Those who have grown up alongside video gaming will recognise the distinct power that retro titles can have. The nostalgia of pixelated graphics, clunky controls and tinny chiptune music is unmatched, even though they make the gameplay itself somewhat subpar. Luckily for us sentimental gamers, big development companies like FromSoftware, Konami and Square have decided to remake or reboot our favourite games with improved graphics, controls and soundscapes.
You might be wondering why these companies would invest time and money into updating titles which have already existed for years or, in some cases, for decades. The answer lies in our love for them. So long as the remake is done well, it’s a guaranteed hit for the developers. The reception of a brand new game is unpredictable up until the moment of release; just look at how hard Cyberpunk 2077 bombed, despite intense anticipation beforehand. However, people know where they are with a classic and are more likely to look favourably upon a sympathetic reboot.
It’s not only first gen video gaming titles that are receiving the makeover treatment either; games which hail from even further back in time are finding new life online via gaming platforms and mobile app stores. For example, roulette has been around since the 18th century, but online casino platforms have transformed the game in recent years, offering players a range of options including variants such as American, European and High Roller roulette. Board games like Scrabble, Monopoly and Clue have found a new lease of life via officially licensed apps and online versions available at sites such as Board Game Arena.
Returning to classic video games, however, let’s take a look at some of the best reboot titles available to play now.
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The chances are that your very first gaming experience was with a Legend of Zelda title. The franchise has always proven popular but recent releases Breath of the Wind (2017) and Tears of the Kingdom (2023) have achieved monumental success.
The 2019 release of a Nintendo Switch compatible remake of Link’s Awakening was met with curiosity and delight. After updating the graphics, sound and gameplay from the original Game Boy version, not much else about the storyline and objectives needed to be changed. This is a classic which truly stands up to the passage of time but can now be enjoyed on a more modern platform.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
The impact of the Tony Hawk’s titles for PlayStation and N64 cannot be underestimated. Originally released in 1999 and 2000 respectively, they captured the zeitgeist of the time and won over both critics and the public. With a combination of playability, high satisfaction ratings and clever design, these games quickly became mainstays of 21st century gaming.
When the duo was re-released in 2020, they again met with overwhelming praise and success. Updated for modern gaming systems with improved trick rosters, more pro skaters and celebrity voiceovers, they took the memory of the original release and brought it up to date for modern audiences. The combined release of the remastered 1 + 2 sold over 1 million copies in the first week.
Resident Evil 4
The Resident Evil franchise began way back in 1996 with the eponymously titled game released by Capcom. It was the first horror survival game to garner success on such a global scale, leading to many sequels. The fourth instalment came in 2005, though there had already been 12 separate titles in the series by then, including a remake of the first game.
Development of the original Resident Evil 4 was fraught with problems, involving several rewrites, different versions and character overhauls. However, once it was made available to the public, people fell in love with it. Despite being under a lot of pressure to get it ‘right’, 2023’s remake was welcomed with open arms as critics and gamers both praised its modernization of a well-loved classic title.