Addicted to a memory
This month, we’re getting a brand new, true-to-form Sonic the Hedgehog in glorious 2D with the release of Sonic Mania; Nintendo is launching the SNES Classic Edition in September and E3 this year saw the announcement of a remake of the popular PlayStation 2 classic, Shadow of the Colossus. For gamers who have had video games be a massive part of their lives, it feels good to see retro make its way back into our computers, consoles, televisions, and even smartphones. Sega Forever, which kicked o in June, brought classic titles like Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, and Phantasy Star back into our hands for free, while copies of souped-up games like the N. Sane Trilogy, Activision’s remaster of the rst three Crash Bandicoot titles, are literally ying o the shelves. The game has been completely sold out in Australia and the U.K.
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and video game companies are tapping into its in uence to open our hearts and our wallets. The positive receptions (proven by the soaring sales) that revived games are getting from gamers, both fans and newcomers, is enough to drive developers like Square Enix and Capcom back into their archives, looking for the next greatest hit to resuscitate.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age hit stores last month, and I know of a few friends who had even pre-ordered their copy – a surprise considering the fact that they don’t actually believe in pre-ordering games (but that’s a story for another day). There’s the Final Fantasy VII Remake to come (who knows when that drops), which in itself is a highly-anticipated title from the Fainaru Fantaji fanbase. On the horizon, a revised Resident Evil 2 has been announced, driving fans of the series to speculate what form the modern iteration would look like, given the attractiveness of Resident Evil VII’s RE Engine and its new rst-person perspective.
A ton of games are being brought back to life as we speak, and it looks like the trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. Softwareaside, even the hardware is getting its due in the limelight too with the latest being the Ataribox. Drawing inspiration from the 2600, the Ataribox maintains its sleek yesteryear design in black and wood that it’s hard not to feel as if you’re back in the 80’s – when you rst laid your hands on the console and hooked it up to the TV to play Space Invaders and Asteroids. For what it’s worth, developers are being smart: why reinvent the wheel when you’ve already achieved success before? Rather than introduce a new IP for players to learn to love, it’s easier to look back to the past and replicate existing victories with graphical and gameplay tweaks for the millennial generation. Building onto a franchise is also always a risk – while you stand a chance of stretching the lore and mythology of what has already been established before, there is also the possibility of losing the very essence of what made the initial entries great.
It’s a decision that feels like you’re trapped between a rock and a hard place doing something fresh and different is always welcome, but capturing the warmth and fuzziness of beautiful memories players have of their games makes more nancial sense. That is, of course, assuming that those remastered games improve or retain what we remembered the most about it, without regressing or destroying what was ‘perfect’ the rst time round. For who could ever forget the mess that was the Silent Hill HD Collection? That said, some companies never see the light of nostalgia at all, choosing instead to expand their business into gambling machines and casino gaming – taking old IPs to a new world instead. Whether nostalgia thrives there or not is a big question, but maybe a Castlevania pachinko might just get a lad or lady to open their wallet for a few more rounds with a Belmont.