Wave Foam – “Needs More Bling”
I am really glad that now, more than ever, players are interested in exploring the roots of video-games. It is becoming increasingly popular to (re)play old games, and they keep popping up in download services. The demand for these wonderful games, that have stood the trial of time, is staggering, and companies have astutely capitalized on that market by re-releasing their games whenever and wherever possible. It’s a win-win deal: companies get increased return (some of which will hopefully make its way to designers), and players can say bye bye to night-time vigils on eBay auctions that end up costing a fortune.
What I have a hard time in understanding though, is the need for a presentation overhaul in these revivals. Is it wrong on my part to think that, if these games were so good in the first place, so that they’ve even become timeless, they shouldn’t be touched anymore than strictly necessary to make them work in new platforms? Why the need to do half-baked graphical updates that, let’s be honest, most times don’t even show half the craftsmanship of the original version? Whether it is to add snazzy 3D graphics, like in “Bionic Commando Rearmed” or “Prince of Persia Classic”, or to simply add a new coat of HD paint as in “Street Fighter II HD”, these versions are poor and imperfect replacements of otherwise outstanding works of art at the time of their design.
The latest, and one of the most disappointing examples of this trend, is the revamping of LucasArt’s classic “Secret of Monkey Island”, of which Destructoid does a nice comparison gallery between the original (which will also be included in the download) and new version. The new visuals are so horrible that I can barely look. Why break the visual coherence and stunning artistry that made this game unique in the first place? We’re murdering the essence of these classics, and for what? For the sake of (and I can only guess) making them easier to understand for younger generations that aren’t used to slightly less flashy screens? But they look worse anyways, so why bother? It would be bad enough if the process was well realized, but it isn’t! It reminds me of Lucas himself trying to add cool CGI to his older movies, like “THX 1138” or the original “Star Wars” trilogy, and in the process screwing up some of the most credible, consistent special effects to have ever been used in film. What’s next? Casablanca in color? Venus de Milo rebuilt with robot arms? Mona Lisa in 3D???