A classic is a classic, no matter when it first came out. Whether they influenced dozens of spiritual successors or redefined the way we look at the gaming medium, some retro games will never get old. Still, technological advancements and the rise of ever-so-powerful consoles have changed the landscape for good. And the quirky charm of sweet old-fashioned pixel art is increasingly getting lost on non-vintage gamers.
Many titles from decades past have been rebooted to appeal to modern audiences, sometimes to mixed results. But when done right, reboots of cult classics strike the right balance between nostalgia and innovation. So, let’s put aside the obvious cash grabs and check some of the best reboots out there.
New Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. first put Nintendo’s iconic Italian plumber on the map back in 1985. And oh boy was it a smashing hit. Far from a face familiar only to die-hard gamers, Super Mario has even influenced pop culture.
Hundreds of Mario-centric installments later, countless retro gamers still go back teary-eyed to the legendary platformer that made them fall in love with gaming. Many deemed it impossible to emulate the feel of the original until New Super Mario Bros. proved them wrong. Released in 2006, this traditional side-scrolling game was the first 2D platformer in the franchise since SNES Yoshi’s Island in 1995. Though a pretty risky venture, New Super Mario Bros. was right on the money for Nintendo.
Not only was this vibey platformer a worldwide hit on the Nintendo DS, but it became one of the best-selling games ever. From seemingly endless exploration to dozens of retro multiplayer minigames, this new Mario adventure boasted more replay value than even its big-gun predecessor.
Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia came out without much of a fuss in 1989. Incidentally, the title sold a meek 7,000 units in North America. Little did creator Jordan Mechner know that his commercial failure of a platformer would be such a game-changer in the long run. Success first came about when Prince of Persia hit the shelves in Europe and Japan. Disappointing and buggy sequels put a lid on the franchise, however.
Yet Ubisoft made a bold move by bringing Mechner on board to work on a reboot titled The Sands of Time. And the studio’s bet paid off as the first installation in the fresh Prince of Persia trilogy took the world by storm. The universal triumph of this cult classic in the making greenlighted a series of sequels, although creative differences led Mechner to step aside once again.
Fast-forward to 2023, and a Sands of Time remake is reportedly in the works. That said, the project has been repeatedly delayed. Meanwhile, retro gamers may revisit the original in style with a fabulous Sega Mega Drive remaster.
Tomb Raider broke new ground in 1996 with its revolutionary graphics and riveting action-adventure gameplay. Lara Croft became something of a pop culture phenomenon in no time, popping up in as many commercials as blockbuster movies. A string of not-so-memorable sequels ensued, followed by an even poorer reboot in 2003. The flawed Angel of Darkness didn’t can the franchise, yet, and Lara Croft returned with a bang in 2013.
A much more cohesive reboot, Tomb Raider borrowed elements of popular modern games like Uncharted while staying true to the series’ core tomb-raiding identity. And this gritty origin story, serviced by first-rate characterization and visuals, sparked renewed interest in the classic franchise. Although details are scarce, a new installation is even underway. As die-hard fans wait for a reveal, they might always while away the time by watching the 2018 film adaptation.
Lara Croft has also expanded onto other gaming mediums, from a board game edited by Square Enix to machine slots like Microgaming’s Tomb Raider. Gamers can try out such pokies for free or perhaps put some more skin in the game with real money casinos. Profitable progressive slots are all about that treasure-hunting thrill. Top platforms also cover a range of casino staples, from live poker to real money roulette. Plus, newcomers can grab hefty bonuses to mitigate the risks.
Reboots are often frowned upon by long-time fans and vintage gamers alike. Many arguably fail to recapture the spark of their illustrious namesakes. But excellent reboots can rejuvenate their franchises all the same, channeling enhanced gaming technology to be even more immersive than ever.