Top game franchises that need to be re-booted (or re-re-booted)


posted 7/28/2009 by Sean Nack
other articles by Sean Nack
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The reboot. It’s a time-honored e-tradition, a term that originated in geekdom and has flourished in geekdom. We’ve all seen the reboot be a success time and again in the past few years, and at Gaming Nexus, we couldn’t help but wonder; if we could hit the reset button on a few classic titles, what would happen? What needs to be revisited, and whose games need to be completely re-envisioned?

Parappa the Rappa

When Parappa the Rappa first came on the scene in 1996, it was way ahead of it’s time; a rhythm game about a rapping dog who it sold more than a million copies world-wide. Now, the plot may not have made any sense, but the rhythm-focused gameplay was a pretty novel idea at the time. Why, then, in this age of Guitar Heroes and Rock Bands has the game that opened up the doors in the US for this type of play been completely shut out? The time has come, Sony, to give an HD upgrade, with a plot that matters. Players could control PaRappa as he earns his way through the underground world of animated-animal-MC’s, rhythm-gaming their way to a record deal.

Two words: giant robots. Ok, more like ten words: giant frickin’ robots blowing the unholy crap out of each other. Seems like a no-brainer for a videogame, right? For three console generations, a whole mess of iterations on PC and Mac, and for decades now on the original tabletop game, FASA’s Mechwarrior series has fallen by the wayside. The series last foray on console was on the Xbox back in 2004, and helped make Xbox LIVE a gaming institution. Sadly, the Mechwarrior series had already been eclipsed, to a degree, by 2002’s Steel Battalion, a monster of a Mech-simulator that featured a massive 40-button controller. Now, I never had the pleasure of getting my hands on one of those and I heard that SB had its faults, but it strikes me that someone needs to revive the rich mythology of the Battletech series, which featured multiple factions, including mercenary units, and literally thousands of years of “history.” The Mechwarrior series gives us two fantastic reboot options; either as a console RPG/Mech-sim, wherein a player could join any of a number of optional factions, play through missions and campaigns to earn money and experience to upgrade your BattleMech, which the player, given a controller of SB-proportions without the reportedly-plodding SB gameplay, could use to control a painstakingly detailed selection of dozens of Mechs. Another option, although I would be sad to see such a title leave the console arena, would be an MMORPG in the grand style of EVE Online, where players could have entire user-created or traditional factions, mercenary units and corporations, battling it out amongst the stars for galactic supremacy. (Although it looks like we might just get at least a portion of our wish on this one…)

Wing Commander

Wing Commander was a classic early 90’s PC/console series that had you playing the role of young Lieutenant Chris Blair, an interstellar fighter pilot continually dog-fighting (cat-fighting?) the tiger-like Kilrathi race. The series was very popular throughout the 90’s, and was one of the many that took advantage of full-motion-video technology and B-list actors (oh, Mark Hamill) to flesh out the fairly typical humans vs. aliens plot; but inside the typical sci-fi trappings, the writers managed to tell interesting human stories, and create characters that I actually wanted to chat with. The best part, as a young man, was that the gameplay was sweetly simple. Fly space-plane, shoot other space-planes, fly home. But as a seven-year-old coming off of the two-button NES, I was blown away by all the options I had at my fingertips: “I can change my heads-up-displays, set an auto-pilot, and cycle weapons? Sweet!” This game needs a straight console-reboot; keep the first-person-cockpit view, but render the heck out of it, and create even more little ways to completely immerse the player in that world. That’s right; I don’t just want a Mech-sim, I want a space-plane-sim too.

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