Nostalgia is cheap. A single thought is often all it takes for those old feels to come crashing down around you, melting those icy layers of cynicism you’ve built up over the years. But sometimes just thinking about it is not enough. Sometimes you want to live those feels all over again. With video games, this is pretty easy to do; just slam home those old game cartridges and go to town. You could always eBay anything that doesn’t work.
But why revisit the same old experiences? Not all nostalgia has to be so firmly rooted in the past. A number of classic and cult favorite game franchises have found new life in the 21st century to the delight of old die-hards and new fans alike.
Here are some of the most recent and up-and-coming games that will let you live it up like you used to but with a modern twist.
Mighty No. 9
Admit it — you owe your present-day gaming skills to Mega Man. Your Saturday mornings spent dismantling Dr. Wily’s robot masters has somehow translated into impressive kill-to-death ratios in Call of Duty, but now you’re eager to see if you still got those old-school skills. Sure, you can buy the first six classics with the Mega Man Legacy Collection that came out last year, but you’re seeking a new challenge. And you can find it in Mighty No. 9, the Kickstarted project by Mega Man/Rockman alumni Keiji Inafune. This spiritual successor looks to gratify fans of the Blue Bomber with a number of lovingly lifted gameplay elements. Side-scrolling run-and-gun action? Check. Unlockable abilities after defeating each of the game’s eight robot bosses? Check. Punny names for the two main characters? Check and check. But! There’s new stuff too: Main character Beck can pummel through enemies and collect their energy, which will grant him temporary buffs like increased speed. You can also choose a second playable character, Call, who has a shield that can repel projectiles. Both should mix up the tried-and-true Mega Man-esque action you’re used to. Despite being delayed into this year, Mighty No. 9 will let you return to your roots on pretty much every system on February 9th.
Dungeons & Dragons: Sword Coast Legends
Looking to relive those late night campaigns you ran with your college buddies? It isn’t easy getting the old group back together again. Given enough years, life has a way of splitting up friends, and yet you’re all itching to find some way to make the magic happen again. Well, no need to drop a couple hundred on a plane ticket and take work off for the weekend — there’s Dungeons & Dragons: Sword Coast Legends! This is pretty much a digital campaign maker. Take on the mantle of the DM like you used to and use the game’s tools to craft new adventures. You and your victims — sorry, friends — will have to wait to play it on next-gen consoles, or you can risk playing it on PC. Players have been a little underwhelmed by the content since its PC release last year, but hopefully that’s nothing a few patches can fix. Let’s hope it’s fixed by the time it comes to PS4 and Xbox One sometime this year.
If you played the first Psychonauts, you were probably ready to throw as much money as possible toward the inevitable sequel — except it never came. You and other fans of the Meat Circus cried out, but alas — it wasn’t meant to be. But developer Double Fine has been busy. Hot off the presses of other releases they’ve made via Kickstarter, Tim Schafer and co. are bringing Raz and the gang to a TV or computer monitor near you. Psychonauts 2 met its funding goal on platform fig.co just last week, marking the beginning of a whole new adventure of quirky characters, witty writing, and collectible/platforming hell. Fans have been waiting a long time for this one, but you’ll have to wait juuuust a bit longer — estimated delivery is in Fall 2018. Mark your calendar, PSI cadets.
Finding your father’s killer. Battling biker gang members. Fork lift racing. Petting a cat. You remember all this and more from 1999’s Shenmue for the Sega Dreamcast, a game that offered an experience just barely more interesting than real life. All joking aside, it was hard not to get drawn into the daily struggles, both mundane and exciting, of protagonist Ryo as he sought to unravel the mystery of finding out more about Lan Di, the man who killed his father. Now, that story may come to a close. Announced at E3 last year, Shenmue 3 sped past its initial target goal of $2 million dollars in a record eight hours. Although Kickstarter backers raised a final amount of over $6 million dollars for Shenmue 3, the road to closing that narrative thread may be a rocky one. If Shenmue 3 can get over its absolute clusterfuck of a funding process, we’ll see it coming to PS4 in 2017. Hopefully.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
“If only more Castlevania games were like Symphony of the Night.” Not to worry, intrepid adventurer: Symphony alumni and ex-Konami luminary Koji Igarashi has heard your pleas. Players seeking a more traditional Metroidvania experience like the one they remember are set to find plenty to like in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. You’ll progress through a new gothic adventure, unlocking weapons and armor to slay monsters in lush 2.5D environments. And if you’re looking forward to taking a stake to ‘ol Dracula once again, better look elsewhere. Igarashi has stated that although it is a spiritual successor, Bloodstained won’t be featuring that iconic vampire. Then again, are you really in it for the story? Well, maybe you are. In that case look forward to learning more about the nature of the curse protagonist Miriam has and what the game’s villain (voiced by David Hayter!) has to do with it.
Final Fantasy VII
Whether you think it’s overrated or not, Final Fantasy VII is to many among the most iconic games ever made. And now this beloved entry in the Final Fantasy series is coming back in a big way with Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Not everything about Remake will be the way you remember. Sure, you’re probably ready to ditch those awfully blocky polygons for fresh, new pixels, but are you ready to make the change from turn-based gameplay to an action RPG? And if you’re already anticipating playing until the wee hours of the morning like you used to, better check your enthusiasm; Remake will be released episodically. These are just a few of the decisions that have already caused some surprise and controversy in the community, so if you want something you can depend on you can always buy the old version on Steam or the Playstation Store. But if your interest is piqued, stay tuned when it eventually arrives on PS4.
And if your interest isn’t piqued, just watch this trailer and see if you can contain your excitement:
What’s Old is New Again
Moving on from the games you love can be a good thing. But with the suggestions above, you don’t have to — not completely. Thanks to patient fanbases and timely marketing practices (as well as the power of crowdfunding), your favorite Old Stuff can exist in a modern capacity. After all, the games of yore will always have a place in your heart. But why not make room for more to love? Give these a try — you’ve got nothing to lose, and you can always go back to the classics. These can be a great way to relive those experiences in a brand new way and maybe fall in love with them all over again.