Ad­dicted to a mem­ory

GAX (Malaysia) - - SP INOFF - By

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.

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