A lot of the games we frequently talk about today have their roots in games from decades past, whether it be from the inspiration developers can draw from them or, in many cases, actual sequels or entries into franchises that spawned long ago. Obviously, these games can look pretty dated. Some haven’t aged well, but a lot of them stand up today. A lot of gamers (and I imagine this is true of the younger crowd, too) want to go back and re-explore these origins. Some people might even be looking for a chance to play games they might have missed the first time around. Gamers love retro games and a new game, called Dreams, seems to reveal that in a new way.
At first glance, Dreams is a game that reminds me of LittleBigPlanet, insofar as it is a game that serves as a hub for creativity with a focus on community. It has a rating system and a very versatile, ambitious toolkit for creators to make their own games. In some ways, it feels more like a toolkit than what one might think of traditionally as a game, but it has so many potential experiences within it that it will still have plenty of opportunities for play. In addition to new and novel games, it will allow people to try out concepts and, assuming there aren’t issues with intellectual properties, recreate old games. What is nice about this is that it gives gamers a glimpse into the past in an accessible way, since these games will look modern and also be readily accessible on a current generation console.
One game that is being recreated is the classic and iconic title Metal Gear Solid. This remake initially wasn't far along, with only the first level made, but the textures looked impressive and the controls and gameplay seemed, at a glance, familiar. The project is so impressive that it has actually received the blessing of Hideo Kojima, the auteur who created the weird and eccentric franchise in the first place. At least, I assume it was a blessing. What he actually said, via Twitter, was thumbs up emoji, rainbow emoji, snake emoji. The snake emoji might be sinister, were it not for the fact that Snake is the name of the game’s protagonist.
Horror games also seem to be fertile ground for projects within Dreams. I don’t know if Dead Space is considered retro at this point, but there’s currently an effort to remake that. The Hideo Kojima horror demo of a canceled game called P.T. is also in the works. The first Resident Evil is also getting a treatment of sorts, but currently looks cartoonish and a little funny in its early stage. The voice that says “Resident Evil” on the start menu is present though, which is nice. A lot of the remakes seem to be lacking voice work, and it isn’t clear at this point how narrative is going to work in any of these games.
It may be the case that a lot of these games will just provide easy exposure to older games. They could also just be fun, bite-size demos of games of yore. Really, it’s anyone’s guess how this will all turn out, but considering the abundance of retro projects at this very early point in Dreams’ life cycle, it is clear that retro is an avenue that both the creators and communities feel like exploring.
It is my hope that the popularity of these remakes might even inspire official remakes. Maybe Dreams will be a good way to gauge interest for this kind of thing.