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How to Modernize Classic Gameplay

06-20-2011, 01:50 AM
#1
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 38
How to Modernize Classic Gameplay

Hi fellow developers. This is more a question of how you can revitalise and modernize what are considered classic games and make them more appealing for todays audiences.

What i mean by that is taking the basic gameplay of Donkey Kong or Pacman or Asteroids and what ways you could release the game today and retain that classic gameplay but enhance it also.

Obviously graphics is the first modernization but in alot of cases this isnt always true.

Take the updated pacmans and galagy iphone games for example, in most cases the graphics are very similar.

This is more of a discussion to the general development community but i also have a game in the style of the old game and watch games that i would consider a classic and looking on ideas to expand it and make it more valid for todays audiences.

Heres some things i can thing of, off the top of my head. Would love to get other developers opinions

- Combos/Highscores. Essentially adding in combos and flashy scores to get the player hooked.
- Powerups. Various powerups that changeup the gameplay/scores in someway.
- Unlockables. Lots of things to keep the player coming back. Unlockable backdrops/themes e.t.c

Any others?
06-20-2011, 02:26 AM
#2
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,770
Send a message via AIM to kohjingyu
Customization. Give the Pac Man clothes of the user's choice.

06-20-2011, 02:55 AM
#3
Since you mentioned Pacman as an example, it made 'Evac' by Hexage come to mind.

Evac gameplay:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSi1J8ghFOI

The concept of collecting dots remains, just like the original Pacman...and there's power ups which let you kill enemies. But they added extra features such as moving spikes, areas to "hide" and pushable walls. They also used various larger levels which don't fit on one screen. The new graphics are still simple, but stylized, brightly. And modern music / sound fx were added, not just a rip of the original noises.

This is a great example of what you're describing. Evac has the same basic game-play, which was hugely successful (obviously), but with a definite modern feel. You can tell it's inspired by Pacman, but it also feels like a new game.

If you're not familiar with it, check it out. It's good.

řƹȡ1
06-20-2011, 04:32 AM
#4
Joined: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 741
The standard approach seems to be to make them so easy that morons with five second attention spans can finish them by just banging their heads on the controls.

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06-20-2011, 06:13 AM
#5
Today's big thing is collectables
With solid fun gameplay you will find players will be driven too get any item they can, even if they dont have any influence on the game
06-20-2011, 06:40 AM
#6
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lincoln, UK
Posts: 344
My game ShootStorm is in the style of classics Tempest and Gyruss.

I was able to build the game in 3D, whereas the originals were 2D faking 3D. I also have graphics and sound that would not have been possible back then. and rather then trying to fake the original controls, I have created new ones suited to an iOS device (touch or tilt options).
06-20-2011, 11:57 AM
#7
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonjump View Post
My game ShootStorm is in the style of classics Tempest and Gyruss.

I was able to build the game in 3D, whereas the originals were 2D faking 3D. I also have graphics and sound that would not have been possible back then. and rather then trying to fake the original controls, I have created new ones suited to an iOS device (touch or tilt options).
whaat?! sacrilege?! tempest uses real 3d vector gfx..


btw good old / new examples

asteroids -> space miner
space invaders -> space invaders infinity gene / velocispider
daytona usa -> bumpy road
06-20-2011, 07:35 PM
#8
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
Before asking "how" it might be better to ask "why."

MsPacman improved on PacMan by randomizing the monsters AI, adding maze variations, and requiring you to chase down the fruit. Almost all other official PacMan remakes - Super PacMan, Pac&Pal, PacLand took weird departures, and I don't think the world was really better off with them.

There have been plenty of attempts at Donkey Kong remakes. One of the nicer looking ones is here:
http://retroactionmagazine.com/retro...y-kong-remake/
The developer took inspiration from the actual cabinet art.

But this version as pretty as it is doesn't play quite as well as the original.

It's generally harder to "screw up" if you just remake the sound, and leave graphics intact/abstract.

There are only a handful of classic games that truly stand the test of time, in the sense that if they were newly introduced today for the first time would still be enjoyable. PacMan is definitely one of them. Tetris is another timeless game.

Something like PunchOut is probably right on the edge. Pocket Boxing Legends is pretty much a frame-by-frame remake mashing up the original arcade PunchOut and Super Punchout games, with pixel art in "retro mode" and rendered boxers in "normal" mode. Granted, both original arcade games were never hugely mainstream to begin with (Mike Tyson's PunchOut on NES was far more popular), but it was an interesting little experiment to see how well that formula it would fare with modern gamers.

I can count on one hand Atari2600 titles that are still fun to play if you set aside the nostalgia factor. Many games don't age gracefully. The ones that do are probably most deserving of being called "classics."

If you move forward in time to the NES, there are dozens of titles that are still great fun to play. One of my kids just recently won Legend of Zelda (original) and had a blast.

One of the coolest little titles I've stumbled across is "Super Mario Crossover" which can be played online. You can pick from nearly a dozen characters (Samus, Link, Contra, etc.) and use them to play worlds in the original Super Mario Brothers, complete with spot-on physics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roachie View Post
Hi fellow developers. This is more a question of how you can revitalise and modernize what are considered classic games and make them more appealing for todays audiences.

What i mean by that is taking the basic gameplay of Donkey Kong or Pacman or Asteroids and what ways you could release the game today and retain that classic gameplay but enhance it also.

Obviously graphics is the first modernization but in alot of cases this isnt always true.

Take the updated pacmans and galagy iphone games for example, in most cases the graphics are very similar.

This is more of a discussion to the general development community but i also have a game in the style of the old game and watch games that i would consider a classic and looking on ideas to expand it and make it more valid for todays audiences.

Heres some things i can thing of, off the top of my head. Would love to get other developers opinions

- Combos/Highscores. Essentially adding in combos and flashy scores to get the player hooked.
- Powerups. Various powerups that changeup the gameplay/scores in someway.
- Unlockables. Lots of things to keep the player coming back. Unlockable backdrops/themes e.t.c

Any others?
06-20-2011, 07:40 PM
#9
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
There's plenty of truth to that.

The thing people tend to forget about classic arcade games is that many of them were freaking hard. There was a community aspect - people would gather round to watch experts players in action. As popular as they were, many people frequenting arcades in the early 80s couldn't even beat the first stage of Donkey Kong, or could barely beat the first maze in PacMan.

It's the rare game that can get away with being difficult these days. Unless the game is somehow entertaining despite being crazy hard (like Daredevil Dave), people are likely to get frustrated and move on to something else.

The trick, I think, it to keep core gameplay accessible, and make the more challenging stuff optional.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennX View Post
The standard approach seems to be to make them so easy that morons with five second attention spans can finish them by just banging their heads on the controls.
06-21-2011, 12:02 AM
#10
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 2,375
Send a message via AIM to SkyMuffin Send a message via Yahoo to SkyMuffin
There are quite a few remakes here: http://retroremakes.com/nostalgia/competitions/

Some of them are good, some of them aren't. But there are a lot of examples of how people have modernized old fashioned games.

Generally, I'd say move away from the rote memorization and quarter munching mechanisms seen in a lot of old games, and add in more complex things to keep people coming back, like upgrades, rewards, achievements, etc. At the same time, preserve the simple core gameplay and make it visually attractive.

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