Why Video Game Remasters and Re-releases Are A Good Thing

The game industry is still young, certainly in the likes of film and music. However, the games that have been produced over the past 30 years are beginning to age. What was once groundbreaking, is now a relic of it’s time period. Technology is ever advancing and growing, unlike games, which are forever held down to the technology they were developed on.

More often than ever, we’re beginning to see an attempt to remaster, re-release, and remake older and forgotten games. Many people (including myself), were angry and concerned with the lack of emphasis on new and exciting video games. Titles that weren’t even a year old (Grand Theft Auto, The Last of Us), were being debuted on next gen consoles like something new and exciting; it was frustrating, and gave me little to no reason to buy a new console when all there was were games I had already played. But then, a feeling selfishness began to sink within me: I already experienced those games, yes, but what about those who hadn’t?

Then I thought: What if Casablanca could only be viewed on it’s original reel of film? What if every movie that had been released on VHS, was never brought onto DVD or Blu-Ray? Not everyone is a collector or a historian, and not everyone has the means to be able to experience things on technology before their generation. That’s when I realized: remasters and re-releases are alright by me, and anyone else that is upset or angry by it, is simply being selfish.

But as always, fans love to be upset about everything. Much like movies, it’s not uncommon for a game to be remade for a newer audience. Also like movies, fans will always go up in arms with self-indulgent empty-ego rage. The matter of the fact, is that those movies/games they loved so dearly, aren’t going anywhere; they’ll always have the original they loved. When Watchmen was turned into a film, not every original copy of the comic was burned off the face of the planet. In fact, it’s still in print, and more than ever! So this “nerd-rage” that fans have, isn’t only pointless, but it’s exhausting.

But then they say: “Well if I made the movie -”
In which I interrupt them saying, “Well you didn’t. So shut up.”

You know what happened when Spike Lee remade Oldboy, a film that I think is simply un-recreatable? I didn’t see it. End of story. However, if the original South Korean film was never re-released in America, I’d most likely never have a means of seeing it.

"I suck." -Spike Lee

“I suck.” – Spike Lee


As I’ve mentioned before, Grim Fandango is my favorite video game of all time. When released back in 1998, the game1421420509714.4 was widely received, but in the end, a commercial failure, and eventually, the game went out of print. It was virtually impossible to legally get the game. If you’re one of the lucky few to own an original copy (like me), it’s most likely that it will not run on any modern operating system. All-in-all, it’s not easy to get Grim Fandango.

Nevertheless, the gods have answered my pleading prayers, the planets have aligned, and a new generation is now capable of experiencing Grim Fandango! Writer/Director Tim Schaffer, and his studio Double Fine, have acquired the rights from Disney, and are able to re-release the game. Now, a generation that was born and raised past 1998, will be able to experience this timeless adventure game, when otherwise, they may have gone without ever knowing about it.

The industry is young, and so it’s audience. I’m not claiming myself to be some wise old man, but I am something of a scholar when it comes to artistic forms of storytelling. And if I’m not mistaken, it is a very common and normal thing to reproduce old art for newer generations. I don’t quite see why that’s a bad thing.

I can admit, it’s disappointing to see games remastered only a year later, but is it really any different than a movie being transferred from VHS to Blu-Ray? Maybe, but I’m not going to pretend like I know the answer. It’s also important to point that systems are no longer supporting backwards capability. Not everyone will have the system prior, or the system prior that, or the old operating system on their PC or Mac to experience older games.

Can you imagine only being able to watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day on Laserdisc, and having to get up every half n’ hour to flip the enormous disc over, only to find out that you still have three more discs you’ll have to put in inorder to finish the film? Preposterous.

The moment he sits down, he’ll have to flip the disc over. So instead, he stands – draped with misery, knowing that Howard the Duck will never be transferred to blu-ray.

Remasters and re-releases are necessary. People need to have a means to experience these forms of expression widely and easily. How could one of the most important forms of human entertainment in the late 20th century go unrepresented for the future?


