Dreams Come True for Sega Fans

I don’t want to restart a video game war that went cold over a decade ago, but it’s hard to deny that the PlayStation was the better buy than the Sega Saturn.

I know, I know, here comes the usual Saturn fan argument. “Panzer Dragoon,” “Guardian Heroes,” “Nights Into Dreams.” That last one, in particular, has been a longtime cult favorite, and fans have been clamoring for years for Sega to re-visit “Nights.” Sure, there was that Japanese exclusive PS2 remake, and a mediocre semi-sequel on the Wii,  but none of it has fully satisfied fans’ bloodlust following the original title.

Well, not long after releasing a teaser image related to the game, Sega has gone all-in and announced a full-on HD remake of the original “Nights” to be released on Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and Playstation Network. Besides including little pieces of the blown minds of hardcore fans everywhere, the remake will boast standard upgrades like HD graphics, widescreen compatibility, achievements, and a “Saturn Mode” that lets you play the game in its original format.

If you never played “Nights,” the reasons you should be excited for this remake are a lot of the same reasons I outlined previously for why “Earthbound” is my favorite game of all time. It’s a title brimming with style, that’s all about exploring the world of dreams via flight. Appropriately then, the best way to describe the majority of the games features is dream-like. The flying controls that make up the majority of the game handle loose and free, while a brilliant soundtrack fills the landscapes you explore, giving you a sense of freedom that has nothing to do with a concept like sandbox gaming. Instead, “Nights” surrealism frees your mind and makes you believe that even though the game has well established parameters, that somehow anything is still possible.

Yet there’s a reason this game is considered a “cult classic” and not a runaway contender for best game of all time. It’s not entirely due to the fact “Nights” came out in the dying days of a mostly underwhelming system, either. Truthfully, once you get past the game’s thrill of flying, it’s hard to not see that the majority of “Nights” is standard platforming item-fetching that is handled in a style that’s not quite on the rails, but is still more linear than it initially appears to be. Even the flying aspect has lost some of its appeal over time as it was largely based around the appeal of exciting new “analog stick technology” that has of course become anything but novel since.

I know that remakes and re-releases are big money in the video game market right now (and some, like the “Metal Gear Solid” and “Splinter Cell” collections are wholly justified), but Sega is putting their fans in an awkward position with a release like this. On one hand, not supporting this game by buying it may make Sega believe that there is not the interest in their classic library that there definitely is and should be when it comes to generally good gaming ideas. However, if fans jump on this title with the same rabid ferocity that they have shown in clamoring for its release all these years, then they will be effectively sending the message that a bare bones HD re-release is good enough for them.

There’s a group of people out there that will be happy enough buying a title like “Nights” to enjoy for an afternoon of nostalgia and be perfectly happy with it. Maybe, with the right expectations, there is nothing wrong with that. I just hope that game developers are also taking time to consider the little aspects of titles like “Nights” that have made them remain so beloved over the years, and are looking to expand those ideas into future original properties. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but if it’s not the case, then in the end, releases like these really are nothing more than cash grabs.


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>