My column this week talks about why – barring some major changes in the way we deal with old titles – we most likely won’t be playing 2010 games in 2025, even though we’re still playing 2000 games in 2015.
As an extended topic: What games from the last five years will you still want to play in 2025?
For me: Arkahm City. Minecraft. Saints Row 3 or 4. Borderlands 2. All the Half-Lifes & Portalses. Maybe Skyrim? Maybe the Tomb Raider reboot?
Games I liked but that I’ll probably never play again: Deus Ex Human Revolution. (It just doesn’t have the emergent depth of the original. I’ve tried, but there just isn’t enough new or different to pull me through the game again.) Maybe someday I’ll go mad and feel like putting up with the Brotherhood of Stupid in Fallout 3, but I doubt it.
Although, it’s actually pretty hard to guess what games I’ll still value in 2025. Maybe I’ll go wild for Human Revolution again. Maybe new Minecraft-y games will come along that make our version seem shallow and redundant. Maybe I won’t care about Borderlands 2 because I’ll be playing Borderlands 5, and it’s basically the same damn thing. If you’d told me in 1998 that I’d still be playing Thief 16 years later I would have told you you were crazy and to leave me alone because I was busy playing it now. But I was playing Thief (original flavor) last year, and it was still pretty good.
Of course, in an ideal world all games would survive, be forwards compatible, go open source, or see re-release. But this is not an ideal world and we don’t know which games will make it and which ones won’t.
EDIT: Over at the Escapist, some people are suggesting using virtual machines to solve the compatibility problems. I’ve only dabbled with VM’s and don’t know everything they can do, but my first worry is getting that troublesome GPU driver layer to work right. (See the article for details on why that’s a nightmare.) Like, okay: You’ve got some kind of NVIDIA Windows XP GPU driver. You’re going to need some kind of feature in your VM to get that driver to talk to your 2025 graphics cards.
And now that I think of it, will you be able to properly install Windows XP in 2025? Sure, you’ve got your VM and an iso of the Win XP disk… but what about updates and service packs? What about all those Direct X runtimes that you need to run the games and that Microsoft doesn’t permit anyone but them to distribute. Just getting the final form of Windows XP running might involve several instances of “piracy”. Sure, it will exist. You’ll be able to do it. But it won’t be like running DOS Box. It will be a sketchy thing on the Torrents, not a turnkey thing on GoG.
Now I’m sad again.