That's because the NZD sucks .
But seriously. The old games you mentioned were built on old technology, when things didn't take so long to produce, or were so complicated. "Back in the day" it'd take only a year to produce a game with real substance, compared to up to 4 or 5 years now (or more in some cases). Gamers were also a select bunch back then too, whereas now there's a wide variety of people playing games, and developers have to cater to all of those audiences in order to make money, and yes that includes all of the different platforms.
And let's face it, as much as we may love the gaming industry, it's like any other industry: all about sales and profits. I mean, if a game doesn't sell, they don't have the money to produce more games.
What you'd probably call "hardcore gamers" are a dying breed. Most people don't get much time to play games these days, except those of us woefully unemployed or lazy in education. So they take that into account also, so a game which is only 20-30 hours long will take most average gamers longer than it used to to finish a 50+ hour game.
Catering to a small minority of gamers just doesn't make any sense these days, financially or otherwise. It's just the way things go in any inustry. For example, movies are the same way: they're becoming bigger, flashier, more and more expensive, but for the most part the substance just doesn't stand up to the movies of old because there's little demand for it.
I gotta say, you put this into a perspective I never really thought about. It makes alot of sense to me.
Well, it's like I said, they have to cater to the biggest part of the market. Unfortunately the biggest part of the minority would probably get bored of and stop playing a game which would take 80-100 hours to finish.
To dirgress a little: I introduced a friend to Oblivion when it first came out, and at first he seemed to really like it ("CoD with swords and magic"... that should have been my first clue ), but then the first thing I heard him complain about was how long it was taking to finish. I thought he was joking at first, but lo and behold - I kid you not - he got fed up of the length, uninstalled it and went straight back to playing CoD.
I'm not bashing CoD, by the way, it's not my cup of tea personally but obviously it's popular with a lot of people or there wouldn't be more and more being released. At the same time, it's the perfect example of what the problem is - it's short (though admittedly most FPS's are shorter than other games), gives a "quick fix" in terms of action, and lets the player finish it around a job or school hours.
On the other hand, doubling the gameplay length of modern games would most likely prolong development time too. Luckily, most games use modified versions of existing graphics engines, which cuts down on time.
And if you look back, they were close to the same price 20 years ago.
You're paying proportionally less for absolutely less.
Games used to draw you in. Your attention span didn't matter, because you wanted to finish the game.
I stopped playing Dead Island last week, because there was no point. The game doesn't give you any reason to continue on.
While that is true, it is still an attention span issue with me. I can't focus on really anything for more than a few hours to a few days. (depending on what it is)