For love or money?

Today's release of the special edition remake of Monkey Island 2 reminds me that there are two distinct approaches being taken to all these remakes we've been seeing in the last few years:

  1. Lovingly recreate a masterful classic in a modern style so that it can be enjoyed by a new generation of players
  2. Throw together a quick and dirty, up-res port of a fondly remembered title so that its original audience can be tricked into a nostalgia-fueled cash grab
The re-release of LeChuck's Revenge, like that of Secret of Monkey Island last year, features completely new graphics, animations, music, sound effects, and voice work by the actors who first made these characters heard later in the series as well as the ability to switch between the new and original versions on-the-fly to see just how much work was put in.  This latest one goes even further to include a revised look for the main character (based on fan feedback from the first SE), direct movement control of the player character, and even a full commentary track by the original creators, who'd all gone their separate ways in the time since the game's original release.  If you're too young to remember the original PC adventure gaming landscape but are into checking out downloadable games on PSN, XBLA, or Steam now, chances are you demand things like voice acting, modern controls, and attractive HD graphics.  I highly recommend you download these Monkey Island remakes and see for yourself what we olde timers are always going on about.
On the other hand, let's say you are too young to remember Perfect Dark, Rare's N64 followup to their console-FPS-redefining smash hit Goldeneye.  Will you enjoy checking out the remade classic on Xbox Live Arcade?  I kinda doubt it.  You've probably played some modern first person shooters recently, and nothing was done to Perfect Dark to help it appeal to your gaming perspective.  It's most likely going to feel old and janky to you and still look pretty bad despite the minor graphical touch-ups that were done.  Dæmon Hatfield said in his review of the remake for IGN, "this wasn't brought back for the uninitiated -- this is for the fans".  Well what's the point of that, exactly?  Those fans probably still have working N64s (they're only ~12 years old).  OK, achievement points and elevated resolutions are nice, I guess.  But those fans are basically just being soaked for another fifteen bucks here.  That's not nearly as noble a goal, to my mind.
So I applaud those who take the Bionic Commando Rearmed route instead of the Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon one.  Their efforts reward both nostalgic old schoolers and curious newcomers at once and keep alive the memories of some of the medium's truly outstanding early efforts.  I can't wait to get home and undergo a fresh search for Big Whoop.
3 Comments Refresh
Posted by SpliTTMark

perfect dark was an awesome price of just $10.
i was only 5 when the second MI came out so, i was to young. and i aint going to lie like some people who say they played said game before they logically could. i bet there are people who think they played perfect dark at the age of 3.
your annylization(sp) is quiet right. theres two sides. and PD has lost its feeling. and no one plays it. i prefer single player downloads

Posted by S0ndor

You make some good points. I watched the QL for PD and, as someone who had never played the original, I lost interest after about 5 minutes. 
However, it might be a bit unfair to compare PD to MI because the core mechanics of point and click adventure games have remained largely the same over the years, while the FPS genre has been advancing so fast that games that are barely 5 years old feel completely outdated and are almost unplayable. 

Posted by YoungFrey

Yeah, PD and Goldeneye were good because they made FPSes work on consoles.  Not because they were the best shooters around.  They did break some ground on making the game involve stealth.  But that is the problem with breaking ground, everyone else builds on your work.  So in the future the fact that your game has X isn't meaningful.  "You mean I can use stealth and shoot guys in the head, sweet I've never seen that in a game".  Monkey Island is good because it was funny and had good puzzles.  I guess if those jokes were highly topical or the puzzles non-sensical it would have aged poorly.  But adventure games seem very well suited to last the test of time.