Games Preservation: Remakes, Remasters, Reimaginings, and Reboots


#1

This is a medium that has an issue with preservation, with many games functionally becoming lost to time. After a certain point, many games become unplayable or largely inaccessible to a large majority of gamers without jumping through a number of technological hoops, due to outdated hardware or a myriad of other issues. In terms of preservation of a gaming experience through a remake or remaster, which do you generally prefer? Which remasters do you feel improved upon the initial experience the most? Are there any that you feel strayed too far and detracted from the original experience? Finally, what are the changes to the original that made these succeed?


#2

I would greatly prefer remasters with added quality-of-life features and somewhat polished assets. It would be ideal if those remasters also allowed you to toggle the original visuals, like the LucasArts remasters have featured recently.

One thing I want with remasters is for more attention to be paid to audio. Several recent remasters focus entirely on graphics and performance but feature sub-par audio quality and sometimes even audio bugs that were not in the original version.

Resident Evil for the Gamecube was maybe the best remake of all time, and has essentially replaced the original in my mind forever. However, I don’t think the industry is in a place where remakes are going to get the time and thought they deserve like that anymore. The Shadow of the Colossus remake was really high-profile and a detailed piece of work, but I still maintain that they screwed up the visuals.

I also think the Final Fantasy VII remake is going to be a damn disaster for Square.


#3

I think there’s room for some of each, I just hate seeing it replace new things entirely.

Like, DOOM 2016 was fantastic. Brood War remastered was great.

I’m looking forward to the Final Fantasy reboot, because the original game, despite running on my current machine, doesn’t really… hold my interest I imagine it might have if I’d played it closer to release.

Some gameplay, and designs, and jokes, and combat, etc. has just… had a long road of development, and improvements and alternatives, and flourishes over time. I think plenty of games would benefit from reimaginings and reboots. Maybe minor rewrites. Some are fine to just bring to new platforms, maybe update art, or just add new resolution support, surround sound tech, etc.

The only issues that arise seem to be fans who hate the idea of something they feel belongs to them being ruined or tainted, or whatever, by being altered in any way. (Or, again, I think, when nothing new is brought to the table, and a sequel would be more interesting.)


#4

I feel like there’s a fundamental difference between games preservation, and 3 out of the 4 things you mentioned in the title. Games preservation, at its root, is an expensive, involved process that means preserving all of the original hardware and software (including increasingly rare CRTs) required to play a video game. Since this is not practical or possible for most people, this usually ends up being shorthand for emulation of the original title, or a faithful remaster.

Remakes, reimaginings, and reboots are often very positive things … but what is primarily being preserved is not the original game, but the branding. Sometimes the entire point of a remake is to sand off all the busted mechanics and annoyances from an original – which unfortunately is the opposite of preservation. Remastering is a pretty broad term that often splits the difference, but it does include games that try preserve the original mechanics with updated graphics and sound (i.e. Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap).

I think it really boils down to a case-by-case evaluation of each game. I bounced straight off of that Wonderboy remaster, because I found the mechanics and design of the original game to be a pain in the ass – but there’s apparently a lot of fans who loved it.