Making Old New –
Multiplayer gaming is important. Pong, one of the first games to popularize video gaming was entirely focused on multiplayer. And can you image a Halo or CoD title that excluded a multiplayer component? MMO’s would never have been invented if multiplayer gaming didn’t exist either.
Since the dawn of video games, multiplayer has remained an important element to the overall fun factor. Unfortunately, the consoles of yesteryear were limited to same sofa multiplayer only. With the advent of services like Xbox Live and PSN in conjunction with readily available WiFi high speed internet access, playing online with friends around the world is now something that is not only common, but expected.
Below is a list of five classic games that really should be put on services like Xbox Live Arcade and retrofitted with online support. The key to point out here is these games only need to be implemented with online multiplayer support and leaderboards. The graphics, soundtrack, and overall gameplay elements really do not need to be reworked to have a quality gaming experience. The only thing these games need is the ability to play online with randoms and close friends. Of course matchmaking, lobbies, and a drop-in drop-out party system falls under the online support umbrella.
In no particular order:
Secret of Mana – SNES
One of the few games to actually make use of the SNES multi-tap, Secret of Mana is co-op heaven that still holds up today. Up to three players can adventure their way through a whimsical land filled with monsters, magic, memorable weapons and a soundtrack that is one of the best of all time. It is true that the translation might not be as well written as you might remember, but Secret of Mana would make killer use of online multiplayer. Yeah, putting this game on XBLA for 1200 MS Pts would see many digital downloads unlike the awkward iOS port.
Chu Chu Rocket – Dreamcast
Sega has slowly been releasing games from their DC library over the last couple years. But instead of giving us another way to play Crazy Taxi, why can’t we play Chu Chu Rocket online? It is ironic because Chu Chu Rocket was the first game to make use of the DC’s modem port but since internet play wasn’t very popular back in the Dreamcast era it still goes on this list. But this also means the general framework for netplay is already written into the game. Chu Chu has also been ported to iOS and Android. So why isn’t this addictive and fast paced multiplayer focused puzzler on XBLA? Sega, playing Sonic Adventure, Sega Bass Fishing, and Sonic The Fighters on XBLA is great, but can we please get Chu Chu Rocket on XBLA?
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance – PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA
Like Secret of Mana, hack n’slash dungeon crawlers are always a good time to play with a buddy or two. Baldur’s Gate is no exception and would gladly be downloaded for a $10-$15 price tag if lag free online multiplayer was included. Champions of Norrath came later but the early Playstation Network made online support unstable.
Powerstone 2 – Dreamcast
The Powerstone series is the pinnacle of arcadey fighters. When fighting gamers put down Smash Bros, they pick up Powerstone for is over-the-top entertainment value and stellar multiplayer component. Replay value is also sky high as crafting new weapons and destroying opponents never gets old. The PSP was lucky enough to see a bundled UMD of Powerstone 1 and 2 on a single disc but featured local wireless multiplayer only. Like Sega, Capcom has recently been reaching back into their back catalog of games but have neglected to give fans online support for their coveted fighter.
Dungeon Explorer – TurboGrafx-16
If you never heard of Dungeon Explorer, you are not alone. One of the few TG-16 games to actually make use of the five player option found in the system’s hardware, Dungeon Explorer takes everything you love about Gauntlet, Zelda and even Blaster Master and mixes them into one story based overhead adventure. Dungeon Explorer is pretty much impossible when attempting to venture solo; this game was designed for multiplayer co-op play. Currently, the best way to play this game is from the Wii Virtual Console as five Wii Remotes can sync to the system at the same time. But this game’s full potential can finally be realized if online multilayer support was installed.
These are just five of many games that would benefit from being retrofitted with modern online capabilities. Sound off in the comments below with old school games you would like to see outfitted with online multiplayer support.
Balloon Fight (NES)
Contra III (SNES)
River City Ransom (NES)
Super Dodge Ball (NES)
Jet Force Gemini (N64)
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure (GC)