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

Anyway:

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.

6 thoughts on “Why Video Game Remasters and Re-releases Are A Good Thing

  1. Oh I agree. Making old games new again opens up possibilities for new ones. Like Bionic Commando’s remake a few years ago lead to a new original sequel of that game. I’m happy for you that you get a remake / remastering of your favorite game of all time 🙂

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      1. Anytime. I’ve been reading a lot of gaming blogs in the past week. Ones that don’t involve the same pieces of news over and over again. I’ve never played Grim Fandango, so I was curious and read it 🙂

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  2. I think a remake is in good spirits, but I mostly care about old things being accessible on new media without a massive change in experience. A great example is Street Fighter 3 and numerous other Capcom fighters, which have been properly ported to modern platforms, not just emulated. For the most part, the game experience hasn’t been modified. Another example is Cave Story +. It features revised graphics and music, but the option to play with the original and get the same experience as the first release is present and it works great. Furthermore the game is much improved from a performance standpoint, and it’s much easier to configure. I think that is a great re-release.

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    1. Exactly! Admittedly, I’m opposed to remakes. Which is why I mention the thing about Oldboy: there will always be the original.

      But there needs to be a way to play things that are on now rare or obsolete hardware. Recently, I’ve just heard a lot of grief about remasters and re-releases, but it’s a necessary step that the game industry needs to take.

      Street Fighter is a great example.

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