Monday, February 13, 2017

You Can Linger Too Long In Your Dreams...

So the spectacular crew over at ( on a wind about the games fondly remembered from their youths and that they'd like to see rebooted.  I, for all my years, believe firmly that the best of times, especially for PC gaming, is right here and now.  For all the time and attention I lavished on Battles of Napoleon, Castles, Populous, System Shock, &c., very few of them hold up well by contemporary standards.  I've tried GoG and DosBox only to find that most of the games I so fondly remember just aren't that good any more.

This mutated into an obsession, viz.:  review the list of those games mentioned in this thread and, for those with which I had sufficient familiarity to comment (a horrifyingly high number) share my own, highly biased thoughts as to why we've seen no proper sequel or update.  Then, to make things really interesting, set my own house odds for how likely I think any reboot is.  I should state clearly that I'm fond of most of the games on this list and, I believe, owned them all.  Sometimes more than once for various reasons.  Taking only B-17 as an example, I'm not happy that I think the genre gone, I'm just convinced that it is.  I'd be very happy, indeed, to be wrong.

It's all for fun and wildly subjective, but beneath it is a reminder that the best place to look in most situations is forwards rather than backwards.  As the poet said, "...the good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."

Age of Rifles -- Few games are dearer to my heart, but a "game box" like this is unlikely.  John Tiller has argued, and none have proven him wrong, that you can't make it worthwhile giving everybody all the tools.  This is also one of the few games on this list that I can think of that has taken a real hit from VASL.  The grogs have moved on. (Replaced)

Airborne Ranger -- I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this game, but a wiser mind than my own pointed out that this is Metal Gear Solid's bunk now. (Replaced)

Alpha Centauri:  They've tried to capture that lightening twice and failed, both times fairly abominably to hear tell.  No one wants the game itself back -- that's available.  They want a pretty, shiny, new one.  And they'll keep trying so long as you're asking. (Replaced)

B-17 Flying Fortress: The Mighty Eighth -- Dead genre.  Much missed.  (500-1)

Battles of Napoleon:  I cannot discuss this.  I become more a gibbering gibbon than usual.  (No bets)

Birth of the Federation -- Strikes me as far more likely that we'll someday get either a turn-based or real-time ship-to-ship combat simulator with a strategic layer.  Surprised that hasn't happened, frankly, but Attack Wing wasn't the success that X-wing Versus Tie Fighter was either. (10-1)

Car Wars or Roadwar 2000:  Top-down tactics are largely done and, while I'd love to see it, I can't see an X-Com - scale sequel working with cars. (75-1)

Chaos Gate:  Behold Sanctus Reach.  (Replaced, although I continue to be amazed at how many games are trying to jam themselves into this gamespace)

Dangerous Waters/Sub Command -- Didn't sell well in the first place, not that Battlefront has proven itself able to manage much other than CM.  This, too, is now CMANO's space. (Replaced)

EA/Interplay RPGs, e.g. The Bard's Tale and Wasteland -- The last of these that I can think of was Might and Magic X: Legacy.  I loved it.  No idea how it sold, but it was widely mocked for its square-based movement and lack of an open world.  That's expected now. (100-1)

Emperor of the Fading Sons -- I assume the desire here is for a straight re-make as the war-in-space category is a crowded one.  If so, I see zero chance as that IP is locked in some ancient vault with the keys guarded by deathless cobras. (No bets)

F-119A Stealth Fighter and Gunship -- Victims of the evolution of sims.  There are plenty of great sims that allow you to fly all kinds of awesome planes and helicopters.  These were both wonderfully accessible arcade games with sim gloss that you could successfully navigate with an Atari 2600 controller.  I know. (No bets)

Freedom Force -- This will never again happen without an IP.  No small miracle that it ever did.  (No bets)

Great Naval Battles -- I, personally, have asked JTS to take this mantle up...right after they give me a proper Age of Sail II.  Nothing since the first counts even a little.  I'm getting way too old for this sort of a wait. (500-1, because I must hope)

Gulf Strike -- As with any other board game, the most popular will make their way to digital and the rest will be played over VASL.  Except for HexWar which makes all kinds of weird marketing deals (why C&C: WWI before Ancients, for example).  (100-1)

Imperialism II -- Always a curiosity to me re: what people like in this game, even after all these years over any of the other games in the genre.  Far too niche these days. (50-1, especially as Paradox seems uninterested)

Incubation -- This was X-Com meets Aliens and, as terribly fond as I was of it (I can still hear the theme song in my head), I think X-Com now holds this field. (25-1, on the notion that somebody might try it with the Aliens property)

Knights of the Old Republic -- One of the most likely on the list, but isn't all this stuff kicked out of the canon now? (5-1)

M.U.L.E.:  This one wandered the other way onto the tabletop.  Far better on the iOS platform.  The PC environment would never again tolerate this level of simplicity in anything but a value title.  Heck, it's real spiritual successor, Offworld Trading Company, was criticized by some as too shallow.  (100-1)

Panzer Elite -- If the desire is a WWII proper tank sim, I see zero chance.  If not, is this not the offerings from Graviteam? (Replaced)

Red Storm Rising -- Seems to me this is CMANO's niche now.  If you're looking for simpler than that, you're into an iOS app. (Replaced)

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe -- An add-on pack for MSFSX.  (2-1)

Soldiers at War -- While X-Com lives I can't consign this genre to irrelevance, but it's on life support. (50-1)

Steel Panthers -- The lack of a credible sequel in all these years speaks volumes.  Again, top-down tactics is, if not dead, flat-lined. (30-1)

Syndicate -- I think the failure of Satellite Reign has ended this one for the foreseeable future. (40-1)

System Shock -- Never, ever happen.  The days of the moody, brilliantly-written, single-player experience are done.  (500-1)

Terra Nova -- It stuns me that this has never been re-done.  It obviously inspired Tribes which has since fallen on hard times.  This is one of the few on this list that I cannot figure out. (5-1, just because I think a re-make is so obvious.)

X-Wing/Tie Fighter -- The full content of both these games and all their expansions wouldn't satisfy the contemporary market.  They'd be taken as a mini-game. For much the same reason, by the way, I think Wing Commander might re-appear as an IP, but never as anything close to the same game. (30-1)

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