What’s old is new again. At least that seems to be the case in the world of gaming lately, as a number of developers have tried to put a new spin on older titles. From Starbreeze Studios’ Syndicate to Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry, to Crystal Dynamics reimagining of Tomb Raider, there’s no shortage of devopers looking to give new life older games on the current generation of consoles.
This begs the question: what games would we like to see rebooted? Setting aside the Gordian knot of copyright, licensing and who owns what, the history of videogames is full of titles just begging to be dusted off, polished up and delivered to 21st Century gamers.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
This notorious game, released for the Atari 2600 in 1982, is known as one of the worst games ever made, and one of the biggest industry failures of all time.
The concept of the game was simple enough: playing as E.T., the player is tasked with finding components to create a space telephone to, you guessed it “phone home”. Unfortunately, what could have been an okay movie tie-in completely bombed, due in large part to a development time of just five weeks.
If any game deserves a second chance, it’s this one. A sensible developer with a love for the movie’s story, and the visual capabilities of 21st century hardware would go a long way toward creating a game that is not only playable, but enjoyable. Imagine playing as the lovable alien’s human friend, Eliot, and helping your extra-terrestrial pal find what he needs to get home while hiding him parents and teachers, and of course, escaping from the Feds on your bike in what could be a pretty entertaining reenactment of the film’s famous chase scene.
In the right hands E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial would make a great action/adventure title that could introduce a new generation of kids to a touching story and help adult gamers forget Atari’s disaster.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989)
The 1989 game, created to tie into the successful horror franchise, was originally supposed to allow the player to control Freddy himself, and dispatch a group of teens in creative ways. Sounds fun, right?
What we got instead was an obtuse platformer where you played as one of four generic teens who had to fetch bones and fight generic horror enemies like bats, snakes and ghosts.
Add to that shoddy controls, underpowered weapons and loads of cheap deaths and it’s easy to see why this NES title deserved the notorious LJN rainbow logo in the corner of the cartridge.
More than 24 years later, there are more than enough horror titles that have been done right to warrant another look at bringing Wes Craven’s classic slasher flick back to game consoles. Picture a survival horror title where you must use your cunning to outwit and fight Freddy, as he drags you from the real world into a series nightmares. Titles like Visceral Games’ Dead Space show just how frightening and tense well-designed environments can be when they are created with today’s graphical engines, and older games Resident Evil 2, Haunting Ground and Rule of Rose prove that there are players who enjoy horror games based on skill, critical thinking and avoiding enemies rather than blasting through them with a gun. A well thought-out, truly terrifying adaptation of Nightmare on Elm Street is long overdue.
Super Ghouls’n Ghosts (1991)
Unlike the two titles I’ve previously mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with this classic Capcom gem. The third entry in the Ghosts’n Goblins series, the game once again brings back the noble knight, Arthur, as fights to rescue a princess from an army of demons.
Like the other games in the series, one of the hallmarks of Super Ghouls’n Ghosts is its difficulty. The game demands near perfection, and beating it is a badge of honor earned after hours of frustration.
If games like Dark Souls and DmC have taught us anything, it’s that there’s still a lot of gamers out there who enjoy a challenge. One need only look at Team Ninja’s recent entries Ninja Gaiden franchise as a great example of resurrecting a franchise rooted in unforgiving, but rewarding gameplay.
A reboot of Super Ghouls’n Ghosts could be anything from a retro themed game with some 3D elements similar to 2010’s Ghosts’n Goblins: Gold Knights to a full-on third- person action title similar to God of War or Darksiders. As long as the game retains its difficulty and sense of humor, it would be a perfect to bring into the modern era.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (1993)
Combining classic horror tropes with campy humor, Zombies Ate My Neighbors allows two players to take control of teens Zeke and Julie as they set out to to rescue their neighbors from zombies, vampires, killer dolls and other assorted monsters.
While the current generation of games is already choked with zombie titles, the humor and tongue -in-cheek attitude that Zombies Ate My Neighbors brings to the table would be a refreshing twist on a genre that has essentially been run into the ground. Two more recent horrors titles, Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw are great examples of how well off-the-wall humor and horror can work when they are mixed together.
A reimagining of the game would also do well to borrow from contemporary titles like Dead Rising 2, and feature a cooperative gameplay which tasks player with rescuing citizens. throw in a a rouge’s gallery of classic monsters, creative weapons, and a series of open suburban-themed environments, and your well on your way to successful reboot of the game.
These are just a few games that deserve a second chance to wow modern gamers. While the medium continues to push forward with better graphics, deeper gameplay and new and exiting intellectual properties, it’s still worth our time to look to gaming’s past successes (and failures) for a chance to bring an entertaining experience to a new generation of videogame enthusiasts.