There was once a popular game called Sweet Home for the Japanese Family Computer. When the Sony PlayStation came out, Capcom thought that they should re-make this early survival horror game. They did and what came out was the widely popular Biohazard or Resident Evil. Resident Evil is now a major franchise in the gaming industry with several sequels and spinoffs in various systems and a six-part movie series top-billed by Mila Jovovich as well as several CG animated films. This is one instance where re-making games from the past for current systems is a very successful move.
Another great move was re-making the original NES/Famicom Castlevania for the Super Nintendo resulted in one of the best game titles of all time, Super Castlevania 4. So there’s plenty of merit in re-making old successful titles for newer systems, but it still depends on how the re-make is done. Later versions of Megaman and Bionic Commando done in later systems were unfortunately not well-received. But when Megaman 9 came out in all its traditional glory, gamers loved it. We all appreciate the adoption of new industry trends and techniques, but they have to be applied properly. It’s called not fixing what’s not broken. While not exactly a remake, Minecraft was heavily influenced by an earlier game called Infiniminer. The added RPG elements to the gameplay and retro feel made it much more successful than its inspiration and is now one of the biggest games of today.
Aside from Nintendo’s release of the NES Classic Edition, the latest Retro gaming news is from Blizzard where they included Diablo I within Diablo III which made many older gamers quite excited. It would be fun to revisit Tristram and the Cathedral once again under the same dark and gritty atmosphere of the original Diablo game. But despite this, Blizzard was asked in one convention about re-mastering Warcraft 1 and Warcraft 2. Same gameplay mechanics but updated graphics. Blizzard didn’t seem interested saying that the old Warcraft titles weren’t fun anymore. Without the ‘fun’ in the original Warcraft, there wouldn’t be a World of Warcraft nor DOTA. Some argue that there’s a market for re-mastering classic PC games, especially Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. Plenty of gamers miss or want to revisit older titles without having to fire up or look for older hardware and get treated with dated graphics. If possible, they want to see these classics with updated graphics on their HDTVs and monitors. The original Command and Conquer from Westwood Studios was and still is a fun game. I found a copy somewhere on the web complete with DOSBox integration. It was quite fun, but I had to put it down as there was plenty of work to be done. Adulthood sucks sometimes. By now the graphics would be very much dated, but if EA took the time to re-master the original Command and Conquer series, many fans would appreciate it.
These games mentioned need not be re-invented, just graphically updated, with the same mechanics and gameplay that made them popular in the first place and maybe with a few added elements to make them interesting to both old and new players. It would be great if the original Starcraft, Diablo and Warcraft had updated HD cinematics and cut scenes. Blizzard hasn’t completely dismissed the idea so they might come up with re-mastered versions of their classic games on their 20th or 25th anniversaries.
Speaking of anniversaries, the NES Classic Edition came as part of Nintendo of America’s 30th anniversary, thus its 30-game line up. Its limited run may be due to an artificial shortage on Nintendo’s part, or Nintendo was unaware of its novelty system becoming a runaway hit. The NES Classic Edition and its thirty built-in games may actually be more popular than the Wii U. Again, there’s something that can be said about the huge market for gamers aged thirty to forty who grew up with older games and want another crack at their childhood. Simpler controls are actually more appealing for that particular demographic, unlike today’s games that are often more complex. The NES and NES Classic Edition’s controls are made up of just the D-pad and two buttons, four if you count Start and Select; as opposed to current gaming systems that have a d-pad, analog stick, four action buttons and four shoulder buttons whose layout changes depending on the system. Gameplay is simple and straightforward without constant interruptions of cut scenes, text dialog and on-screen tutorials.
Gamers are now pining for an SNES Classic Mini, or a NES Classic Edition version 2 and even a Mini N64. Nintendo only has to do a few modifications on the hardware as the NES Classic Edition hardware was revealed to be able to accommodate N64 emulation. This is a startling revelation for Nintendo who is suddenly thrust once more into the limelight after dismal Wii U sales. Nintendo’s crocodile grip on its IP may have just paid off as it can now re-market its antiquated libraries of games to the same people that consumed them 30 years ago as well as new generations of curious gamers. Nintendo can re-master or modify its old games or release previously unreleased ones onto its new Nintendo Switch to take advantage of the retro-trend the company started with Pokemon Go and NES Classic Edition.
There are a lot of kids out there who grew up playing Pong, Commodores, Atari 2600s, NES who have grown up and may want to re-live the glory days when they beat Mike Tyson, Mother Brain, Dracula or reached level 100 on Pac-Man or Galaga. Game companies should recognize the opportunity and grant them their wish by re-releasing these games in full HD glory but with the same simple controls and game mechanics everyone’s used to and no DLC, DRM, IAP or touch screen nonsense. Heck, even enterprising entrepreneurs through KickStarter could bring back gaming cabinets of old that can play at least 30 licensed old titles with panels that change to reflect the game being played. That ought to spice up someone’s bar, diner or game room.