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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Resurrecting Old Games, What Works? 381

There has definitely been a resurgence of old games being made new again through various methods. Unfortunately, any time you reinvent an old classic you risk either alienating the original audience or not making it appealing enough for the a new audience. "Capcom has been at the forefront of the recent remake boom, re-imagining a number of their classic titles as downloadable games. Bionic Commando, for example, was given a high-definition 2.5D makeover, and a rockin' remixed soundtrack with Bionic Commando: Rearmed. Capcom also re-released a new version of Street Fighter II on the way, with the lengthy new title Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Interestingly, both games are coming out near new entries in their respective franchises: Street Fighter IV and Bionic Commando. But the question remains, how do you decided what games will still appeal to the current gaming audience? " What games can be counted amongst the success stories, and which can be chalked up as utter failures?
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Resurrecting Old Games, What Works?

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  • ask a 12 year old (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @06:15PM (#26262309) Homepage
    My son will easily say - wow, you're right dad - Megaman rocks. cha-ching for Nintendo Wii. He came into the gaming scene after the "progression of graphics", so he easily yawns as 4 extra FPS or slightly enhanced visuals - he wants playability. Caught them playing pac-man on one of those joysticks that plugs into the TV. He laughed at the graphics, but they kept right on playing for an hour or so.
  • Re:ask a 12 year old (Score:5, Interesting)

    by D Ninja ( 825055 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @06:20PM (#26262375)


    Nintendo's release of old games to the Wii is absolute genius. Those games were so popular for a reason. It wasn't for their killer graphics - it was because they held your attention and entertained you for hours. Good graphics are nice, but good graphics are a dime a dozen and are relatively easy to reproduce. But to have the storyline and the immersion of a game like "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past" is rare thing.

    Like you said, your son laughed at Pac-Man graphics, but Pac-Man is a very good game. Same as the many other "oldies but goodies" that exist out there. I think, as players become bored with their new Wii games, they'll start checking out some of the old titles and will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of those games that captured my generation's attention. And, of course, at $5.00 a pop, it's hard not to do an impulse buy.

  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @06:21PM (#26262387)

    It seems that a lot of the success of a resurrection of an old game depends on the gameplay (how it transitions to modern graphics, modern controls, modern gameplay expectations) and on the nostalgia associated with the game.

    As an example of the latter, I would actually likely dislike a remake of The Secret of Monkey Island (MI 1).

    Gameplay seems to be important though. Some of the classic games relied on gameplay, whilst others relied on story, etc. It doesn't seem like the gameplay from 1990 always transitions well into modern games. The culture of the gamer has shifted, as have the expectations. Graphics alone can almost make a game successful these days, although not completely; whereas back in 1990, graphics seemed to play a small role. Sure, it did to some extent, but I think it was less "realistic graphics" that was of interest back then(Commander Keen != realistic, even a classic like Loom wasn't realistic, although it was certainly colorful and "pretty").

    As for successes that I have personally played, I think the continuation of Prince of Persia appears to have done fairly well.

    There are only a few recent games that I have any lasting nostalgic impressions about, but there are quite a few old games that do. One reason is personal taste, of course, but I think games in the past had to rely on something else than games typically do now. Of course, everyone has heard this 500x, but that's ok. :)

    One game that I wish WAS remade with more modern engines was Baldur's Gate. I loved the game (granted, it was my first CRPG, a genre I have since come to really enjoy more than any other), the story, the characters, etc... but I think if it were remade and put into even the Aurora 2 engine, it would do alright as a remake.

  • As a retro gamer... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by infinite9 ( 319274 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @06:21PM (#26262401)

    I have a few tips for anyone trying to revive an old game. First and foremost, don't screw up the controls. Don't try to recreate robotron for example on a console with only 1 directional control (gameboy sp, i'm looking at you)

    Also, rather than a old version and a new souped-up version of an old game, I'd rather see 1 game that starts out looking like the old one, but with 100 little options that would allow you to customize the game. Extra visual enhancements would be great, like tempest on the jaguar, but make them optional. And what about more options? Xevious with 50 solvalous would be nice for example. Or speed ups/slow downs. Or new levels for an old game. New weapons. Be creative. Provide more options. Don't just churn out crap and hope to milk us old guys.

  • Re:Geometry wars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Monday December 29, 2008 @06:22PM (#26262407) Homepage Journal

    The original was a minigame in Project Gotham. Soo... I don't think that really counts.

    Sorry. :-)

    FWIW, the game is meant to evoke a sense of classic vector games like Gravitar, Asteroids, Tempest, and Star Wars. In that it succeeds brilliantly. But the game is very much a modern game with modern gameplay. Which is actually a good thing, because it shows what happens when game designers apply all their modern knowledge toward pick-up-and-play games. (Often of the "arcade" variety.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, 2008 @06:45PM (#26262667)

    Pac-Man World [] has to be one of the worst failures. And it illustrates what I hate about these updates---that the designers try to reimagine the game from scratch.

    Change the graphics, not the gameplay. When designers follow this rule, the game succeeds. (See Super Mario World [] and A Link to the Past [].) When designers disregard this rule, the game fails. (See Spy Hunter [].) None of the best games became classics because players really loved the names of the characters. We loved the gameplay. The new Street Fighter II downloadable game is perfectly executed, because the gameplay is what I loved as a kid but with new graphics that take advantage of modern systems' capabilities.

