We’ve talked alot lately about the old games, and how some, or maybe all, would be unplayable today. I can’t replay any of them myself. Once I’m finished with a game, there’s no going back.

It has nothing to do with graphics. Those familiar with my material know that graphics are a minor concern for me. I could easily view those antique visuals without a qualm

The fact is, once I’m done with a game, it holds no further attraction for me. However good it was, however clever, however engrossing, I’ve done it all. The very thought of replaying it makes me tired. Of course, “done” means different things for different types.

The typical adventure has no legs. Play it once or twice, and it has nothing more to offer. The Pandora Directive stood out for its multiple endings based on in-game roleplaying, but that was an exception.

Even Infocom’s great text adventures are impossible. Why play them again? There’s nothing new to find or do. Replaying any of them would just be going through the motions, even with the marvelous text descriptions.

RPGs, on the other hand, usually last longer. Typically, you don’t find everything on the first pass. So there’s incentive to play again to find better goodies or secret places you missed first time through.

With party games, as we discussed, there’s the mix-and-match factor: trying different combinations of class and race. Then maybe smaller groups. Solo outings. Speed parties: how quickly can you finish? And so on.

I’ve done many games in those ways. Eventually, of course, all the changes have been rung. The game has nothing more to offer. It is finally done and put aside.

Even Ultima IV doesn’t call me back. For all that I love it, it holds nothing for me now. When it was released to the public domain, I grabbed a copy a started it up.

But I didn’t get very far. I knew the game too well. It held no surprises for me. There was nothing left to learn. Nor could I face going through everything again. There was just no point to it. Like replaying an adventure, it would be a purely mechanical exercise.

Then there are the shooters. A Doom, a Diablo 2, a Titan Quest – these I can always go back to. They are simple and straightforward: gear up and go kill something.

Strange that the shallow ones are the most replayable for me. Perhaps it’s their very superficiality that does it. They are fast-paced and quick (maybe not TQ ;) to finish, with nothing more complicated than out-shooting the monsters. Of course, that gets to be boring, too, after awhile.

The difference is, I can still return to those, where I can’t return to an Ultima IV, or a Zork, or a Fallout, or a Neverwinter Nights.

There is no way you (or at least, I) can recapture the freshness of playing a game for the first or second time. Once everything is known, once there is nothing new to try, it’s time to move on. Trying to replay in those circumstances would simply be all work and not much fun.

So the old games, and even the newer ones, are left to memories of the past. Not because they’re primitive, but because they’ve given all they have to give; there is no more. And much though I love some of them, no, I can’t go home again. miniscorp