Many of them may be charming, they might be great for their time, but they're not particularly playable.
Even classics like Knight Lore and Underwurlde are an exercise in endurance: just how much death and battling with the controls can a person stomach?
The hardware - playing on a little rubber keyboard - wasn't really suited to gaming, ironically.
It's little wonder that games were considered anti-social for so long: they were barely accessible, and you needed to have a particularly psychotic degree of patience in order to stick with them through the repeated deaths.
These days, games have learned the lessons of the past, they've built and improved on what went before, and for the most part they're broadly accessible. If anything... they're a bit too accessible.
It was something that dawned on me last night while playing Far Cry Primal.
I'm a long way into it; I'm through most of the story (such as it is), I've toppled the forts labelled as "very hard", I've got enough animals to build my own zoo, and now all I'm doing is just ticking off the remaining secrets on the map.
I realised as I rescued my umpteenth Wenja hostage... that none of this had been a challenge.
In all, I'd probably died no more than half a dozen times - one of those times at the claws of a badger, for pity's sake.
Had I been wearing a heart monitor, I doubt my pulse would've even registered most of the time.
The nature of the game's open world means that the structure just sort of meanders - it doesn't increase in intensity. It's like reading a book or watching a film out of order: you won't necessarily get the big climax at the climax. It could come halfway through - as I think it did for me. Matron.
Now... I know that the day one patch added an expert difficulty mode, but I slightly resent difficulty modes. You don't go and see a film and get given the option to see a version without the long words, or one where you can pay for seats that jab you in the thighs with needles every few minutes.
I have this slightly pietistic need to play the game as balanced as the creators think it needs to be. Difficulty modes, to me, simply feel like a way of covering all bases, and don't change the game on the whole - typically, just how much damage you can sustain.
I get why games are, on the whole, easier by default than they used to be: games are better, they're more playable, and they're a major industry now.
They're designed to be as accessible to as broad an audience as possible.
And I'm torn about it. I was put off from playing either of the Dark Souls games because I'd heard horrific things about their difficulty levels.
Feeling I was missing out, I gave Bloodborne a go - and just couldn't cope with it. Not only could I not proceed like I wanted to, but I couldn't handle my boredom at playing through the same moments again and again.
I never reached that moment of Nirvana that players claim they reach in Hidetaka Miyazaki's games, where it all falls into place. I just found it a struggle, from start to the point where I decided that life is too short. It was like playing on the Spectrum all over again.
Thing is, there are similarities in Far Cry - and most of those Ubi-style games - in that there's a ton of repetition. However, it's rarely due to difficulty. You're not repeating the same moments over and over... just the same sorts of moments. And yet, it has become my biggest niggle with Primal, that sense of the challenge not coming from the difficulty, but just getting everything done. It's overwhelming.
And because of the do-it-in-any-order nature of the gameplay, I was able to beef up my character very quickly, and very early on I began to cut through missions and enemies like a hot finger through butter. The exact same thing happened in Far Cry 4. See also Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
So... I dunno. For me, it's about finding that sweet spot between being challenged, and not becoming frustrated, without having to ramp up a difficulty setting to Expert.
Perhaps the key to all this is variety.
I feel that Nintendo gets it right: typically its games are not off-puttingly difficult, but you are constantly being introduced to new ideas. Every level will have something about it that's unique.
I think that's one of the reasons why Half-Life 2 has endured as a classic. Valve applied the same to its Portal games. The player was constantly challenged, not through the difficulty of enemies, but by ideas. Learning new skills. Learning the rules of a new area. Finding new ways to play. See also Rockstar's games.
It often feels as if modern developers main focus is creating a map, and then just randomly dumping as much stuff as possible on it. That might allow for plenty of emergent, sandbox, gameplay - indeed, I've had some great fun in Primal - but I sometimes miss the challenge that can only come from figuring out what the developer expects me to do. Solving the Rubik's Cube the way it's meant to be solved, because the minds behind it have really thought about every last nuance, rather than smashing the thing apart with a hammer.