Editorial: Dear Console Developers, Please Sell Us Our Old Games Again. Thank You!

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There’s no denying this new generation of consoles has brought with it numerous groundbreaking changes to the gaming world. Sure, the graphics have improved overall, online components are almost par for the course these days, and many games require you to waggle your controller in front of the screen to the amusement of those around you. And while the latest consoles may offer a wide variety of hardware differences themselves, they all share one pivotal change in common: they each offer a service to download classic games online. The Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, and the Playstation Network all offer their own unique sets of games to purchase and play without even getting up from your couch. While their efforts to resell me my childhood have not been in vain, I sometimes wonder why there aren’t even more old school games showing up at a more regular pace. So who do I have to bribe to get more classic games to show up on these networks?

I brought this point up briefly once before concerning the rumors about an XBLA release of Goldeneye, and a recent installment of Sessler’s Soapbox on the same subject just made me think about it even more. With the exception of the original Star Wars trilogy, I can’t think of another instance where a large mass of people has collectively demanded to essentially be resold the same product they already bought years ago. In fact, let’s just look at the original Star Wars trilogy for moment. Over the course of my short life, I’ve already bought these three movies four separate times; and when they eventually re-re-re-re-release them in high definition, I’ll probably buy them again. Why? Well, partly because I’m a sucker. But more than that is the fact that my nostalgia and devotion for these films far outweighs their monetary value.

oldgames1-1.jpgGranted, there’s probably not a single game that can match the pure fan devotion of Star Wars, but the fact that games like Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade, and Metal Slug 3 continue to dominate the XBLA’s top downloads shows that I am not alone in this sentiment. Honestly, I’m more excited about the updated versions of Bionic Commando and Duke Nukem 3D hitting the XBLA than I am about their respective next-gen counterparts. Part of the reason for this is that I already know the old games are fun, but with the brand new installments, there’s still a chance the developers could ruin those fond memories with a poor modern version.

Which all leads to me to one question: why aren’t there more classic games available on these different downloading networks? I’m no game developer, but it seems like porting an old game to a new system would be a lot easier than creating a brand new title from scratch. All you really have to do is slap on some online multiplayer and leaderboards, sell it for $10-$15, and the gamers will thank you for it. It just seems ridiculous that almost every week seems to bring another puzzle game or side-scrolling shooter that effectively rips off older games when the developers could easily sell us the older titles for the exact same price. Developers have already complained that creating original games for some of these networks is a hassle with file size limitations, so why not cut back on that and provide something the gamers are sure to like anyway? But the biggest reason of all that developers should be porting more classic games is simply because the gamers demand it. Let’s think about that concept: a large group of people are essentially begging for the opportunity to buy a product again that they’ve already bought before. Seriously, it’s like holding a license to print money.

I guess part of the reason I want to see more classic games become available for download is I’m tired of dragging out my old consoles every time I want to play one of my favorite old games. If that means paying for them all over again, that’s fine by me. Besides which, I missed a few games when they came out the first time around; so short of scouring eBay, this is the easiest way for me and other gamers to actually experience the games we’ve only heard about. Now, where’s my Goldeneye on Xbox Live?

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No Comments on Editorial: Dear Console Developers, Please Sell Us Our Old Games Again. Thank You!

weclock

On February 22, 2008 at 2:16 pm

it’s like some sick kind of.. I don’t know!

Who in their right mind would be willing to buy the same game, over and over again, despite the new capabilities..

we would..

Sure, I bought Goldeneye, still have the cartridge and a working N64, but if they released it on XBL, then HELL YES, I’d buy it again

I’d buy pokemon snap again!

all these games, again and again, why?? is it to relive those past experiences? is it because the old controllers no longer work? is it because my fingers forgot to work those old controllers?

is it because we want to buy something we know is good?

Kanadwen

On February 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Very excellent post Jon! I agree with everything! 10/10!

Steve Hipkiss

On February 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm

GIVE ME R-TYPE CO-OP NOW

Ben

On February 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Pokemon Snap is already out on the Wii virtual console.

http://www.nintendo.com/wii/virtualconsole/games/detail/_RSlYU7hZA_yb-mvRqDeol7mHtsaGmS6

I’m guessing Goldeneye will come out on the Wii before XBL as it was a n64 game as well.

