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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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The Trouble with Remakes

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Labor of love, or quick cash-in? 

I'm sorry, but there's no way I can start this article while this 'Doctor Who' theme is playing. You're just going to have to wait.

Ah, such amazing orchestral work. Thank you for your patience. We now return to your regularly-scheduled article, sans sonic screwdriver-based interruptions:

One of the beautiful things about technology progressing is that we can see exactly where we came from - how ugly, misshapen and unpolished we were. A problem arises when we still like the stuff we've left behind, mostly because we're familiar with its trappings and pitfalls, and we adore it despite its silly shag carpeting. Some will simply refuse to use anything else, if just out of fear of using something frighteningly new. We cling to each concept that we create as long as possible before making the awkward last-minute leap into the arms of the next technological advance, hoping and praying we have the wherewithal to adjust to this terrifying turn of events.

However, somewhere in the back of our clever little brains, we've come up with the brilliant idea of retrofitting our favorite pieces of tech with a few of today's bells and whistles. 'Aha!' we exclaim in barely-contained glee, 'now we can enjoy these newfangled gizmos from the comfort of our old-fangled gizmos!' With a cackle and a spritely click of the heels, we set about making our Frankenstein monster known by one name, and one name only:


I write this article after a bender of 'Halo Combat Evolved: Anniversary,' which, to the uninitiated, is a graphically updated version of the 2001 space marine manshootery classic. Besides the immediate deluge of nostalgic euphoria, my favorite feature is the ability to swap between the new, shiny veneer and the dusty, low-res'd pixels of yore in real time. Those of you who have been following the adventure gaming scene will recognize this as one of the main features of 'The Secret of Monkey Island.' With a single press of a button, retro overtakes renaissance, pixels consume polygons, and you see the naked facade of your past in broad daylight.

For a split second, you are overwhelmed with memories of your initial forays into these games, and it's a beautiful moment. But only for a moment. And then it hits you like Mike Tyson's proverbial punch-out:

This game, this game you loved and dedicated hours to in years gone by is as ugly as sin after it's fallen off of the ugly tree, hit every branch on the way down, and emerged from the concrete ground with living, breathing acne.

You mash the button to switch it back to the new graphics, exhaling in palpable relief.

Whoever thought of this concept is a bloody genius. This one little feature, this ability to see the past and future side by side, reveals a dirty little secret about the psyche of the average gamer.

We are perfectly content to play the same game with new graphics, and pay dozens of dollars to do so. We've decided this with our wallets by purchasing annual releases of games that rhyme with Small of Booty and Gladden. We've voted for this by supporting the stream of barely-changed games, throwing them away as soon as the next baby-step of a game comes out.

It's OK to assert your opinion every once in a while. It's OK to tell developers what could be improved or added to enrich our experience, rather than living in fear that the games we love have changed too much for us to enjoy them.

When it really comes down to it, are we really this shallow?

Aaron Waite loves to sound intelligent by using long words for no reason. In doing so, he's practicing floccinaucinihilipilification against the English language.


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