14 forgotten franchises we want back

Why we want it back: Yes, this series comes from a time when 3D console gaming was still finding its legs, but bear with us kids, Jumping Flash still has something special to share with you. Remember how much you dug Super Mario Galaxy? Now imagine doing all of that inventive craziness in first-person, playing as a robot rabbit capable of hopping to stratospheric heights untold! Affection runs strong for the proud few early PlayStation adopters who reveled in the dizzying bliss of this puzzley POV platformer and its high time Robbit was promoted from launch-era obscurity and bottle rocketed back into the here and now.

Above: You’re looking down… those white things are you feet

Sure, the original games are a little slow by today’s standards, but if Mirror’s Edge showed us anything it’s that there are a jillion other aspects of interactivity to experience in first-person beyond just firing an automatic weapon. Besides, some of us are tired of jogging through corridors on dystopian space colonies and war torn battlefields. Why does every FPAnything have to be so goddamned “gritty” anyway?

How we’d like to see it return: We can already see Sonic (Colors) getting the gist of what Mario’s known all along. You don’t need to bother contextualize varying levels with well designed enemies because it frees developers from having to do anything other than design inspired, colorful environments packed with non linear challenges people will remember forever.

A minor resurgence, maybe, but we haven’t really seen it pulled off with HD in mind. Not only is PSN a no-brainer, Sony practically owes it to Jumping Flash for moving its first console when the name “PlayStation” meant zilch.

Why we want it back: Because we miss hyper-violent sports games, especially those with goblins, aliens and multicolored skeletons running the plays instead of Drafty McRoster Update. Mutant League Football came from EA, so the underlying running and passing game was on par with Madden of the day, just contained in a bloody, humorously gritty wrapper. This concept is a fuggin’ gold mine, yet somehow ran dry after just football and hockey.

Above: But they promised us basketball!

Above: C’mon! You know they’re going to tear shit up!

How we’d like to see it return: Use the guts of Madden 12 to build a viciously violent Mutant League Football sequel, complete with team name and player in-jokes and murderous audibles. The more ridiculous the act (ref killing, tossing dynamite, arming the ball with a bomb etc) the better, and crank the gore up to “Stupid.” If done right, EA could have another franchise to milk – but we’d hope they’d let it breathe instead of condemning it to annual releases. We love the idea, but don’t need it every single year.

Why we want it back: Action/puzzle titles scratch a very particular kind of itch. You get the satisfaction of killing bad guys along with completing mind-bending riddles, so there’s literally something for everyone. Games like Braid, Limbo and Portal have brought the style back big time, so we’d love to see Blizzard revive its trio of specially powered Vikings for another round of puzzles. The first game was brilliantly devious while retaining a sense of humor about how ridiculous the entire scenario was, plus had some of the best SNES music of its time. More please.

Above: Apparently it’s impossible to find a video of The Lost Vikings gameplay without someone babbling over it like an idiot. Instead, here’s The Cars’ hit single “Who’s Gonna Drive You Home”

How we’d like to see it return: The whole bit was each Viking had a special role – Erik could jump and break walls with his helmet, Baleog could attack with arrows and a sword, and Olaf could defend and float with his giant shield. So, make the new game three player co-op and drop us into a series of increasingly challenging puzzle rooms that require constant teamwork. Obviously we’d need a single-player option as well, as this concept works just as well alone. Maybe the primary game would be solo, with special multiplayer dungeons added as well? Blizzard keeps referencing these guys in WoW and Starcraft, so it clearly hasn’t forgotten them – just ignored, which is kinda worse.

What about you? What long-lost series would you love to see return with a current-gen makeover? Let us know in the comments!

Sep 24, 2010

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