    To utilize modern consoles' other capabilities, you need to write new gameplay. That's why Grand Theft Auto 3 was such a blockbuster---because they started from scratch, asking what the system was capable of. (And don't get me started on how that innovation has been squandered. Free-roaming games rock. Why is every decent mech or air-combat simulator saddled with some dull storyline that I have to ignore to get to the fun stuff? And why is there still no game where I can free-roam through the Star Trek universe, discovering random species or picking fights with Borg?)

  • Re:ask a 12 year old (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @07:08PM (#26262905)

    Those games were so popular for a reason. It wasn't for their killer graphics

    It's easy to say "it wasn't about the graphics back then," but let's not forget that the NES's graphics were considered "killer" at the time, at least for a $200 home console in 1985. Certainly better in most respects than the graphics on an Atari 2600 or a Commodore 64.

  • Re:ask a 12 year old (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Haoie ( 1277294 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @07:17PM (#26263017)

    Easy to learn, hard to master.

    That makes a good game a great game. And many older titles have that charm.

  • Re:Geometry wars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teg ( 97890 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @07:19PM (#26263039) Homepage
    True, but the games do remind me of old Jeff Minter games - like Gridrunner and Matrix. Both "Geometry Wars" games are highly addictive, quick and well worth the money.
  • All I know is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @07:33PM (#26263175)

    I really really really miss the Desert/Jungle/Nuclear/Whatever Strike series of games.

    Why oh why has there been nothing even remotely similar in years! It's the type of game you could pick up and play without having to commit hours and hours, it was great for some quick, fun action, but the series seems to have been completely dropped.

    I'd love for a company remake anything even remotely similar. I'd guess there's a lot of old classics like these out there just gagging to be remade.

    I don't think there's a shortage of classics that could be remade that don't even have to be faithful to the originals, just something similar as in this example. The real problem seems to be that gaming has converged onto a few very tight specific genres- RTS, RPG, FPS and Sport and hardly anyone dares venture even slightly outside the defined rules for creating a game within these boundaries.

    Maybe gamers like me, who would like something like the Desert strike series games put into a rather nice modern form are just too much of a niche market to bother with.

  • by Ark42 ( 522144 ) <slashdot&morpheussoftware,net> on Monday December 29, 2008 @07:39PM (#26263239) Homepage

    Picture the Mushroomy Kingdom level from the new Smash Brothers Brawl as the graphics for the actual game play of the original Super Mario Brothers. Same exact game, still 2D, same controls, but re-done with awesome new graphics. That is the one retro area that I think has been completely unexplored.

    No need to make things 3D or mess up the controls, but games like Mega Man 9 could have taken more advantage of newer graphics while still keeping the old-school feel to it.

  • Re:pong (Score:4, Interesting)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Monday December 29, 2008 @07:50PM (#26263327) Homepage

    I think a focal difference between Square Enix remakes and classic arcade remakes is that Square games are story-based, not action-based. You can wrap the Final Fantasy plot around a new engine and it still works, but you can't take something like Pac Man and drop him into Grand Theft Auto's world... even though the idiotic company that now calls itself "Atari" has released dozens of these atrocities.

    I would welcome an FF7 remake. It looked dorky when it was released, owing to the Playstation's pathetic 3D limitations. A more photo-realistic or at least high-def anime look would give more weight to the story, instead of making it look like a bunch of Lego Minifigs acting all emo.

  • by 50000BTU_barbecue ( 588132 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @08:16PM (#26263539) Journal
    On the C64, IIRC, the candy was more of the ear candy variety. There were a lot of terrible games with great Rob Hubbard sound tracks on the 64.
  • Re:ask a 12 year old (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @10:46PM (#26264671) Homepage

    I remember loading Super Mario Brothers on my NES back in the day and being amazed by the "incredible" quality of the graphics. I had come from an Atari 5200 and my jaw dropped at the mere fact that Mario and Luigi looked like actual people and not like square representations of people. When Super Mario Brothers 2 came out, I was amazed that the corners of the ledges were rounded. Of course, little items like that pale in comparison to Super Mario Galaxy today, but back then it was a giant leap in graphics quality. Still, if it were just a graphics-quality-jump, we wouldn't be talking about Super Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda over 20 years after they were released.

  • Re:ask a 12 year old (Score:4, Interesting)

    by everett ( 154868 ) <efeldt AT efeldt DOT com> on Monday December 29, 2008 @11:13PM (#26264843) Homepage

    As opposed to the $50 and $60 price tags those games carried when they were brand new? What you're not realizing is that to a generation of gamers older than you (most likely) that price is an INCREDIBLE bargain. And still even if you had a working console to this day, those are the prices I would expect to play for cartridges at flea markets/auctions and in my opinion is a completely reasonable price to pay. If you're going to pick something to complain about these games for, price should not be it.

  • by sa1lnr ( 669048 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @04:08AM (#26266061)

    I've found [] (EasyTutu) easier to use. ;)

  • by fox171171 ( 1425329 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:05AM (#26267895)
    I'd buy all those games over again modernized. I wouldn't care if all the missions were exactly the same, as long as the UI was improved in the older XW and TF titles. Gotta be joystick! Same for Warcraft II Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal. Of course new content would be welcome, but even the old content would make me happy in a hi-res improved UI version that ran perfect on XP and up. I spent a lot of hours on these games. I'd probably suck now, but I was an awesome shot in the XW series. (I had no life outside of those games at the time, hehe).

The other line moves faster.