After my previous rant, one of Frogatto's developers (hi, Jet!) dropped by to provide a counterpoint. And I agree that high resolutions, 32-bit color, alpha blending, particle effects and so on mean that modern games have to work much, much harder at putting some graphics in front of the player than one from fifteen years ago, even if they aren't trying to look much better — never mind if they are! But I have to ask again: do all games have to be cutting-edge? And aren't modern computers also orders of magnitude more powerful?
Jet mentioned Battle for Wesnoth, a game made by many of the same people. It just happens that I've sunk quite a few hours in Wesnoth — which positively flies on the same machine where Frogatto crawls. I gather the developers had to give up a whole range of graphical effects they wanted to do. I say, good! The game looks great anyway, and as a bonus it works on old machines people still use!
(Incidentally, there's a whole Reddit community dedicated entirely to games for old machines. This is not so easy to dismiss.)
Jet made another point about the march of progress. But I say his analogy is flawed. Internet Explorer 6 wasn't just missing features (on the contrary, it pioneered the API that underlies AJAX). No, Internet Explorer 6 was broken, and fundamentally incompatible with all the other browsers. And even then, it wasn't all that difficult to make websites that degraded gracefully, and worked at least partially on that old hunk of junk. Too bad people insisted on maintaining 100% compatibility with it. But I digress.
Look, I make HTML5 games. Simple games indeed, as Jet pointed out. They run on any modern browser, even IE9 — which I don't support. Such is the power of Web standards.
But they don't run on IE8. It's not just a matter of tweaking here and there — my games use a technology that's simply not available on IE8 at all. And you know what? All my explanations to that effect were worth exactly ZERO to a friend of mine who happens to like that particular browser, and didn't want to switch just to play my games.
I decided to do a separate opinion article on this, since it seems that my opinion regarding this topic and the previous one is already one page long 😀