Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10 Bygone Games That Should Come Back on NGP/3DS

All the big-name games were lined up for the unveiling of Sony's NGP and Nintendo's 3DS, all the monster franchises that you'd expect. But with the prevailing trend for older games making a comeback (think 3rd Birthday giving Parasite Eve a new lease of life, Persona taking the Shin Megami games to western audiences and many others) and the fact the Xperia Play should offer up a bunch more PSone games, I think this is a list worth making.

So, in no particular order, here are 10 games from history that I think deserve another shot at the big time. Some are rather obvious but hopefully I've dug a couple up that'll have you scurrying for Wikipedia. If you have your own favorites, feel free to add them in the comments.

UPDATE: Rediscovered this article in a search (July 2014), so to bring things up to speed, There was a Kickstarter for James Pond, but that got cancelled. We got Tempest 2XK from the Jaguar, which is far better than my Cybermorph idea and Starlight Inception is standing in for X-Wing. I suppose Earth Defense Force is the modern day version of Ant Attack, but for the rest, come on developers, make it happen!

1. Vagrant Story (PSone)
I'm playing this on my PSP at the moment and I love the sense of adventure, the immediacy of getting into the action and the depth for what is one of the later PSone games. Just imagine all that wrapped in a more flexible engine with some extra menace.

2. System Shock (PC)
Yes, modern gamers can play Bioshock or Dead Space to get their kicks but nothing quite left an impact on me like System Shock 2 with its gorgeous character advancement system, heart-stopping twists and subtle tone of horror.

3. Zool 2/James Pond 2 (Amiga)
Either of these would do, just to stop horrible hedgehog games being churned out all the time. Both were 16-bit classics of their time and with some imagination, love and attention could easily make the grade today.

4. Hunt for Red October (Atari ST)
This is here as an example of the perfect level of 'casual' simulation that most of us would want from a console game, without going to the depths of the Silent Hunter series. I loved the table-top feel to it and the tension as your torpedoes hunted their prey. Anything like this with just enough skill and variety (say a whole fleet game).

5. Cybermorph (Jaguar)
Okay, this wasn't a great game - but it was fun and played at a pace that didn't freak out the new-to-consoles gamer who'd inadvertently picked up a Jaguar. Take the basic theme and add some tunnels and underground 'worlds', and a wider variety of objectives, some mining and trading and you'd have a highly playable mix that brings to mind an Elite-on-a-planet game.

6. Toobin' (Arcade)
For a game to take maximum advantage of all those gyroscopes in the PSP2, you need a theme where there is a genuine sense of 'difference' to the controls and I can't think of a better game than this. Every tilt would see your dude paddling for his life, trying to steer his tube down the river.

7. Hardwar (PC)
If my redone version of Cybermorph is a ground-based mining game, then this can be the aerial version. A straight remake would be awesome as the player builds their little empire around Saturn's moons - just ramp up the visuals (Designer's Republic helped out on the original) and don't bog it down in too much plot, perhaps add an multiplayer option - job done!

8. Klax (Lynx)
I'm not sure why this game died out while Tetris continues strong to this day. Klax had a little bit of attitude and if a new developer threw in a few new rule deviations and some varying art styles it would be just as relevant as Lumines is.

9. X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (PC)
I still can't believe there is no credible sequel to these fantastic PC games, its a crime and somewhere someone will pay. Just throw the original code, missions and scripts into a new rendering engine and LucasArts would make the world a rather better place.

10. Ant Attack (Spectrum)
One of the first Spectrum games I ever played and still brilliant, all you have to do is run away from the ants, escaping the isometric city. A new version could have soldier, worker and queen ants in the mix and some different objectives, but there will never be nothing as B-movie chic as legging it from giant ants.

Update: For fans of this sort of article, there's a very good list of important PC games on Rock, Paper, Shotgun - well worth a browse. 

So, what would you add to the list, please add a comment! 


  1. Cybermorph?!? If I could choose any shooter from the Jag for a revival it would probably be Tempest 2000. But a brave choice, it must be said.

    Plok always deserves a second chance as well I feel.

  2. I skipped Tempest because there was a PC version that kept me going long after the Jag days, but Cybermorph could definitely have had more work done to it.