They say that the golden age of gaming has come and gone, but I feel as if it has yet to pass. The industry is thriving, and games are only getting more creative and deep. Now that we have the ability to manipulate graphics, sound and story like no other, there is no telling where the future is headed especially with the capabilities of VR and future consoles. But that’s a long time from now, so let’s talk about today. The present definitely has treasures that will last the test of time, even through all the new gadgets and innovations, which prompts the question for this week:
Comment below with which games you think you will still be your favorites in 20 years.
I think Mario Sunshine has all the traits to be considered a classic video game in 20 years. If not, at least worthy enough for an honorable mention. It’s creative, challenging, gorgeous, re-playable and there’s enough variety in the content of each new level that it can appeal to almost any gamer. It has fun puzzles, memorable bosses, difficult platforming levels, and free-roaming gameplay. It’s really only missing an engaging plot line, but if I’m looking for strong storytelling, I wouldn’t look to the Mario series anyway.
"It's completely captivating from the start, and I can't rave enough about the tight controls. It just feels right." -IGN
The earlier releases of franchises such as The Legend of Zelda or Pokemon or Super Mario are already being heralded as classic video game series and I don’t see that trend changing within the next two decades. Some of the more recent titles now from those series will probably enjoy the same nostalgia and be regarded as innovative for their respective epochs. That being said, other well-known titles such as Madden or FIFA probably won’t withstand the test of time as they’re predicated on the current season/roster. I’d say a game like Skyrim, which even after nearly 5 years is still one of the most popular titles on Steam, has a strong chance of being remembered fondly over the next 2 decades. It’s hard to come up with a definitive answer because of how quickly games come in and out of popularity (mainly due to over-saturation of the market by waves upon waves of imitators). I think that games that are revolutionary in some way and franchises which carve out a niche for themselves and continue to innovate with their releases will be the most likely to become a classic video game.
"It's one of the biggest, most content rich games I've ever had the pleasure of playing." - GameInformer
Even though it’s been out for eight years already and I’m sure everyone’s bored to death of the cake-being-a-you-know-what by now, it’s hard not to look back to Portal. By the fall of 2007 the “cinematic” era of video games was just beginning to take off, and with most developers piling on layers of gritty and complex story plots to sell more copies rather than innovative gameplay, Portal chose to go the simplistic route and combine a low-key story with mind-bending puzzles, an iconic portal shooting mechanic and a villain with some of the wittiest writing in gaming history. While Portal’s success might’ve been dwarfed a bit by other franchises originally (a certain Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare would take the world by storm just a month after the release of The Orange Box), it’s garnered a cult following that’s stood the test of time so far, and it even got a sequel with Portal 2 in 2011. The games that are remembered as “classics” usually do something new rather than rely on the same tired mechanics as Triple-A franchises might tend to, while still being fun to replay years later—Portal has that in spades. For that reason something tells me that everyone from [SUBJECT HOMETOWN HERE] will still have “neurotoxins” stuck in their brains 20 years down the line. I mean like, not actual neurotoxins. They’ll remember the neurotoxins from Portal. That’s what I meant.
"Short as it may be, Portal is a fantastic game that should be played by anyone interested in unique, well-crafted gameplay and a witty, whip-smart script." - Gamespot
In 20 years, one game I know for sure that will be deemed a classic video game is The Last of Us. I doubt any game will come close to raising the bar that The Last of Us has set for a very long time, and I can easily see gamers in 20 years breaking out their dusty PS4s to play this game. It’s story is simply unforgettable, and the way that it impacted me was tremendous; even after completing it, this game was on my mind for months. Never has a game made me put the controller down and stop playing because of how emotional and dark it is. The Last of Us is hands down my favorite game of all time, and it will most certainly be deemed a classic video game in 20 years if it isn’t already one.
"It starts out safe but ends brave; it has heart and grit, and it hangs together beautifully." - EuroGamer
This is a tough question. I can’t tell if I’m just choosing my personal favorite or if I genuinely think these games will stand the test of time. I think Super Mario Galaxy will undoubtedly become a classic video game. It was the most revolutionary Mario game since Mario 64. The Last of Us is already immortalized in the annals of video games. In twenty years, I guarantee people will still be talking about TLoU’s ending. People aren’t talking about it much these days, but I have a feeling that Gone Home will be remembered affectionately in 20 years.
When I think of games that I consider classics now, a lot of them are the games that came before me that my parents or other older people introduced me to. So with that in mind, I have to also include The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker which everyone knows by now is my favorite game of all time. It is the most memorable Zelda game from the Gamecube era onward. I can’t say of the world will remember the game as much in twenty years, but I will always treasure it.
"Sailing lends a sense of genuine freedom and wonder to the game." - Polygon
Perhaps this is already a classic video game due to the fact that it came out eight years ago, but I would consider Bioshock an enduring classic. It’s adventurous world building and deep, compelling writing made it stand out among other games of its time. But more recently, I would venture to say Dark Souls will be a long-remembered classic video game. Its strict, punishing gameplay brought back the truly rewarding challenge that is so often lost in modern games.
"BioShock stands as a monolithic example of the convergence of entertaining gameplay and an irresistibly sinister, engrossing storyline that encompasses a host of multifaceted characters." - IGN
Unlike the Power Glove, I think the Oculus Rift, and all virtual reality headsets in general, will be here to stay. Therefore, the early games that fully utilize the peripheral are bound to be remembered as pioneers in the medium. While shooters like Half Life 2 have already been proven to be enhanced by the device, it wasn’t built around it. Games built for the Oculus, such as Classroom Aquatic, however, uses the player’s perspective in a 3D space to its fullest potential. I hope not only for these titles’ sake, but for gaming’s sake that the Oculus Rift’s launch titles are able to cement themselves as classics.
"There are already simple experiences that give you the sense of movement or flight that are nearly addictive, and it’s only going to get better" - Polygon
Comment below with your pick for this era’s soon to be classic video game!