Why We Should Not Remake Old GamesBy: Zanpakutou posted at Jun 22, 2012 7:03 pm
There is a difference between something that is classic and something that is nostalgic. Classic is meant to be something that is perfect or nearly perfect in the eye of the beholder while nostalgia is something that reminds someone of the previous happy experiences that they had previously. While many games are described as classic, they are more of a feeling of nostalgia rather than rereleasing a classic game for a new era.
The problem with establishing what is a classic is that ratings are always subjective. You have to rely on individual judgments to determine how great something is, but there will always be people who disagree with you. Art is looked at the same way. Some people think that a soup can or a rotated toilet is art, but many people would also ask what the hell it is. Video games follow the same sort of idea. For example, Final Fantasy VII is considered to be a classic RPG by many and long for a rerelease of the game for the modern age. However, the game is also the first time that they drifted far away from the traditional Final Fantasy series and established the ever changing battle systems in the games to follow.
Remaking games is an attempt to return to the nostalgia and to try to update the graphics to make it for the modern era. The problem with this is that while this is being worked on, we are not making anything new. Advancement slows down or it might even come to a complete halt. That is something that needs to stop. We need to continue to develop new games and try out new ideas and features. If it does not work, we should stop and move on to something else. The old ideas that are not used might be better in the future, but they should not be forced onto someone until it is accepted.
What people seek is actually nostalgia. They wish to return to the old days of gaming where everything was better to them. They remember the games they considered to be great like Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy VII, and Diablo 2 yet they ignore the great achievements made by games since those times. The fact is that the world and technology has moved on. While the achievements of the various games were considered to be unprecedented in their time, the world has marched on and the greatness of those games are marked by nostalgia rather than a classic. It is like how people worship the Chrono series yet say how ridiculous Final Fantasy XIII-2 is when it is based on the same concepts and contains numerous parallels.
The Wind Waker is an excellent example for the Zelda series changing, but the world of Hyrule as we know it is long gone and in their place is a bunch of islands. People still prefer the scenery and atmosphere of the Ocarina of Time despite having puzzles where you are supposed to just guess with the bare minimum amount of hints. The insane boss battles were definitely fun and the world was definitely great to explore, but Wind Waker carried on that tradition in the form of an ocean rather than large empty fields, yet the game is not upheld to anywhere near the standards that Ocarina of Time was. What Ocarina of Time did was create the new system that all future 3D Zelda titles would follow and that is what it should be remembered for. Players put it to such a high standard that we might not see a game ever top it because they practically worship it.
Final Fantasy VII had an incoherent mess of a story made worse by the expansion of the game’s universe and supplementary material. Final Fantasy X is by far the best story to me. As whiny and annoying Tidus is, his story developed the characters well and followed the heroes from beginning to end with the characters developing over time as well rather than Final Fantasy VII’s style of leaving everything in the dark until it was time for the appropriate flashback or explanation. While these events are important, it feels like the characters are static in Final Fantasy VII and that the events only reveal to tell you why the characters are the way they are and nothing is done to actually change them. Unfortunately, all people can remember from Final Fantasy X is the effeminate men despite this tradition being started in the earliest Final Fantasy games and that Tidus and Yuna had gone laughing mad on the side of a hill overlooking a city. No one seems to remember the more memorable events such as the gang arriving in Zanarkand and discovering that the entire game up to that point was just being played out by Tidus narrating it up to that point.
The main problems of Diablo 2 stemmed from the balance issues and hackers yet few people seem to remember this when they complain about Diablo 3. When Diablo 3 tries to correct these problems, people blame them for getting people to spend a lot of real money on the auction house and then using bait and switch to give people crappier items. In reality, it is all probably for game balancing. Numerous games that are released start getting changes to damage formulas or adjustments to existing things in order to make the game more balanced for the players. It feels like what people wanted was a remake of Diablo 2 with updated graphics. The only real problem that the game has is probably the lack of the single player option. Despite people calling it a single player game with a multiplayer option, remember that Diablo 3 has no single player option and you have to play it online no matter what. It is the same as going online and choosing not to play with a party, but you are still in the presence of many other players. It makes as much sense to complain about this as it does to complain about Diablo 3 using a game engine that actually supports proper lightning rather than glowing pixels for light.
People dwell on games of the past and it is important to remember them. However, we should not be remaking every game that made it as a Playstation Greatest Hit or every game that has sold a million copies and released a Game of the Year edition. What we need to learn is to remember what works and what does not. Find out why it did not work and what you might do to correct it. If a released game has a problem, we use patches to fix them now and there is no need for multiple prints of a game. Some games are sucking due to companies hyping them to no end making it impossible to meet some expectations. Other games are not standing a chance because people remember other games with nostalgia despite not having actually touched that game in a long time while talking about how great the game was during its time. Even if you just switch character names and models and retell the exact same story, people are going to say that it is not as great anyways because they remember it a certain way and the one they are seeing now is different from how they remember it.