Games we once loved, but now hate

Dragon's Lair

Editor: Chris Antista

Why I once loved it: For gamers who sprouted pubic hair long before polygons and cel-shading, Dragon’s Lair was the closest we could get to an “interactive” Disney movie. Around the same time as the seventeenth iteration of Pac-Man, arcades were almost on the verge of stagnation. You had a billion variations of Pong, but developers had yet to address that the schoolyard was wishing for everyday: A playable cartoon.

Enter Dragon’s Lair, a game designed by a former Disney animator, with top-notch sound design synched to theatrical caliber animation. At the time, it sure seemed interactive enough…

Above: More ways to die than there are to play

Why I now hate it: Made up of a series of digital sequences, there was only ONE right way to input FIVE commands and several billion other ways that would result in immediate death. There’s a tentacle! Whoops, did you hit right instead of left, regardless of how that was presented contextually? Game Over. For another 30 seconds, please insert another dollar, sucker!

It’s been ported onto more platforms than Tetris, and with every year, it reveals not only its age, but its utter lack of gameplay. It’s completely unfair and borderline theft once you realize how it was sold to kids like me in a Saturday morning shell we were powerless to resist. Plenty of games involve memorization, but that’s all Dragon’s Lair is. A blind man could beat the game, and no one who ever played it would be the least bit surprised.

Arcade Beat ‘Em Ups

Editor: Henry Gilbert

Why I once loved them: More than one adolescent birthday of mine or my little brother’s was spent in our local arcades - like Aladdin’s Castle or Adventure Island - where our mom would treat us to any game for as long as it took to beat. Meaning we would spend what felt like hours and at least twenty bucks in quarters so we could see the finale to The Simpsons, X-Men or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade beat ‘em ups. Not only did these games put our home consoles to shame graphically, but we felt like badasses for blasting our way through the same games that we always lost at when we lacked infinite resources.

It was icing on the (birthday) cake that they often starred some of our favorite cartoon and movie characters. To finally stop Shredder or take down Doctor Doom after walking from the left to the right as far as we could gave us amazing satisfaction, along with warm fuzzy memories.

Why I now hate them: Many birthdays later, when my brother learned the dark arts of ROM hacks, we played some of those old games together on our family PC. Once you have unlimited continues and any stress is removed from beating the game on your last quarter, clarity comes to you. My bro and I saw that the games were boring, repetitive, insanely cheap and short. They were made to steal your money in as unfair a way as possible, but when you just press start to begin again with infinite credits, it’s a simple test of endurance.

I suppose a little part of my childhood died the day I learned the truth, and I shall never forgive the genre for that.


  • 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

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