Everywhere you look, remakes are appearing left and right, from the X Files to Fuller House, to The Powerpuff Girls. Television shows across the networks are being given new life and the chance to attract more fans. However, television shows aren’t the only ones receiving reboots – classic video games are also being resurrected for today’s generation.
For years, fans have begged Square Enix to remake Final Fantasy VII, a game acknowledged for having boosting the sales of PlayStation consoles and popularizing Japanese role-playing video games outside of Japan, according to Giantbomb.com.
“I feel that there are several reasons why older games have become popular again, but the main one is probably the fact that most older games are quite easy to pick-up and play,” said Stephen Frost, a video game producer who previously worked at SEGA.
Older games don’t require complex controls or for the player to read an instruction manual in order to understand the game’s basic features, Frost says. Anyone of all ages can quickly and easily jump in and get enjoyment out of them.
“Not gonna lie, I definitely tear up a little when I watch the FFVII remaster trailers, but I know that in my case, that’s nostalgia, not excitement,” said Kate Welch, a video game UX/UI designer at Amazon Game Studios.
Another remake comes from Nintendo, after celebrating Pokemon’s 20th anniversary in 2016. Pokémon announced that two new versions would be releasing in later 2016, Pokémon Sun, and Pokémon Moon. These will be the first Pokémon games with new storylines and Pokémon characters since 2013’s Pokémon X and Pokémon Y.
“Pokemon is one of those rare franchises that’s managed to capture new gamers with each round of releases,” said John Bardinelli, a script, and dialogue writer for video games. “I was a fan when they first released in North America, yet I know people half my age who are fans as well.”
Frost says that Pokemon’s simple story and controls help maintain its popularity in the video game industry.
“Modern games tend to focus on the long term experience can players can often need to spend hours learning the basics of gameplay before the true experience begins,” Frost said. “They just want something simple, fun and engaging to pass a bit of time with, and the classical game experience delivers upon that.”
Bardinelli feels the series has perfectly walked the line between preserving the old and updating the new, and Sun and Moon grasped his attention when they were announced.
One gaming series that continues to be remade on newer consoles is The Legend of Zelda. The newest game, title The Legend of Zelda, will be the nineteenth main installment in The Legend of Zelda series. It will also be the first original Zelda game developed with high-definition (HD) graphics.
“I feel that the goal of remakes is mainly to try and expose past experiences with those that may not have been able to try them out for one reason or another while simultaneously (hopefully) providing some fan service to all the loyal fans who have supported the title(s) in the past,” Frost said.
“Games are often made based upon the interest and beliefs of the game makers and the sensibility of consumers and general society during the period of time in which they are developed,” Frost said. “And as the years go by, these things can change and either become controversial, outdated or simply no longer enjoyable.”
However, Frost also feels that there are times when games need to be updated or tweaked in order to better match the interests, desires and expectations of today’s audiences.
“In most cases, I feel that (changes) tend to help improve the overall experience,” Frost said. “And that’s probably the goal the developers had in mind when making the changes in the first place.”
Interactive entertainment creates a deeper bond between product and player than other forms of media, largely because of the immersion factor, says Bardinelli. His analogy of playing a classic game is like visiting the house you grew up in, complete with all the creaking floorboards and drafty doors.
“Nostalgia is a very powerful thing, especially when it comes to video games,” Bardinelli said.