I always thought it interesting how many old PC games I own, games for DOS or Windows 3.1 even, that just work. Back then, and still today in DOSBox. Install, and they work. Of course some have a well known "bug" that appears under certain situations.
I've got to wonder if the bar for development difficulty and customer expectation on those titles was as high as it seems to be today. Will there come a point where the entire game development manpower on Earth could spend the entire game development budget on Earth and still not be able to finish one game?
I think the bar is set higher now since gaming isn't just a minority of pc gamers and an Atari 2600/Sega/Playstation owners and communication *about* games has changed so much.
Bugs in games "back-when" weren't as big a deal or common since games weren't played online, or not many were, so they were simpler. Most games these days that are single player only are very solid. Those that can put real time into single player alongside multiplayer are usually solid single player games. Most issues that come up are with MP/co-op gaming, where the most variables are. Keep in mind that MP gaming as an expected component
of a game is still relatively new.
Also keep in mind that going online to talk about games
is fairly new for the average gamer too. Before that it was mainly specialty groups like here. Now most that play online also get online to talk about it. Expectations are higher just due to communication about complaints. It used to be that magazines were the main source of info about gaming on pc or console--that's where your info and reviews came from. Now there are 1000's of forums where everyone has a voice--more often negative than positive.
If I actually experienced every bug in a game that I hear people complaining about, I'd quit gaming. As it is, I rarely see what I hear about, and even fewer bugs that really ruin the experience for me. IMO, the natural human tendency to b!!ch and moan is a more rampant problem than bugs in games, since it blows expectations out of proportion and influences a player's perspective of a game more than their own experience with the game.