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 Upbeat, cartoony heroes have been replaced by an influx of grimy adult content, rendered so realistically that dead enemies can almost be passed on to surgical students for research purposes. Bedroom programmers have been replaced by company-devouring corporate mega-piranhas with a business model planned out for anything you could ever want to do with a pixel.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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  • Jordo141 - August 27, 2009 3:22 p.m.

    Oh crap, I would like some new Metroid.
  • Pr0fesserCha0s - August 27, 2009 4:05 p.m.

    Funny article XDXDXDXDXD
  • Hobojedi - August 27, 2009 4:17 p.m.

    Hah, you should make more of these, they're really great.
  • Nin10DOH - August 27, 2009 4:50 p.m.

    i want New Bikini Metroid
  • Yeager1122 - August 27, 2009 6:20 p.m.

    So everything today is violent and emo what an age we live in.
  • 2muchGuitarHero - August 27, 2009 6:50 p.m.

    lol '876 ways to waggle' another great article
  • Tomsta666 - August 27, 2009 7:57 p.m.

    Wouldn't surprise me if Metroid Other M turns out like what you done here, considering Team Ninja are at the helm :P reCAPTCHA - fail ous (lol)
  • number1hitjam - August 27, 2009 8:25 p.m.

    I'm pretty sure you're the first gaming website to review crack
  • michaelmcc827 - August 27, 2009 11:01 p.m.

    wow I lol'd hard, so many punches at the problems we have today. Nice job.
  • DrDack - August 27, 2009 11:28 p.m.

    Love the article, but I think the portrayal of Tetris was a little unrealistic. $1.50 is way too cheap for today's capitalist internets!
  • uz_mike222 - August 27, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    @DrDack: i totally agree with you, it should be more like $3.00 per block at the way our gas prices are at! great article like always David! I wouldn't mind to play the New Super Mario series if he was as bad ass as a Marine. and i'd love me some of that Metroid if you know what mean. reCAPTCHA: stop spam. read books.
  • freezestar - August 28, 2009 12:06 a.m.

    anybody who wishes that the joke they made for metroid really happend for metroid or that team ninja made samus look she was from doa is not a metroid fan. metroid is about exploring many diffrent lands (and backtracking.) plus the second thing I said about team ninja is would probobly not happen because a) the metroid series has been on the low side of t for teen. and b)Tomonobu Itagaki is not part of team ninja and I think he is the reason doa beach vollyball exists. and yes i am a guy.
  • freezestar - August 28, 2009 12:08 a.m.

    that team ninja will make
  • adadadad - August 28, 2009 12:09 a.m.

    ohhh shutty the moth, freesestarman
  • Nodoudt - August 28, 2009 1:16 a.m.

    Rest in peace Metroid, I knew thee well... :(
  • PrivateYmo7 - August 28, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    Seriously. adadadad have a serious problem. I always knew Duke will turn emo... Haw Haw!
  • LizarDAZZLE - August 28, 2009 2:08 a.m.

    Poor duke... poor, poor duke...
  • reyalejandro13 - August 28, 2009 4 a.m.

    This actually got me thinking about what games will be like in another 10-15 Years. And, more importantly, what this article would be like in 10-15 years. Like, will games get to the point where Pokemon actually shows blood and burnt flesh? (Charizard used Flamethrower! It Caused 3rd degree Burns!! Super Effective!.) Will Kirby Legitimately eat people? (Copy Ability: Digestion.) Will Games like Kingdom Hearts have Disney characters foregoing their Blunt weaponry for actual swords and dismemberment? (Literally Heartless) WHAT WILL HAPPEN!
  • cheezyphil - August 28, 2009 4:07 a.m.

    That comment on the Tetris thing was funny as shit. 1.50 per block lol

Showing 1-20 of 46 comments

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