Everything Old is New Again at PAX East

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Everything Old is New Again at PAX East

The recently-concluded Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East event in Boston brought with it an odd, unexpected bit of theme. While there was no doubt that there were new items in attendance, there was also some unexpected touches of retro at the show, which proves that gamer history can pave the way for gamer future in a surprisingly large number of cases.

First, retro slasher made new again, and again in some cases, Friday the 13th got a whole new trailer. Updates about the release date were sadly not on hand, and the word about "early 2017" is still in place. Given that "early 2017" is technically less than three weeks away from being over--the second quarter starts April 1--that looks a bit in doubt. The trailer itself, meanwhile, looks sharp as it gets, with plenty of retro joy mixed in with some clearly up-to-date gameplay elements.

What's more, that wasn't the only shot of retro as nineties alternative platform extraordinaire ToeJam and Earl made a comeback with a complete game demo. Looking quite sound itself--and based on early reports playing sound as well--it's possible that this little beauty from, of all places, Adult Swim Games could make a real hit when it arrives.

It's odd to see the past being brought forward so aggressively, and it makes me wonder what E3 will look like this year. Who else will be uncased from the freezer and brought back? Personally, I'd love to see another go-round of Zombies Ate My Neighbors, a top-down shooter from the Super Nintendo era, but that's just me.

Some might consider this a bit of a cop-out, a Hollywood-esque plundering of the past to try and add some security to the future. Those folks aren't sputtering without reason; it was a woefully uncreative move on Hollywood's part, and the last thing anyone wants is to see more games from the past end up pulled forward and turned into the next Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty. Yet at the same time, there is a value in limited forays into the remake sector. The fun games of the past are still fun with a fresh coat of paint and some expansions; just look at Skyrim's HD remaster. A lot of people enjoyed that and I'm no different.

With a little moderation and some judiciousness, pulling from the past to make the future can be an experience that's worthwhile for all. Only time will tell just how the industry approaches this, though.

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