A Great Reminder Of Why We Need To Keep Classic Games Alive

A Great Reminder Of Why We Need To Keep Classic Games Alive
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Almost everything we love about modern video game owes a huge debt to Another World. So, it’s a boon that people playing on the Xbox Ones and PS4s of today can experience what made this proto-indie adventure a classic.

Elegant world-building. Storytelling quirks unique to the medium. Beautifully naturalistic animation. Proper use of cinematic influences. The presence of all of these in Another World is proof that the ancestral debt mentioned above isn’t an exaggeration. If you’ve played a game that’s triggered emotions or made you feel transported to alternate realities — anything from, say, Ico to The Walking Dead — then you’ve experienced the DNA that Éric Chahi’s 1991 Amiga masterpiece passed on to future generations.

The version of Another World hitting Wii U, 3DS, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and Vita

This week is the 20th Anniversary Edition remaster that first came out for iOS three years ago. (The heavy lifting for the remaster was done by designer Martial Hesse-Dréville.) As much as I love Another World, that iteration of the game annoyed me when I sat down with. I first played a Sega Genesis port of Another World and the precision that I wanted with the 2011 touchscreen update wasn’t there. It was great to be able to play a spruced-up version but it didn’t feel like how I remembered it. So I’m glad that a modern console version exists now.

I played the 20th Anniversary edition on an Xbox One and it ran just fine. The controls are responsive with button configurations that make sense. Like Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary a few years back, the game features the option to switch between the newer remastered graphics and its original look. You can choose from three versions of the soundtrack, too, but that option isn’t available while you’re playing.

No matter which set of visual or audio options you play with, the charm of Another World remains intact. The dread, loneliness, panic and relief that the game imparted when it first came out are still here. And the spare minimalism created by late 1980s tech limitations gets affirmed as a strong artistic choice in the present day, even in an age where players are used to so much more-ness in their games.

Granted, some of what would make video maddening for the next few decades is in evidence here too. Frustratingly oblique puzzle logic (if you haven’t played it before, or just forgot) and checkpoints that make you redo annoying sections, among them. But, one could argue that those things didn’t become widespread problems until creators ignored the technology or wisdom to avoid them and just put them in anyway.

You could look at this new release of Another World for a new set of consoles as just another opportunity to make money. But I think it’s more than just that. Just look at how excited people were at the revelation of a Grim Fandango re-master a few weeks ago at E3. Finally, Tim Schafer’s seminal adventure game could escape the limbo it’s been in and become playable again for those who’d never experienced it or wanted to revisit a beloved part of their gaming past.

Bringing Another World to the platforms of 2014 feels like the best kind of game preservation, one that doesn’t need to scramble for resources or wrestle with a messy tangle of rights or legalities. It just exists, because, of course, it should. And you should play it — again, if you’ve done so already — along with someone who hasn’t already. Yeah, more patience might be required with this game than for one that came out a few weeks ago. Another World is worth it though.


  • Great Game 🙂 but if i want to play it ill load up the cart on my MegaDrive. be warned this game is fucking hard and unforgiving. you are going to be experiencing a lot of trial and error.

  • I still think the epitome of this platforming genre was Abes Odyssey and/or Exodus. So clever. They’re being remastered too, right?

    • I can agree to this, those 2 games are brilliant and still hold up today I feel…

      The remake of Abe’s Oddysee is slated to be released towards the end of July (23rd/24th)… it is looking exceptional… but will be interesting to see how the removal of ‘screens’ makes the game play now.

      • Oh, the remake will scroll? Yeah that seems quite different… Hopefully still holds up.

  • I don’t understood why devs/gamers seem to have lost interest in the cinematic platformer genre. If it is done well you are immediately (if playing as a human character) transposed into their shoes without even needing a word of narrative – but these games always have plenty of that to boot. All hail Jordan Mechner.

    • I think they hit a bubble in the very late 90’s where cutting edge FMV technology looked pretty awful and cost a fortune, then they never really made a come back once that bump in the road smoothed out. There was that period where you had to have that terrible My First 3D model looking footage even though stylistically it looked like garbage compared to stuff that was released years before.
      It was enough to get some people interested and the screen shots on the back of the box could sell the game, but if it the tech wasn’t knocking the socks off the player non-stop it was all sort of bland and the same. Your dark and gritty game had that exact same texture-less, stiff moving, poorly animated look as your bright and happy game. I think looking back that killed a lot of the momentum of the genre.

  • It starts off saying it’ll be available on PS4, then has a line through the PS4 on the list, so is it coming to PS4 or not?

  • This is why I’m hoping Microsoft’s “Anniversary” games and Wind Waker HD are the start of a new trend. People cry about remasters but I think we need them for the PlayStation/N64 to PS2/XBOX/GameCube era, even the GBA/NES/Master System classics could use a fresh coat of paint. So many great games are lost in time, out of print and dated enough that they don’t quite carry the same impact.
    For instance as a huge Fable fan I love the original it’s aged pretty badly. It’s full of those early 3D game maps that don’t really have any detail and it’s just generally lacking that additional layer of polish we take for granted today. Fable Anniversary fixed that and brought the game to a level where from here out it only really needs resolution increases to stay playable (well, that and bug fixes because Lionhead really dropped the ball on quality control…).
    I’d love to see more classic games get that treatment. Not just the huge titles like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, but stuff like Mario Sunshine where the game was fantastic but a lot of people missed it. The Last of Us may seem too soon, but for a lot of people who went from XBOX 360 to PS4 the idea of a PS4 port is brilliant.

  • I agree, I think this game is incredible for its time and highly influential.

    I enjoyed Heart of Darkness too when I was little.. not sure how positive the opinion on that game is though, I haven’t come across many people who played it.

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