Technology moves on at an ever faster rate, and nowhere is this more plain to see than in the world of gaming. The depth, complexity and sheer engagement factor in games across a range of genres increases with every passing year, and the industry is moving at a similar pace to that seen in the car industry in the late 20th century.
But like a Porsche 911 or a Chevrolet Corvette, there are games that just seem to defy the rules and never grow old. Here are some that are as popular today as they were when they released.
Age of Empires 2
This year marks this Microsoft release’s 20th anniversary, and when it came out in 1999, it sold two million copies in a matter of months and topped the games charts around the world. It is a formula that many have tried to emulate, but nobody has truly matched. Today, the gameplay looks rudimentary and the graphics are dated, but there is more to a great game than that. Do a search on Facebook and you will see there are several active communities devoted to the game, and it has a core of dedicated players.
Sometimes, the simple things just can’t be beaten, and to return to the car analogy for a moment, the Starburst slot could be considered the gaming analogy of the Volkswagen Beetle. The slots sector in general is a huge growth area in which developers are investing millions to incorporate the latest in VR, live gaming and so on. Starburst, on the other hand, looks very much like a traditional fruit machine, yet despite having been around since 2012, which is an eternity in this sector, it remains probably the best-known and most popular slot game of them all.
Here’s a game that goes back even further. This MUD game was released an incredible 30 years ago, yet there are still regular releases and updates. These are not just through a dedicated band of gaming geeks on a community project, we are talking official releases from salaried developers. Even more surprising, this game has a $15 per month subscription fee, plus in-game transactions and an additional $25 per month for premium services. To put that in context, anyone who’s been playing from the beginning could easily have paid out more than $10,000 by now, and that’s not even allowing for inflation. Have a go at the free trial version and find out what all the fuss is about.
Given the scores of online multiplayer games that are now available, it is incredible that after 20 years, Ultima Online still has such a large and dedicated band of players. Sure, the graphics seem a little 20th century, but this is a like saying the language in Shakespeare is somewhat antiquated. Younger players might struggle to see the appeal, but the game has a loyal older fanbase who have stuck with it for years and show no sign of stopping playing any time soon.