I'm not sure what to make of the difference between modern video games and old video games.

When I was little it seemed like games fell into three categories - simple, complex, and educational. I'm going to discard the educational ones for the purposes of this post due to how little I feel I learnt from them.

Simple games were things like Crystal Caves, Pac-man, and Worms.

Whilst fun they were hardly plumbing the depths of what was possible. The core game loop found in them was simple and most people could pick them up as long as they could get a grip on the controls.

Then there were the complicated games. Transport Tycoon, Syndicate Wars, Dungeon Keeper, and so on. They were generally isometric (a style which I still love) and their mechanics would take a bit of thought to understand.

There are still some complicated games but in terms of percentage of releases I feel they make up a much smaller segment of the market. Arguably their prevalence was due to the target market in the 1990s. Home computers were owned by geeks - smart folks who would understand and enjoy these sorts of games.

The reason I'm left off balance by the current state of things is fairly simple - the technical limitations of those times have been removed. I'm not sure how this affects things. My battered old iPhone could run those games (at roughly the same resolution!). They could probably be run in browser without too much technical voodoo.

Another facet of this is the resource cost. Is it more or less of a challenge to make games like that now?

Are the established tropes a problem? That is to say are today's gamers simply not familiar with the style? Does that manifest itself as disinterest in more complex games?

Personally I'm not interested in jumping into anything too intimidating. Command and Conquer wasn't hard to pick up but I can't say I ever tried to master it. Looking at some of the more recent complex games I find myself put off by their impenetrable nature.

We'll see how things go. I'm going to keep fantasising about a fun isometric strategy game. One day maybe I'll realise it and find the answer first hand.

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