The current generation of consoles and hand held devices may be host to a bunch of fresh IPs and sequels, but there is something more that this new generation has to offer: classic video games.
The idea of rereleasing video games is not a wholly novel one that has just now come about; in fact, there are quite a few examples of games rereleased with updated graphics such as Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. But what makes this instance of rereleases different is the frequency in which they are occurring. Here are some prime examples of this new trend that’s on the rise.
One of the earlier arrivals to this particular party was none other than Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD for the first of the current generation: the Wii U.
The first item on any remake’s checklist is updating the graphics to current-day standards, and while the stylized visuals of The Windwaker resulted in its graphics aging quite well, a touch up was not unwelcome. While some would consider a visual tune up and a release on the latest console sufficient for a remake, Nintendo didn’t feel as though it would do the game justice, and instead opted to improve upon the beloved title.
In addition to enhanced graphics, the HD release featured an improved user interface, a sail that streamlined long-distance sailing, and the addition of Tingle Bottles—which allowed people to share pictures, messages, and even personal drawings with others across the Miiverse.
Perhaps the single most telling announcement in regards to classic games in the current-day medium is that of Rare Replay. Slated to be released August 4 on the Xbox One, Rare Replay is a collection of thirty games drawn from the company’s thirty years of developing, all for just thirty dollars.
This bundle deal—which includes titles that range from Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark to Battletoads and Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll—is very much invested in nostalgic appeal, as all rereleases of classic video games are; but the sheer volume of games and the fact that they all come from the same developer is both remarkable and revealing of the value of classic games in today’s market.
Rare may not be the powerhouse of a developer that they used to be, but this bundle of games—the newest of which was released all the way back in 2008, gives their legacy one last hurray.
Super Mario Maker
This next game may not be the purest incarnation of a rerelease of a classic video game, but the motivation for its development is very much in line with the previous titles. Super Mario Bros., a line of games that launched the popularity of gaming in North America, has not slowed down in recent years and continues to produce side-scrolling platformers to keep up with current generation devices; but the announcement of Super Mario Maker serves as yet another indicator of the value of nostalgia.
Super Mario Maker is a level designer, one that allows extensive modification to the stages in Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, as well as New Super Mario Bros. With the exception of the last title, all of these games were originally released in 1990 or earlier, and while the experience of playing them in this new level designer won’t necessarily be the same as playing the original games themselves, the aesthetic is enough to elicit that euphoric sensation of revisiting a treasured game. The levels may be different, and there may be new mechanics thrown into the mix, but the experience of it is still that of Super Mario Bros.
With more and more games being refurbished and rereleased, it has become rather clear that gaming has entered an age of nostalgia. While these remakes are all well and good and there’s certainly nothing wrong with revisiting the classics, if this trend continues to grow, it could potentially snuff out the motivations of developers to create as many new IPs as they normally would. Remakes may be fun, but they’re no replacement fresh stories and experiences.