Why We Need Old Games on New Consoles

Preserving the history of games

Key Takeaways

  • Nintendo is bringing even more of its older catalog of games to Nintendo Switch Online.
  • We’ve recently seen an increase of remakes and remasters of older classic games, as well as ports of the originals.
  • While remakes and remasters can bring a lot to the table, being able to re-experience that original classic design on a newer console can be just as great.
A pile of old gaming console controllers.

Enrique Guzman Egas / Unsplash

With all the remakes and remasters of older games releasing, some game development experts say we should continue to bring the original classics to newer consoles.

Over the past few years, we've seen several remakes and remasters releasing for older games like Resident Evil 2, Demon's Souls, and more. While these remakes have been received with love and adoration, other companies have focused on bringing the original experience to newer consoles.

Nintendo is the most recent gaming company to take a stab at bringing classic titles back in their original format. It announced that Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games would be coming to the Switch via an online subscription. This move, experts say, is important because it can help solidify the place that those titles have in gaming history.

"There's definitely the nostalgic factor for older gamers and a way for younger gamers to play classics that shaped the gaming industry today. These classics are also great games that were lots of fun—and still are fun," Jong Shin, the founder and CEO of iiRcade, told Lifewire in an email.

More Than Nostalgia

While it's easy to look at the recent surge of retro games releasing and chalk it up to a search for nostalgia, there's more on the line than that. Every year, thousands of games release—both indie and triple-A titles. This means the gaming world is constantly becoming more and more crowded. 

As gamers continue playing newer titles, they might spend less time on those older games, or they're never aware of their existence. For games from past systems like the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis, hooking the system up and having a television that they'll work on without buying adapters can often be too much of a hassle to bother with.

By bringing those titles to newer consoles, though, companies like Nintendo are paving the way for both the older audiences and the younger audiences to experience those retro games in their original format.

Sure, there's the touch of nostalgia that older gamers will find on replaying those titles. But, it also solidifies the game's place in history by putting it front and center once more for gamers of all ages to experience.

Most times, if a game company can be bothered to redistribute a title, that is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, there are instances where this isn't the case, and not every re-release will hold up the best, but putting those games in front of people helps keep them fresh in the gaming community's mind.

Remake, Remaster, or Original 

There's more than one way to revitalize a game's standing in history, though, and we've seen two of these ways happening quite a bit over the last decade in games. Remakes and remasters have become significant parts of the gaming cycle.

A Sega console surrounded by gaming cartridges.

Ben Griffiths / Unsplash

Some developers have even gone back and completely redone games from their past to help bring them to newer audiences with more modernized systems.

It's not the same as bringing the original to a newer console, but it still lets developers showcase elements of that original experience with some tweaks.

Often these tweaks amount to modernizing the controls, something that many older games suffered greatly from, especially those from the early years of gaming.

But should developers focus on remaking, remastering, or bringing that original title to newer consoles? Shin says he believes that all three types of experiences have a place in the gaming world today and that each one can help make that title stand out more.

Ultimately, Shin says developers should focus on providing gamers with different ways to experience those classic titles, which will pull more people into the experience.

"Today, one of the biggest trends happening is remaking classic games from yesteryear, which is very exciting for gamers. Great examples are Streets of Rage 4 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the new House of the Dead remake. These games cater to different audiences than the original versions, and both versions bring different flavors of nostalgia and modernization," he said.

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