Everyone loves retro games, playing that old Sonic or Mario game from 10 years ago gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside. But can games nowadays give you that feeling? Or will you have to wait 10 years so you can reminisce? It seems that developers want to renew that warm nostalgic feeling, and making sequels just doesn’t cut it any more. Rebooting old games for new systems is becoming quite popular. But is it what we really want?
It seems that remaking a game from long ago can be seen as one of two things; either a fantastic idea, or a cheap cop-out. Got no ideas? Lets remake that game from 8 years ago! Throw on some pretty new graphics and apparently it’s a brand new game. Personally 90% of the time I think it’s a terrible idea, games should only be remade if there is an irrefutable demand for them. Games like Final Fantasy 7 or Ocarina of Time have had fans demanding remakes for years, and strangely enough, the games that are demanded the most, are the ones we do not get. Instead we get remakes like Tomb Raider Anniversary, which really, nobody wants.
Games companies these days are walking the razors edge, one slip up and they could end up closing down. Which is exactly why we get remakes and sequels, taking risks is far too… risky. We don’t get anything new. It’s not often we’ll get a brand new franchise that will blow us away, they’ll go back through the files to find something that impressed us way back when, throw some new wallpaper on it and hope that with current gen graphics it will impress us again. Sorry guys, that’s a no go. Are game remakes more profitable? Yes, simply because every gamer wants to see their favourite retro classic in HD or with spankin’ new graphics. Meaning that developers with take the easy way out just for a bit more cash in their pockets.
It all comes down to money, refurbishing an old game with new graphics is a hell of lot cheaper than making a brand new one. Why spend oodles of money hiring artists and programmers when you can put a new coat of paint on something old? Companies won’t make a new game when they could make just as much money, if not more, on remaking a classic. The only company who know what they’re doing when it comes to classics is Nintendo, the Virtual Console is far better than getting remake after remake, increasing the availability of classic games should be the preference over remaking them.
Game remakes aren’t always bad, but they never seem to live up to the original versions. Simply because it’s never quite the same. Port’s are worse than remakes, what’s worse than remaking an old game with new graphics for money? Simply putting an old game on a new system. Ports are great when they come in the form of games like Chrono Trigger, but crap when you know that it’s just for the sales, like the new play control games for the Wii. New Play Control Mario Power Tennis? Seriously? Nintendo hit the mark with the Virtual Console, but missed with these. Remakes, of course, are trickier. But as long as the basic game premise is maintained, all you need to do is give the game some graphics and level maps, and its good to go.
Gamers love it when old games are released new and improved, not just new graphics but improved gameplay elements. A perfect example of this would be Capcoms recent Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Not only did the whole game get one hell of a face-lift, the movesets were rebalanced, online play was added and gameplay tweaks that they’ve learned since the original game was released were implemented. Now that’s a remake we can appreciate.
I’d push for game remakes if they were targeted at new gamers. The current generation of gamers haven’t even heard of half the games you grew up with. Ask the next kid you meet who Ecco the Dolphin or Geno is, see if they know. You may be buying you’re twelfth Final Fantasy game but for a lot of kids its their first. Pushing the old classics to give kids a taste of what they’ve missed is a great idea, but I don’t see it happening too often. Chrono Trigger was released before a lot of today’s gamers were even born, but with the Nintendo DS, they too can experience one of the greatest RPG’s of all time. Square-Enix for example have ported most of the old Final Fantasy games onto the GBA or DS, but don’t remake Final Fantasy VII, why? Because it’s cheaper to put Final Fantasy IV on the DS than Final Fantasy VII on the PS3. With one you just have to touch it up, the other requires a complete do-over.
I love my old games, breaking out my GameBoy to play Kirby’s Dream Land is something I do often. But as much as I love my classics, I’d never prefer a reboot of one to a hit new franchise. Companies need to start taking risks with new games, or else we’re just going to end up going around in circles. Being spoon-fed the same games for years to come. That’s something I do not want, and it’s the kind of thing that could cause me to stop playing games altogether. We bitch and moan about the games we want remade, and we complain that we never see anything new, gamers today seem to trying to play both sides and it just doesn’t work like that. Do you want new and exciting games? Or do you want you’re favourites remade? Having both would be nice, but it’s not something that’s going to happen.
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