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Destructoid Discusses! Everyone loves Jonathan Holmes


1:17 AM on 08.18.2008
Destructoid Discusses! Everyone loves Jonathan Holmes photo



Time again for this week's installment of the only conversation blog I know of: Destructoid Discusses! This week we started off with no topic, but then we were suddenly steered into the wonderful discussion of the latest and upcoming retro remakes by our own Jonathan Holmes. He and Joe Burling end up going back and forth in a display of differing points of view over Mega Man 9 and everyone chimes in with their 2¢.

Retro remakes - good or bad? Discuss! 

[Everyone loves Joe, too!] 

Dyson

I'm currently drawing a blank about what to a to have as a topic seeing as I'm about to start BC:R for review, so any good things you can think of -- start talking and we'll see where it goes :)

Johnny Holmes

How about retro remakes like Bionic Commando: Rearmed?
 
Are they a "colorization" of the videogame world, a great way to keep classic gaming alive? Which suck and which don't? If you've never played the original, has a remake ever sold you on a series?
 
You know, that sort of stuff.

Joe Burling

Let's talk about Braid!!!!

For cereal, though, what's up with EA? They are taking over the gaming industry. What will this mean for us in a year? 5 years? 10 years?

Dyson

Fuck Braid. I'll follow Jonathan's lead :)

Johnny Holmes

I did something right? NICE.
 
But I'll come clean, coming up with this topic was just a ploy to gush about how outstanding Bionic Commando: Rearmed is. This is how you remake a cult favorite. It is what every gaming remake should be, a passionate love letter to the original, the game every Bionic Commando fan has dreamt of making.
 
All it took was for Capcom to hire some talented, dedicated people who are actually big fans of the original. There are plenty of them out there, but for some reason they are often the last to get put on such projects. Do you think true fans of Bubble Bobble made any of the half-assed sequels/remakes that have littered handhelds for the past few years? I doubt it.
 
I think the problem is if you are the type of person who really loves classic games, you likely aren't the type to claw your way to the top of the modern gaming world. If you are a smaller-name game developer who isn't all about copying one of today's big franchises ("It's GTA, but sci-fi!" or "It's Wii Sports, but with Z-list celebrities!"), your ideas tend to get ignored. And even if you are a big name, publishers don't want to take a risk on putting their AAA talent on a classic-style game. Even famous dudes like Castlevania's Igarashi have said (to me of all people) that they want to make more classic, 2D games on home consoles, but that they can't get their publishers to fund them.
 
Which brings me to Mega Man 9. If this game ends up being as influential as I hope it will, the video game industry will become a better place for pixel obesessed nerds like myself. A vote for Mega Man 9 is a vote for video games that look like video games, not wannabe CGI or 2D animated movies. It's a vote for gameplay over glitter and gloss. And most importantly, it's a vote for a $10 game that will keep you occupied for years to come. If you have any interest in gaming pre-1995, you must buy Mega Man 9.
 
Man, I think I drank too much coffee this morning.

Dale North

Fuck Braid!

They can remake retro games until the end of time; I'll always be happy with them if they're good. Remaking retro hits is pretty much the only thing we'll let the industry "cash in" on and still be okay with it.

I'd love to see how the decisions to remake games comes up. I mean, who thought of redoing 1942? I'm glad they did, but were they always intending to do this, or did they just Google "Capcom" and "Old," and then pick the first thing that came up? 

I agree that a purchase of the upcoming Mega Man 9 is like a vote for video games. From the reaction gamers had to it, I'd guess they would be open to many more like this. And I'm sure Capcom will be happy to oblige.

I'm not a retro purist or anything, but I really like playing the originals, and I'd be okay with a re-release of the originals, with added levels and challenges. For example, I played the Genesis classic Quackshot for 4 hours last night. How about adding another country to that bitch? Granted, it wouldn't make as much money as a Mega Man 69 Retro, but I'd definitely pick it up.