Joerdie

On February 22, 2008 at 6:17 pm

I sort of agree. I would love to play some of the games that I liked but never beat… I just don’t see myself buying Legend of Zelda again. I know how you feel though. Sometimes I check out the virtual console on the Wii and think, “I would like to spend more money on that!”

John

On February 22, 2008 at 6:35 pm

That’s the beauty of emulation.

Adam Selene

On February 22, 2008 at 7:16 pm

THE ANSWER:

The #1 answer to your question of why there aren’t more old virtual console games available is INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.

That is, the console maker needs to renegotiate publication rights and royalties to republish any game (other than the games they themselves own).

Take for example GoldenEye 007 for N64 (arguably one of its best games). Rare Ltd developed that game. Rare was acquired by Microsoft and now does XBOX 360 development. Exclusive license for James Bond games is owned now by Activision.

Reportedly Nintendo tried to come to an agreement with Microsoft which would have allowed GoldenEye to come to both Wii and XBox 360 virtual consoles, but were unable to reach an agreement. It is uncertain that even if an agreement was met, whether they would still have needed the permission of Activision.

Certainly given the new phenomenon of virtual consoles, I can see future game publication contracts including rights for re-releasing games on future platforms without the need for renegotiation.

Cough

On February 22, 2008 at 8:50 pm

*CoughEmulatorsCough*

liltrix

On February 23, 2008 at 3:46 am

i want my Banjo-Kazooie…. and tooie… which will prob happen as BK3 is scheduled for this year (2008) but rare being rare its prob more like 2010 :(

Free-Vo

On February 23, 2008 at 5:44 am

I agree, but i would like to see some effort made into the rereleases (ala Bionic Commanda and Speedball2). Keep the gameplay, just soop up the graphics!

William

On February 23, 2008 at 7:51 am

@Free-Vo: I definitely believe that more effort needs to put into these re-releases. Even aside from graphics, some XBLA titles such as Sonic The Hedgehog had terrible issues such as Sonic’s speed. If you play Sonic on the Genesis and compare it to the 360 version, you’ll notice how much slower he moves on the 360. There’s no excuse for that.

Brian

On February 23, 2008 at 11:08 am

My wife doesn’t understand how come we spend $250 + on a Wii, and I spend more time playing Tecmo Bowl than anything else. I can’t wait to get a classic controller so I can download FZero and there is word that Pilot Wings will be out soon! I think the Wii has the best mix of classic games at fairly decent prices. $5 for an NES game beats trying to secure a system on Ebay and blow into the cartrdige every 20 mins.

Aaron

On February 24, 2008 at 12:59 am

What someone needs to do is create emulators for the Wii/xbox360/ps3. The Wii and 360 have some kind of development kits availabl (XNA/WiiWare).. don’t know about the ps3. Figure out a way to run these on their respective consoles and load ROMs from a memory card.

Sure, this may not be easy or *cough* legal *cough* but it’s a way to get these games on consoles today (well, tomorrow). Despite these virtual consoles, many of the games I’d love to play again are only playable through MAME. I *wish* I knew how to program because I’d be trying to port MAME to the 360 via XNA.

Pedle Zelnip

On February 24, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Actually porting a game for an old platform to a new one can be quite labour-intensive depending on the game and the platform it’s coming from. For example, many of the really older consoles required people to write the game in such a way that it was very closely tied to the hardware the game was running on, so moving to a completely different platform would be non-trivial.

As well, ask any programmer who’s had to do maintenence work on a major piece of software — it’s not an easy task.

As well, if devs did give us the same game exactly as it appeared originally, most gamers would still gripe about how they didn’t add anything new like spiffier graphics, or multiplayer play, or achievements, or etc, etc etc.

And then on top of all that, while sure, as a gamer I’d love to get some of my old favourites working on my 360, I’m not going to pay $15-$20 to do so. Most of the arcade titles I’ve purchased have been 400 MS points (about $5), and unless it was a game I *REALLY REALLY* wanted, I wouldn’t pay more than that.

Shaun

On February 24, 2008 at 6:58 pm

release Marvel vs Capcom 2 !!!! :shock:

mary760

On February 27, 2008 at 3:35 am

http://www.tvokay.com for free movies and tv shows… check it out, it’s worth a bookmark
:razz: