The E3 Expo is all about new hardware and new games. Nintendo showed off the new Wii U console (stealing the entire show) and everyone else did their best to show off a new batch of high-end retail games. The next installment of Modern Warfare was proudly touted along with a host of other big budget titles like Uncharted, Gears of War, Forza, Assassin’s Creed and the usual dribble from Nintendo. I enjoy seeing the next generation of games as much as the next person, but why shouldn’t we see the next lower budget arcade games too?
Big games in a little package
In this case, I’m not talking about the few arcade games that were mentioned at E3 this year, it’s the arcade games that weren’t announced. In fact, I’m going to talk about the arcade games we might never see but should. The console arcade platforms are the perfect place to update classic games and there are a ton that still deserve another time to shine.
I first played Rampart on the NES and it was responsible for many lost hours in front of the TV. Rampart was a game that combined the puzzle aspect of Tetris and frantic-yet-strategic gun play of Worms and Angry Birds. You had to place your castle wall pieces to surround your home base which would then give you real estate to place your cannons. Then it was all out war as you try to blow holes in your opponent’s walls, hopefully severe enough that they can’t rebuild.
Rampart was played best with another player and XBLA or PSN gamers would benefit grossly from a modern version…and I’m not just talking about a port. Rampart was only a two-player game but imagine the fun of four players building and defending their castles while trying to attack each other at the same time. Toss in some power-ups and special attacks and you have yourself a night of good old fashioned, new arcade fun. Dear Atari, for the good of gamers everywhere, please remake Rampart. I’m telling you, it would work and work wonderfully…and a $15 price tag would be even better.
There’s been some rumors flying around that a Road Rash update was coming to the current generation of consoles but I have yet to read anything that confirms it. That being said, we need a new Road Rash and we need it now. In a world of puffy and cute Mario Karts, it’s time we get to enjoy some racing brutality. Road Rash was a Genesis game that had you riding your crotch rocket motorcycle while fending off other bikers with weapons like crowbars, bats and chains. Not bad.
Road Rash had a lot of sequels over a short period of time, the last title being on the Playstation. However, with today’s high end consoles and connectivity, Road Rash just lends itself to super online play. We’re talking motorcycles here so having no less than eight opponents at once shouldn’t be a problem. But one thing a Road Rash remake doesn’t need to be is open world. We already have Burnout for that, so please stick to the Road Rash roots – linear roads and lots of weapons. Just think Mortal Kombat on motorcycles.
Trap Gunner is most definitely the one game on this list you’ve never heard of or played. Trap Gunner was a Playstation that, for lack of a better comparison, was a lot like Bomberman. The goal of the game was to kill your opponent by laying different types of traps and bombs around the board. However, unlike Bomberman, the levels in Trap Gunner weren’t simple grids and boxes. Trap Gunner stages had bridges, hills, sewers, clock towers and a bunch of other environmental pieces that played directly into your strategy. Trap Gunner was also a little unique in that it had distinct characters, each with strengths and weaknesses. I like to think of Trap Gunner as a Bomberman for serious gamers. It’s unfortunate more people haven’t played the game and that’s why it needs a reboot in the arcade space. Honestly, I’d even take a straight up port at this point.
Skate or Die
I first played Skate or Die on my friend’s Apple II computer, then later rocked the half pipe on my NES. Skateboarding may not be as hip as it once was, but it still lends itself to some great, in-your-face gaming. Skate or Die had a lot of solo challenges, but we all know the most fun was in the pool facing Lester with some American Gladiator-style pugil sticks.
I’m seeing a Skate or Die reboot that focuses more on fighting than the single-player downhill challenge, although using those challenges as ways to improve your character for online battle would be pretty cool. This new version of Skate or Die would serve everyone. You’d have your trick challenges and timed events for the leaderboard gamers and the hand-to-hand combat for everyone else. Heck, even throw in some of today’s real life skating stars and then we can have some licensed skating fun!
Blades of Steel (and others)
I have to admit that I’ve been watching the Stanley Cup finals, thus hockey is on my brain, and when I think of hockey and video games my mind always goes to Blades of Steel. I’m not a big sports game guy but there was a time when I couldn’t stop playing them. In the days of Blades of Steel, Tecmo Bowl and RBI Baseball, gameplay was simple yet fun and extremely cut-throat. Many an NES remote was thrown out of frustration thanks to these games. One problem many current sports games suffer from is extreme complexity. Between the Madden and 2K games, you need a degree just to swing a bat or shoot a puck.
Tecmo Bowl was remade for XBLA a while ago and remained true to the original. I shouldn’t complain about that but I think these games need and deserve more than just some minor updates. However, while I say that, I also don’t want to see these games turn into cheap, power-up play like the 3 on 3 NHL Arcade or Madden Arcade versions. We need modern-looking games with classic style controls (and real teams). I want to be able to enjoy a quick game of baseball without it being too cute or too complex. With a fun and balanced game like Blades of Steel in the arcade, I’d be back playing sports games daily.
It’s not about nostalgia, it’s about good games
We have 30 years worth of modern video games to look back on, and while many complain about the rehashing old franchises, if they’re handled properly we could have some really fun games to play. In the end it’s not about the name on the front of the box, it’s the game on the inside. No one seems to be complain about the minimally updated Mario game released every year, so why should they no want other well made classic reboots?
Want more articles on games we’d like to see made? Check these out: