Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Retro Games.... Why?...

I can understand people loving old style games and wanting to play them. really, I can. It is one of those fond childhood memories and we associate that good times with the game. I can also understand developers, specially small ones, using retro graphics as a way to save money or even as a creative way to do a parody of those old school games. I understand that.

What I have a hard time to understand is why make a game who plays like an old game, sounds like an old game and looks like an old game when you can, I don't know... play the old games? I mean, if I want to play a classic Megaman game, why not play the classic games? Many are available as downloadable forms for new platforms. But why make a brand new title in the series who plays, looks and sounds like a NES title for the current gen consoles? Why not just re-launch the old classics?

Behold Megaman 10, a 2010 game who looks like an 80s title!
To the developers and publishers, this is easy cash. because the game is 'brand new' they can charge an extra for it. It is a 'never seem before game', right? Well, except that it does not feels like that. It feels like the old games so much, that I cannot see the point of playing it. Sequels are supposed to either improve what exists (like making the game looks better and sound better) or to introduce new things (like new mechanics), what Megaman 10 fails to do. It looks and sounds (if you choose the retro soundtrack) like old Megaman games. It plays like an old Megaman game. His existence is just to get some money from the fans who misses the old games and use their nostalgia to drive sales of a relatively cheap game to make.

Gamers can always feed their nostalgia by playing the old games (be it in their original consoles or by updated ports for current systems). Sega did it and plenty of old classics can be found in PSN or Market Place. Making a retro sequel so retro who may even run in the old hardware seems pretty pointless to me. On the other hand...

Cthullu Saves the World is also a game who use retro graphics and gameplay. But they don't do it just to use the nostalgia factor to get some easy money. They use it because one of the greatest twists in the game is that you have to save the world using one of their biggest villains. The retro style helps to set the mood about a game where you have to use Cthullu (who wants to destroy it) to save the world and get his powers back so he can try to destroy it himself.

CSTW uses the retro style with an incredible smart idea for a plot. It is retro style with some innovation in it, not just retro for the sake of retro. The story in fact is helped by this old school feel the game carries. And it set an example to anyone wanting to do an retro game. It is OK to do something like old times if you put some innovative twist somehow.

How many games you play with this kind of dialogue?
I am not against taking old games and update them, like making HD versions of it and introducing elements like on-line. Games like Street Fighter II HD or Final Fight HD are old school games, but they were update, renewed. Also, I have no problems with making old games run in new hardware, like Streets of Rage II or Sonic.

But making games entirely on retro style, with no updates or innovations like Megaman 10, or any game who is just retro, with not a single drop of innovation, feels pointless to me. I prefer to play the original games than spent my money on 'new' games who are basically equal to the old ones, thank you.

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