Game Companies are Leaching Off of Gamer Nostalgia
Oh my gosh guys! Did you hear about the news on Twitter? Random dilapidated game developer #341 is remaking this obscure game nobody cared about twenty years ago! Give me a break. Nostalgia seems to be blinding gamers to what’s going on. Now nostalgia has its place in games and for games. However, the sheer amount of remakes, remasters, and homages everywhere is getting ridiculous. Whether it’s disappointing Kickstarters, AAA cash grabs, or wannabe remakes nostalgia needs a reality check. A lot of us gamers are getting blinded by our rose colored glasses, and it’s time to look at the facts.
Nostalgia: Big Money for Big Developers
Can you guess what the sales figures were for the NES Classic in the 5 months it was available? 2.3 million units. A $60 plug and play console with about 30 old games. The games on it were great, no doubt, but why was it able to sell that well? Because people have so much nostalgia for them. And it’s not just the NES Classic that’s been big money for big devs either. Games like DOOM, Super Mario Maker, and Resident Evil 7 are similar examples.
They are games that are good and even great in their own respects. But answer this question. Would they have the same kind of fame, sales, or fan-fare if they weren’t tied to their franchises? Would DOOM be able to shake off the paper thin plot, and repetitive aspects of itself? Or would Super Mario Maker, the Nintendo version of Scratch, have tens of thousands of levels without a fat plumber attached to it?
Nostalgia: Not a Substitute for Quality
The hype train is a dangerous ride for anybody. Movies, Television, Video Games, and everything else has stations full of hype trains. And the nostalgia section is filled with suped-up bullet trains ready to fly off the rails at any moment. So many times game developers have hoped that consumers will be blinded by the hope of a trip down nostalgia lane. And yes, some games will be able to beat the bad press by grabbing the first day purchase money and running. But the negative reaction to some reboots, remakes, etc. has been nothing short of atomic.
Duke Nukem Forever was a dated, unpolished and boring slog that rolled more eyes than the Undertaker. Sim City managed to piss off players thanks to bugs, mandatory network connection to play and save game data, network outages, and more. And if the Tony Hawk series wasn’t dead in the water already… Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 left it as a bloated carcass ready to be fed on by sharks. A game that was filled with so many bugs, so little care, and so rushed out the door, it had an 8 gigabyte patch. It’s a 4 gigabyte game!
Kickstarter: Where Money is Thrown into a Fire for the Nostalgia of it
And then we get to the whipping boy for nostalgia. Kickstarter. Why oh why do so many games fall so short of their targets in crowdfunding campaigns. It’s not that different than when AAA games fall short of expectations. But when it’s a game partially, or entirely funded by the fans, there’s a personal feeling of resentment there. And games rebooting, or trying to recapture the feeling of yesterday can be very guilty of this. Two more famous examples are Yooka-Laylee, and Mighty No. 9. Between the two of them, they raised over $6 million through Kickstarter from the love and support of the fans. And how were the games when they released? Meh, at best.
Mighty No. 9 was an uninspired fan-fiction of the Mega Man series that wasn’t able to do anything differently. And Yooka-Laylee was so nostalgic for the 90’s it thought bad controls and an atrocious camera could creep by. And so many other games have been crowdfunded through 90% nostalgia as well. Shenmue, Leisure Suit Larry, and Mad Max were some of the games that spawned their own continuations or love letters.
In Defense of Nostalgia.
Now I’m not saying nostalgia is inherently bad. It’s great to look back into the past and remember the good old times. Some of the best games I’ve played recently were heavily influenced by games of yesterday. But that doesn’t mean game developers get a free pass because players are nostalgic. If they want to remind us of our childhood favorites it has to be held to the same standard as they were. Otherwise we’re just blindly accepting whatever crap is thrown in front of us. And I think that gamers deserve better than that. Would I love it if there was another Sly Cooper installment, or if Spryo got an HD remake like Crash Bandicoot is? Abso-fricking-lutely! But I still want to see more new and exciting games that try to forge their own path.
Developers always talk about discontinuing franchises because they had no new ideas, or because they were just done with the series. And then they went on to make something new and totally amazing. Heck, look at games like The Last of Us, Horizon: Zero Dawn, or Splatoon. Games that were made by developers who felt that they needed to go into a new direction and made fantastic games. The Last of Us is considered by some to be the best argument for why games are art. Splatoon is Nintendos new big IP. And Horizon: Zero Dawn has freaking robot dinosaurs!
Video game development is one of the hardest endeavors in entertainment. It can be tempting to just slap on the name of an old IP and call it a day. But I think it does game developers and game players a disservice to deify the games we grew up with. We are capable of doing so much more with video games than we ever were before. And holding ourselves to the games we grew up with might stop us from playing the next great game.
In the mean time, if you want to learn more about why hype needs to die, check out our latest piece on it.
5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster
After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.
First time available on modern hardware
As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.
The visuals look better than ever
Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.
Quality of life improvements
While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.
The game is awesome
While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?
10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019
2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.
A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.
It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.
If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.
If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.
id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.
5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference
Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.
New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020
We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…
Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett
The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves
It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.
FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced
This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West
It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”
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