For the last few years, as gamers and gaming grow and mature, there has been a tendency for gamers to look back to their gaming roots fondly. Some reminisce about their first time beating Super Mario Bros, or the time traveling elements in Chrono Trigger, or the wonder of watching the screen fly past in Sonic the Hedgehog, or even watching the rain effects in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Games today have so much realism and sophistication that many gamers like to look back to simpler times, where technical limitations required great gameplay to compensate for simple graphics. This trend towards nostalgia has manifested in classics compilations, emulators on computers, and old school gaming content on every next-gen console.
This week, the crew of Cheat Code Central asks "What old-school game would we like to see again?"
D'Marcus Beatty, Co-Site Director
Although re-released a few years ago on the GameBoy Advance, I'd really like to see cult classic River City Ransom again. There has never been a game in all of console history to effectively combine humor and RPG elements into an action-fighting game like River City Ransom did. Its simple, cutesy graphics along with weird humor and two-player co-op made a satisfying game experience that has yet to be replicated.
If River City Ransom shows up anywhere, I'd expect it would be on Nintendo's Virtual Console. However, I think it would be a better fit for Xbox Live, which is currently the best service for online multiplayer. Imagine tearing up River City with online co-op! Although the graphics should remain untouched, the game could be enhanced with new items and attacks, with a new area or two thrown in to keep the fighting fresh.
Another game that I would love to see re-released is Suikoden II. Single player RPGs are greatly underappreciated in the online arena, probably since they aren't very conducive to leaderboards or multiplayer. However, Suikoden II, which is probably best suited for Nintendo's Virtual Console, would be a great addition to Nintendo's lineup. The game was released on the PlayStation nearly simultaneously with Final Fantasy VII, which resulted in the game being virtually overlooked and undersold. However, anyone who has played the game can attest to its charm and classic status. Arguably the best title in the underrated Suikoden series, Suikoden II is a classic RPG done right, which can be seen in the fact that this rare RPG can sell for over a hundred dollars on Ebay. While a re-release on Virtual Console would disrupt some Ebayer's profits, it will introduce a great number of gamers to a great, epic story with a fantastic battle system and tons of things to do while collecting the 108 Stars of Destiny.
Maria Montoro, Co-Site Director
I can't believe I'm spending money on old games all over again. Memories and nostalgia make us close our eyes and remember those games as if they were the best ever created. Video games have evolved so much that it's complicated to compare the quality of a classic game with the new ones. However, even with graphics and sound at totally different levels, some old-school games will always cast their shadow over the new productions. Certainly, there are just a few old games in this category, but the video game industry knows that the power of nostalgia will make us buy the rest.
I would love to get my hands again on Nintendo World Cup, a soccer game originally released for the NES in 1990. That game was pretty good at the time, and it had something most soccer games don't have nowadays: it was funny! I can vividly remember how you could make the players trip and then steal the ball from them. Their eyes popped like a mackerel and their jaws fell almost to their knees! Sometimes the players were knocked out so hard that they would just remain in the ground for the rest of the game; the field looked like a graveyard more than a soccer arena! I also remember with joy the crazy bicycle kicks that launched the ball towards the goal like a rocket. The players were so static that it was great to see it all happen.
Dr. Mario would be my other old-school game of choice. I didn't really learn how to play it until just a few years ago, but it's a highly addictive puzzle game and it would just be perfect for a few rainy nights, or days, for that matter. There's something relaxing and engaging about surrounding those icky-looking viruses with the different colored pills that drop from above.
I would send both games directly to the Wii, of course, as they're original Nintendo titles. The Virtual Console is a powerful tool that will allow Nintendo to make money with the old games all over again. Now there is no development cost involved and they own the rights to those games, so for them it's just a great money-maker. Their strategy to make the games available little by little makes total business sense. They know they'll sell a lot of downloads of Super Mario Bros. on Christmas day! For us, it's a little hard to wait, but hey! We can deal with it! The next generation is full of wonderful surprises that will keep us busy!
Jonathan Marx, Freelance Writer
Mike Tyson's Punch -Out has got to be one of my favorite games of all time. I would love to see Piston Honda, Bald Bull, Soda Popinski, and Super Macho Man get thumped all over again by Little Mack. Notice I said Mike Tyson's Punch-Out because that was the original NES release with which I grew up. Unfortunately, Iron Mike and Nintendo parted ways when he was convicted as a rapist. So I'm probably just going to have to settle for sending Mr. Dream to the canvas.
I'm sure the big N is going to release this game for the Virtual Console sometime over the next year, but I hope they incorporate motion sensitive controls via the Wii-mote and Nunchuk. I can just imagine how fun it would be. The game would have new life. In the game's current state, it's an all-time classic, but all the patterns of attack of every combatant are still etched into my muscle memory. I can still beat the game with just a couple of re-matches. If motion sensitivity were to be made available, then there would be a brand new challenge for veteran gamers. Incorporating the new remotes into classic gameplay is certainly possible as evidenced by the highly successful Metal Slug Anthology. If Nintendo takes the time to do so, I think they could get away with charging 1000 Wii points, if it is released untouched then it shouldn't sell for more than 500.