Ducktales Remastered

The video game business is reaching new heights year after year, and let’s face it.. For every record breaking game and indie mega hit, there’s a god awful remake. There’s also some good one’s, but they don’t seem to be the majority unfortunately and it got me thinking about games that I would like to see remade. Being the opinionated bastard that I am I quickly realised that I could go on for ages picking games I’d like to see remade and explaining why, so I thought it best that I keep them by system.

This list is all about the Nintendo Entertainment System, and games that I would like to see remade, not remastered. I’ve (mostly) avoided Nintendo IP in this list as I believe most of their major franchise have evolved elegantly with no need to remake the older games (considering they’re all available readily on VC etc) and without Nintendo IP present there’s a great chance that these games could come to life through independent studios. For all I know some of the licensing may be floating around up for grabs somewhere! I’ve also left off games that have already (to my knowledge) ‘had the treatment’, most notably Duck Tales which already saw a return to form with a fantastic update a couple of years ago.

10. Mario’s Time Machine

Mario’s Time Machine was, let’s tell the truth… a pretty terrible ‘game’ for a number of reasons, all of which center around the fact that it was an educational title and none of which relate to it being a Mario game. One of the (more than a couple) dull points in the history of Jump Man, it aimed to educate children in the history of world in what was possibly the most complex and non-intuitive way whoever at Radical Entertainment could get away with.

How I see it: The premise of this title can be done right, I’m sure of it; but it will take a delicate formula of entertainment and education to make it appealing to the masses, and I think that Mario just isn’t the right man for the job on this one. If Nintendo were to reboot this sort of idea I definitely think it should be handed over to a newly emerged IP in Captain Toad the intrepid little explorer, who could be better to impart valuable knowledge to children about the world and history than he?

As far gameplay I imagine it being somewhat of a hybrid of the Mario’s Time Machine mechanics with the style of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U) to hold character continuity and ‘update’ rather than stray too far from what he original game was. The major revamp would need to come in story, an intuitive design, and the method in which the knowledge is both delivered and tested throughout the game. Last but not least this type of game should deliver knowledge through challenges and games rather than a straight up quiz.

9. Super Jeopardy

I’ve specifically picked Jeopardy here as it’s a globally known franchise and trivia archetype to itself, but this same opinion could be put forward for the YDKJ series, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, or even.. Brace yourself.. A combination of a number of trivia types combined.

How I see it: Custom trivia packs and regular ongoing updates and additions, hell the same game delivered to home consoles could be used to run happy hour at the local pub or bowlo extending the market to domination level. A flexible and extensible trivia platform is something that has been missing from the gaming world for a long time and I for one think it’s high time someone did something about it!

Sports games have now evolved to the point where live stats and player availabilities, trades, etc are all available daily through game updates; but imagine what you could do with a similar platform running trivia and trivia games (e.g. trivial pursuit). Games compartmentalized to only the trivia you like (gaming, movies, pop culture, history, space exploration, etc) or combination of them, in your favourite format to play again any amount of players you desire – all updated and kept relevant adding an extra element of some answers changing with current events.

8. Popeye

A nice and simple concept on this one, centered around breathing new life into a franchise that is on the cusp of being a full century since creation. Popeye the Sailor Man, for all his ups and downs, holds a very special place in my heart and while a modern day movie has been tossed around for a few years there really isn’t anything happening in the spinach-guzzling seaman’s diary.

How I see it: A mobile game. Possibly the only time I will advocate for playing games on a mobile phone (it’s just not for me), I think a simple play and difficult to conquer (and freely available) mobile remake of Popeye would breathe a breath of new life into the tired Kings Syndicate Features strongman. A new foray into a massively attractive market might be enough to spur pop culture forth into a resurgence of the classic character.

This is also one that I don’t have a huge problem with it being close to an updated port of the original game, but it would definitely need a few new features and mechanics to ensure it’s both current to modern expectations, and works well in the fact it’s challenging but fun to keep coming back to. Maybe something along the lines of leaderboards by country etc, or some sort of procedurally generated level mechanic so that it’s impossible to truly master.

