I really enjoy playing games that mix the old with the new. Luckily, over the course of the past generation (PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii) there was a resurgence of new games that includes features proper from classic games. But throwback video games are more than old games with a fresh coat of paint on top of them. After all, mixing old with new is an art form and that’s what the games below try to prove.
At its core, Braid is a traditional platformer that features new elements, such as the possibility of slowing down time. To a certain extent, I feel really bad about describing Braid as that because where Braid really shines is in its outstanding narrative that explores some thought-provoking ideas. But that’s one of the game’s best qualities: the fact that it works on multiple levels.
Created by a team that’s an obvious fan of traditional platformers. Super Meat Boy celebrates the genre with fast-paced gameplay, creatively designed levels, a simplistic premise, spot on controls and puddles and puddles of blood. Super Meat Boy is a one way trip, since once you started playing it, there’s no way to stop.
Shovel Knight is a title that was clearly made by people who are fans of classic platformers. Super Mario Bros., Castlevania, Mega Man, DuckTales, you name it. Whatever you can come up with the people behind Shovel Knight have played it, mastered it and transformed all their qualities into a video game that’s an absolute delight to play, to hear and to watch.
A visually and aurally impressive title that’s remarkably old. That’s New Super Mario Bros in a nutshell. As its name suggests, this is an new game that feels and plays like an undeniably old platformer, but with a fresh coat of paint that makes it look refreshing and new.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Personally, I think Chinatown Wars represents an bold move. After all, not that many people have that nostalgia for the first GTA games. Say what you want about this game, but Chinatown Wars is still GTA at its finest: there are references to drugs, sex, a fantastic gameplay and so on and so forth.
There’s something about catching all those creatures that never gets old. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the variety, the infinite number of combinations or the sheer audacity that Game Freaks has when it comes to recycling the same formula over and over. But don’t get me wrong, while the Pokemon series has its problems, if there’s something that never gets old about it, it’s that its core never gets old.
Launch Fez and the first thing that will come to your mind are a bunch of classic platformers. Keep playing and you’ll realize that that was just a facade. This is a game with its own language and with secrets that took years to discover. Fez 2 might never come out and while that’s terrible, at least we have original Fez.
Mega Man 9
Talk about going back to your roots! If you were not familiar with Mega Man 9 and you suddenly played it, you’d definitely think that this is one of those old cartridges you used to put on your NES back in the day. There are new ideas here and there, but for all intents and purposes, this is a classic and old game. And players who grew up in the NES era couldn’t be happier about that.
Street Fighter IV
Underneath the lush visuals of semi-3D, there’s the Street Fighter II we know and love. Younger players might not realize that, but don’t let the dozens of characters, environments fool you, Street Fighter IV is an classic-minded game that features the best elements from the series and for that alone anyone who likes fighting games should definitely give it a chance.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Do you want to create an homage to a particular series. Leave that to Nintendo who obviously know what they are doing. A Link Between Worlds can be enjoyed by anyone who likes video games, but if you remember classic games from The Legend of Zelda series, A Link Between Worlds might quickly become one of your favorite games of the past few years.