Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

3 December, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: Classics
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:18 AM

After a week if illness, I have to admit that I’m not feeling particularly novel. So, we’ll pick a challenge that has been done before.

Your challenge this weekend: what classic game would you like to see remade? Or even just re-released?

In your answer, consider what elements might be changed, what elements must remain unchanged, and if the game could really be a commercial success.

My thoughts after the break.

The game many game designers talk about when this topic comes up is M.U.L.E. Designers cite the simple yet deep gameplay, and how fun it is in multiplayer. Interestingly enough, few have really stepped up to the plate to make an updated clone of the game.

Personally, there are a lot of old online games that I think would be neat to see re-released. The old AOL NeverWinter Nights would be great to experience given the way a lot of the old timers gush about it. There are, unfortunately, too many of these types of games that many people will never get to play.

Speaking as someone who has helped resurrect a classic game, there’s the continual question of what do you improve and what do you leave “true” to the original version of the game? Update too much, and you might lose the soul. Perhaps people fear making an updated version of M.U.L.E. because a massive graphics update would make the game lose some of its charm.

Note that your game doesn’t have to be online or multiplayer. These are just the games that came to my mind when thinking about this question. :)

So, what are the games you’d like to see? What should be changed, and what should remain?

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  1. Podracer.

    For some reason, i really enjoyed it. I always hope SWG would implement it (MMO podracing would be amazing and could be done) but hoping for anything from that game is wasted process cycles.

    Comment by Cael — 3 December, 2006 @ 10:40 AM

  2. X-Com UFO Defense
    I’d love to see this game brought back for modern play. Complete with the turned base game play and base building. It was a great game in it’s time. I loaned my copy to a friend who never gave it back, or I’d have burned the disks to a CD and found a way to keep playing. Been over a decade, but I still have fond memories of it.

    Comment by Grimwell — 3 December, 2006 @ 6:16 PM

  3. Frankly, for sheer nostalgia value, I’d love to see a couple of the games from the old MECC BBS service make a encore appearance. Now understand, these were games that could be played on a teletype… they’d never be popular today, but at the time (late 70s), they were a great deal of fun.

    The one that really comes to mind is “Combat”, which was a space combat game. You’d get a report on all the ships in the area, along with heading, speed, direction to target, shield condition, and so on, and you’d need to define the parameters of the attack (lasers, for example, had a direction and “spread”… the wider the spread, an the greater the distance, the less damage inflicted). You had to monitor your own shield state, speed, and so on as well, of course.

    It was all just columns of numbers coming down the pipe at 300 baud, but we spent hours playing it… there’s definitely some nostalgic value there for me.

    Another old game from a slightly later era (that probably does already exists somewhere) is the old Robot Wars for the Apple II if I recall. This was essentially a programming exercise, you’d write scripts to control your “robot” in a little arena. The scripting was simple, basically having the robot move, scan, and/or fire. The challenge came from not having any precise data on where an opponent was or what they were doing. You might program a robot to maccelerate in a random direction if it took damage, for example, but that would probably mess up any tracking you were doing. In combination with limited storage (2 16-bit registers for storage, if I recall), it made for some fun rivalries in the old computer club.

    Probably not exactly what the challenge was about, but it was fun wallowing in the memories anyway…

    Comment by Craig Huber — 4 December, 2006 @ 10:43 AM

  4. Wasteland (the predecessor to Fallout)

    Everyone gushes about it, but I’ve never been able to suck it up and look past the graphics.

    Comment by Cameron Sorden — 4 December, 2006 @ 12:14 PM

  5. I’d say the old Trade Wars and Trade Wars 2002 door games… but CCP already made EVE Online.

    Then there is Gang Wars (or the knock off Pimp Wars)… but in spirit we’ve already got the Grand Theft Auto games.

    Given how much graphics and animation have advanced, I’d love to see an updated Battle Chess.

    Comment by Jason — 5 December, 2006 @ 6:01 AM

  6. I think they did remake Odell Lake actually… I remember playing a much flashier and better looking version at the public library in the mid 90′s, but I can’t remember what the platform was.

    Comment by Cameron Sorden — 5 December, 2006 @ 10:23 AM

  7. I think a lot of the BBS style games should be remade for cell phones. Turn-per-day is perfect for that platform that theoritically has net connectivity as a given.

    Comment by Brask Mumei — 6 December, 2006 @ 7:40 AM

  8. I echo the sentiments of Brask and Craig – BBS ‘door games’ of yore are admirably suited to a mobile format. I’ve heard similar musings from other gamedevs as well. I suppose the only question is, who will jump first?

    Comment by covert.c. — 6 December, 2006 @ 11:03 PM

  9. I would LOVE to see Autoduel remade. Horrible graphics, fun game (Can’t beat Car Wars).

    A second vote for XCOM, just update the graphics and leave everything else the hell alone.

    Battle Isle 2 (maybe 3) less lame Cutscenes, more turn based Strategy (With Supply Lines, by Jove!)

    Elite (Even remaking Elite Frontiers would be fabulous)

    Comment by Traask — 22 December, 2006 @ 4:27 PM

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