Retro Console Collecting - Part V (Originals vs Remakes)
After dropping some insane amounts of money on Christmas gifts and previously on some ebay finds, I'd decided to take it easy with the spending lately, which is partially why I've not posted to this in a while. However, some events last night inspired me to get a piece going for today.
Now, a recent trend I've noticed in gaming is "updating" or "modernizing" older games. Now, you'd think being such an old console purist, I'd be completely against it, and then go off on some hate filled speech proclaiming why the modernizations stunk, how this was an abomination to gaming, chestnuts are lazy, and then further degenerate into an incoherent set of babbling punctuated by occasional bits of frothing at the mouth.
Well, I'm really ok with it. In fact, I'm starting to embrace the idea more and more. Surprised? So was I...
I'm not as "hip" and "with it" as I used to be. In fact, I think I forgot what "it" was. But I digress...anyway, this all started while visiting some friends for the holidays. We decided to start playing the New Super Mario Brothers Wii game.
It was like playing a brand new pre-Mario 64 side-scrolling Mario game. Except that this one had all new modern visuals and sound. It still retained the same basic control schemes and gameplay. I was instantly in love. They'd managed to replicate the flavor of old console gaming on a new, modern system. We had 4 people playing at once, and before consoles had 4 controller inputs standard on them, this was not something you usually had a lot of.
My joy now knew no bounds (the 4 or 5 beers in me at that point didn't hurt either)...at least right up until the point where my girlfriend managed to jump off my head, avoiding certain doom by falling into a pit...whilst simultaneously sending me off to that same fate. This was when the dark side of New Super Mario rears its ugly head. This game will end friendships.
(My girlfriend keeps asking me if we can get a Wii and New Super Mario. I tell her our relationship would be over in less than a week if that happened.)
So, new Super Mario did my heart well. However, these guys had another trick up their sleeve.
We fired up the PS3, they handed out 4 controllers, and they fired up a remake of one of the best arcade games I've ever played.
Turtles In Time
My jaw hit the floor. Here was the same game I'd wasted hours playing on the SNES and in the Arcade 20 years ago. Except this one was gussied up a bit...but still retained the same gameplay mechanics. I didn't even need to play it, I was just enamored by seeing the same game I'd grown up playing being replayed in front of my eyes, but in a totally different way.
During dinner, we were discussing these games, and I found out that this wasn't the only game that had received the remake treatment. One of my favorite console games of all time had gotten a fresh coat of paint on it, so to speak. I could hardly contain myself (and maybe peed my pants only a little bit) when I heard what else had been remade.
(You totally get bonus points from me if you just read that in a belching voice. If you've played the original, you'd understand.)
I had to get the demo. When I got home, I logged onto PSN to find it. Sure enough, 30 minutes later, I was ready to play. Here we go...
It was the same game I'd loved years ago. The visuals and audio were improved, and there were some gameplay improvements as well (being able to switch weapons now? Awesome!). Not only that, but there were new multiplayer modes to be had as well. I had a feeling I was going to buy the full version right then and there.
But I didn't. Why, you ask?
First, the game control felt...off. I wasn't controlling the character as well as I normally felt I could if I'd been playing the original. Jumps I could have made blindfolded were next to impossible now. Enemies that I had no trouble defeating before now gave me difficulty. Was it just that I was rusty?
The answer was no. We all know I'm too awesome for that.
But there is a better answer.
While visiting my folks for the holidays, I managed to pick up my old SNES and all my old games. Well, last night, I fired up the original Earthworm Jim.
I rocked it. Before I realized it, I was already past "Snot a Problem" and was onto "Level 5" before I looked up and realized that I'd been playing for about 40 minutes. Everything in the original felt smooth and natural to me. The new version really is...off. I wish I could explain it better. Just to make sure, I turned off the original, went into the other room, and immediately played the remake. Sure enough, the control "feel" just wasn't there. The timing felt all wrong.
Even then, I really really want to buy this game. I think it is fantastic that developers have come to their senses and realize that a lot of old games relied on great gameplay rather than the flashiest visuals around. Modernizing these older games, and introducing them to a whole new generation of games does nothing except enrich the whole gaming scene. Buying this would support endeavors like this, and pave the way for more developers to do the same.
But one thing has stopped me from buying it.
I just can't bring myself to buy a game I already own. Especially when I think I like the original version better.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great things about the remake. And for someone who has never played the original, if they were to play only one version, I'd probably tell them to play the remake.
I guess I'm just old, stubborn, and set in my ways.
So, my question to you is this: what other games do you know of that have been remade? What games are on the horizon for being remade? Was this a horrible expreiment gone wrong? Do you pronounce it toe-MAE-toe, or toh-MAH-toe? Let me know!
Now, get off my lawn!