Some classic games are timeless masterpieces that feel every bit as good to play now as they did when they came out, even decades later. Games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Contra fall into this category, thanks to their super tight controls, fun gameplay mechanics, and smart level designs. Other games that were popular when they launched (even ones that are usually fondly remembered) don’t hold up nearly as well.
We’re going to look at those games below. These games may play a crucial role in the history of video games, but that doesn’t mean they’re still fun to play.
Like all of the games on this list, Metroid is important not only to its place in the game franchise, but also to the history of video games in general. That’s why it’s a classic, after all, and that’s why it kicked off a series of excellent, atmospheric, masterful games. But that doesn’t mean it’s fun to play today.
On a basic level, Metroid works well. It’s pretty easy to move the main character Samus around the game world, and to fight the enemies the game throws at you. But from a design perspective, and from a basic playability standpoint, it’s rough. The levels are sprawling caverns that branch out in all directions, with very few landmarks to give players a sense of where they are. Worse, there’s no in-game map, so keeping track of your position is hard to do without busting out the graph paper. Beyond that, the game is simply repetitive.
Super Metroid would solve all of these problems when it launched in 1994, but developers at Nintendo had a lot to learn in the meantime.