This week, we eschew the storm of new releases and talk about the recent trend of game re-makes. Now that the industry has been around for a few decades, it seems likely that remakes will become increasingly common. This raises a number of creative and economic issues, so feel free to weigh in with your thoughts the matter, as well as which games you would like to see remade.
Jorge: You do realize we could be playing Fable II and Little Big Planet as we type this.
Scott: Dear readers, you are witnessing true heroism; superhuman dedication.
Scott: Alright. Seems like this week's news is a bit less controversial than last week's.
We'll have to talk about something we read a while ago.
Scott: Let's take a break from all the current games and talk about old ones.
They're remaking Klonoa, for example. I never played it so what are your thoughts?
Scott: Guess that answered that.
Jorge: I seriously love Klonoa. I must have played that game ten times at least.
Scott: So would you buy it again for Wii?
Jorge: Yes, absolutely. Hell, I'll buy it again for PS2 if I ever see a copy.
Before this article came out, I had completely forgotten about Klonoa. It brought back a flood of happy memories. Now that this franchise is enlivened, all I need is another Legacy of Kain.
Scott: I was going to ask why games should be remade, and your statement about Klonoa makes me think nostalgia is a good reason.
Jorge: People usually feel nostalgic for good games anyway. For those who have never played said game, this could be a good opportunity to get it out there.
Chrono Trigger got a re-release on the DS.
Scott: Which is also awesome. Probably my favorite RPG ever.
Scott: How about the dark side of remakes? Are there any drawbacks, or awful examples you can think of?
Jorge: Well for one, it's kind of lazy on their part. There aren't huge overhauls for some of these games, even graphically.
Also, do we really want to focus too much on older titles?
Scott: That's my fear when Squeenix does something like remake all the Final Fantasy games for DS.
I'd rather have new games of that caliber rather than re-live old ones I already played.
Jorge: Regardless of how you feel about Mega Man 9, we don't really need it. There are countless emulators online if you needed to play a game so hard you develop Tourette's.
Scott: But Mega Man 9 isn't a remake: there is brand new content.
Jorge: Right, but the core mechanics and visuals are exactly the same. Don't we want innovation? I'm not against remaking a classic game or making a game in the same style, but there has got to be a limit. I've played so many great games in the past, but I don't want to see a remake of every single one. There are plenty of new stories to be told as well.
Even Klonoa, I would prefer ten-fold to play a completely new Klonoa, not just a polished version of the one I have in a cardboard box back at home.
Scott: That's a good point, but Mega Man 9 is for folks that love the core mechanics of Mega Man and want to apply them in new situations.
That being said, I agree that we don't want to just make old games into cash cows.
Scott: Your point about remakes being valuable for those who missed the original release brings me back to my last post: Doesn't remaking classic games add to gamers' shared cultural experiences?
There are kids playing games today that weren't even born when Chrono Trigger was released.
Jorge: That's true. It's kind of like encouraging kids who are avid readers to pick up Of Mice and Men... or another, better, analogy...
Jorge: Playing through older titles will better arm them when going into current games. How many times have we heard reviewers cite much older releases when discussing the latest JRPG?
That's where literature has an advantage over videogames as a medium. It is so much easier to go back and experience older works.
Scott: Maybe this is an argument for the widespread availability of used games then?
Jorge: Even if I can get my hands on a copy of the original Lunar or some other really old title, I'll still need a functioning console to play it on and a gamer who hasn't grown to comfortable with the flashy visuals of games today.
Scott: So maybe what we're actually talking about is a kind of public domain for video games.
That way, publishers can't continue to milk games and people who can deal with old-school graphics and gameplay have the titles readily available.
Jorge: A virtual library of games to play over the Internet could be great for the industry. If there is a demand for a title reworked on a new engine it can still be done, and the more obscure titles that would never get a re-release, particular foreign games, could be accessible.
Scott: And if people wanted an updated version, a developer could make it and give the people the option of paying for it.
Scott: I think this is the most radical, Utopian, far flung idea we've ever proposed.
Jorge: "And games were played, it was good."
Jorge: If it's not troublesome, I'm fine with all good titles getting a remake. Or at last encouraging backwards compatibility.
But the public library of gaming, I like that better. It has a nice ring to it.
Scott: I like that idea too. If only we had the theoretical time to devote to this theoretical concept.
Jorge: Amen... So you want to go play some Little Big Planet?
Scott: I think you know the answer to that question.