The next-gen consoles have finally come and gamers have scrambled to join the hardware revolution. According to Forbes, the Playstation 4 has already sold 4.2 million units since its release, and the Xbox One has sold 3 million units. With the power of next-gen hardware now available to game developers, we keep on imagining what classic arcade games could be like today. Here are just a few of the classic arcade titles we’d like to see updated for next-gen systems.
“Dragon’s Lair” was the next-gen arcade game of it’s time; powered by Laserdisc technology, “Dragon’s Lair” was essentially an animated film about a knight named Dirk trying to save a princess from a Dragon, in a castle thick with traps. “Dragon’s Lair” utilized the now ubiquitous “Quick Time Event” (QTE) for every action in gameplay – if you didn’t press the right button at the right time, Dirk was killed in a variety of humorous ways. “Dragon’s Lair” was an arcade phenomenon, and US Gamer reports that it produced more than 48 million dollars in revenue for arcade owners, from approximately 7,500 arcade cabinets.
Today, the combination of high-quality animation matched with QTE is practically a genre, if titles like “Heavy Rain” and “Beyond: Two Souls” are any measure. The Xbox remake of “Dragon’s Lair,” known as “Dragon’s Lair 3D,” was a platformer, which was a big mistake. Bring back QTE-centric gameplay with hundreds of divergent paths, through a beautifully rendered castle and a next-gen “Dragon’s Lair” could be a gamer favorite.
1987 saw the release of “Contra” in the arcades, a title that featured the then-rare mechanic of a simultaneous two-player co-op. “Contra” is a simple idea: up to two soldiers waste hordes of enemy soldiers and alien forces to defeat Red Falcon and his evil army. “Contra” has a legendary level of difficulty – players receive three lives and one shot kills you.
While the original “Contra” is a side scroller, and most remakes of it have been as well, “Contra” has more in common with modern games like Battlefield 4 and other run-and-gun FPS titles. Re-imagining “Contra” for the next-gen is a thought that game developers have brought up recently – Dave Cox, producer of Konami’s “Castlevania: Lord of Shadows” told SiliconEra that a new “Contra” game can’t be just another shooter, and that the franchise needs to evolve to appeal outside of its niche audience.
In a way, the road to a new “Dig Dug” game has already been paved by titles like indie darling “Minecraft.” For those unfamiliar, Dig dug featured a space-suit wearing miner named Dug who unsurprisingly dug his way underground inflating and destroying weird creatures before they escaped to the surface. Imagine a next-gen “Dig Dug” that plays more like collect-build-survive titles, such as “Minecraft,” in which players must bore deep into the earth to collect the resources necessary to stave off the invasion from the darkest depths. Players could work together or competitively, to construct fortified bases from which to launch their attacks on the ever growing masses of creatures teeming in the earth. If designers chose to keep in the rather bizarre mechanic of inflating enemies until they pop from the classic “Dig Dug” in a next-gen title, they could easily make the game appealing to families as a sort of couch co-op title. “Dig Dug” celebrated it’s 30th anniversary in 2012, making it a perfect time for a series re-imagining.