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7 Classic Games That Haven't Stood the Test of Time

Updated on July 16, 2011

Every generation of video games has their "must-haves"- games that define the console or bring prestige to the genre. But as time passes, some of these greats start to get a little creaky. Which classics have gotten a little stiff in the bones over the years?

JC Denton- blockhead
JC Denton- blockhead

#1 Deus Ex - PC, PS2 (2000)

Warren Spector's magnum opus, Deus Ex showed audiences that FPS gaming wasn't all twitch gaming shoot-em-up action. Featuring a deep story, goals which featured multiple paths and solutions, and the option to complete the game without killing a single enemy, Deus Ex was a breath of fresh air in 2000.

If you've played it recently though, you might notice it hasn't quite lived up to your memory of the original experience. The graphics are blocky and the textures are unsightly. The enemy's sight detection is questionable at best, making much of the stealth options very frustrating.

Still, the game had a great impact and Spector is a brilliant game designer. The fundamentals are still sound, even if you feel a little nauseous looking at the screen from time to time. If you want to relive the memories, check out Gametap, where you can download and play the entire game for free. Completely legal too!

WARNING not this cool looking in game
WARNING not this cool looking in game

#2 Final Fantasy VII - PS (1997)

When Final Fantasy VII, it was like a tornado hit the US gaming market. For the first time in history, the Japanese role-playing game was a money earner in the West. A 70 hour story, state of the art FMV graphics that took advantage of the Playstation's new CD format, and a mature storyline helped propel this one to the top. Even today, this game has the fans salivating for more.

But what happens when you go back and play this one with a fresh eye? Well, that fresh eye is hurtin' for one. There are few types of ugly worse than the ugly born out of early 3D graphics, and Final Fantasy VII is no exception. Your main character is an awkward blob with hamhands. There must have been a polygon shortage in Japan, because main character Cloud was only rationed nine or ten. Even the once jaw-dropping cinemas no longer have that wow-factor.

Without the sizzle of cutting edge graphics, you're really forced to see how poor the game's US localization is. Riddled with errors, the translation is awkward and inconsistent. Often times, it seems that the writers felt a little TOO happy to be free of Nintendo's overbearing censorship rules and throw in inappropriate material. Anything Barret says ever is a good example of Square's adolescent fascination with dirty words.

But, hey- here's hoping for a PS3 remake that fixes all of this and brings the faithful back into the fold.

#3 Baldur's Gate - PC (1998)

A deep, engaging RPG based on the beloved Dungeons and Dragons Franchise. Baldur's Gate offered the deepest RPG experience audiences anywhere had yet to see. I remember I was smitten with it on release.

However, a recent replay has shown all is not well in the small town of Candlekeep. The game's resolution is low, making the game feel cramped and claustrophobic. This is forgivable, however the combat is not. Archery and other ranged combat is overpowered, and will easily cut down any of your player characters unlucky enough to be a target. God help you if a magic user is under the gun (because your other party members sure won't be able to).

My suggestion is to go out and pick up the also elderly but more playable sequel, Baldur's Gate 2. All of the highlights of the original, with none of the drawbacks.

#4 Battletoads - NES (1991)

Maybe it was just the folly of youth. Maybe there was nothing else good to play at the time. Maybe we all just learned that games didn't have to be like this. During the early '90s, it seemed like every game was a struggle, a battle tooth and nail to the top. This game, for lack of a better term, is junk.

Battletoads was a summer affair. You'd sit down and try and plow through it. Maybe you would let your little brother play with you, until he started crying during the jetbike level. But who could blame him? Battletoads required rote memorization and reflexes that would make an Olympic athlete jealous. Never in all my years have I met someone who beat Battletoads on their own.

To add insult to injury, if you and a friend DID manage to make it to the end of the game, one of the last levels has a bug that would kill the second player over and over until they earned a game over. I can understand why no one in QA caught this, because it would require Christ himself to get there.

So that's why Battletoads makes the list: because we were all stupid when we were 9.

#5- Donkey Kong Country - SNES (1994)

"WOAH! Look at those graphics" This was everyone who owned a Super Nintendo the year DKC came out. The videogame industry was in the middle of a minor lull, and Donkey Kong Country would be one of the few highlights of the period. The game featured generic platforming, some great music, and truly remarkable graphics.

To the game's credit, the graphics have remained fairly attractive even today. It shows a good character design will trump aging technology. However, with the luster faded and better games having shown us the way, it is now apparent that DKC just wasn't very good. Boring platforming and hyper-kinetic but uninvolving barrel shooting really makes you wonder what all the fuss was about.

Also, it was indirectly responsible for this horror.

Someone was paid to sing this. To WRITE this

#6 Mega Man - NES (1987)

Mega Man had quite a career, soon to be revived with the upcoming Mega Man 9. But for those of you who remember playing the original, it isn't quite all it was cracked up to be. Overly hard, lacking the whimsy of its successors, and the only one to feature points, Mega Man just doesn't live up to the series reputation.

Today, the only thing really notable about the first Mega Man is the introduction of the character and his companions. Oh, that and the fact that the Elec Man stage is a complete rip off of Journey's Faithfully.

Loving a Mega Man ain't always what its supposed to be...

The match was every other fighting game on the market
The match was every other fighting game on the market

#7 Mortal Kombat - Arcade, SNES, Genesis (1992)

Do you remember "Mortal Monday?" I do. It heralded the console launch of the grealty anticipated Mortal Kombat game. Both loved by fans and derided by critics for its over the top violence and finishing moves, Mortal Kombat was a hot ticket in 1992.

