In Defense of HD Remastered Games

By Tony Polanco

July 17, 2014

Yup… HD Remasters. While there are many who don’t like the idea of these type of games, I personally love them. You could even say that I’m “part of the problem” when it comes to supporting the sheer amount of remasters that release a year. I buy them all and I make no apologies for that. Why do I like HD remastered games so much and why do I feel that they are important to this industry we love? Read on to find out.

Nostalgia is a big part of this community and remastered games provide us with a perfect way to replay our favorite titles. Some titles hold a special meaning to me and I like to revisit them from time to time. However, some titles are for systems that I currently don’t own or don’t feel like taking out of my closet. This is where HD remasters come in handy. My favorites are there for me to easily access at any time without the need to go through much (if any) hassle.

As vain as this may sound, having an HD remaster to play versus the original is definitely more pleasing to the eye. Older games that may have looked great when they were initially released may not stand the test of time visually. I always like to say that HD remastered games “look the way I remember them.” Our mind remembers games a certain way but when we go back to play them, they don’t look the way we thought they did. With an HD remaster however, a game can look the way it does in your mind’s eye.

Unlike books, older video games can’t easily be accessed at anytime. Like I said, a lot of these games are for systems people may not own anymore. For the younger people out there, remasters prove to be the only way they can play classics from the past. The historical value of remastered games cannot be overstated as they provide a great window into past game design logic, which has either been vastly updated or discarded entirely. It also shows us how certain games in a franchises have evolved over the years.

Some newer titles, particularly those on handhelds, benefit from HD remasters as well. Not everyone owned a PSP but would have wanted to play some of the games that were on it. Now games like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and the God of War, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta can make it into more homes with their remastered versions.

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Speaking of newer titles that get remastered, there is a new trend that’s emerging which many find disturbing or upsetting. Of course I’m talking about games like Tomb Raider, The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V; games that are barely a year old. I won’t lie, I already bought Tomb Raider and will most likely buy the other two as well but even I feel weird about doing so. Though these type of re-releases seems like a cheap cash grab on the surface, I’ll defend them as well.

While these type of remasters receive little more than a 1080p resolution facelift and a smoother frame rate, they still deserve to be released. Let’s face it, the current-gen consoles are still somewhat lacking in big AAA titles so re-releasing recent hits from the last-gen is a good way to beef up our collections. Also, these games were created very close to the beginning of the current-gen. The higher resolution and framerate assets already existed and were never used because of the technical limitations of the last-gen hardware. In a way, these releases are showing us the games as they were intended to be — had they been released as current-gen titles.

HD Remastered games aren’t going anywhere. It’s clear that people still want them. The vocal minority may bemoan them but the fact that people keep buying them and genuinely get excited when they are announced speaks volumes. This is a medium that is heavily reliant on technology and as that technology evolves, we need a way to keep classic games available for people to play. This is ultimately the main reason why HD games are important: to keep older and important games from fading into obscurity.

Everyone should be thankful that HD remasters exist. I know I’ll keep supporting them.

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Tony Polanco

Tony has been a gamer ever since he came to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was a kid. He's been a geek since he could draw his first breath and will be one until he draws his last. In addition to video games, Tony loves Comic Books, Anime, Science Fiction and Fantasy. If it's geeky then Tony is most likely into it.

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