The past few years have given us a glut of excellent gaming retreads. From the top-notch Final Fantasy VII Remake to the incomparable experience provided by the Mass Effect Legendary Edition remasters, we’re seeing developers breathe new life into old favorites with great success.
Here, we shamelessly present three old-school gaming classics we’d like to see given the remake or remaster treatment.
All of them have been given sequels or even early remakes but, by today’s standards, they’ve never been given the second look they truly deserve.
Skate or Die
I’ll never understand how the Skate or Die franchise just sort of fizzled out. Launched in 1987, it was among the first sports games to combine athletic competition with open world-ish role-playing activities.
Skate or Die had everything, including multiplayer. You and a pal could race, joust, and compete in vert competitions to see who got bragging rights or you could take on a solo campaign that was rife with adolescent in-jokes and dude-tastic skater lingo.
A modern remake would be glorious. Where the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series utterly lost its way attempting to combine real-life skater culture with a wacky open-world, Skate or Die could eschew all reality and transport us back to the mid-80s when Thrasher magazine and scuttlebutt at the skatepark meant everything to a kid, and “the internet” was something sewn inside your jacket.
Defender of the Crown
And, whilst we’re pining for yesteryear, why not take it back to 1986 so that we can take it even further back to 1149.
Few titles managed to nail the historical strategy genre as compellingly as Defender of the Crown. It essentially combined the Risk board game with troop management and a sprinkling of kingdom management. Toss in a ridiculously poorly-designed jousting game wherein entire swathes of land can be gained or lost on the overmap, and you’ve got a game no person in their right mind would remake.
Yet, it’s been done. The game’s been remastered for CD and remade entirely. And, yet, the only games to even come close to replicating the way it felt to play an early map-painter on NES are the titles in the Crusader Kings series.
A remake of Defender of the Crown, done right, would make some concessions to bring its gameplay more in line with the adventuring spirit that captured the first. Rather than get bogged down with a 4X component, I’d rather see it embrace the jousting arena and combat mechanics.
Tetris & Dr. Mario
Like peanut butter and chocolate, Tetris & Dr. Mario made for a delightful combination. The stark, very-Russian, utilitarian interface, music, and background of Tetris was the perfect A-side to Nintendo’s cutesy-groovy Dr. Mario puzzler. Both games shared a similar mechanic and goal and, for whatever reason, they came packaged together in one great game for the SNES in 1994.
The best part about Tetris and Dr. Mario wasn’t that you were getting two games. It was that the UI supported the seamless interface between the two in a mode called “Mixed Match.”
There have been many modern remakes of Tetris, with Tetris Effect for PlayStation VR being my personal favorite, but Dr. Mario’s been relegated to the virtual console on the Nintendo store.
We’d love to see more crossover titles that combined different games into a single, seamless interface.
Sure you can play Tetris, and you can play Dr. Mario. But there’s something special about playing them together as a package deal.
There’s no telling if any of these titles will see modern releases. And, honestly, there isn’t enough time to play all the awesome new games coming out every year anyway.
But there’s nothing wrong with being spoiled for choice and the good news is that the gaming market is large enough to support everyone’s hopes and dreams.
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Tristan is a science and technology journalist who values life, humanity, and taco soup. He/him