Moore Games

By: Trevor Shanahan


In 1965 Intel co-founder Gordon Moore created Moore’s Law.  This law is really a prediction that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit (per square inch) has and would continue to double annually – at least for the foreseeable future.  Moore contested that despite the exponential growth in technology, industry would catch-up, finding and creating uses for new technology.  But what about the old technology?  It is my contention that old technology, which really isn’t very “old”, can remain a relatively untapped resource to be exploited.

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Wafer with Intel Xeon Processor E7 v2 family chips, each made of 4.3 BILLION 22nm transistors.

Do you know what DotA is?  Do you know how it came to be?  DotA (Defense of the Ancients) is a mod (modification) built in the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos world editor based on the Aeon of Strife gameplay mod for Starcraft.  It is a new game built on old technology.  Blizzard, in accord with Moore’s predictions, had expanded into new technological options for engines in their upcoming titles.  A small team of designers utilized the vast and untapped capability of Blizzard’s editor to create what is now, one of the most popular game genres (or subgenres) in history; the MOBA, or massive online battle arena.


DotA isn’t some outlier, there are many games that became modern titans being built on old tech that was never exhausted of its potential.  Team Fortress is another shining example, beginning life as a Quake mod running on an engine of the same name.  Valve took the mod and repurposed it with its Source engine.  As time has passed the Source engine would also be used to create popular titles (Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dear Esther, Vampire: Masquerade, etc.) and Valve recently announced that they would be releasing the Source engine as free for developers.  Now the door is open as Valve prepares for their Source 2 engine to see the wave of indie titles and college projects that use the original Source engine.

The indie game scene would not be where it is without the repurposing of old technology.  Shovel Knight, recently released on Sony’s platforms (but out for some time on Wii U, 3DS, and PC) that uses an 8-bit game design veneer to deliver an engaging experience.  Though it uses the Pro Motion software, which is modern, Yacht Club Games is really capitalizing on old 8-bit technology.  This tech is reborn in an age with advanced understanding of programming, coding, and design permitting it to ascend above the restraints of a different time to make another gaming impact.

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Title screen and boss gameplay from 8-bit reminiscent Shovel Knight.

Excitement in the video game world comes from many things.  I deviate from the norms of excitement from new tech to make this request; get excited about old technology.  If you are a developer, gamer, or just a tech enthusiast embrace and support the rebirth of the “old” in new packages.


ccccccAbout the blogger

My name is Trevor Shanahan and I am finishing my undergraduate degree in Marketing with a minor in Media Studies.  I am interested in video games and everything they touch (their industry, development, games as art, psychology of games – like gamification, industry issues, cutlure, etc.).  I have come to realize that the more I learn ( and learning is so important) the more I do not know.  Learn as much as you can about what you love and   try to give back to it.