Games that aged gracefully

The difference between games that aged horribly and games that aged gracefully is mostly a matter of perspective. With very few exceptions, 3D games age much faster – and much, much worse – than 2D games, in part because the majority of 3D games make some attempt at realism, where 2D games use real art direction instead.

Dragon’s Lair (1983)

Okay, so technically it was more like an interactive movie than a proper game, but it’s also almost 30 years old now and it still looks better than most of the stuff shipped today. Also, this game was notorious for breaking entire Laserdisc players decades before Crysis shorted out even a single GPU. Respect.

Day of the Tentacle (1993) / Full Throttle (1995)

Because I just can’t choose between the two.

Chrono Trigger (1995)

Actually, a lot of SNES games hold up rather well almost twenty years later, but Chrono Trigger seemed the most appropriate choice because of the whole time-travelling thing. It’s, like, meta.

Curse of Monkey Island (1997)

There could be a hundred thousand million three-headed monkeys behind you, but this game will still keep you looking at it.

Abe’s Oddysee (1997)

Fifteen years old, and still sexy. Wait, that didn’t come out right at all.

StarCraft (1998)

And not just the in-game graphics, but the cinematics too.

Dungeon Keeper 2 (1999)

After submitting this article for editing, James insisted I go back and add this one or I’d lose my job. So here it is, and I’m still employed.

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (1999)

I always felt sad for those poor sheep. On the other hand, it’s probably a quick death compared to mismanaged siege ballistas.

Planescape: Torment (1999)

Planescape: Torment was built on the Infinity Engine – the same engine that powered Baldur’s Gate the previous year – but its baroque / gothic / steampunk aesthetic is… wait for it… infinitely better than the drab medieval stylings of the other. Plus this game had a flying, talking skull.

Diablo II (2000)

There is no cow level. Seriously, those aren’t even cows. They’re bulls with udders, but no teats. WHO DESIGNED THIS MONSTER!?

WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002)

Hands up if you remembering marvelling at the way the grass swished around units as they moved through it.

What are your favourite classic games that have aged really well? Let us know in the comments below and on the MyGaming forum.

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Forum discussion

Join the conversation

  • I still jam Star Control II from time to time πŸ™‚

  • Alex

    Red Alert 2
    All infinity engine games
    Fallout Tactics
    Heroes of Might & Magic (forget which one though)

    Definitely agree with Starcraft & Age of Empires being on that list. Dungeon Keeper, not so much πŸ™‚

  • Tarryn van der Byl

    I considered adding that one to the list, but while I still find it quite visually appealing, it’s very much a retro-looking game.

  • I suppose graphically it didn’t really keep pace – but in terms of playability and story it’s still one of my all-time favourites

  • Tarryn van der Byl

    Also, honourable mention: Arcanum. Everything about that game still gives me the tingles.

  • The Rich

    Ah awesome article Tarryn thanks! Perfect follow up to last week’s one! I have nothing to add – my game for the list would’ve been Warcraft 3 as I’m actually still playing it via the various mod maps available, and it is very pleasant even now all these years later!

  • CrzWaco

    Still playing Warcraft 3 and must say compared it to dota 2 it looks better πŸ˜€

  • Kromas

    Someone remade starcon 2 a long while back. I think it was called the Ur-Quan Masters or something. Was very nostalgic.

  • Yep – I have that version still – but I bought it off GOG when it became available. UQM got some nice upgrades in terms of music and stuff though πŸ™‚

  • brad coetzee

    stargate on the megadrive still looks and plays great.

  • Kurike

    aaaahhhhh DK2, i need to get that again, so much of fun, any thoughts on Syndicate…….the original, not the shooter remake bleh

  • CeeZedCee

    Simcity 4?
    Caesar III?

  • The Rich

    Not sure if trolling. Anyhow, that doesn’t seem like a fair assessment of Dota 2 but it’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. One thing I will say is that the WC3 textures are a lot brighter and more colourful than what we’re seeing in Dota 2, which in comparison in my opinion looks a bit dull and sort of bland in a visual sense.

  • Hells yes… Day of the Tentacle & Full Throttle. YUMMY

  • The Rich

    Haven’t played original syndicate since like 1996/1997 so I can’t really add to that conversation, but I will say that at the time it was such an awesome game!

  • The version has a hardware acceleration fix now and it works nicely. Been playing it myself. DK2 is one of those games that I play through once every year or so. Always find it quite enjoyable.

  • Gareth Thomas

    Heart of darkness needs a mention , I played it the other day it’s still ooooooh so purty.

  • Skullmonkeys!!

  • Terry

    Why no love for 8-bit, PSX or the arcades? Hmmmmm.
    There are loads of games that are still a blast to play to this day and still look gorgeous.
    Super Mario Bros 1 & 3, who hasn’t played these recently?
    Metal Slug? Any of the titles in the entire series. Those sprites…. Yes, those sprites….
    Castlevania – Symphony of the Night? Probably still the prettiest of all the PSX games out there.
    Maybe you were just a PC Gamer, so in that case, I can understand why you can’t maybe remember these old games that still look beautiful to me to this day.

  • I’m not so sure about Diablo 2. While most of these games have their problems on modern gaming machines I think Diablo is the one that looks the ugliest. Just my opinion.

    We could also consider RPG’s like the Ultima series.

  • DK 1 does have a special place in everyone’s heart…

  • JohanduPreez

    Wasnt Ur-Quan masters the Star Control 2 original name ?

  • DBL_ZA

    Worms 2 πŸ™‚

    Because blowing things up NEVER gets old πŸ™‚

  • Great list! I would also add Baldurs Gate 2 and Another World (out of this world) for prosperity. These games are still a joy to play and have aged well. And I don’t mean the updated versions either.

    Btw, the image you have of Diablo is Diablo 1 no 2?

  • CrzWaco

    Not trolling but yes the colours in Dota 2 is lacking that it had in Dota 1. Also like poking fun at dota 2 since want to see when it gets to hon/lol standers in the visuals. But don’t get me wrong its not all about visuals.

Games that aged gracefully

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