The lights are on
Games are the unfortunate victim of being a technology-focused medium. The games that defined our childhood show their age much faster than the movies we grew up with. It’s one of the reasons video game remakes are often worth getting excited about. They allow us to replay the games we love as we remember them, rather than how they actually are. It was easy to ignore the pixelated look and less-than-ideal frame-rate of Ocarina of Time when it released. Compared to what else was available, the game looked fantastic. Playing the updated version on the 3DS offered a version of the game that fell more in line with my memories, rather than reality.
With the The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD remake on the horizon, it makes us consider what games were fantastic when they released, but now are difficult to look at.
Star Fox – Star Fox has seen sequels on assorted consoles, and each one has moved further and further away from the original game’s core concept. We’ve seen Fox McCloud get out of his Arwing and fight on foot, and even combat dinosaurs on mysterious planets. We just want to fly! A remake of the original could return Fox to his on-rails roots, and also allow for some interesting creative license with the enemies and structures of the original game. I loved Star Fox’s clean look, due mostly to the technological limitations of the Super Nintendo, and I would love to see that brought into the present day.
Panzer Dragoon – There is a lot of love out there for thePanzer Dragoon series in both in its shooter and RPG forms, but these days the game looks more like amorphous blobs speeding through simple environments rather than the dragon riding and flying shooter players remember. It’s also a series that many missed out on since Sega was just beginning to board the train that led to its downward spiral – perhaps best personified by the Dreamcast’s logo. An updated remake would allow players to understand why this series is so revered, and maybe even open the door for a new entry.
GoldenEye 007 – Technically, this remake was already attempted, but I include it on this list because the recent Goldeneye hit none of the nostalgic notes I wanted it to. I spent hours and hours on the original game in both multiplayer and single-player, and I had a floodgate of memories ready to pour out all over the remake the moment I got my hands on it. Ultimately, I walked away with nothing more than a licensed shooter that happened to be called GoldenEye. The original GoldenEye 007 does not align with today’s first-person shooter standards, which is why I was so eager to play it, because I hoped it would feel different.
Alone in the Dark – The original Alone in the Dark released back in 1992 for DOS, and many consider it to be the first true survival horror experience. We wouldn’t have Resident Evil (or its excellent 2002 GameCube remake) without Edward Carnby’s original adventure. These days the game looks closer to Grabbed by the Ghoulies than a terrifying haunted adventure. When you do a Google search for the game, the first result that comes up is the terrible Uwe Boll film instead of information on the game. A remake could help rekindle the series’ tarnished legacy.
Resident Evil 2 – Speaking of Resident Evil, fans of the franchise have been clamoring for a remake in the style of the aforementioned GameCube Resident Evil. The standard definition, 2002 remake of the remake of Resident Evil holds up graphically today, thanks to the "living painting"-style environments and limited use of 3D models. Imagine a remake of the acclaimed Resident Evil 2 done in the same style, but benefiting from HD graphics and two generations worth of hardware advancements. We love how the 2002 Resident Evil remake played off our expectations of old scares, and want the same with Leon and Claire's quest through Raccoon City.
Final Fantasy VII – Final Fantasy VII, for many people, defined the perfect gaming experience. Story, memorable characters, combat, and presentation all came together to set an incredibly high bar for players 15 years ago. To look at the game now shows a bizarre collection of mismatched character models coupled with outdated CGI. To remake Final Fantasy VII would be to craft the game’s original vision, and would introduce a whole new generation to a release that defined console gaming in the late ‘90s.
Doom – This one might be tough because of how drastically graphics and FPS mechanics have progressed since the release of the original Doom. I have a dream though, of this weird classic Doom upgrade where the enemies are still 2 dimensional, but high resolution renderings of the demons we remember. It would look very strange, but would represent what everyone saw in their first foray into hell. Also, all the weapons would need to show up in the center of the screen – none of that off to the side nonsense.
Super Mario 64 – Super Mario 64 is still a fantastic game that holds up well visually. Its primary color palette and simple architecture and character designs mean the game will always look solid. Unfortunately, I don’t think a younger generation will be so forgiving. Also, to add fuel to an admittedly unlikely Super Mario 64 remake fire, Super Mario Galaxy 2 featured one level that remade Whomp’s Fortress. It was absolutely gleeful to jump into Mario 64’s world with Galaxy’s impressive visuals and fantastic controls, even if it was only for one level. I want more, please.
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