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Old school gamers rejoice: Retro video games rule once more! For the longest time, the video game industry was singularly obsessed with the most modern gaming technology and software in a race to produce the most advanced consoles and games. It hasn't been until recent years that some game developers have realized the nostalgic power of their greatest hits from years past. While some producers, especially Nintendo, have re-released some vintage games, they tend to ignore the cult hits in favor of popular franchises. In addition, seldom do any developers release remakes or remasters of their classic games. While I'm happy to play any re-releases of my favorite vintage games, the untapped potential for graphical reworking and bug-fixing is immense. Here are just a few of the many retro games that need to be remade.
In response to the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, game developers Rare produced a game called Battletoads, which has become one of the most infamous NES games of all time. The graphics and gameplay were highly praised upon the game's 1991 release, and its cult following ensures there is interest in a remastered edition. Notoriously difficult, Battletoads is considered by many to be the hardest video game of all time, even 27 years later. The genre of side scrolling, beat-em-up platformers has experienced a resurgence in the modern indie video game industry. Recent games like Hollow Knight and Shovel Knight follow in the fast-paced, arcade-style gameplay, with the latter even paying tribute to Battletoads in the form of a secret bonus boss. Microsoft recently announced a long-awaited sequel, providing hope that they may also be interested in remaking this classic 8-bit game.
Iconic video game developer Capcom has no shortage of legendary titles under their belt. Perhaps most notable is their Resident Evil franchise, which has spawned numerous video games, comic books, and even a long-running film series. The younger cousin of the iconic zombie survival horror game, Dino Crisis is essentially Resident Evil meets Jurassic Park. The concept may sound derivative, which in turn may explain why Capcom only produced two Dino Crisis sequels compared to Resident Evil's dozen games and ten films; but maybe with so many zombie games, the genre has grown a little stale, making now the perfect time to remake Dino Crisis.
Conker's Bad Fur Day
British game developer Rare originally published Conker's Bad Fur Day in 2001 for the Nintendo 64. Although technically a sequel to a family-friendly kid's game called Conker's Pocket Tales, Bad Fur Day was filled with swearing, violence, and lewd humor. Rare was acquired by Microsoft, who haven't treated the franchise fairly in the eyes of its cult following. A pseudo-remake on the Xbox, Conker: Live & Reloaded, received a lukewarm reception after game developers unnecessarily removed and retooled several aspects of the original game. An upcoming sequel, Young Conker, has received wide criticism for its departure from Bad Fur Day's signature crude aesthetic. If you ask me, Conker's game developers need to take a step back and produce a quality remake of Bad Fur Day to remind themselves what makes this series special.
Metal Gear 1
Now one of the most recognizable video game franchises in the world, the Metal Gear series began way back in 1987, when it was released on Microsoft's MSX2 home computer. Now with renditions such as Metal Gear Solid V and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, one could understand why. After its initial release, it shortly thereafter made its way to more recognizable consoles such as NES, but no remakes or ports have been made to the original game despite the immense popularity of its sequels on other consoles. Metal Gear marked the beginning of a long partnership between series creator Hideo Kojima and video game developer Konami. Sadly, many retro games that need to be remade never get the updates they require. While Kojima has expressed interest in remaking Metal Gear, his 2015 departure from Konami means that the chance of getting such a remake is now unlikely. In fact, the entire creative future of the Metal Gear series is in question.
It makes me feel old to refer to games I grew up with as "retro," but at twenty years old and several video game generations behind, the PlayStation 2 is now firmly in retro territory. The PS2, one of the best-selling video game consoles of all time, is home to dozens of retro games that need to be remade. In particular, I would love to see a remastered version of Burnout. This was a racing game designed to give the player something the care about besides just getting to the finish line. In addition to racing gameplay, Burnout encouraged aggressive driving and awarded points for damage inflicted to cars—including your own! This creative approach to the genre invited all sorts of excited single player and multiplayer modes, eventually spawning seven sequels. The series didn't really take off until Burnout 3: Takedown, meaning a remake of the original Burnout would feel deliciously fresh to today's gaming community.
The F-Zero series is a much-loved Nintendo mainstay. Among racing games, it even predates Nintendo's powerhouse Mario Kart series. F-Zero X was one of Nintendo's most ambitious efforts. Released on the Nintendo 64 in 1998, F-Zero X was so advanced that the console's frame rate couldn't handle it. In order to accommodate the advanced racing gameplay mechanics, F-Zero X's graphics suffered. There are a lot of retro games that need to be remade with HD graphics, but none is more deserving than F-Zero X. In addition to the massive graphics improvements that can be made by bringing F-Zero X to the Nintendo Switch, it would also help with the F-Zero drought we're experiencing. After all, there hasn't been a F-Zero sequel since 2004.
Of all the games on this list, Parasite Eve might serve to gain the most out of a remake. The original 1998 release on the PS1 was highly creative and cinematic, rife with cutscenes to portray the original fantasy horror storyline. The gameplay is novel, if outdated, featuring a proto-open world map set in Manhattan and an interesting take on the standard turn-based combat system. A complete HD overhaul of the graphics could bring this cinematic experience to a new generation. Game developers Square Enix revisited some of the characters of Parasite Eve with a PSP spinoff game titled The 3rd Birthday in 2010, but besides that, they've shown little interest in remaking the PlayStation classic.
Chrono Trigger is considered by many to be among the best video games of all time, so it baffles the mind to think that the game was all but abandoned by its developer, Square (now known as Square Enix). While Chrono Trigger is now considered one of the best RPGs of all time, its popularity upon its release in 1995 was overshadowed by Square's other RPG, a little game called Final Fantasy VI. The already established Final Fantasy series had proven to be extremely profitable, and the sixth entry was particularly well-received. The Final Fantasy games have had numerous remakes and sequels, and the series continues to thrive today, but little has been heard from Square Enix about the possibility of a Chrono Trigger remake. In 2009, the game was ported to the Nintendo DS and sold nearly 800,000 copies, proving there is still ample interest in one of the most classic games of the RPG genre.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
Featuring a compelling story and gameplay, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy fell by the wayside after its 2004 release through no fault of its own. Some of the most classic games of the modern era were released within months of Psi-Ops, including Half-Life 2, Halo 2, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Psi-Ops uses a unique combat system where psychic powers such as telekinesis can be used in tandem with traditional weapons, but with such stiff competition among shooting and action games for the year, this video game was simply lost in the noise. Psi-Ops could do with a sequel (especially considering the cliff-hanger ending of the original), but I think a remake is needed to remind the world of this impressive game.
Illusion of Gaia
Illusion of Gaia is another great game that simply got overshadowed by more popular series. This 1993 SNES game featured an innovative combination of adventure and RPG gameplay, but experienced only minor success against the already-established titans of either genre: The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. As a result, Illusion of Gaia hasn't received so much as a re-release, let alone a full-on remake. Quintet, the small Japanese video game developer that produced the game, has been defunct since the early 2000s, leaving the game's ownership in question. If one of Quintet's collaborators, like Square Enix or Nintendo, obtains the rights to Illusion of Gaia, this is definitely one of the retro games that need to be remade.