Video game remakes are rapidly becoming a genre unto themselves for as much as developers and publishers like to go back to the past for ideas on what to produce in the future. When a game like Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda is remade with modern technology, is something from the original game lost? Our most recent episode of the Power Button podcast ("The Great Art Debate") started the wheels turning in the head of friend of the show Keri Honea, and she's making the case that Final Fantasy VII — a game that many fans have been begging Square-Enix to remake — is best left alone.
If [Final Fantasy VII] was remade, it would lose some of its original appeal and timelessness. When the game's trailers first appeared in the late 90s, everyone was blown away by the graphics. Then when they actually played the game, they were blown away by the story. Despite its obviously outdated graphics, it's still considered one of the most beloved Final Fantasy games of all time. It's also still one of the top PSN downloads even though it's been out for nearly a year. That timeless nostalgia clearly still resonates with several people.
Would we still have that feeling if the game was redone with current-gen graphics? Imagine if Nintendo decided to remake the original Super Mario Bros. with Super Mario Galaxy graphics? What about the original Legend of Zelda recoded with Twilight Princess graphics? Aside from what die-hard fans would think, wouldn't it take away a chunk of the nostalgia of the original game? Would we still look back at that game with all of the fond memories of our childhoods and think about how that game helped revolutionize console gaming?
Personally, I disagree. I'd love to see Super Mario Bros. remade with Super Mario Galaxy's visual style. The great thing about remakes is that they don't destroy the original version of the game. No matter if I believe a remake is horrible or downright fantastic, I'm free to ignore it and continue to enjoy the original classic. For instance, Sega's remake of Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Boy Advance was absolutely terrible. It didn't become the only version of Sonic out there though, and the company didn't go on a scorched earth campaign to rid the world of the Genesis original. If Square-Enix were to rework Final Fantasy VII, then the primary Sony PlayStation version would still exist for future generations who'd prefer to play the twentieth century edition of the adventure.
Keri and I went around and around on this issue while she was writing the article and we never could find common ground. I do want to thank her for the Power Button plug though. Even when we disagree, something good still comes out of it.