HD video game remakes and why they are better than movie reboots

By Glenn Battishill

It is a common opinion that Hollywood has run out of ideas. While that may be true to an extent, every Hollywood remake is failing either critically or financially.

A lot of people say that creativity in video games is dead as well; people are dishing out money for endless streams of first-person shooters and sports games every year, despite the fact that the games have barely changed in the past five years.

Amidst all of this, the trend of re-releasing games from last generation’s consoles with high-definition graphics has also sprung up; a trend that has turned around some surprisingly good results.

So here is why people accept and love an HD remake of a gamer rather than a reboot or remake of a film: because it’s exactly what we remember, with changes so minor that we think we are playing the original game.

When some games get remade, you can see the shell of what the game originally was. Let’s take “New Super Mario Brothers” as an example. The game had very similar stages but allowed four people to play and betray each other as they traverse levels, which are meant to evoke certain nostalgic feelings. That game was well received but several people complained about the lowered difficulty (to accommodate four players of varying skill) and easier nature of the game. (Side note: I know you probably think you are the king or queen of Mario Brothers or Donkey Kong but go play it now, it’s grueling.)

Lately with the HD craze, the Playstation 3, PC and Xbox 360 have been routinely re-mastering some of the best games from the PS2 generation and selling them with better graphics and at a cheaper price.

I bought “Resident Evil 4 HD,” and while the graphics were a disappointment, the game was just what I remembered and all of the original control issues had been fixed by an updated control scheme.

More recently Konami announced and released “Metal Gear Solid HD Collection,” a collection including “Metal Gear Solid 2,” “Metal Gear Solid 3” and “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.” When I heard this news, I got giddily excited and remember calling my brother to spout happiness in his ear (“Metal Gear Solid 3” formerly occupying the Team Captain spot on Glenn Battishill’s best-video-games-ever-all-star-tag-team).

To the average viewer, this may seem like exactly what Hollywood did with a film like “Friday the 13th”or “Rob Zombie’s Halloween.” Just take the old formula, update everything, fix some of the bigger problems and release it, but I think it is a completely different ball park.

What helps set them apart is that most of the HD re-mastered games are GAMES WE ACTUALLY WANT. No one was super depressed when the never ending “Halloween” or “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchises slowly vanished because everyone was sick of them.

This generation hasn’t seen a stealth game worth mentioning, and even when “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” reminded everyone what stealth games were, I could only think about how much I wanted to play “Metal Gear Solid 3.”

The point is this: the games being re-mastered are games from genres that have more or less vanished from the public eye. “Resident Evil 4 HD” only exists because people started daydreaming about it when they were playing inferior survival-horror games like “Dead Space” or “Resident Evil 5.” This is just the beginning; the boom in FPS about modern conflicts has reignited interest in some of the goofier shooters of yesteryear, like “Serious Sam” or “007 Goldeneye.”

So, in a sea of unoriginality and no creativity, I can accept the occasional nostalgia courtesy of an HD remake.