Does The Gaming Industry Rely On Nostalgia?

Gaming news source Kotaku states that gamers will be “making new friends, and reconnecting with old friends too,” in their new article “It’s ’90s Nostalgia Week With Toy StoryCrash Bandicoot, And A Spiritual Successor To Castlevania“. However, the gaming industry, both indie and major developers, have been focusing on the “nostalgia factor” of gaming to promote sales, consumer appreciation and an appreciation to the roots/foundations of the gaming industry for a while. Though, are these remakes and ports truly in the benefit of the gaming community, or are they quick ideas for developers and publishers to rake in the profits?

Man holding Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy in game store

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Remakes Of The Classics

Gamers love being introduced to new and life filled worlds; it’s what keeps them purchasing video games. Though, what if you reinvent one of the cherished games from their childhood, from the ground-up, and re-release it as new? That remake, or revision, allows gamers to re-explore a world, that they probably explored a hundred times in the past, in an unforeseen perspective. Maybe the game just has revamped graphics, a smoother frame rate, tighter controls and that’s it. That’s all the developer needs to focus on to reignite gamers love for a past game or a new gamers interest. Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy released on June 30th, 2017 and was developed by Vicarious Visions. This remake of the original trilogy, which was released in 1996-’98, featured some added content, high-resolution graphics to fit modern day gaming platforms and tighter controls; even gained the slogan of “it’s the Dark Souls of plat-former’s” due to its difficulty. Yet, this remake of a trilogy still sold over 4.25 million units worldwide; according to vgchartz.com. That’s only one example of a remade classic game that had wide success re-selling to the gamers of today. In fact, more remakes of classic games are scheduled for late 2019 and early 2020 releases. The number one anticipated game of those releases is easily Square Enix‘s release of Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is slated to have high physical and digital sales already.

Street Fighter II Turbo cartridge in Super Nintendo Famicom

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Ports Of The Classics

Beyond fully remade classics, ports of classic games have been digitally ported to gaming platforms for years. The library of ported classic titles far exceed the library of fully remade classic games. Gaming publishers that are constantly doing this business practice include: Capcom (with the Resident Evil franchise), Konami (with both Castlevania & Contra), Square Enix (with the Final Fantasy franchise) and Nintendo. Now with the Nintendo Switch some companies are giving their ported classics physical releases as well as digital. Capcom and Konami have done this with their ports of Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle, Castlevania Anniversary Collection and Contra Anniversary Collection. However, these ports, unlike the fully remade remakes, will have the old style graphics, controls and (possible) issues that veteran gamers remember and love about these classics. It keeps them purchasing these ports continuously because most of these ported classics will be ported to each new console generation.

Big green and purple monster in pixel art form

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Indies And Their Classics

Indie developers love their classic titles, and they should. Those are the games that inspired them to obtain the profession they worked for. However, it’s not difficult to grasp the concept of flooding the gaming market with so many “Controidvania” or Mega-Man inspired shooters. There are a plethora of indie developers that focus on these game-play mechanics. It’s to make their games seem appealing to an older audience of consumers who are looking for new takes on a classic gaming style.

The market of the “nostalgia factor” within the gaming industry, be they remakes, ports or indie developed, can act as a double-edged sword. On one side, these games can keep the old style of gaming alive and thriving. Introducing new gamers to the classics that veteran gamers enjoyed when they started gaming. However, on the other side, these games can limit the ideas that developers come up with because they rely on the classic or nostalgic game-play style too much. Developers and publishers should begin to limit the classics that they push for release and instead champion new development ideas to reinvigorate the industry as a whole.

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