7. Marble Madness

Marble Madness has been released on an absolute flood of video game systems for a very good reason, it’s fun and it’s challenging. But the franchise has been buried for quite a long time now, and most likely due to the fact that it’s very hard to better what was already released. Except, that is, unless you use modern technology in which case you can add layers of gameplay that previously weren’t even possible

How I see it: While I believe a direct remake could word very very well using the precision of XB1/PS4 controllers or even a balance element with Nintendo’s Joy-Cons, my own re-imagining of Marble Madness would see it evolve into a VR title for the VIVE. However there would have to be a few do’s and don’ts in this concept… don’t make it too touchy on the balance, (do) require a fun and easy-to-accomplish action to either start or move the marble, don’t take it too seriously, and DO create an ‘inverted’ mode where you move the field instead of the marble like one of those tabletop maze things… oh, and MULTIPLAYER RACES!

I haven’t thought this one out fully because let’s face it, I’m not a bloody game developer, but it could also be very fun to influence the marbles direction through leaning and even flailing about to some degree. This would totally bring things full circle in the way that you always lean to the side when you really want to turn hard on the original (and Mario Kart, etc), and be fun to not only play, but to watch others play.

6. California Games

Speaking of sports games.. It’s been far too long since a serious sports-combo game was developed, and what better way to bring them back into fashion then a new California Games. Other games in this field are the old Summer Games and Winter Games… which were all conveniently developed by the long defunct Epyx, however that by no means indicates that someone else couldn’t get the job done bigger and better.. Sports games are big business, but let’s face it, PES, FIFA, and the 2K series are starting to show signs of wear and tear just like the Madden and Live series did before them.

How I see it: If GTA can cram an entire world of missions, tasks, cars, clothes, houses, sports, weapons, etc into a game then surely someone can take a couple of handfuls of sports and put them together on a single game. Sure figure skating and bob sled aren’t going to make for an adrenaline pumping game, but you can’t tell me that a modern day Track & Field wouldn’t make for amazing fun both alone and with friends.

From button mashing sprint events to the precision of Tiger Woods golf, or even something like weightlifting, there is a huge array of tradition and new-school sports out there that could be wrapped up together in a game. There is also the consideration that many sports haven’t had a (well engineered) video game appearance since the days of two buttons and a joystick, meaning there is a lot of potential to create and fine-tune game mechanics with todays advanced controller technology. It doesn’t need to be a Nintendo gimmick, but balance and accuracy controls could go a long way with the gyro’s and accelerometers found in modern controllers.

5. Battletoads

There’s hardly a non-Nintendo made NES game that’s more iconic than Battletoads. The three super-buff amphibians touting names of dermatological issues, romping their way through some of the most ridiculously difficult (rage inducing, piece of shit ass bastard WHYISTHEREAWALLTHERE) levels of my childhood. The franchise has been bandied about in recent years by Microsoft, even having top dogs appearing at expo’s in Battletoads merch; but alas the three-nage mutant pimple not-turtles remain dormant.

How I see it: Dragonball Fighter art style (or cell shading like Windwaker) and Fighting Force (PS1) gamplay. Not too dissimilar from the mechanics of the original game, it’s been a while since a ‘Double Dragon style’ beat ’em up came out with most of them being long story driven hack’n’slash affairs with quests and skill trees etc etc. ‘The Toads’ aren’t about that. The Toads just want to smash face and crack jokes, like Duke Nukem but with the girls because… well that would be both weird and politically incorrect in the modern world (also sexist, misogynistic, and other Duke Nukem’esque negative traits).

Run around, beat stuff up, find random weapons that only last a few hits, and finish levels. No need for an expansive world and 200 hours of gameplay, just make it challenging and fun. They could even take a page out of Dragonballs book too and revamp the Battletoads with the ability to go … hyper… frogayan… (?!?) and obliterate a city block like Godzilla. Fanboys the world over will sell their grandmothers for a new B-Toad Beat’em Up, and if they’re able to add a few elements like non-linear or alternative paths then it might even make it’s way into the speed running community as well, lengthening it’s sales reach (imagine TMR running new and old games back to back!).

4. The Addams Family

The Addams Family has a franchise has not seen much in the way of anything since the turn of the millennium (other than the upcoming reboot), but has a fully fledged storyline and a recognisable catalogue of characters. The entire franchise is fun, has the romantic retro vibe, and is the right amount of kooky to draw new crowds in to hype up the upcoming movie (and put an even bigger strain on the rarity of existing awesome collectables).

