8-bit worship needs to end

I’ve been seeing loads of games with “retro graphics” within recent years. I’m sick of it. The developers of these games barely realize that why NES games were so successful wasn’t because of their looks, but how they played. Now we’re getting games that try to emulate the visuals while forgetting that these games need to play well. Then again, I shouldn’t complain about that when there are tons of old games that play horribly and are messed up beyond salvage… then again we have the same games released under different names and visuals, so it’s 50/50 I guess.

It begs the question why we can’t have games that look modern and play like the best products of the past? The answer is that making games on the modern standards is both hard and expensive as hell. Nobody really wants to put all that into a product that barely makes its expenses back… except that big companies like EA continue to put insane amounts of money into barely mediocre products year after year and call them a success if they break even, which is why we have First Person Shooter number X. Would it be too much to ask to drop the graphics department down a few notches and concentrate on the content and gameplay?

Games do not need to be in full blown HD. As an owner of a large HD TV, I can say that it’s being wasted with the current market. Only Bly-Ray movies utilise the screen well enough. I can’t play my older consoles on it because they look wrong. I need to buy another, older TV in order to make them look right again.

There’s two Mega Man fangames now that both are 8-bit in visuals. I really have to ask why? Well, the answer is simple really; generally it’s accepted that the haydays of Mega Man was on the NES, thou I’d argue that the best era of Mega Man was from NES to GBA. Thus, it’s natural to assume that following the whole 8-bit thing would be the best, where you can go for nostalgia and true style of Mega Man. Which is naturally complete bullshit when we really get down to it.

WayForward does it right with the new Ducktales game; update the visuals while keeping the same tight gameplay. They could add more content or make Ducktales 3, but nevertheless they did it right. Why is that both CAPCOM and the Mega Man fandom do not realize that the best option would be to utilise modern visuals while sticking to the old gameplay? Mega Man in Smash Bros. is a perfect example of 2D moved into 3D.

But Aalt, it’s the developers’ who decide these things. Here’s some customer service 101; The customer decides what you do. This means that it is the providers job to see what the customer wants and wishes, and then according to this create a product which the customer the purchases. This doesn’t only mean that the customer gets what customer wants, but that the product will be successful. I’m keeping all game developers in the same line, and that is not unfair. All developers are tied down to same rules, no matter if they’re making money or not.

When CAPCOM was planning on Mega Man 9 they conducted a research to see what game popped out the most in the fandom. Of course, this was Mega Man 2. Rather than going for the absolutely best thing they could’ve gone for, that is to make Mega Man 2 obsolete, they decided to replicate it.

For a product to become as successful as it can, the first step is to make the past products obsolete.

This is second thing in customer service; you need to aim for the top at all times. Mega Man 9, alongside with 10, was the nail in Mega Man’s coffin as it didn’t try to be better than Mega Man 2; it tried to be Mega Man 2. So does many other games with “retro” visuals. I can’t fathom why these developers are aiming to make their games like older games rather than making them better in order to replace those old games. 8-bit era is over and has been over for years now; get on with it. Nigoro, the developer of La-Mulana, realized that their game was nothing but a copy of old MSX games both feel and look. Thus, La-Mulana Remake was devised with revamped graphics, musics, and the whole game was rewritten. This is what developers need to do. Realize that in order to make the industry advance, you need to advance as well. Originality is a large factor in this, and this is where loads of “retro” graphics games stumble so hard that it’s not funny.

Mega Man Unlimited stumbles in this so hard. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, it doesn’t bring anything special to the table. It’s yet another 8-bit Mega Man reproduction. If you’ve played the NES games, you’ve played this already. Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype doesn’t even have any reason to be a damn 2D 8-bit game. That is not what Mega Man Legends is. By making a fan game of Mega Man Legends into this, you are conveying the wrong message. Who the hell was the stupid person to say Hey, we’re not getting this 3D game, so let’s make a 2D game based on what we’ve seen to appeal to the developers! because nothing says you want this kind of game than making its appeal something completely different. Surely both of these developers could’ve go for the broke and do something that didn’t fellate NES.

It’s hard to make new graphics from scratch with you own accord, and it’s even harder to make them look good. It takes a lot of work and the workload only gets bigger when you have to stick with certain limitations. Both Mega Man Unlimited and Legends 3 Proto use assets from NES Mega Man games to an extent and the devs have built their graphics based on these assets rather than, y’know, making their own. Then again, Mega Man Unlimited artwork amateurish enough to make anyone cringe. Legends 3 Proto on the other hand have Hideki Ishikawa, an ex-CAPCOM illustrator, and Makoto Tomozawa, who composed Legends games’ music, in their ranks so surely this game will be something exceptional? I’d really love it to be, but it’s just 8-bit Mega Man with more high speed action. The game doesn’t look any better than Unlimited. The content and gameplay from Legends series can’t be adapted to 2D plane without sacrifices, just as 2D gameplay can’t be adapted to 3D without taking something out. Legends 3 Proto should have been completely different project with completely different name. It has nothing to do with Legends series. Hell, rename Ratchet and Clank into Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype with Volnut’s model hacked to replace Ratchet’s and you got a game that has more to do with Legends than this 2D abortion. It will most likely have great music and good promotional poster, but that amounts to nothing.

The industry’s in a sad state when we’re discussing damn 8-bit games. The industry and fans are not driving onward and making something worthwhile as both sides are just sitting in a ring and masturbating to the past while the overall populace just walks by and doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. We’re seeing more and more games released as obsolete Day 1 than ever before. Neither the industry or indie developers are listening to the forest, but just that one tree. No wonder Mega Man’s dead, when there’s nobody to revolutionise and advance his games, not even the fans. All doors are open for a buffet, and everybody’s standing outside in the rain hungry.

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