How classic old games would be marketed today

The personality of video games has changed one hell of a dark, gritty, chainsaw-duelling lot since the old days. Upbeat, cartoony heroes have been replaced by an influx of grimy adult content, rendered so realistically that dead enemies can almost be passed on to surgical students for research purposes. Bedroom programmers have been replaced by company-devouring corporate mega-piranhas with a business model planned out for anything you could ever want to do with a pixel.

So we started to think about what would have happened if the games of our collective youth had appeared now. How would the harsh modern climate have affected the way they turned out? The answers, as ever, are below.


As it was marketed in 1986

The 1986 Metroid was a mighty clever game. Not only a fiendish and innovative platform puzzler, it single-handedly - and with cunning stealth - strengthened the position of female game characters by hiding Samus' identity in a suit of Chozo armour until the very end of the game. In an gaming era which didn't accept women as anything other than damsels and rewards for male aggression, Nintendo slipped a strong, stoic and capable female lead past neanderthal preconceptions in a way that the audience simply couldn't argue with, having already bonded with her over countless hours of hardcore adventuring.

As it would be marketed now


But screw that naive Nintendo noise. In the enlightened modern age we all know that boobs have a far higher market value than feminism. Why hide a female character when she's got tits to put on show, right? And was Samus really that badass anyway, given that she needed a whole suit of armor, a helmet and a gun? Overly cautious. As Soul Calibur's Ivy knows, all the vital human organs can be easily protected during any life-or-death battle using a simple, barely existant combat bikini.

Mortal Kombat

As it was marketed in 1992

Excessive violence is so passe. Blood and guts might have been shocking enough to sell a new fighting franchise back in 1992, but these days if your Tetris port doesn't fire two spleens and a kidney at the screen for every line scored, you've probably got a cheerleader's pom-poms where your balls should be.

As it would be marketed now


No, with anatomical detonation coming as standard in everything now, the gore MK used to stand out would just make it blend further into the crowd. Better then, that it moved into the financially flourishing realm of Wii Happy Party Fun Family Party Gamez. It's got a Krazy Kast of Kolourful Kharacters. It's got multiplayer. It's got special moves aplenty. What better way to take advantage of those assets than with a whole lot of aimless arm waving?

Duke Nukem 3D

As it was marketed in 1996

For all of his anachronistic misogyny and knuckle-scraping egotism, Duke Nukem was a weirdly likeable character in '96. We had a broader spread of healthy minded, psychologically balanced protagonists back then, so his blunt, self-aggrandising idiocy made him a fairly amusing breath of fresh air. An ironic parody of the previous decade's cinematic heroes even; men whose spurious gunfire could barely be heard over the sound of sloshing testosterone within their own skulls (which were themselves made not of bone, but of specially thickened muscle).

As it would be marketed now


But now? Unthinkable! We've sailed straight through the seas of knowing mockery and onto the other side, arriving happily in the ocean of knuckle-headed heroes once more. Once again we find ourselves in an era when if a hero hasn't got a bad attitude and an even worse haircut, then he just isn't fit to save the world.

We couldn't have Duke turning up these days to upset the monosyllabic status quo with his dastardly self-aware caricaturing. So it would be safest all round if Duke's ludicrous machismo was converted to that other favourite male video game hero dysfunction; dark, mopey, emo self-indulgence. He wouldn't stand out half as much, but at least devs wouldn't have to start writing rounded, believable action stars.

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  • RAEJagainstthemachine - September 2, 2009 1:37 a.m.

    the only good change was metriod (.Y.) even mortal kombat look sh----
  • helix92 - September 1, 2009 12:39 p.m.

    Ohhhh, don't be silly, Duke turning emo is stupid. That would be as silly as Prince from Prince of Persia turning emo, ha ha ha. *checks Warrior Within cover*... wait... OHHH BALLS
  • coolbeans - August 30, 2009 2:30 a.m.

    So real it hurts! lol
  • Valntyne - August 28, 2009 4:37 p.m.

    New Mario looks like he's out to collect some Nazi scalps...Inglorious Basterds reference, anyone?
  • JayLin22 - August 28, 2009 10:14 a.m.

    Hey, that's an awesome article! I can relate to the "now" marketing - I never realised how far the "just fun" factor has been removed from most modern games...
  • Samael - August 28, 2009 4:14 a.m.

    Hilarious and sad at the same time. I want a sequel.
  • SausageLozenge - August 28, 2009 2:47 a.m.

    Metroid with boob physics? ...Interesting.
  • civver - August 28, 2009 12:42 a.m.

    This article should have been more subtle. It kind of overshot the mark for me. I get what you're trying to say, but the portrayals are too exaggerated.
  • adadadad - August 28, 2009 12:06 a.m.

    @ pocotron :/ the troth has many faces. would yous recognice a broother, if may come to your situation to ask asistance? :/ may hop so. may hop so. ax :/
  • Pocotron - August 27, 2009 11:06 p.m.

    AH $h!t, Xboxrulez is back as adadadad. Fuck. Nice Article BTW I would kill for some: DEAD OR ALIVE EXTREME SAMUS! reCaptcha: cleanup Mexico ...No joke...
  • adadadad - August 27, 2009 10:04 p.m.

    @ embaoladreo broother. :/ may aggree. may want the new halo 3 car on xbl, buy may dnt have the monies /cry :/
  • Embolado - August 27, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    Micro-transactions blow hard
  • MechGyver - August 27, 2009 6:06 p.m.

    Can anyone point me to the nearest suicide booth?please (¬_¬)-
  • adadadad - August 27, 2009 5:58 p.m.

    helo, baby, may back. got the temporeriy restriction from the mood :( sadface. may felt so cold and alone. but broothers, sisters, do no /cry for may. may learnt the leasson. may not use caps. may not cuss ps-3 (although, fingre aches!). may drinkee the phyenix down, and may ok. may love yous. ax
  • Corsair89 - August 27, 2009 5:38 p.m.

    Emo Nukem LOL
  • Ninja-KiLLR - August 27, 2009 4:14 p.m.

    "Unless you count having a heavy crack habit as a game (instantly appealing gameplay, short lifespan, minimal replay value, 5/10)" LMFAO that made my day.
  • silvereye - August 27, 2009 4:10 p.m.

    Duke nukem gopes emo? Samus get her kit off? What an age...
  • Patius - September 9, 2009 3:40 a.m.

    isn't Nintendo kind of doing the new metroid with Zero suit samus and such?
  • Silentboy - August 31, 2009 12:35 p.m.

    The Metroid/DoAX2 one was funny and true. Whats also funny is that Team Ninja, the people who made DoAX's 1 and 2 are making the next Metroid game.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - August 31, 2009 11:19 a.m.

    New Metroid FTW (in a fanboy way) And new Breakout FTW (in a humour way.) I lol'd