Thursday, 11 June 2009

[200] Classics Live Again: The Art of Downloadable Remakes

Today's exciting development concerns a feature of mine being published on the brilliant games industry analysis/news site Gamasutra. I really respect the writers at Gama, so I'm proud to have my work counted among theirs.

Also, the fact that this specific feature has been published at all feels like a miracle. It was an idea that I started working on back in February, where I conducted interviews with a number of developers behind certain downloadable game remakes on Xbox Live Arcade. I pitched it to one place, but ended up having to find a new home for it. It was a long, gruelling process, with a lot of disinterest and unanswered emails. But in the end, it found its place in the world - it just took 4 months to get there!

I'm quite happy with the way it came out; it's a long-form, heavy sort of feature, with 3000 words of developer chatter and analysis, but I was glad to explore this topic, and speak with the developers behind R-Type Dimensions, Bionic Commando Rearmed and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Check it out below.

One of the areas of gaming culture that has progressed in leaps and bounds during this current console generation is the digital download. This development is occurring irrespective of platform, with all three major consoles, and even the handhelds, featuring varied libraries of downloadable games and content.

Without the potentially stifling expectations and overheads that come with full-fledged retail releases, developers working on these platforms are able to do so with elements of daring and idiosyncrasy -- with some of the more talked-about and successful games, such as Braid, Pixel Junk Eden and World of Goo being as much mini-supernovae of creativity and inspiration as they are out-of-sync with mainstream gaming conventions.

Parallel to this, the download platforms also provide a new avenue for publishers to re-release selections from their back-catalogues for the pleasure of nostalgics, canon-hungry gaming historians and new audiences alike.

Nintendo's Virtual Console service, as well as early games to appear on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade platform, would often be direct ports or emulations of titles from a variety of older consoles, from Super Mario Bros. to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

However, with the success of these downloadable platforms, and the progression towards more original content, it has become increasingly common for classic franchises to receive radical updates, or even full sequels (such as Capcom's multi-platform Mega Man 9) that offer more than mere nostalgia.

Read the full article here.

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