If there’s one thing the video game industry loves, it’s modernized remakes of unforgettable retro games. Here are five retro video games that have gotten so many remakes that it’s actually hard to keep track of them all.
If you ask anyone about the oldest game they can remember playing, chances are they’ll say Pong or Pac-Man.
Even non-gamers will remember Pac-Man fever if they were around in the 80s, so naturally, the classic arcade cabinet became a poster child for remakes. Not only has the game been re-released on numerous PCs and gaming consoles throughout the years, but Pac-Man has also seen updated rereleases as part of the Namco Museum series in addition to its own standalone title as Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. In a way, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate what constitutes a remake of Pac-Man and not a sequel, which is the only reason this seminal title isn’t higher on this list. That said, when even Google embedded a fully-featured Pac-Man game into its logo on the game’s anniversary, you know this is one title that will keep being reinvented time and time again.
Ys is a series that hardcore gamers are probably excited to see us talk about, and others are probably still wondering how in the world you pronounce that title.
Pronounced similar to “ease,” Ys is actually a grandfather of the Action-RPG genre. Released in Japan in 1987, the series has a strong cult following that has grown in the west since the 2010 English release of Ys Seven. Of course, the first game in the series has been released numerous times to appeal to modern audiences, but the number of Ys I remakes almost seems comical when tallied up. Even if we only count English releases, Ys I has seen remakes as Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished for the Sega Master System, Ys 1 & 2 for the TurboGrafx CD, Legacy of Ys: Books I & II for the Nintendo DS, Ys I & II Chronicles for the Playstation Portable, and Ys I & II Chronicles + for PC. Add in Japan-exclusive remakes for the NES, Playstation 2, and numerous PC rereleases, you wind up with a game that just doesn’t quit over 25 years later.
Street Fighter II turned the fighting game genre into a gaming phenomenon in 1991, and developer Capcom knew they struck gold the moment it came out.
A mere year after its debut, Capcom released Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, and within the same year we saw Super Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. 1993 gave us Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, and subsequently Super Street Fighter II Turbo came in 1994. With this many rereleases in the span of 5 years, it should be no surprise that Street Fighter II would continue to see remakes years later as Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival for the Gameboy Advance, Hyper Street Fighter II: Anniversary Edition for the Playstation 2 and Xbox, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. If there isn’t a special 4K remake of Street Fighter II in the next five years, then consider us surprised.
The original Final Fantasy captured the imaginations of gamers worldwide with its original NES released, and the RPG empire it built since then would save company SquareSoft from severe financial hardship. It is perhaps for this reason that its developers continue to remake and rerelease the game all these years later.
After its 1987 release, Final Fantasy saw Japan-only remakes on the MSX home computer and WonderSwan color, both of which featured updated graphics and other minor features. Final Fantasy was then included in the 2002 Final Fantasy Origins Playstation collection, which cleaned up the graphics, featured a CD-soundtrack, and further modified the game to better suit modern audiences. Only two years later, Final Fantasy was released as part of Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, which even further modernized the gameplay while expanding its world with new dungeons and boss battles. This would be the basis of a remake optimized for Japanese cellphones the same year, yet in 2007 Final Fantasy Anniversary Edition was released for the Playstation Portable which, you guessed it, featured updated graphics, music, and even more additional content. Though Final Fantasy was unsurprisingly remade for iOS and Android in 2010 and 2012 respectively, it would appear the remake fever has died down a bit since then. Maybe they’re too hard at work these days on Final Fantasy VII Remake, or maybe it’s a sign that the first Final Fantasy will one day go full 3D and be essentially unrecognizable from its original release.
Tetris needs no introduction. You know it, you love it, and you might even want to play it right after reading this.
Fortunately, tracking down a version of Tetris to play should be no problem, as the quintessential puzzler has been made available on just about every device known to man. Though originally created by Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, it was Nintendo’s Game Boy version that turned the puzzle game into a household name. The game became a staple title of home computers through the 80s and 90s, with IBM PCs and Amiga systems each receiving unique adaptations of the game to name a few. While it’s frankly impossible to list every version of Tetris here, notable remakes include Tetris Plus, Tetrisphere, The New Tetris, Tetris DS, and Tetris Party. Modern fans of the game may be more familiar with Tetris Friends and Tetris Blitz, which are social versions of the game for Facebook and mobile devices respectively.
Perhaps the greatest irony about Tetris is that it deserves remakes yet never really needs them. While certain versions of Tetris have gone as far as to add a story mode to the game, it’s the easy to grasp mechanics that still appeal to old and young gamers all these years later. There’s a reason why the Russian folk song Korobeiniki is known as “the Tetris song” to this day, and the fact that any mention of “the L block” can lead a person to think of Tetris speaks for itself. We don’t know if a more universally appealing game than Tetris has ever been made, but its remakes ensure we’ll not be forgetting it anytime soon.
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