Take a stroll down the video game aisle of your local big box store. You’ll see a lot of first-person shooters, multi-player action games and shit from comics franchises. Most of these games will have film quality graphics, sophisticated storylines, and complicated gameplay. A lot of these games feel exactly like other games you’ve already played. But what about the stuff you grew up on? The franchises that made you fall in love with gaming in the first place? Polish they may not have, but they’ve always been entertaining AF. Here are the best classic video game franchises you forgot about that deserve fresh revivals.
Jet Set Radio
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
Like Resident Evil, but with dinosaurs. Actually, 1999’s Dino Crisis was developed by the same team that created Resident Evil, so the two games certainly share some similarities, including their survivor horror mechanics and use of puzzles. But Dino Crisis requires the player to escape from killer dinosaurs brought to a secret research facility by way of time rifts. Time traveling dinosaurs. Enough said.
Another game that shares similarities to GoldenEye 007, 2000’s Perfect Dark is an FPS that revolves around extraterrestrials (as opposed to secret agents). Unlike GoldenEye, however, Perfect Dark features three multiplayer systems: co-operative, counter-operative, and combat simulator. We got a remastered release eight years ago, but remastered does not equal revival.
Rockstar is no stranger to controversial games — just look at the GTA franchise, which set a precedent in upsetting mothers around the world. At the time of its release in 2006, online organizations were highly critical of Bully’s depiction of school bullying. But what they didn’t know was that the game delivers an anti-bullying message. Through a lot of fights. But still.
Of all of the games on this list, Contra might be the most familiar, on account of the fact that the franchise has seen a number of sequels and remakes. And sure, maybe we’re being a little presumptuous here in hoping for a franchise reboot when it seems like it’s already happened. But its last real installment came out in 2011, and the world of gaming has undergone tremendous change since then. Just imagine what 2018 graphics could do to this OG arcade run and gun.
If you look at a game released in 1995 today, it’s hard to get past the weak graphics and often-times herky-jerky gameplay to truly appreciate its storytelling and overall value. So for kids born after the ‘80s, Clock Tower may seem pretty lame. But it’s anything but. Not only is it one of the first in the survival horror genre, but its main antagonist — Scissorman — is absolutely nightmare-worthy, even now.
2007’s Portal is a puzzle game that uses physics and kinetic energy to navigate through a series of rooms. It takes some thought and precision to succeed, but when the player does, there’s cake. Or at least the promise of cake. But we’ve certainly done more for less.
Racing games these days are so complicated. Between choosing the right car to the right mods to the oftentimes complicated controls, there’s a lot a player has to accomplish in order to succeed. Remember the days when it was just about going really fast and crashing really hard? Bring those days back (and no, a remastered edition most certainly does not count).
We could really use a few more old school beat ‘em up games, and if there’s one franchise to to it, 1991’s Battletoads is it. Loosely based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, three Battletoads named Rash, Zitz, and Pimple are captured during an escort mission and must battle their way to freedom. Unlike TMNT, however, this unfortunately named trio doesn’t seem to have quite the affinity for cheap Italian cuisine. It’s a shame, though, because pizza does make everything better.
Another installment in Rockstar’s controversial game database, 2003’s Manhunt is a survival horror game wherein the player is a death row inmate forced to participate in a series of snuff films. Points are awarded based on the severity of murders committed, so, you know, it isn’t for the fainthearted. The game was banned in several countries, and it took center stage in the murder trial of 17-year-old Warren Leblanc, who was obsessed with its violent nature.
For a game that’s frequently been cited as one of the best video games of all time, one would think we’d have had a revival by now. Chrono Trigger is a 2-D role playing game in which players collect items, solve puzzles, and battle enemies. It’s kind of like a video game version of D&D, which — make fun of the nerds who play it all you like, but that shit is fun as hell.
Jak and Daxter
Set in a science fantasy world where a substance called Eco serves as both its life source and the player’s power source, Jak and Daxter is one of those early Playstation games that has a little bit of everything rolled into it. The gameplay is a step up from Naughty Dog’s previous Crash Bandicoot, incorporating an open world and better character development. It’s action, racing, and puzzle solving at its earliest (and finest).
Technically a first-person shooter, 2000’s TimeSplitters shares similarities in game play to the classic GoldenEye 007. But TimeSplitters allows you to play in a number of different modes: arcade, unlockable challenge, map maker, and story mode, which can be done alone or cooperatively. Its comic-like graphics set it apart from other FPS games at its time, and it’s just generally fun and entertaining to play. A fourth installment was announced in 2007 but wound up postponed indefinitely.
The neo-noir and graphic novel design of 2001’s Max Payne lended a great deal to its success and popularity as a third person shooter. It was so popular, in fact, that in 2008, we were gifted with a shitty film adaptation starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Terrible movie aside, the game itself hasn’t had a new installment since 2012, and we’re about ready for some new noir.
Similar in style to Resident Evil, Eternal Darkness puts players in a survival horror setting wherein they’re required to solve puzzles and fight monsters. But Eternal Darkness gives players a choice in how they want their story laid out, which also leads to varying playable characters. And that “sanity effects” feature? Sometimes you really do feel crazy playing it.
Jesus Christ, how frustrating was this game? Back in 1993, puzzle games weren’t exactly the thing they are today, and Myst is one of those games that every kid spent hours in front of their computer screens for, both enthralled by its phenomenal graphics (for its time, obviously) and maddened by its seemingly impossible tasks. But the world itself is captivating, and a quarter century is a good time marker for a new installment.