Hey Unlocked listeners and readers, Stella Chung here again today to talk about how great games are! Specifically, I want to talk about how great remakes are in this current game market. I recently started playing Resident Evil 4 for the first time, thanks to the remake, and I posted about it on Twitter and got a callous reply about why I missed playing one of the greatest games of all time and what other games I didn’t play.
Growing up, we were extremely frugal. We immigrated to the States when I was a baby and we were very poor so we didn’t have a lot of disposable income to enjoy games. When we did stabilize financially I wasn’t allowed to play games since my parents really wanted me to focus on other “productive” extracurricular activities.
I was 20 years old, living on my own in college when I finally got my first console: the Xbox One. Even with a console, then getting a PC, I still couldn’t really afford a lot of the bigger games since I was working and going to college. When I took a break from school to full-time stream, I was able to get more games since it directly applied to my job.
But even so, I found myself wanting to keep up with modern games, not just go back to games I had missed. I wanted to keep up with the games that were coming out, talk to my friends about them, and play them on stream to share with others. I also just didn’t have the means to play older games I had missed since they were locked to consoles I didn’t own.
But so many remakes came out that I was able to snag and play to make up for missing the original game and I loved being able to enjoy it in a modern update. A lot of remakes really just restore the original game to look and feel like how we think we remember it to be. For example, I swear Banjo Kazooie looked exactly like how the remake did on my friend’s N64 as it does now on the Xbox with its remaster. But that’s how memory works and we want to remember the game being the best version it was when we were growing up and just in love with our favorite titles.
So being able to see the difference in the remakes of these games is pretty great to fuel nostalgia while also bringing up the experience to modern standards. I’m pretty sure if I had to deal with the old Resident Evil camera angles I would lose my mind now, so I’m very glad for the remakes. It just restores that memory while bringing it up to speed to current-day controls.
Also, I was able to experience DOOM by playing the 2016 release and realize how much I loved the world building and pure violence of that demon-filled universe through the modern remake. This spiked my interest to then look into the original DOOM classics and try them out on Steam. Then there’s the beautiful collection of Halo games that I would have never touched if it was not for the remastered bundle that I’m playing through now with my best friend from childhood.
I really want to talk about this, and I know I’ve discussed this on Unlocked but not to the extent I want to now. Because I wasn’t allowed to game when I was living with my parents, I really missed out on the prime gaming years. There’s a Korean word for it that perfectly describes how I feel about it but it doesn’t have a direct translation to English. 아쉽다 (ah-shib-da). The best translation for it that I could explain is feeling regret, as if it’s a shame, and just a general feeling of mourning all in one.
I am grateful that I am now working in a job where I can enjoy games and fuel my inner child but I look back on the years I was in high school, listening to my best friends talk about the latest Assassin’s Creed game and the developments in the Halo storyline while feeling left out and like I was missing something great. I remember my friends pulling their hoods over their heads pretending to be Ezio and not knowing what that was about. I basically got the gist of the stories by listening to them rant about the games they were playing.
I missed the golden years of Master Chief’s adventures and badassery and lived vicariously through my friends who played the series and told me about the latest developments. I would have fleeting moments to play for myself when I would go over to their houses to hang out and get a small taste of what they experienced and I felt slightly more included.
My best friend and I have since then grown and live very busy lives but he and I set aside some time to play the Halo: Master Chief Collection all the way from the first game. As soon as I booted it up I felt this feeling of wholeness as I saw this screen I remembered seeing on my friend’s consoles when I’d visit. When my best friend and I started playing from the start, he was able to share his favorite moments with me, finally, after all those years and play like it was the first time for him through me.
When we got to Halo 2 and entered the chapter where you play as The Arbiter, the bad guy, I was shocked and exclaimed at how cool this was and how I loved it. My friend burst out saying, “Yes! I was waiting for your reaction! That’s exactly what I said and this is so cool seeing you experience this for the first time.” It felt incredible since even modern games don’t tend to pull this move and, this part will sound cheesy but, I felt like my inner child was healing.
But even so, I found myself wanting to keep up with modern games, not just go back to games I had missed.
I know there are some video game enjoyers who claim something will never be as good as the original but as someone who missed them the first time around, I am grateful for remakes and remasters. I genuinely feel they are a great addition to current games being released. They allow gamers like me who just weren’t able to access them, to go back and enjoy them in a better, updated state.
If I could go and grab older consoles I missed and play the games I wasn’t able to growing up, I definitely would. But remakes and remasters make it easier so I don’t have to. And I know I’m not the only one who’s in a similar situation. Games are awesome and we should be able to enjoy them how we want and I am so grateful that remasters and remakes exist for the sake of letting players who enjoyed them in the past enjoy them again, and for new players to enjoy them for the first time.
It’s a great way to unify gamers and let us all discuss the same game and share stories on our experiences with them, whether it was from the original or the remake.
If you could have any game be remastered or remade, what would you pick? For me, if DICE could make a proper Mirror’s Edge remake of the original, I’d be absolutely set.