How I see it: Rather than going back to the light-hearted platforming of the original games, I think a new Addams Family title would benefit from being more of a third-person adventure title. Resident Evil (sans dodgy movement and camera angles) and GTA V gives a good perspective to explore the world, and a ‘more accurate’ representation of the Addams’s mansion would lend itself greatly to a puzzler with action elements. Plus there’s something about the soundtrack that just clicks

In the vein of Maniac Mansion with an establish kooky subject matter and using modern but not cutting edge graphics, a lot could be done with a new Addams Adventure exploring attics, dungeons, graveyards and more with a unique supporting cast. Imagine puzzle challenges such as determining the right chain to pull to enter the vault, and a mini-game of driving golf balls into your neighbours window, or unlocking secrets by hitting the feature on the Addams Family pinball in the corner…. It’s Addams-ception!

3. Spy Vs Spy

Spy Vs Spy was a hilarious comic strip born from a Cuban expat within the depths of MAD magazine way back in the 1960’s. Better known to us gamer types, it was a ‘strange’ game that was difficult to grasp and had nowhere near enough instructions on how the game worked, what you could do, or more importantly, what you were supposed to do. While I personally have fond memories of it there is absolutely no denying the fact that it was a hot mess of a game that very few people enjoyed due to its gross ambiguity of.. Well everything.

How I see it: The original premise itself had quite a lot of merit and I think something that could work nicely here would be team-based co-op, because there’s more to the objectives than just staying alive. Pick your team size (1,2,3,4 a’la PUBG) and go against one of more similar sized teams in a massive game of hide and seek within an apartment build, or industrial complex, or even an entire city. Drawing on the original objectives of ‘find all the things then get to the airport’ you could do amazing things with teams of people running around the same area’s; even more so if they are looking for different items and can purposely pickup and hide each others gear.

Mentally I’m thinking something like GTA V or PUBG camera angles, players can’t kill each other but they can bash/shoot each other to slow the opposing team down (or not and just rely on speed to find everything), and mechanics that promote teamwork. I’m also leaning towards more procedurally generated objects or even objectives so that every game presents a unique challenge to prevent it from going stale. In final form it could quite well take center-stage at AGDQ as teams of players speed run against each other to win the match.

2. The Goonies II

If The Goonies doesn’t rank in your top 10 childhood movies alongside The Labyrinth then we’re not friends and you can eat a dick. If it does then you may remember it had a video game made for the franchise, confusingly called The Goonies II (because The Goonies game was only made for the Famicom and home computers, and pretty much unheard of outside of Japan). That’s right, despite having a magical story under license Konami blew their load early and was reduced to a re-do in the form of a sequel game that involved largely the same cast of characters, plus a mermaid.

How I see it: Take it back to the old school and expand. The same way that movies slim down books for the sake of runtime and storytelling, reverse that shit and expand on the original movie with more locations, puzzles, and ‘quests’; but make sure you follow cannon and include all the iconic movie moments as you go. A 3D adventure title starting out at home chilling out with your friends and a wild adventure to save all of your family homes from greedy property developers. You could even add mini-games like Bran’s bike ride that alters how long it takes him to re-appear depending on how well you do in the mini-game.

As amazing as the movie was, I feel like the adventure itself could yield so much more if expanded into a video game world. It already accommodates the needs for driving/riding, stealth, puzzle solving, action (or even the dreaded quick-time events ‘could’ but shouldn’t be used), item finding / crafting, and ADVENTURING! Add a few extra ‘scenes’ and you could not only create a great game, but expand on a much loved story that could assist in driving sales if done right.

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Just one of the pure definitions of ‘NES hard‘, the TMNT game (made for plenty of systems but truly remembered for the NES) was punishingly difficult and mostly comes to peoples minds when you think of horrific water levels in games. As great as it was it was far from a masterpiece with scattered gameplay, spatters of obscene difficulty and glitchy performance. BUT, it’s a classic and that’s why it needs a remake.

How I see it: Dissimilar gameplay styles in the one game is nothing new these days and the newer mechanics available could be used to remake some of the iconic sections of the first (and best!) TMNT title. Trading in the overworld map for a multi-tiered Need For Speed style city could work well for a non-linear storyline that is accessible via different methods (van, motorbike, blimp, and SEWERS), with individual levels moving into the classic platforming style a’la Castlevania… or TMNT itself.

As the turtles have continued to evolve over the years the world itself will have a more expansive universe to work with and also a timeline that could be worked through from the 80’s style of enemies, music and artwork right up to the more recent additions. Whether this would work better in an Evoland style or a mode-switch like Wonder Boy did so wonderfully is something I haven’t put much thought into, but creating an all new experience with retro homage elements is something that certainly tantalizes my fancy.