That Old Feeling

Bubsy Grave

At this year’s E3, there were a slew of new games announced as well as some familiar faces returning for yet another showing. Some that have seemingly been in development forever (get it together, Kojima) made an appearance along with a few classic franchises being resurrected from the digital grave. Nostalgia machines like Phantom Dust and Crackdown popped up during the Microsoft press conference to remind the world that they were still hip. No sign of a Banjo-Throoie, unfortunately. Yet something did not feel quite right following the announcement. You know that feeling you get when you see that a publisher is bringing back one of your favorite old game franchises? That sense of hope, excitement, and inexplicable fear? Let’s take a second to explore why that is.

Resurrecting an old franchise can be an amazing opportunity to re-imagine a great IP with the help of technology that the original developers could have only imagined. It can also be a slippery slope. When you think back to the first time that you played Zelda, you can probably recall the sense of wonder and amazement that you felt in that moment. Remember the first girl that you kissed? Sure, she was a bit chubby at the time and she had acne all the way down to her shoulders, but you were young and it was still every bit as magical as you’d imagined it would be—and it always will be. Unless, of course, you were to see her now. Maybe she put on a few stone extra, maybe she never quite got over that acne, maybe she spends her days suckling a brood of dumpster babies like a possum, or maybe she just got better over the years. The point is that she is coming to town and she wants to get drinks, so you will have to stare that reality in the face soon. Will it be as great as you remembered or will it be another incident you just don’t tell your friends about? Time will tell.

 

Aaaah! It's so good to see you again! I hope you don't mind but I brought the kids along.

Aaaah! It’s so good to see you again! I hope you don’t mind but I brought the kids along.

 

There are too many variables floating up in the air for some people when it comes to these things. The first question that you might ask yourself is whether or not the original developer is going to be on the project. Once you’ve found a reliable babysitter, are you really going to trust your child to that tramp Shelly from down the street? Maybe she wants to dress your daughter up in new, adult outfits because that’s what the kids are into these days. Keep your damn hands off her, Shelly! I know what you’ve done! You have to feel confident that the developer will take care of your baby and not let the pressures of the world shape it into something unrecognizable.

New ideas are always welcome, but sometimes it is best to just leave well enough alone. Modernizing for the day’s market is a great concern for most developers when resurrecting a franchise, but it should not be at the center of their philosophy. Depending on the title, the name could automatically mean massive sales just from those who still fondly remember the original as long as they stay true to the source material. Imagine if MGM decided to bring back the Flintstones but they had a few tweaks to make it more in line with the times. While some people would love to watch a show about a now-divorced, gay Fred Flintstone who has left Bedrock and is now trying to make it as a fashion columnist in New York City, others might yearn for the classic storylines of Fred being locked out of the house by his pet on a nightly basis. If Dino does not return in the remake, I can only assume that Fred finally snapped and put him down. At the core, the game needs to be what it once was. There is little that gamers hate more than taking an ill-conceived idea and slapping a skin of a beloved character on top of it.

 

He’s trading in the steam whistle for the steamy streets of New York. Coming this Fall!

 

The moral of this little story is that the horrible feeling in your stomach when you hear your favorite old game is being brought back to life is completely natural. The only thing that you can really do is trust that the developer has as much love for the IP as you do and that they will treat it right. You want to know that this title that you associate so many good thoughts with is still the same great old friend that you remember. Your favorite games are growing up and that will come with some changes. Just hope that they don’t get mixed up with that skank Shelly.

 

 

Jon Malloy

Jon Malloy

Senior Writer & Editor at What's Jump?
Jon is a writer and co-founder of “What’s Jump?” With a passion for gaming, comedy, and discussion, Jon works to bring his unique views, along with a bit of humor, to his writing. With a background in information technology and development, his interests lean toward the newest trends and technological advancements. Reporting for “What’s Jump?” he is at home both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
Jon Malloy
Jon Malloy

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