Technology can sometimes be bad. Oftentimes, classic games that should demand our replays and respect find themselves without players. Why? Because technology passed them by. How many gamers have played classic SNES games? How about games for Genesis? There are so many games that are gathering dust on resell shelves at video game stores around the country because the march of innovation – graphics, voiceovers, gameplay – have decreased their luster in the video game community. If there was any way to increase the audience for classic games that have lost their way, it would be to give these games a superficial makeover. Sure, sometimes remakes can lead to lackluster comparisons for the new game as opposed to the original. But here are ten games that could greatly benefit from a makeover.

I’ll start with the game I think could use the most drastic overhaul. A trip down the Oregon Trail could be pretty expansive if you overhaul the gameplay to match modern standards. Imagine a reticule similar to Gun, where you ride a horse alongside the normal Conestoga Wagon, with mini-games like getting the wagon down a treacherous mountain, or finding food. You could deal with bandits, Indian warbands, having to rush to the next outpost for medicine, etc. There are a lot of things that could be done to this classic game to make it modern.

I’m sure this will bring some criticism considering the disaster that was Rogue Agent, but how cool would it be to play a graphically updated GoldenEye… perhaps with some new enemies on the levels, maybe new goals… wouldn’t that be exciting? While the weapons in the original game are both diverse and expansive, an update could bring not only newer weapons but also innovations to the older weapons (perhaps a melee ability). Plus, while the N64 controller was great, a second joystick would make looking around much easier. Finally, imagine an online multiplayer option for GoldenEye. Forget playing against three other people in the room… turn full-sized levels into multiplayer arenas for 32 players! Add in some new places to duck and hide behind and you would have a game made for people who want to have no life.

This game is still very much playable, but perhaps a new engine would allow players to control much larger armies and play with a new set of tactics. AoE II created a very easy to use yet extremely thoughtful civilization development process. Would a little overhaul hurt the game? The possibility is there, but perhaps making each civilization more specialized could make the game more exciting. Because each race does not have a very expansive specialized skill or unit set, the game can feel very repetitive for the modern gamer. However, the campaigns that currently exist could be tweaked easily to be more unique and diverse.

Secret of Mana was influential when it came out, and if it was remade and updated by modern gaming standards it could be influential today. Utilizing a battle style similar to real-time in a world of turn-based, Secret gave the world something extremely new and different. Now, real-time is the norm, but perhaps the game could be more exciting with the expanded use of and original cooperative gameplay system. Players could pick one of the main characters to be their primary character and then play with others in a party on Xbox Live or something to that effect. The use of the Dragon on the map was an original quick travel style that could be brought back and utilized in actual player battles. There are many options available to update this beloved game that could be very successful.

In the wake of the lackluster Overlord franchise, maybe now is the time to turn back the clock to this diamond in the rough from Bullfrog. Dungeon Keeper provided players with the ability to really be bad. The number of evil RPGs is quite low and most of them involve an alternate light side path. Dungeon Master could be easily overhauled with more unique gameplay options such as new monsters to utilize or new options of way to propagate evil. Peter Molyneaux has demonstrated the ability to come up with completely new and different things… perhaps with the amount of new technology at his disposal, he could turn this classic game into a blockbuster free roam game that really lets its players explore the truly sick and twisted side inside of them.

A classic game that could use a makeover, System Shock provided one of the most used gaming archetypes on the modern console: crazy female AI. Portal may have perfected it, but System Shock gave birth to it. You can call it a mix of Metroid and Half-Life, really. An updated graphics engine for this game would do wonders, as well as a tweaked gameplay system. With a creepy antagonist and a chilling story, System Shock would be oodles of fun to play over again for the first time.

Here’s a game that has a dedicated fanbase, even after ten plus years. Xenogears is a beloved one and done game that sold extremely well and a solid storyline to boot. Updated graphics along with a solid voiceover could make this game much more fun and perhaps revitalize the desire for a sequel. Also, the use of gears in specialized combat could be fleshed out and become a much more integral part of the game that is not only intuitive but fun. The innovations from a decade of gaming would only help spruce up this excellent game.

Back in 1994, LucasArts put out a great flight simulator that had expansive mission and an excellent barebones story. Here is a game that could be given some more voiceover, some dazzling graphics (think how spectacular Battlefront looked… imagine great ship battles on 360 or PS3?), and a solid multiplayer mode could make this one of the best Star Wars games ever. TIE Fighter’s surprisingly thorough simulator implemented a solid combination of tactics mixed with dogfighting action and made the game highly replayable. An expanded and updated TIE Fighter could be extremely popular.

After Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo fans everywhere were clamoring for a game featuring comeback kid Pit. Looking at his weapon class and his notable ability of flight, Pit could provide gamers with a third person experience unlike any other. Imagine Kratos from God of War with a bow and wings! Pit’s bow itself could be wildly fun to use if you factored in things like upgrades that could be spread throughout the game. The lack of very much story in the original game could allow for a great amount of liberty to be taken by the developer. Imagine an update in the vein of Prince of Persia, from 2D dungeon platformer to 3D revolutionary system leader… the results could be excellent.

Too many people would probably object to an overhaul of Final Fantasy VII, but I contend that the system is in place for a makeover to be not only effective but actually make the game MORE enjoyable. The storyline and characters of FF7 are well-known and highly likable. But wouldn’t a graphics engine like the one utilized in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children make the game more epic and more emotionally gratifying? A setup for fighting like the one in Final Fantasy VII feels a little archaic. The advances in fighting in the Final Fantasy series alone could be used to great effect; and lest we forget, an updated graphics engine would make the use of materia both exciting and visually appealing. The best news is that the rest of the game could remain the same. There are so many sidequests and character conversations that could remain exactly the same. Perhaps the game only needs a little supplemental material; say some dialogue between party members or major characters in the game. Ultimately, a makeover to FF7 could be not only a breath of fresh air to a monumental gaming achievement, but it would be a noteworthy and excellent game in its own right.

Of course, I’m not saying that there aren’t other games that could do with a little bit of refinement and modernization. Consider the cult classic River City Ransom, a game that could play now as a much more over-the-top and madcap version of GTA. Or perhaps you’d like to see Wing Commander brought back from the dead, with slick shining aerial vehicles dogfighting in the air. I even considered taking the Rareware games of the Nintendo 64’s days and giving all of them an overhaul. Imagine such revolutionary games as Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie on the modern console (ignoring such outings as Perfect Dark Zero and the new BK game that was an utter disaster). Ultimately, a great number of excellent but forgotten games exist to be rediscovered by a new generation of gamers. Let’s give it to them.

List by scarletspeed7 (01/06/2010)

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