Now get over to GOG.com and pre-oreder a DRM free copy of Grim Fandango.

Swamp Thing Encourages Creativity and Variation Unlike Any Other Comic Character

On the contrary to my last post about writers being utmost importance opposed to the character, I do find that there is one exception: Swamp Thing. The brooding creature with the conscious of deceased man, seems to be a character, that time-and-time again, brings out the most creative qualities in a writer.

It goes without saying that Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing is one of the greatest series in comics. After all, it is responsible for the creation of Vertigo, and for that, the industry should forever cherish Swamp Thing.

So what is it about the monster made from swamp plants, that tends to attract wildly different writing and inspiration? Let me start with why I love the character:

I first read Moore’s Swamp Thing when I was 18 and attending my first Fall semester of College. I had taken the first volume from my fathers collection after years and years of him rambling on about it’s greatness. I was sitting outside in the cooling air of September, in the midst of other college-goers aimlessly finding their comfort zone in the new college-life.

Sitting on the grass, I was listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Peepshow, and began my ascension into Swamp Thing. About a third way through, I read about the story of a man who once was, but now a creature, that must learn to accept that he is not the person that he bares the conscious of. Swamp Thing drags the skeleton of Alec Holland around, a lost monster entangled in an identity crises – I considered it one of the most beautiful things I had ever read. It was inevitable, but I began to uncontrollably cry. At that moment, I could wholesomely say, that I was changed forever.

A real life photo of Swamp Thing Himself.

Now I must admit here-and-now, that I’ve yet to read much in between Moore’s run, and Scott Snyder’s start on the New 52. Though I don’t consider Swamp Thing by any means a “superhero,” I still drifted away from it during my early 20’s when I decided I was done reading superhero comics for a while. I know it’s silly, but I was also stubborn and stupid in my early 20’s. With that said, I haven’t read the likes of Brian K. Vaghn’s run, that of Rick Veitch’s, or Nancy A. Collins (I’m getting there, I’m getting there).

In the most recent of times, after picking up Lemire’s Animal Man, did I finally start dipping my toes back into the universes. It was hard to pick up Swamp Thing again, knowing that Moore had not graced the character for decades, and, I was personally afraid of possibly tainting my first experience with the character. I had a nostalgic link to Swamp Thing because of that moment sitting outside at college. Maybe it was because I was on that cusp of child to adult, entering a new segment of my life, and Swamp Thing having to accept that he’s not the human being he thought he was, in some way, had some strange correlation to own life. I simply wanted to hold onto that specific Swamp Thing. I’m sentimental.

Nevertheless, I ended up picking up the New 52 Swamp Thing because out of a strange twist of fate, Animal Man’s story would eventually cross paths with Swamp’s.

With apprehension, I picked up Scott Snyder’s New 52 Swamp Thing, and all over again, I fell in love. I didn’t fall in love quite the way I did with Moore’s, but there was something about the way Snyder turned Swamp Thing into a wooden suit of armor wearing, wings made of twigs and leaves, warrior, that I just found badass. Where Moore focused on the horror and inner turmoil of a lost creature, Snyder turned Swamp Thing into a protector of nature.

Now with Charles Soules at the throne, who started with trying to bring back the human element of Swampy, but has since then taken some outstanding twists and turns. Admittedly, I was disappointed to see a lot of familiar faces from the DC universe step into the story like Aquaman; Swamp Thing is much like an outcast of other DC characters, and I was able to read Swamp Thing and sort of observe the universe as an outsider without having to be dragged into all over again, so seeing JL characters step in was a bit out of my comfort zone.

Anyway, all I’m trying to say is: it seems that no matter who writes Swamp Thing, every writer has their own unique and creative view as to what to do with the character. Whether he’s a brooding lost soul, or a warrior of The Green, for whatever reason, his characters attributes encourages variation.

I personally find something so poetic, and melodramatic about Swamp Thing.

Swamp Thing is a mysterious mix of horror, romance, and fantasy – and all those things are much more captivating concepts then pure heroism.

– Kurt