Today, though, all you're left with is a badly digitized fighting game which is far inferior to its contemporary, Street Fighter 2. Slow gameplay, awkward hit detection, and boring characters, Mortal Kombat coasted by on new technology and gore. Today, Street Fighter is coming out with a much anticipated fourth installment, while Mortal Kombat is reduced to playing second fiddle to Superman.

Then again, Street Fighter never had Christopher Lambert star as one of their main characters in a cult classic motion picture. Et tu, Raiden?


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    • licketysplit profile image


      7 years ago

      Haha, great hub. I've never played some of these, but yeah, DKC definitely hasn't aged well. I tried playing it again a couple of years ago and it just seemed very generic and bland.

      I don't know about Mortal Kombat though, I think it's still alright. Not the greatest fighting game ever, but still pretty fun.

    • ndemarco profile image

      Nick DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Jessup, PA

      Most people play these games for the nostalgia factor, the ability to go back to that place and time when these games were new and they were happy, not to measure them against today's standards of gaming. No classic game can live up to the big budget games of today, so of course they will be labeled as not standing the test of time, but in purpose and in core elements like gameplay and entertainment they do, at least most of the time. I agree with some of your mentions in this hub, but I think you're looking at classic games the wrong way, and maybe, just maybe, you didn't enjoy them the first time around either.

    • Just a hubber profile image

      Just a hubber 

      9 years ago from Arkansas


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Terrible article. Absurd. I started playing Deus Ex recently FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, and I couldn't be happier. I have played FFVII either, and I'm sure my experience with that will be similar. Same with BG. I like older games, but maybe I'm just weird that way.

    • lukecore profile image

      Luke Chant 

      9 years ago from Manchester

      I'm inclined to agree with most of your choices! I replayed Battletoads a couple of years ago and it wasn't as fun as I remembered. I've never had a desire to reply DKC and Mortal Kombat was fun at the time but pales in comparison to SFII. I don't want to replay FFVII as I want to retain my memories of it without the extra 13 years of cynicism I've developed since the last time I played it!

    • VG-Justice profile image


      10 years ago from KY

      As far as people commenting on graphics standing the test of time, that's silly. That's usually the easiest noticed improvement in each new generation of consoles. I tend to not care about graphics. It's all about gameplay, usually. I have to agree that at a certain point, graphical horrors make it difficult to understand the action/gameplay, and that's the only time I mark off for graphics.

      Anyway, back to your hub. -- Amazing. Great writing style, and I love the dynamic vocabulary. =)

    • SwiftGlassEater profile image


      10 years ago

      I dont think that map was meant to be defeated by mere mortals. My brother and I devoted hours to that level and were sent to bed unsatisfied night after night. I'm sure our spirits were broken at some point or we just moved on to other games. Mayhap I should avenge the honor of my childhood-self and finally lay that spectre to rest. Eh, probably not...

    • sonde79 profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      I couldn’t get past level 10 in Battletoads (rat race). The adrenaline rush is missed but I’m not sure I could tolerate the punishing difficulty today.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Baldur's Gate can be played with hi resolution graphics. There are also tons of patches that make the game more playable. Search for Planetscape or Baldur's Gate to find them. The fan sites are still active.

      Happy Playing!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      can agree with all..

      except for battletoads!!!

      that game still kicks my ass.. and gives me satisfaction when cleared a level..

      I love this game

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i cant believe donkey kong country is on this list. that game was amazing back then, and i think its still amazing today. played it about a month ago on my Droid.

      one that shouldve been on the list is Goldeneye. easily one of the best games ever. but time has not been good to the graphics, plus all the enhancements made on fps's thanks to the ground roots goldeneye set.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      the deus ex image, that guy looks so much like Blade!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      We have ourselves a Mario fan here. As far as I'm concerned, Super Mario Bros. hasn't stood the test of time. Donkey Kong Country, all three of them, remain exceedingly fun and are the best designed platformers on the SNES. Super Mario World is awesome but it lacked the creative edge that Rare brought to the genre. I respect your opinion but calling it "boring" is pushing it. I play all three games over again every year and they never cease to be entertaining. I can't say the same about any Mario game.

    • RJames65 profile image


      10 years ago from Milburn, Oklahoma

      At least I'm not the only one who disagrees with FF7 being on the list. The game is 13 years old, naturally the graphics isn't going to compare to those of today.

    • Len Cannon profile imageAUTHOR

      Len Cannon 

      11 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Admittedly, FFVII is a bit of an easy target but I've tried to replay it twice in seven years and couldn't get further than the part where people are trying to hold things with their fingerless hamhands.

    • theageofcake profile image


      11 years ago from MA

      The first thing I that came to mind upon seeing the title of this list was "please don't include FF7."

      To be fair, your points are mostly valid. The translation is occasionally awful and Barrett's lines are cringe inducing. Graphic-wise, though certainly imperfect, I still find it charming (especially during battles).

      The original Mega Man totally deserves to be on this list, though the X series has endured fairly well for fans.

    • BSLIONS profile image


      11 years ago from Richmond, Va

      There are a lot of games that don't stand the test of time because the graphics have advanced so much. I tried to play Temco Superbowl one day a while back because I used to play it all the time but after playing madden it isn't fun anymore.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I disagree with FF7 being on this list. Yes the graphics blow compared to todays standards, but my 10 yr old nephew even loves playing this game. He's a true FF fan.

    • RetroBrothers profile image

      Martin Allan 

      11 years ago from Sunny Scotland

      Completely agree - especially with Dues Ex, played it recently and was soooo disappointed. Some games stand the test, others don't...

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      i just want to say that how can i download this game ???????????



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