:23 a.m.

    Gah! I've always hated dragons lair, space ace and the rest! But there was a fighter game I liked... when the disc didn't skip.
  • ViolentLee - March 25, 2010 7:53 p.m.

    Every point well made. That said, I'm going to forget I ever read this article, lest I cast out a good 1/4 of my game collection as a result.
  • Howetzer - March 25, 2010 2:38 p.m.

    @ Pikachu2000 I can let dead dogs lie as they say, lol I guess you even may have a good point there to not turn this into a political thing, but I don't hate games, I love 'em, and I sure as hell ain't any kid, I wish kids thought like I did, the problem is...they don't LOL.
  • linkganon - March 24, 2010 11:05 p.m.

    Pokemon, no doubt. used to like them when they came out, i was around 7 when the original came out. quit at age 10, tried to come back to them later and found that there were no changes, just a get rich quick scheme by nintendo. Sheesh, look at firered and leafgreen and you will know what i am talking about, it's just red, blue, and yellow's same old area to scale again. quit it for good at least 7 years ago, and sold most of them/gave the rest to a younger relative.
  • pikachu2000 - March 24, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    So the hate continues: @Howetzer: I was referring to the response that another guy was calling me earlier (a liberal tool) so I call him a GOP Tool (Read the comments earlier for more reference) in response. Let's not turn this into a politicial matter shall we? The last thing we need is realpolitik in a game site. Stick with hating games kid. @Stabby_Joe: These GR idoits just reharsh the same crap over and over again. These guys nothing more than cheap @$$ Daily Radar imitators. They blow hot air just to get some hits and making an @$$ out of themselves as usual. I am the least of your worries. I am just a user commentating on an feature and this will soon get out of hand before the week is over with.
  • bonerachieved - March 24, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    I'm loving this article guys. Definately more personal! keep these comin'!
  • D0CCON - March 24, 2010 9:24 p.m.

    Completely agree with the JRPGs one. I bet if I was alive during the NES days, I would have loved Final Fantasy instead of having it be my second-least favorite game franchise ever behind Street Fighter (could have defaintly been in the article "Games you love that we hate"). I still enjoy some of them. I still play Pokemon and Lost Oddyssy is good, but most are cliched, repetitive, and not very fun. Westerners are so much better. Bethesda and Bioware ftw!!!
  • Evilsafetyboy - March 24, 2010 7:45 p.m.

    I agree that teh JRPGs of the last 15 years were pretty much identical. There are instances where JRPGs have gotten away from the formula. Pretty much anything Atlus publishes, NIS's Disgaea and Sega's Valkyria Chronicles are all awesome examples (so is Okami!-ha!)
  • DarkTone - March 24, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    I'm still a sucker for the old school platformers. I can still pay games like Mario, Sonic, Alex Kidd and more right now and enjoy them like I did back then. Thats where the Wii Store comes into play. OF COURSE games need to evolve as time goes on, but putting together a platformer based on anthropomorhic characters that look like they were designed in 5 minutes (and you know who you are!)won't cut it .........anymore. Mario Galaxy won a lot of awards and rightfully so. If game designers want to make games in this category they can learn from this one, and stop ripping each other off!
  • Zeipher - March 24, 2010 5:12 p.m.

    I would actually enjoy a hate article on western open-world RPGS, since JRPGS got theirs (as they should of). Oblivion and Fallout were good, but they have a lot of flaws, especially after the " I can go ANYWHERE" buzz has worn off.
  • PPhino - March 24, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    when you look back, the memory is classic, but lame.....
  • rxb - March 24, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    Im with Hank. Those arcade games were daylight robbery.
  • TheBoz - March 24, 2010 3:03 p.m.

    Sorry, I meant nostalgic moment. I am still waiting for a nostaligic moment whatever that is.
  • TheBoz - March 24, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    I love this article, one of the best ones for a long time. One thing I do is download abandonware games. Years old retail games for free. Play them, realise how rubbish it is and play another one lol. I have played some of my fave games from the 80s and early/mid 90s and quite a few of them are utter crap. Still fun to have that nostaligic moment though.
  • philipshaw - March 24, 2010 2:47 p.m.

    I used to love the Tony Hawk games but they messed it up since THUG and the old games don't stand up. I have been playing the superior EA Skate series ever since