Joe Burling

I will not be purchasing Mega Man 9, nor do I have any interest in it really.

I think it's the look of the game and the fact that it will play like the original that turns me off. I stopped playing those games long ago. They all still have a very special place in my heart, but that doesn't mean I want to play them again. I loved reading Goosebumps when I was a kid, but that doesn't mean I'm going to rush right home after work and read Goosebumps tonight.

Colette Bennett

Somehow I simultaneously respect and feel a little sorry for you, Joe Burling.

Joe Burling

I know! I blame it on Resident Evil, Colette. The first time I played Resident Evil and the dog jumped through the window, my entire outlook on gaming changed. It was a pivotal moment in my life, and I'm not being sarcastic. I tried to go back and play some of the old games I loved growing up, but they just didn't really do it for me anymore. I had found my new home with PS1 games like Resident Evil and Jumpin' Jack Flash.

I don't hate on retro games at all, but for me to truly enjoy one it would have to be a remake. I invite the world to pity me, but I am a very happy gamer with a lot of current games on my plate to make me smile. =)

Johnny Holmes

Joe, to me what you say is bonkers. Bonkers. Just plain bonkers.
 
What if I said "I just can't enjoy the Muppets anymore, because after I saw Toy Story, I realized the only thing wanted to see again was CGI?" It's not mean or stupid thing to say, but it just doesn't add up.
 
Your Goosebumps analogy doesn't hold water, and I'll tell you why. Goosebumps books aren't written for all ages. They are horror lite, horror books for people too young to deal with the real thing. The way I see it, Mega Man isn't like Goosebumps; it is the real thing, as real as it gets. It's like classic Hitchcock; technically only G- or PG-rated material, but still more than appropriate for adults.  Mega Man 9 may be simple enough for a kid to play, but trust me, the game is hard enough that even a +30-year-old man like myself will not be able to beat it without an adult level of determination and problem-solving skills.
 
Just because you associate the NES era with your childhood doesn't mean you're a child if you still appreciate it.

Colette Bennett

Well, I don't pity you, Joe; I totally respect that all gamers have different takes on the topic. I can definitely understand how you felt about that moment in Resident Evil even though it didn't have the same effect on me; one of my big moments was walking through that first darl alley in the first Silent Hill, and seeing the angles the scene was presented in, and I clearly remember feeling a profound emotion about how games were evolving and I would be there to witness it happening. I guess for me that is as treasured as the hours whiled away on numerous Mega Mans or Zeldas, just each in their own way.

*dark, not darl. I have no idea what a darl alley is like.

Topher Cantler

What Jonathan said. 

Joe Burling

OK Jonathan, let's go with your Hitchcock analogy instead. I don't want to
watch that either. ;)

Justin Villasenor

Really, Joe? I found that the ugly 3D of most PlayStation and N64 games made me far less interested in the "future" of gaming. I just couldn't understand at the time why developers didn't just make better looking 2D games (like Wild ARMs or Star Ocean: The Second Story!) until 3D started actually looking ... decent.

Anyway, remakes. I'm totally fine with remakes so long as they don't suck. I really like how they give people that weren't around for the original game (or just happened to miss it the first time around) a chance to experience it without having to search around for an old console/cartridge.

Dale North

My sentiments exactly!

Joe Burling

Justin, I think it's because newer games are able to get an emotional response out of me. The older games were a blast, yes, but they never made me jump, or fear, or feel like I may cry. When Resident Evil was able to make me feel some of these emotions, something changed, and I knew that older games would never be able to satisfy me in the way that newer games could.

Brad DMV Rice

Have you tried playing the original Clock Tower? That game has re-affirmed my belief that SNES games can be scary. The moody music, your character's total weakness, and the abject horror that the deformed child inspires as he's chasing you throughout the house. I'm looking to play through The First Fear soon -- I just hope the Japanese text doesn't wind up being the death of me.

