In gaming originality is one of the most important aspects of all. Nobody wants to play a game that they have played before only with a different skin. There is a question today about whether or not this is true as we see many of the games we once loved staying in the same format they had back when they were games on NES and Genesis. Famous characters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, Rayman, Pokemon, Kirby, Metal Slug and even Mario have all fallen under this category as they all release games that, instead of moving forward and innovating their titles, fall back safely on formulas that have made money before. Some of these games are not even bad, some of them even great! But the problem is wondering if the characters we once loved can do something that competes with other games in their genre. The other question is if some of these games can even come out as a good game in a new, fresh format. Could Metal Slug compete with games like Team Fortress or Serious Sam? Can there be a platformer other than Mario that succeeds at transforming into 3d? We will take a look at games that haven’t changed, could change and should change.
The Pokemon series have been around since the beginning of the handheld genre. When the game was released back in 1996 the games added many new concepts into the RPG genre, most importantly the “pet system”. Wandering around an entire world filled with tons of original creatures trying to capture each and every one was something that no other RPG had ever stepped near. It also had the ever popular concept of taking all the pokemon you caught and battling against your friends! The games design was very similar to other RPG’s at the time being a birds eye view and battles having the view third person view of the pokemon and the trainer.
Looking back at the original Pokemon and now Black/White it’s sad to say that the Pokemon formula has barely changed at all. You still are a boy going out to become the best pokemon trainer in some region, with a new set of pokemon and new rivals. And that sums it up, there are a couple of new concepts to the system but nothing has really changed.
What fans have been waiting for since the 64 era was to see their glorious pokemon battles in 3D. They have been satisfied with games such as Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Colosseum but now something more is needed. Nintendo needs to make a full out pokemon game in 3D, being able to roam around the pokemon world is something that we have barely gotten to see. Pokepark was very close to satisfying, it was great being able to roam around the park seeing all these classic creatures in their settings interacting with each other in ways we always imagined. And Pokemon Rumble and Super Smash Bros. Brawl has significantly shown us pokemon in action so why is Nintendo holding back?! Fans have been asking for ages! And even though Colloseum was close to this, it wasn’t the catch and battle system that I wanted. Pokemon has the potential to be a great console game but the question is when will Nintendo finally give us the satisfaction?
Rayman is considered the number one selling title of all time on the first Playstation in the UK. The game created a simple, but fun platformer with a memorable soundtrack that anyone could recognize. Since the first game was released Rayman has become one of the most well known video game characters and has also spawned a whole new series of recognizable characters (Rabbids). The latest problem with Rayman is that he hasn’t been in a great game for a good while. Rayman 2 was considered one of the 3D games that other games were compared to when it was first released and ever since then Rayman has been slowly disappearing off the video game map. Rayman 3 was just okay and now he has been overrun by his own offspring! The Raving Rabbids games originally had Rayman in them but overtime Rayman disappeared from the games all together!
Soon to be released though is Rayman: Origins. Rayman Origins is supposed to be going back to the roots of Rayman and taking him back to 2D. Again, here we have another example of a game that is falling back on a formula because the company knows that it is safe and knows that they will make money. The game will do great but what is really disappointing is that it probably won’t bring Rayman up to the popularity he once had during the PSone days. The only thing that fans can hope for is that Origins does well and it evolves into Ubisoft developing a 3D Rayman game. But Ubisoft is probably too caught up in making money off of Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance to pay any mind to this issue of their old dying mascot.
