Over the last few years, it seems remastering or even full remakes have become a thing. We have seen classics games receive a face lift and then be resold. We are told how we can now somehow relive those special moments we used to recall so fondly, only better.
the last few years, it seems remastering or even full remakes have become a thing. We have seen classics games receive a face lift and then be resold. We are told how we can now somehow relive those special moments we used to recall so fondly, only better.
If you have never played the original Mass Effect games and this would be your introduction to the universe then this was a great buy. You got all three games and the majority of the original DLC. If, however, like me, you had played the games when they first came out this felt aged, despite the face lift. The game play was still there, the great storyline, but the experience, the awe and wonder were gone.
Now along comes Skyrim with an Anniversary edition. Again, there is a facelift and the DLC is included (that had been done before), but this time they included some of the mods done by fans. They packaged this all together and sold it as a definitive game edition. Again, that’s cool if you have never played the game before but they then sold the “upgrade” to those of us with hundreds or even thousands of hours of game play.
In their day each of these titles were giants and both, still today, are recognized as some of the greatest games of all time. However, unlike the typical Game of the Year Edition, or Ultimate Edition, that is always released late in the life of a successful game, these claim to have gone a step beyond.
You see the GOTY or Ultimate Edition of a game are just the base game with all the bug fixes and DLC included in one price, often with a good savings over the original game and DLC pricing. These have a real appeal to new audiences as they offer the total experience of the game release. A remaster however tries to be something more, enticing not just new users to buy them but old users to return.
The problem is they try to appeal to your memories and claim to let you relive those amazing experiences, but sadly you can never go back. There is no way to recapture those first moments, those experiences and joys.
There is a joyful wonder to when you first pick up a great game, it draws you deeply into it, inviting you to discover its hidden secrets and treasures. The experience is new and unique and creates an indelible memory that makes you crave for more. The remastered games, we are told, will allow us to recapture those experiences, this is a great sales pitch but pretty much bunk, you cannot recapture the experience of the first time.
Over the years I have fallen for the remaster illusion myself, more than once. I would see a game that I recall with fond memories and want to have those experiences again only to find that what before was great about the game has been reduced to just good or even okay. There is no way to recapture the feeling of that first time, because there is only one first time.
Think of your first kiss, all the emotion tied in it, the fear, wonder, joy, expectations and so much more. Sure, there have been amazing kisses after that one but the singleness of that first kiss still lingers with many of us. This applies to many firsts in our lives, first time in love, first child, first time watching a great movie, reading an amazing book or, yes, playing an incredible computer game.
Remastering a classic game will never give you back that experience, that first moment. You might have fun playing the game but where the first time you have memories you fondly recall and sit around with gamer buddies reliving, the remaster leaves you with a good feeling for a moment and then you move to the next game.
If this is the case then why do they remaster? In my opinion, because it is an easy way to make money. We as gamers crave that “high” we feel in a great game and when new games are failing to give us that joy, we fondly recall games that did. By invoking the name of those great classic games and not just their names but the games themselves, developers gain a powerful marketing tool, our memories. In the end that is the real reason for remastering great games, money. It is easy money with little risk and little cost. Slap a coat of paint, tug at our heart strings and then watch us all rush to buy again a moment we can never relive.
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