Joe Burling

I never did play that one, Brad. While I don't doubt that it had a profound impact on you, I question whether a SNES game could scare me now. As I continue to experience newer games with better graphics and advanced cinematics, getting immersed in games that don't have these things becomes harder and harder.

Chad Concelmo

I hate to jump on the "argue with Joe" bandwagon (I <3 you, Joe Burling), but I don't think modern technology has anything to with a player's emotional response. Yeah, I was dramatically affected by Metal Gear Solid 4 and Shadow of the Colossus and all their technical prowess, but I will never forget the first time Palom and Porom sacrificed themselves in Final Fantasy IV. And don't even get me started on the opera scene from Final Fantasy VI. In a way, I am more impressed by emotionally resonant games done in 8- or 16-bit.

To me, older games with older graphical styles are true videogames. The fancier games get, the closer they get to becoming interchangeable with movies. I don't like this. I like dedicating my life and my free time to a medium like no other. I get this feeling when I play a game that separates itself from a cinematic presentation as much as possible.

This is why I love things like Mega Man 9 and Braid. Playing them is an experience like no other.

Joe Burling

Wait, Chad. I love Braid, too. Outside of that, though, I didn't have the experience you did with some of those games. I guess I'm just different. :(

Mike Ferry

Hey, I'm totally late to the party when it comes to Braid (I just finished it no more than two days ago.) But, what I can say about it, is it was probably one of the most thought-provoking games I've played since the twist in BioShock.

As for Mega Man 9, it's really great that they're going back to the core gameplay that made Mega Man games so great. I'm interested from a distance at this point. But come on now, Splash Woman? Are you serious? They couldn't come up with a better name for the first female level boss? That's almost as bad as Duff McWhalen.

Chad Concelmo

Sorry, Joe. I know you loved Braid. I was just saying it is something I love. Sorry for the confusion. :)

I agree with you a lot, actually. Especially concerning how much that scene in Resident Evil changed your outlook on what videogames can do. I just love retro games so much and tried (a little unsuccessfully) to explain why they mean so much to me. :)

Let me just summarize what I said like this: Joe Burling is amazing. I love Mega Man 9. :)

Joe Burling

=) =) =)
<3 <3 <3

Dale North

Best summary ever, Chad.

I think that drawing emotions from the gamer has almost nothing to do with the technology. If mere words could from a book could move you, why can't 8-bit pixels? Of course, you're talking to someone who is emotionally stirred whenever he hears the SNES soundchip make any kind of noise.

Joe Burling

That's true, Dale. Emotions can come from just about anything, I guess.

Take this YouTube video, for example...

Reverend Anthony

"If mere words could from a book could move you, why can't 8-bit pixels?"
 
Example: Passage.

Mike Ferry

Rev. Tony beat me to it. I was just about to say Passage.

Johnny Holmes

Duff McWhalen reference FTW.
 
But back to arguing with Joe (who we all owe a debt of gratitude for taking the counterargument in this). Joe, please riddle me this: What is it about loving the "dog moment" and other classic moments in cinematic gaming that makes some other types of gaming now invalid to you?
 
Can't you like country and western? Or is it a case of once you go (Ninja Gaiden) Black, you can never go back (to NES Ninja Gaiden)?

Joe Burling

Not all other types of games become invalid to me. Here is how my mind works:

Consoles - I like my cinematic "dog moments" on my consoles. Not only is it on a big screen with awesome surround sound, but I can use the more complicated controllers and get online easily.

Handhelds - I like my puzzle and throwback games on my handhelds. These are the games that can't hold my attention for long on consoles, but are more than satisfying while laying in bed or in a waiting room.

I don't like handheld games that try to be console games, and I like my puzzle, strategy, and throwback games on handhelds, which I can take with me everywhere. There will always be exceptions to either side, but this is my general rule of thumb.