Sonic the Hedgehog
This is probably the most guilty of not moving forward more than any other series. In 1991 Sonic blasted onto the Sega Genesis and was an instant hit! The speedy platformer was something that was challenging and fun, yet also simple at the same time. The game became such a huge hit that Sonic became the new Mascot of Sega and he began to insult Nintendo in his Sega’s advertisements! The sequel to sonic was the number 2 top selling Genesis game of all time! The Sonic the hedgehog games became a staple to gamers as they sped through levels gathering Chaos emeralds, battling Dr.Robotnik and freeing innocent animals from their robotic cages. The games added more to each as the Sonic universe expanded with characters such as Tails and Knuckles and amazing new worlds. The first time Sonic was fully shown in 3D was in 1997 for a game called “Sonic Jam” the game was a compilation of the Sonic games but featured a mode called Sonic World that let the players navigate around a small 3D world which was brand new for it’s time. This was expanded when Sonic Adventure was released for the Dreamcast in 1999. The game was a critical success for the Dreamcast even though it was headed towards the end of it’s days, the game had expanded the world of Sonic like Mario 64 had done to the Mario series. The whale chase scene has been an iconic part of gaming ever since. Sadly, since Sonic Adventure 2 the series has gone down hill. With Sega out of the console game Sonic had to find a new console to be on and the console he ran to was the one he used to bad talk. Sonic first found himself on the Gameboy Advance with three games called Sonic Advance 1, 2 and 3. These games were considered okay as they added new elements to the old gameplay of the Sonic Series. Then Sega decided to expand on Shadow’s story with Shadow the Hedgehog, a mature title that had Shadow cursing and using guns instead of his typical Sonic-esque move set. This was so awkward that gamers didn’t know what to think Then sonic Heroes was released where a team of three Sonic characters would combine to complete tasks that each individual character could complete with their unique individual powers or some obstacles had to be completed as a team. This game was okay but it did not impress anyone at all and was completely forgettable in the Sonic series. When the Wii was released a slew of bad Sonic games just kept on coming out, first Sonic the Hedgehog was released, the game had hundreds of glitches, the camera still had not improved from Sonic Adventure and the plot was ridiculous.
Finally in 2007 Sonic and the Secret Rings came out, this game wasn’t great but the good things about the game were nice to see since there had not been a good Sonic game for a couple of years and sadly that was the last we saw of a good 3D Sonic game. The sequel to the game Sonic and The Black Knight was horrible and even rated the worst game on the Wii by multiple critics. So basically you get the point, after the Dreamcast Sonic went down(green)hill. Recently though the Sonic the Hedgehog series have been gaining popularity but why is this? The reason is the basics, last year Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog 4 game which was continuing the series where the third game for the genesis left off. The game went back to the 2D platforming basics and was widely praised. Sega took note in this and decided to keep going on this trend of 2D and now they are taking all of the great parts of the series and putting it inside of a game with Sonic Generations. So the big question about Sega is what will they do next with the series? We have seen great aspects of a 3D sonic series but also the worst aspects of video games in the sonic series. Will Sega decide to continue making the retro Sonic games or forward on into the unknown blue abyss.
Kirby has always been stuck inside of his little 2D sidescrolling world, Nintendo has made a couple of games with little changes here and there with games like Kirby Mass Attack and Kirby’s Epic Yarn but the only game that has allowed the little pink blob to move in more than 3 directions was Kirby Air Ride. Made originally back in 1992 in the title Kirby’s Dreamland the little puffball was introduced to the NES as a character that could suck up enemies and shoot them out as stars. The transformation ability was not shown until Kirby’s Adventure for NES and the game was complimented for pushing the NES’ hardware and capabilites. From there on out the game slowly changed by adding little things like friends that changed kirby’s abilities, combining two powers to create an even more powerful ability and with the upcoming kirby release, playing with 3 other characters. There is no problem with Kirby franchise staying this way but everyone is waiting for a full 3D Kirby game. Running around off of your star in Kirby Air Ride was one of the funnest things to do just because it was something you can’t experience in any of the other games. Once we see the release of Return to Dreamland, it seems like it is about time for Kirby to show up in 3D. Nintendo has two new consoles that could greatly show the Pop Star Galaxy in amazing and wonderful ways and with the utilization of 3D that Nintendo is trying to do with the 3DS it seems like the logical next step to take.
Mario has always been the go to game when it came to platforming, if there was a platforming game released it was always compared to Mario. But before you make a comment about how Mario does make new, innovative games I will agree with you. Yes, Mario does make new and innovative games such as Super Mario Galaxy and the new Super Mario 3DS. But what I am speaking of is the New Super Mario Bros. While Nintendo isn’t holding back their innovations but keeping Mario in his 2D realm instead Nintendo is doing things the right way by letting both of the games keep moving on. And with that there isn’t really much to say. There hasn’t been a main running Mario game that has ever been bad and Nintendo has been running both the 2D and the 3D series successfully. The New Super Mario Bros has sold over 18 million copies and the Wii New Super Mario Bros has sold 22 Million while the Super Mario Galaxy games have have sold over 15 millions worldwide. It is quite obvious that Mario is not going to be stopping any time soon with the soon to be released Super Mario 3DS and the later New Super Mario Bros. Mii.