TURN TO CHANNEL 3: Everything old is new again in ‘NES Remix’
Recently, I was reading an article in Game Informer magazine where the author was talking about games that never should have been remade for more modern systems, discussing how so many things that made the original games great were seemingly lost in translation somewhere, and I agreed with a large portion of what was said because, let’s face it, it’s risky business putting out something new, especially for those franchises that are so beloved.
So I’m sure it came as no surprise that more than just a few eyebrows were raised when “NES Remix,” a game that didn’t just take one, but several NES games and put them all together in one collection, was released. My information on this game was very little, so I went into it just knowing they were games there I loved as a kid, and somehow, Nintendo took those basic formulas and tweaked them to create something different.
I’m sure I was one of many who wasn’t sure how that could be accomplished with simple 8-bit video games, but I was determined to find out either way. I mean, after all, there are so many remixes out there in the music world, so certainly if those people could do it, the NES could pull it off too, right?
“NES Remix” (Wii U)
In truth, if you grew up with these games, then you won’t find anything too startling with the soundtrack. All your favorite and familiar tunes are there to greet you. What is new, however, are the subtle tunes to start a challenge, end a challenge, and, of course, when you run out of lives to complete a challenge. What’s interesting to note is that all these new sounds seem like they could fit well within the soundtracks of old from these original games. It’s nice to see that a game that’s all about the classics actually sounds like a classic game.
Again, you’re getting the games of old, front and center, exactly as you remember them. They do seem even more vibrant and full of life than they would in cartridge form, but there’s nothing that’s been overly enhanced in any way, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It would have been easy, far too easy, in fact, for Nintendo to redo the graphics in these games to make them more modern, but I think if they did, it would have taken away from the whole theme of this being a remix of the originals, and I’ll touch more on that in the gameplay section.
If you’re still waiting to figure out just what makes this game a true remix of sorts, allow me to elaborate. Like many of the games in this collection, “NES Remix is very deceptive in that it makes you feel comfortable, too comfortable, as you plow through some very easy tasks that you could do in your sleep if you grew up with these games – everything from simply stomping on an enemy in “Super Mario Bros.” to finding the sword in the cave in “The Legend of Zelda,” but this is where all the rainbows and puppy dogs come to an end, people, because then the game adds time limits, followed by true remix levels that add some ridiculously absurd yet highly creative components. Examples of this include “Super Mario Bros.” levels that are completely in snow and ice, elements that were NEVER present in the original, or completing a level of “Excitebike” with nothing but a small section of the track lit up, seemingly by a single flashlight, but this is the charm of “NES Remix” – and the point of it. You don’t start with every game unlocked; you need to obtain stars until a game can be unlocked, and the number of stars you obtain from each challenge is decided by how fast and effectively you complete these tasks. It’s challenging, but addicting, just like a classic NES title.
If you own a Wii U and are a fan of these classic titles, then this is definitely something you should be purchasing from the Nintendo eShop, though if you wait a little over a month, a new disc-based version called “NES Remix Pack” will be released on Dec. 5 that contains both “NES Remix 1” and “NES Remix 2.” This is a game that is a great time-waster, but it is also a nice mix of throwback and modern concept. Nintendo has found a way to take something old and make it new again, and while some may say that’s nothing new for the company, there’s something extra special about a game that was made in 2013 that makes you enjoy games that were made nearly 30 years earlier.
Turn to Channel 3 will be coming to you every Tuesday with new perspectives on retro gaming as well as fresh twists on the classics, so stay tuned and game on!
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