Remasters are part of modern gaming furniture. Whether you want them or not, they’re a bankable asset for developers and publishers who might be short of an idea or two: classics are reintroduced to all-new audiences to create huge marketing opportunities, and speaking from experience, to satisfy the cravings of older, 30-something gamers who can’t let go of the past.
Yet for every Shadow of the Colossus, Spyro the Dragon or Command & Conquer, there are ten other games people are demanding upgrades for. To identify what these are, the unimaginatively named British retailer GAME created a complex algorithm to discover which past classics were most in demand, based on search volume, trends, articles, engagements, and even social “love reactions,” marking each game out of a total of 500.
At this stage, GTA: San Andreas appeared to be the runaway winner, with a score of 403. Rockstar Games’ classic, which was partially upgraded through several emulated ports for the PS3 and Xbox 360 between 2008 and 2015, narrowly edged out Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 & 4 (which I now need in my life, after the incredible THPS 1 + 2), plus fellow Rockstar classics Red Dead Redemption, Bully, and GTA: Vice City.
However, the real battle came when GAME asked its followers to vote on the top ten through a series of Twitter polls, when the outlying ninth-placed game soared to a convincing victory.
After beating Vice City and Red Dead in its own bracket, action-adventure racer The Simpsons: Hit & Run dominated the final vote, taking a whopping 44% of the concluding ballot despite going head-to-head with San Andreas (24%), Metal Gear Solid (19%), and Bully (11%).
Hit & Run was Radical Entertainment’s 2003 follow-up to its 2001 outing The Simpsons: Road Rage–a glorified Crazy Taxi clone that offered little of the SEGA legend’s charm, and even ended up being subject to legal action for copyright infringement. However, sequel Hit & Run–which featured on the PS2, Xbox, GameCube and PC–managed to confound expectations and became a cult hit in the years to follow due to its clever writing, great handling, and hilarious alternative approach to the then-dominant Grand Theft Auto III.
Still, the general public are not always to be trusted in polls like this, as evidenced by the relative indifference shown towards GAME’s 23rd-placed TimeSplitters 2, a game that will finally get a sequel in the coming years after the revival of Free Radical Design (perhaps, but also definitely not, due to my own demands way back in 2019).
Meanwhile, SSX Tricky–a game better than SSX3, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees, even though I will most definitely lose–placed in eighth. Elsewhere, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was a surprisingly low 15th; Fallout New Vegas was a paltry 18th; and worst of all, GoldenEye was a frankly baffling 26th. Maybe too many people have been burned in multiplayer games by friends playing as the pint-sized Oddjob, Baron Samedi, or Moonraker Elite (Female).
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