“I remember that thing. Someone should bring that back.”
Whenever I hear that, there’s about an 80% chance that it’s something that doesn’t actually need to return. The game industry, in particular, isn’t exactly one for letting nostalgia simmer for too long. I mean, we’re at a point now where games we only played a few years ago are getting remasters or even full-on reboots. There’s a discussion to be had about the realities of development costs and why we’re seeing such money-grabs with an increasing frequency, but the bigger point to be made is just how often it feels like our memories are being data-mined for easy turnover. Perhaps that sounds a bit more nefarious than it actually is, but I still show a reluctance to add much to the conversation of “games that need a revival”.
It’s territory that feels as worn as lists of “best NES games” anyway. Often you see the same names repeated over and over; many, ironically enough, being Sega franchises. Even though there are a lot of games near and dear to me that no longer exist as active franchises, I tend to err on the side of wanting something original more often than not.
Mutant League Football is one of the few examples that I go back and forth on. Though it’s clearly a relic of the 90s game industry wherein “totally radical” was a valid design concept, I still think there’s a lot of untapped potential there. Clearly I’m not alone given that a modern take under the title Mutant Football League is in the works, but in this post Mighty No. 9 world, it’s difficult to say how that’ll pan out, if it ever does at all.
The issue with trying to recreate something like that is where you draw the line between influence and emulation. You want to recreate the feel of that older game, or, more specifically, you want to recreate how the audience remembered it feeling, but at the same time, you can’t simply offer a carbon copy of everything that was done before. Often that’s why these games remain as relics; the expectations have changed over time, to the point that they may very well be impossible to bring back in a manner that’ll satisfy anyone.
Personally, my inner 10 year old will always think that cutting the quarterback in half is the coolest thing ever, but something tells me that EA doesn’t particularly care about my opinion on this issue. If I can’t get Skate back, chances are I’m never going to see the Screaming Evils return to the field in full HD glory.
Maybe that’s for the best. “What if” isn’t a question that always lead to the best conclusions; our memories often being better left as such.