Home Strategy Gamer life strategy: Making old games new

Game libraries get big, on Steam or on the shelf. We’ve played a lot of them to death, and just can’t find it in us to go through them one last time. We’ve tried every class, every weapon, every moral choice. Hell, we’ve modded the hell out of our favorite games to make them last a little longer, to no avail.

I’m here to tell you there’s always more to do. I’m playing KOTOR 2 again, and even though I just beat it, I’ve already started a new game, following an almost identical path. Why? Because there’s new shit to do, and I want to be in the story again.

Here’s how you can revitalize old titles you didn’t think you’d ever pick up again.

The out-of-box experience.

If your game’s on console, modding’s not the most legal of options, so how do you bring the fire back? It’ll take a little work on your part, and this kind of work involves a pencil and paper or some kind of word document. Before I go on, no, I’m not asking you to do your taxes or write an essay,* but jotting some stuff down will help clear your thoughts. There’s a few steps to go through here, so bear with me.

  1. Write down all the builds and playstyles you’ve used in the game you want to play again. Don’t be too detailed, maybe a sentence-long summary for each.
  2. Boot up the game and look at your last save/loadout. Compare it to the above list.
  3. Mix and match between lists using your knowledge of what works. Play around a little while.
  4. Set the game aside again, but keep the list handy and think on it as you go about your day.
  5. Start a new game/reset your stats, unlocks, everything. Use your favorite mix setup to create your next build.
  6. Play!

In a roleplaying game like KOTOR or Skyrim, options are effectively endless, and while there’s only so much story to be had, I’m assuming you enjoy it enough to want to go through just one more time.

If you mod it, it will play

I’d play KOTOR 2 again stock if I had to, but mods make the experience new again. I can add saber hilts, cloaks, missions, characters, anything I can get my hands on. You’ll find that altering something small can really change the way you play a game. An early powerful unlock that balances later on is always a welcome idea, as early levels can be tedious with the weak items you’re given. Visual stuff is the most obvious nuance, and anything you can do to visually improve and change a game can only help your experience. I’ve got a list here too.

  1. Take stock of all the mods your game has (if any). If you’ve got some installed, check the date on the most recent one. Look for any exciting mods released after that date and install them.
  2. Open your game in the state you left it in and play for a few minutes. Write down (I know, it’s hard) all the things about the experience you think could be improved, from dialogue to visuals and beyond.
  3. Start with a Google/Yahoo/Bing/AOL search on mods for your game, and look only at the new ones.
  4. Install some new material and play around with it in a new game. Uninstall and find new mods as needed.

Active mod communities crowd the dark corners of the internet, for games new and old. The biggest are not hard to find, but choose the one with the most mods and that has good cred. You don’t want mods stealing your information. At least you shouldn’t.

The diamond in the rough

This last idea will be painful. Not hard, painful. You need to play crappy games in your favorite’s genre. Go out and play games not in that genre, good or bad. Keep your chosen game in mind while playing other games this time, always comparing what you’re doing right now to what you could be doing. Ask yourself:

  • Is the story in this game better than the one I want to play?
  • How do the mechanics compare? Do the guns sound/feel/kill better?
  • Are the characters/in-game dialogue better/worse?

These kinds of questions will get you thinking about what you might be missing and also new ways to experience old games. Novelty is like gold in games these days, so any way you can bring it to your life is a positive force.

 

*These are both things I know you should probably be doing, but games are srs bsns.

6 replies to this post
  1. Another method: Have the game you’re replaying be Rayman 2. God that game was so bloody amazing, and even if nostalgia blinds me because that and Kingdom Hearts was basically all I played during my 30-day gestation period into becoming a true MAN, then so be it.

    Here’s another idea on how to improve old games: Make them harder on yourself. And I’m not talking highest difficulty, though you should certainly be able to do that. Certainly you’ve 100%ed the game many times in the past, but how will you manage WITHOUT those stashes of stuff and experience? What if you were to run Bioshock refusing to use plasmids unless directly necessary to advance? (2, if you want, because weapons-only was actually a likely game plan in 1 since using plasmids back then sucked hard.)

    Or, likewise, go into it completely fresh. Forget every notch about the game and forbid yourself to access the wiki. Especially handy in games like The Binding of Isaac.

    Something else, perhaps play as you have never before, maybe as the game tells you to do. Do another Psychonauts run using Psi Blast, Confusion, and your never used skill of choice. The game sure wanted you to do that, despite that those skills also sucked fairly hard, especially in comparison to simply running up and smacking your opponents. Still, play without regard to effectiveness. Pick something, then make that work.

    • The challenge is always a good way to liven up a boring title. The 3 Heart challenge in OoT is one of the most famous I can remember. Any sort of old JRPG challenge is good, as it playing a shooter with the absolutely worst gun, single, co-op, multiplayer.

      Changing playstyles makes most better players, as it forces you to do more with less. Beating a superboss with the wimpy white mage, for example, is always a plus.

  2. Guys, I suggest paying a visit to Good Old Games (gog.com). if you’re bored and in need of something you haven’t played before. GOG sells most old games at a fraction of the original cost (oftentimes $4-$5, and rarely over $10), made for newer computers. You also tend to get lots of freebies such as wallpapers, soundtracks, avatars, making-of videos and more.

    I’ve bought tons of old games that I’ve never played (such as Scratches, a horror point-and-click game) and the newly re-released System Shock 2. I’ve also bought games that my disk copies no long work, such as Myst and Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time.

    http://www.gog.com

    Please don’t see this as spam or just an advertisement. I, RudeOnion, use this site myself, and it’s a fantastic way to spent little money for great games. If you’re bored, check it out!

    • Give this person a medal.
      I can confirm that gog is in fact awesome, even though I haven’t used it yet. I prefer the way of using certain methods to get stuff for free, but if that’s not your thing or you live in a country where that’s illegal, I suppose go for it.

      It’s basically Steam, but focused on older games, although “old” seems to be a stretchable word considering that one of their games literally came out less than half a year ago!

      Anyhow, clean interface, accessible games from back in the time when downloading games was unthinkable (irony is delicious, isn’t it?), and cheap prices. I like. Go there and give them your money.

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