When we look back at the video games of our childhood, most of the time we see large pixels in 8- or 16-bit graphics. That’s retro. Where a lot of people grew up with 8-bit Mario and Mega Man, more gamers are growing up with Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank as their nostalgia mascots. Then there are the kids growing up with the amazing games we have today. Will they look back on these games in 20 years with a sense of amazement thinking, “Wow, we came a long way since I was a kid”? Who will be their nostalgia mascots? Yooka-Laylee? Maybe even Nathan Drake?
Why are the amazing games of yesteryear making a comeback? Recently we’ve seen the launch of Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy which has sold many copies and even more recently the SNES Classic went up for pre-order and immediately sold out everywhere. Why is that? I think it has to do with why “90’s kids” are nostalgic already.
The Super Nintendo Classic
The late 1990’s and early 2000’s saw great advancement in terms of technology. Internet was becoming easily accessible for everyone. Mobile phones were actually able to fit in your pocket AND be folded up. Due to this rapid increase in technology, some now young adults look back to their childhood as a simpler time, where instant gratification wasn’t as easy as it is today. Trying to figure out Liu Kang’s dragon form fatality in Mortal Kombat? Better keep track of your tried and failed button combos. Nowadays developers include move lists in their fighting games, accessible with just a press of the Start button.
If we want to check out a game before buying it, you can search for it on YouTube or Twitch. I know I’ve done that with obscure SNES or Genesis games. Just because a game has a cute Gundam robot on the label doesn’t mean it can’t be a deep RTS game, because it probably will be. When I was a kid, I would have to take a chance at Blockbuster to even try out a game. Now I have to hope it’s not digital-only so I could at least trade it in to make back some of my losses.
Backwards compatibility has been something gamers have been wanting in their consoles these past few console generations. True backwards compatibility is something only Microsoft has been able to deliver on the Xbox One. It allows gamers, if they own the game on Xbox 360, reinstall it via disc or download and play right from the console. If they missed out on the game while it was new, gamers are able to search for it on the Xbox Store and buy it digitally. Soon we’ll be able to enjoy original Xbox games on the Xbox One, and I can’t wait to replay Stubbs the Zombie.
Sure, Nintendo and Sony have classic games available on their digital stores, but each player has to buy and download them, regardless if they still have a physical copy sitting on their shelves. Nintendo classic games are one of the better deals, allowing save states in games that you could not originally save in, such as Castlevania, or giving you a massive discount on a digital copy compared to getting a physical copy because a loose copy of Earthbound on SNES will cost you at least $150, if you’re lucky. On the Wii U eShop? Ten bucks.
According to www.pricecharting.com, Earthbound goes for $153 for just the cartridge.
Sony is infamous for re-releasing or remastering some of their classic games instead of coming out with new titles in their franchises. Did you want that new Uncharted game sooner? Play through the first three games again while we finish up the fourth one. A new Ratchet & Clank on PS4, you say? Have a movie tie-in that’s kind of, sort of the first game. But it looks so much better though, right? Although it hasn’t been the case so much this year, as Sony is kicking butt with their exclusives such as Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn, I can still see them re-releasing games. Why? Because people will buy them, as they have before.
I see re-releasing games as a yin and yang situation. While it does allow gamers to experience games they may have otherwise been unable to play, due to being a rare game or they just grew up in the wrong era of gaming, it is a bit of a money grabbing scheme. It’s easy to do. I’m grateful that these companies are making it easier for me to play games like Earthbound, Super Metroid, or Crash Bandicoot. I just wish they’d not do it as often. Microsoft on the other hand, like I said before, seems to be doing it right.
I’m just waiting on that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater HD to make it to PS4 instead of pachinko machines.