6 deeply inappropriate but disturbingly plausible FPS reboots to ruin your childhood with

Because if it ain't broke, break it and add melee on the right stick

Flashback

The original was: A subtly hardcore, cinematic platform adventure with stunningly smooth, rotascoped animation and clever, deliberately paced action. Amnesiac hero Conrad Hart had the same cautious but acrobatic demeanour as the original Prince of Persia, employing two similarly asymmetrical sets of physical abilities depending on whether his gun was drawn or not. A bit niggly at first, but it heaped loads of satisfying tactical planning upon the navigation of Flashback's environments. As did Conrad's shield, which could only absorb a few hits before requiring a manual recharge at a power point. Without it, he was insta-dead, so it needed very careful use.

How and why the suits would 'update' it: "Regenerating shields!? An amnesiac hero!? Only one gun!? Why, Flashback already has all the tropes of a modern FPS! And if that famed animation managed to be impressive on mere 16-bit hardware, just imagine how we can lovingly pay tribute to its legacy now that we've spent so much money on the game engine arms race!"

How the spirit of the original would be 'reimagined': You wouldn't need to find power points. Conrad's shield power would still be manually maintained, but you'd just have to press a button to power it up again. Though there would be an option to switch it to auto at the start just in case that was too complicated for you. He would retain his two differing states of combat readiness, but this time around they would consist of "armed" and "really f*cking armed", for use when dealing with normal enemies and really frigging big enemies, respectively.

Oh, and to keep the platforming cinematic and graceful in the midst of the increased combat, jumping would be semi-automated, requiring the player only to highlight one of several prescribed options and press a button in order to trigger a five-minute, third-person jumping cut-scene. But, you know, choosing the right prescribed option would heap on the tactical planning, just like in the original Flashback. Each cut-scene would cost five million dollars.And obviously the whole game would be set in the original Flashback's grimy city streets section. Gritty urban environments and all that.

Dizzy

The original was: A damnably charming series of 8-bit fantasy platform adventures, starring Dizzy the egg and his Yolk Folk friends. Dizzy would walk, leap and roll around various fantastical landscapes, collecting items in the traditional Graphical Adventure style in order to solve puzzles, ingratiate himself to - or thwart the plans of - NPCs, and usually defeat whatever foul scheme the evil wizard Zaks had come up with this time. The Yolk Folk were the usual spread of broad cartoon stereotypes - Dylan was the hippie stoner, Grand Dizzy was the Elder, Denzil was the 'cool' one, Daisy was the, er, girl - but the writing was knowing enough to keep things fresh, and the tunes were some of the most blissfully bloopy stuff to come out of the whole era.

How and why the suits would 'update' it: "What, we have the rights to that one? Yeah, we might as well do something with it. Someone is bound to recognise the name somewhere, and they're probably old enough to have some money now. FPS? Yeah, FPS is big. Bang it out. But let's make sure we grit it up a bit. That whole 'stories that grow up with their audience' scam totally worked for Harry Potter."

How the spirit of the original would be 'reimagined': Zaks has kidnapped the YolkFolk (again)! But this time he's brainwashed them and turned them against Dizzy. So our ovoid hero is going to have to kill them senseless in order to get to Zaks for one final, apocalyptic smack-down of heroic vengeance.

But don't think that this is just some throwaway cash-in on a favourite old franchise. Oh no. As any video game marketing man with a direct vested interest in the product would tell you, FPS Dizzy would be a serious, worthy work. Murdering your childhood heroes. It's like a metaphor for the very human condition of growth and maturation. Jonathon Blow would probably love it, and the game would get tons of indie cred. But like all the best creative works (and Harry Potter), it would also have loads of profit potential, given that the use of yolk instead of blood would mean that kids could play it too!

Also, collecting weapons is just the same as collecting the puzzle objects of the original games. You even have to press Enter to pick them up! Authenticity!

Zork

The original was: One of the earliest interactive fiction games (read: Graphical Adventure without the graphics) and an ancestor to everything that came afterwards. Consisted of nothing but text, but obviously benefited from the fact that the human imagination has the best graphics around. Responsible for any and all memes relating to being eaten by a grue because it's too dark.

How and why the suits would 'update' it: "The human imagination had the best graphics around until our new game engine! Although we have nothing but The Utmost Respect For The Original Game (tm), it was totally let down by not showing you things. And did we mention that our new engine can render atmospheric caves really well? And everyone knows that 'atmospheric' is modern FPS shorthand for 'too dark', so that whole grue thing would work perfectly."

How the spirit of the original would be 'reimagined': Basically you'd be shooting stuff in caves. But it would nick that whole "torch or gun, decide now" mechanic that everyone hated from Doom 3 and call it an innovative and refreshing modern reimagining of the core values of Zork. Because, you know, grues and stuff.

October 18, 2011

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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