For whatever reason, gamers love their remasters. Whether it’s a port from last-gen or remaster from the 80s and 90s, many fans clamor over them. But unless you regularly play retro games, I have to wonder how many gamers clinging to nostalgia really enjoy their new remaster?
For example, when Ducktales Remastered was announced, many of my friends who loved the original game on NES were super stoked to be able to play it again on their current generation of consoles. My friends who actively played retro games, with their original systems or Retron-esque consoles, absolutely loved the game when it re-released. Many more, however, were incredibly frustrated with the title. Perhaps they were expecting a remake instead of a remaster, something with more modern controls or maybe more hits before death.
The game might have been fun back in the day, when all the games had similar controls and hits-before-death, but with how games are structured today, it’s incredibly easy to slip out of that older mindset. I sadly know quite a few people who hate Ducktales Remastered for “ruining childhood memories.”
We’ve seen the same with childhood TV shows as well, so this is hardly surprising. When my eldest was two or three, he discovered He-Man and She-Ra on Netflix and I was so delighted. Or I was until I watched the shows with him. I wanted to call my mom and apologize for hijacking the TV for something so awful. How could I have thought She-Ra was so great back then?
The answer is simple: we didn’t know better. At the time, that show was amazing for kids my age, because all shows were similar. It’s the same with video games.
We even have issues with older games from the same generation. For example, when Assassin’s Creed Revelations released, it included the original game. Sounds great if you never played the first game, right? Except this game had no fast travel. Climbing was a dangerous chore. You know how hard it is to go back to something that antiquated after you’ve experienced the improvements in mechanics?
Case in point, it’s exactly how I felt about Shenmue III, even though that was a few generations back. You can’t move a series forward without adapting to the times.
Which brings me to my biggest nostalgia issue: Final Fantasy VII. I clearly remember back in college, seeing commercials for this game, and saying with my friends, “Oh my God, games will never look better than this!” I didn’t own a PlayStation One back then, so I didn’t play the game until it released on PSP 15 years later. I was 15 years way too late, and it wasn’t even the graphics that bothered me or the really bad Engrish.
At the time, FFVII took a story and twisted it on its head, bringing about actions that were completely unexpected, such as a main character’s actual death and everything another main character believed was a lie. But that is old hat now. Even those who never played the original game and don’t know anything about it won’t be nearly as affected as gamers were back in 1997. If you don’t believe me, read Amityville Horror, a novel that scared the pants off people in the 70s and see how much of it scares you today. The answer is none of it, because everything in the book has been done since then.
At least Square Enix is remaking the game instead of simply remastering it, because Lord knows those controls are certainly outdated, not to mention the save system, the ability to get literally stuck in the game, etc. But even these remakes for a modern audience still won’t completely solve the nostalgia factor. Chances are it will be a big hit with those who literally cried at the E3 announcement (true story, I was there), and yet a hit-or-miss with newcomers.