This is an idea i've used in a series of articles i've started writing in the Uni paper (Topic of my articles if interested
The general idea is a half-jokey, half-serious approach to game remakes and series to highlight what's changed and why sometimes the limitations of older hardware worked in a game's favour, or at least that the game still stands up today on its own merit.
Think about it: what was originally a necessity, of using pixelated graphics and 8-bit chip-tunes, has now been embraced as part of the gaming aesthetic. Many games, from Minecraft to Megaman 9, relish the unique power of using pixels as their brush strokes or blips and bleeps as their soundtrack.
So is shinier and spanglier always better? This being Imperial, we must experiment. As I mentioned earlier, I will use the power of writing to REVERSE TIME ITSELF.
By doing this I will (single-handedly) transform the gaming landscape from one endlessly striving towards realism and simulation, to one that starts off realistic and suddenly embraces the abstract. The slowdown, the short draw-distances and square polygons. We’ll pretend it’s like fine art, starting off all obsessed with fabrics and shadows and portraits and landscapes, before being forced by photography into a kaleidoscope of creativity. Surrealism, impressionism, and all those other-isms.
We’ll pretend, just as a null hypothesis type thing, that even if Miyamoto had the choice of 3D-high-resolution, bump-mapped, bloom-lit powers when he invented Mario, or Toby Gard had the access to performance-capture, anti-aliasing, motion-controlled know-how when he made Tomb Raider, that they’d still choose to make them just as they did.
Last week's time-reversal was for Quake:
Since id’s success with Quake 4, it has produced 3 sequels including the trigger-happy Quake 3, and a true strogg-and-sci-fi sequel Quake 2. But it’s in its latest incarnation (trendily called just ‘Quake’) that the series has found the eeriness and atmosphere it has always strived for. id has eschewed the steel walls and electric doors of Quake 4 and its sequel too, instead opting for a uniquely baroque hybrid of gothic architecture, thunderous guns and grotesque fantasy monstrosities.
Its masterstroke of horror however is in reducing the amount of frames of animation used. Instead of the fluid and familiar advances of Quake 4’s enemies, the ones in Quake are rendered with a jerky, staccato energy, as if fighting in strobe lighting. Funny as it may sound, it actually gives the gunplay a brutal immediacy of impact, and the already ghoulish designs the unnerving, alien rhythm of a Ray Harryhausen stop motion effect.
There is nothing as tense as seeing one of Quake’s huge Shamblers crashing across a hallway in juddered strides, nothing as vicious as a possessed knight swinging his sword in the few frames of his frenzied swing, and nothing better as message from id to the rest of the FPS competition; that in this day of motion-capture and self-indulgent animations, less can still be more.
I've got loads more examples to come, Final Fantasy this week, Twin Snakes etc. It's not just a matter of game mechanics, which usually are refined (or convoluted) with further iterations of concept. It's more that sometimes that when a games is creatively built around certain limitations, it can remain valid because of them and not just despite them.
You guys ever thought along the same lines? I promise i won't steal them for the articles (unless i already thought of them)!