"Remake" is a dirty word -- except in videogames.
Rarely, if ever, do remade films and television shows garner even half the praise of the originals. Who'd want to watch Gus Van Sant's take on Psycho when Hitchcock's is next to it on the shelf? But videogames have been an exception. Taking the underlying game code and sprucing it up with modern-day amenities can, and often does, produce a superior experience.
With game budgets ballooning and too much risk becoming a deadly proposition, high-definition remasters of the classics have become a doubly sweet proposition for game publishers. You don't have to spend much to make them, and the games have a proven sales record.
So it shouldn't be surprising that this is the Year of Remakes. New games? Pah! Who needs 'em when you've got reloaded versions of Halo, God of War, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Sly Cooper, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Zone of the Enders, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64 and Resident Evil?
This recent run of remakes might be a (somewhat alarming) trend, but rehashed games aren't new. I've played many touched-up classics over the years and found the right enhancements can breathe new life into old favorites -- or tarnish their memory forever.
Here are some of my favorites, and remakes I wish had never been remade. What are yours?
I, like all red-blooded American teenagers, thought Sierra's adventure game about a slimy loser trying to get laid was the best thing ever. You had to distract a pimp with porn to have sex with a prostitute! And that was just the first 10 minutes! The only trouble was the original was, like Larry, well past its prime by the time my generation found it. Having to make Larry walk around with the arrow keys and using a text-based parser to interact was so Atari.
Fortunately for us and our hormones, the 1993 remake of Leisure Suit Larry brought the game up to code with remastered graphics (in top-of-the-line VGA!) and a word-free point-and-click interface. Super-sexy artwork of the fine ladies Larry struck out with awaited the wannabe swinger, in two hundred and fifty six glorious colors. Click away, lads.