Platformers, though, are something that I just can't get into. Some switch in my head got flipped long ago, and platformers just don't do it for me anymore. And yes, I know Braid is a platformer, but I look at it more as a puzzle game.

cont...

To give you an idea, here are the games I am currently playing:

Braid
Uncharted
Final Fantasy Tactics
Phoenix Wright 3
(whatever that one is called again)
Puzzle Quest
Geometry Wars 2
Rock Band
UT3
(which I will start this weekend)

I would say I have a pretty diverse taste in games, but you don't see me playing a bunch of retro games (especially platformers).

Dale North

Killed it.

KIDDING!

Retro is like fiber. It's unhealthy to not have it in your diet. You get all blocked up with the low-substance over-produced junk food they make these days.

Johnny Holmes

Joe, you are so amazing! You truly have it all figured out. Every console has a different purpose for you. It's something I envy, because it seems to give people joy to look at things from that perspective. A place for everything and everything in its place. Sadly, I'm much more sloppy and grumpy than that. As for me, I look at the Wii, 360, and PS3 in my living room as a sad testament to how badly gamers have always been taken advantage of.

Imagine if I had a three different refrigerators in my kitchen (one for liquids, one for condiments, and one for vegetables), three TVs in my living room (one for dramas, one for comedies, and one for reality shows), and three toilets in my bathroom, (one for #1, one for #2, and the other one just for chilling out and keeping it real)?

Wouldn't you think it was nuts? Yet gamers do the same thing with their video game consoles on a consistent basis, without any realization of how wasteful and silly it is to have.

And wait, you're playing Geometry Wars 2? How is that not a retro game? Damn it, Joe, if you can play GW2, you can play MM9. Both have "Pew Pew Pew" and "Oh shit, I can't believe I just died" and achievements, and all that shooter jazz. The only thing that that makes it different is that it has jumping.

And....wait? Braid at the top of your list? COME ON!

If you can like Braid, and you can like Geometry Wars 2, then you can like Mega Man 9. I say this not to be forceful or brash, but because I love you, Joe Burling, and I don't want to see you deprive yourself of the magic of MM9. If it weren't for the fact that there is no way in hell that we will both remember to trade each other's Wii codes, I'd say I'd just gift you the game when it comes out. But we both know that will never happen.

Dale North

*raises hands*
I love Jonathan Holmes.

Joe Burling

I love Jonathan Holmes, but my hand is not the only thing that is raised right now. ;)

Jonathan, I've thought about it, and I'll give MM9 a try with an open mind. Please understand, though, that traditional platformers really rub me the wrong way these days.

Jonathan Holmes

I'M SO HAPPY!

Give me your Wii code and I'll mail it to you for free. You deserve it for putting up with my badgering.

Joe Burling

Oh... uh... well, I don't have a Wii. *ducks behind Chad for cover*

You can find me on the 360 (Buck F1tch3s) or PS3 (BuckFitches). Do you have any codes for that?

Also, you are never badgering! You are one of my very favorite people on Dtoid and I love our spats!

Johnny Holmes

Me too!

And now, I will buy you a Wii, as you can't gift with the other consoles, right?

Samit Sarkar

I think retro remakes are a fantastic idea. Just like the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games introduce classic songs and artists to young'ns, games like Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Bionic Commando Rearmed, and Mega Man 9 will introduce those iconic games and characters to a whole new generation of gamers. And assuming the remakes are good games, today's kids will hopefully become interested in the history of the games, and maybe will eventually seek out the originals. That's the ideal sequence of events, no?

******

Once again, Jonathan Holmes brings the knowledge, and that knowledge convinces Joe to play Mega Man 9 when it comes out (I also think Joe is insane for not wanting to play it, but oh well). I would think that most gamers would be looking forward to the new slew of upcoming retro remakes, but Joe reminds us that not all gamers are the same. 

So would you say that your gaming tastes are more Joe Burling, or Jonathan Holmes?






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