(Up)Dated User Interfaces

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I have fond memories of many video games. I used to go back and play those old games fairly often, but as time wears on this happens less and less. There are a few reasons for this. One is incompatibility with modern gaming systems. If you can’t make the software work, you can’t play it. One is lack of time to do everything I want to do anyway. If I have 15 new games stacked up waiting to be played, I’m far less likely to go back and play one I’ve already beaten, especially if I’ve beaten it 3 or 4 times.

The biggest reason these days, though, is that game design has advanced so much that those old games’ control systems are just so darn clunky. I would love to play WarCraft or WarCraft II again, but trying to make your units do anything when compared to the ease of doing things in WarCraft III is like pulling teeth. My favorite Harvest Moon game is Back to Nature, but the controls for that one are so ridiculous that I stopped playing it within 5 minutes last time I tried.

Over the years, game developers have figured out how to create smoother gaming experiences such that the controls don’t interfere with the actual gameplay (or interfere less). The changes have been so gradual that we don’t usually notice them. Sometimes we do; I, for example, was elated when I was finally able to automate workers in a Civilization game. But in general, all the changes become most apparent when we try to go back and play the old games and find that controlling anything that happens is just more trouble than we want to deal with.

So what about ports of old games?