In the late 70s and early 80s, arcades were practically a fact of life for most children. Nearly every mall in the country had store-sized arcades, usually teeming with adolescents eagerly depositing quarters for 5-10 minute bursts of entertainment. While the console industry was still in its infancy, arcade machines had the best graphics, best controls, and most computing power of any video game systems. Many a popular arcade game was ported to a console, often with less than stellar results. The popularity of the arcade has diminished greatly, but the original games that were so brilliant still stand out as some of the best games ever created. With the right development team helming a remake, many of these classics could be just as great on modern gaming consoles. The following is a list of pairings of classic arcade games and the modern development teams that would breathe new life into them.
Q*Bert; Valve Corporation – Even in a gaming market with plumbers fighting apes and turtles, Q*Bert was one of the most unusual video game concepts ever. The protagonist was a jumping fluff ball that looked like an orange Philly Fanatic. This fluff ball, Q*Bert, hopped around a 3D grid highlighting squares and avoiding deadly bouncing snakes. The action puzzle mechanics would be a perfect fit for Portal creator Valve. Imagine a 3D Q*Bert bouncing around while creating physics defying objects with goo shot from his nose. Portal wouldn’t really have been much stranger if the ground changed color by being stepped on and Q*Bert is already a proven license. The best part would be that final moment when Q*Bert eventually got his cake.
BurgerTime; Konami – In BurgerTime, the protagonist runs around trying to release the locks holding apart the biggest burger known to man, while avoiding the clutches of a walking pickle, hot dog, and egg. The key word in that sentence above is “clutches”. While BurgerTime was technically an early action/platform game, it really needs to be remade as a horror game. The Konami team that made the Silent Hill series would be perfect to bring this horror version of BurgerTime to life. The same team that made Pyramidhead can easily make a Mr. Pickle that will terrify anyone when he comes charging wildly around a corner. This game is simply begging to be a stealth horror game and when it comes to stealth horror, Konami simply is the best in the business.
Spy Hunter; Nintendo EAD – The obvious choice for a Spy Hunter remake is a team familiar with racing games. And, while this early driving classic deserves such a team, it also deserves a team that will focus on what made Spy Hunter so much fun. The game didn’t stand out for racing quality or even for being an excellent driving game. It stood out for its tongue-in-cheek mockery of the spy business and the crazy weapons at the player’s disposal. And, when it comes to crazy weapons and driving, no team is better equipped than the Mario Kart developers at Nintendo. This team could easily design the exaggerated cars, ridiculous driving routes, and trunk full of corny weapons that made the first game so much fun. Mario Kart nearly does this already. Replace shells with flamethrowers and this game is sure to be a hit.
Frogger; Polyphony Digital – Now, here is a game that deserves a competent racing game at the helm. Frogger was a rather basic game where the player tried to get a frog to cross a highway without getting squished. Each subsequent level the vehicles crossing the highway moved faster and were more prevalent. Assuming they can make a reasonable looking frog, Polyphony Digital, the developers of the Gran Turismo team need to put their hands on this project. The excitement of the game would come not only from the blazingly fast and diversified cars that Polyphony is so experienced with, but also from the impressive physics engine that would make every frog smashing into an event worthy of a YouTube video.
Joust; SCE Studios Santa Monica – Joust was one of the earliest arcade games with surprisingly realistic flight physics. The game revolved around ostrich riding knights briefly taking to the air to engage in combat. To make things more difficult, these battles were fought over lava pits and disappearing platforms. Few development teams specialize in aerial combat, but the geniuses at SCE have managed to produce one of the best combat engines ever in their God of War series. In the hands of SCE, the ostriches would be stronger, fiercer and likely heavily armored. Battles would be more than just a matter of gaining high ground, but would involve complicated reaction commands and be bloody and awesome. Finally, the immortal player killing vulture would be an epic monster that required great skill and timing to avoid. Overall, it would be an absolutely thrilling remake by an excellent development team.