Sequel, remake, sequel,
remake, sequel, remake, reimagining... what's the
difference? Pop culture would have us believe that it's all
And so, we sit. We sit
through remakes of old television shows into movies,
sometimes done as parody, sometimes done in an attempt to be
faithful to something whose time has long passed, sometimes
done in an attempt to be faithful that is so pathetically
inept that it becomes parody on its own. And every year, the
consumers are forced to choose: will I go see the next
the Star Wars "saga"? Will I watch the next
item? How about
Doom, or Michael Bay's probably bastardization of
Transformers, or even a new animated version of the old
But people are hungry for
nostalgia. In the same vein, the video game industry looks
back on classics of yesteryear with hunger. Somehow, a 3-D
remake of Frogger wound up in the
top 100-selling PC games of the 21st century. Half-Life
has been remade for the Source engine, and Counter-Strike
gets remade every few months. Oftentimes, since the gaming
populace is more savvy than the general public and has less
of a history (there are no 50 year old games to remake as of
yet) the remaking comes in the form of a sequel, a "reimagining"
for another platform, or a Classics compilation.
Capcom's remaking the early
Megaman X titles for the PSP, with "updated" graphics and
new gameplay modes. Or at least, they were. We'll see if the
PSP doesn't die before they're finished.
Of all these three, the
compilation is probably the easiest, and they've been proven
to sell. Sega got away with a PC classics pack that included
a couple Sonic titles, Midway's been milking them for all
they're worth, Activision's been to the trough, and the
arcade titles coming through Xbox Live probably qualify as
well. It's almost one of the easiest ideas: get an emulator
(Sega actually bought the KGEN emulator for their PC
collection), slap the rom files into the disc, and sell. No
mess, no fuss, and gamers get what they wanted - the games.
I also have the least problem with this way of selling old
titles, as it preserves the spirit of the old games, since
the gameplay is more or less the same. The same for
Nintendo's re-releases of classic titles for the GBA or the
The next option, which
Nintendo and Konami have exemplified throughout the lifetime
of gaming, is the sequel. While Nintendo's picked up on the
re-release bandwagon of late, their old MO was to release a
new game in a series every development cycle (of course,
development cycles have gotten longer and longer, so where
it used to be 9 months it's now 3-4 years). Konami did the
same, most notably with the Castlevania series: instead of
re-releasing the same Castlevania for every platform, their
goal was to see that every platform had "a" Castlevania
title. So while the NES got the first three and the SNES got
Dracula X, the pared-down version of the PC Engine's
Rondo of Blood, Genesis got Bloodlines
Occasionally, fans take
matters into their own hands. Numerous attempts at remaking
The Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen have passed and
failed. A fan-made attempt at updating and re-creating
Trigger was nixed when Square/Enix decided to kill it.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of these groups end in
grief, because love of the project usually isn't enough to
sustain the group until the end even if a stingy company
like Square decides to nix a project created by people who
loved their old titles.
But the question remains:
will you go see the new incarnation of an old favorite? Will
you purchase the next copy of an old game or movie because
"deleted content" is added back in?
I'm ashamed to admit it, but
I'm a sucker most of the time, and I'll probably be at
Transformers on opening day.
Comments? Send 'em to Michael (at) Glideunderground.com!
right here for everyone to see!