One thing that has definitely caught my attention these days is the whole porting category that has cropped up lately. Through the PSN and Nintendo marketplaces people are free to buy releases of old games for various predecessors of these systems. There’s no doubt that for Nintendo with it’s rich library of classics that this is a huge draw, but with games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night to Parasite Eve to the first few instalments of the Grand Turismo series.
I believe that porting, although having to compete with the free ROMs and emulators that have already catered to this market, do offer to some gamers the opportunity to play the games that helped shape the consoles and the market into what it is today. Personally, I find playing a game on a console like how it was originally presented somewhat more of a comfortable experience than playing on a ROM.
I know that the argument that “why pay for it when I can play it for free here?” is a strong one that will sway many people to turning to ROMs, but I think that the fact that if the results are encouraging enough that companies might in fact be convinced to put entire libraries - including those untranslated (by the companies or the fans) games that some people have begged for - online for sale.
Moving past whether you play on a console or a computer though, I believe that putting games up into the marketplaces unaltered from their original releases is a breathe of fresh air. It is one thing to port a game to a different system and improve it, but at the same time even putting nostalgia aside there is something to seeing the original product, even comparing it to subsequent re-releases and trying to dissect whether the things touted as improvements really are or not.
Yahtzee recently talked about the problem of keeping a sort of museum or catalogue of classic games without having to resort to a constant stream of reports and reedits, and I honestly believe that for the most part the virtual marketplace proves to the one of the better solutions. I would gladly pay a small monthly fee - much like people that subscribe to Gamefly - in order to be able to access a huge repository of the original games for each console. And while there may not be much call for games like Heiankyo Alien (yes, this is the second time I’ve mentioned it, perhaps I might attempt to make it into a drinking game for those so inclined…) you can branch off into the niche titles as more people sign up in order to get access to those classics.
Before ROMs even, the only way to get access to these games was to attempt to track down the old disks or cartridges; and heaven help you if you had to replace a battery if the game became too old or was overplayed. Most Game Boy games are less than a freaking Megabyte of data, and you can hold literally hundreds if not thousands on a console if you wanted to, and be able to pick and choose. Sure, the graphics might not be the best, but honestly if you want the latest graphics play the latest games, if you want to see the roots of some of the classic series and characters, then turning to a virtual emulation is reliable, affordable, and shows developers that people are still interested in old I.P.s and games, a way to make money with absolutely minimal effort involved.
Also, it’s worth noting that Grahf Games won’t be updating this upcoming Friday, and perhaps not on Monday or Tuesday either. I’m likely to be a.f.k. for a trip, so you’ve have to do without my pretentious ramblings for somewhat of a long weekend. Count your blessings.