The recent announcement of Return to Monkey Island immediately caught the attention of millions of remaining fans dry mouth for many, too many years. It is above all the direct involvement of Ron Gilbertauthor of the first two legendary chapters, to constitute the point of greatest interest for the longtime players. Reading that name, in fact, immediately raised hopes for a return of the series to the glories of the pastas well as recalling the inevitable nostalgia.
What for some is a simple name, therefore, for others is one unspoken promise: that of being able go back to feeling the same emotionsunchanged or even intensified, that The Secret of Monkey Island And Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge they were able to arouse in them. But is it really possible?
Good old days
We live in an era characterized by a constant return to the pastwhere is it remake And remastered are on the agenda and reboot promise to give “new life” to franchises that, over the years, they’ve tried every. It is an era where nostalgia for a happier past reigns supreme, and the desire to try again long-lost sensations it becomes more and more incessant. Aware of this, the companies therefore try to meet the fans, giving them back as much as they seem to want: to return, playing, to the same years in which the love at first sight happened.
Although it is a sentiment widespread in all areas of entertainmentit is perhaps in video games that this tendency is manifested with greater force. If you consider the speed with which the technological transformations, on which it depends the evolution of hardware and softwarehere’s how, in the space of a few years, the appearance of a video game and the contents it is able to offer can change enormously.
The 5-6 years of life of a generation may seem few, very few when you consider that what they offered may never return, leaving only one indelible memory in those “lucky ones” who had the opportunity to live in the same historical moment, and that is why the need to put a stop to something that seems to be out of our control.
The irony of the return to the past
When a gaming company decides to hand over to an old IP to make a remake or a remastered it is always about a commercial operation with multiple intentions. On the one hand, she promises to give back to old fans exactly the same feelings they once felt, rejuvenating and modernizing the technical sector of the securities they loved so much; on the other, it constitutes an opportunity to test the watersthus discovering new potential interested in a possible rebirth of the franchise, essential for determining whether to finance (or not) the creation of new games of a given series. As stated the same Gilbert:
“We wanted to make a really well made and authentic Monkey Island, something that could really satisfy the players’ thirst for a new adventure. But we were also extremely aware that there are probably many more people in the world who have never played Monkey Island but have only heard of it. We wanted to create something that was accessible to them so that they could easily enter the world of Monkey Island without feeling like strangers the moment they start the game. These are really important aspects of history and design that we have dealt with.“
Here, then, begins to make itself evident a certain irony which permeates, more or less, all operations of this type.
Even though it is productions conveyed and made possible by a strong nostalgic sensethese always end up getting a greater following among the neophytesthose to whom that nostalgia it does not belong but from which they do not want to feel excluded (a real nostalgia for a past never lived), rather than ai real nostalgics that, while appreciating the return of certain well-known faces, they will often end up preferring their original versions invariably, those with which the first impact occurred, with which they grew up, and which they made “unattainable” in their memory. There “first time”after all, as well as being unique it is also unrepeatable.
Tradition and innovation
Repeating the past as we remember it is simply impossible. Times change, games change and, above all, we gamers change: our memories they are not a precise photograph of the pastas much as his own version that we choose to tell ourselves over time, day after day. However, this does not mean that nostalgia should be understood as a feeling absolutely negative. When it does not become frustration and deviates from the desperate desire to relive the past by understanding its impossibility, instead becoming the necessary engine that pushes to recover what has been lost over time, declining it to new lifehere is something that emerges really original.
If you think about Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Gamesfor example, direct inspiration is immediately evident to the 8-bit era: the graphic style in pixel artthe map à-la Super Mario Bros. 3the pogo mechanic recovered from Ducktalesthe instantaneity of action platforms such as Castlevania and bosses and thematic levels along the lines of Mega Man. It is a title that has yes from the past drawn with both handsbut not exactly faithfully.
Filing all those aspects children of their time (artificial difficulty above all) e reconfiguring all according to a decidedly more modern design philosophy, has ended up showing that renewing the interest in a type of games considered by many to be outdated, if not downright antiquated, was instead possible.
They are the same reasons that make it Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time a sequel absolutely worthy of attention. After awakening interest in the marsupial with the remastered of the first three chapters, Toys for Bobkeeping in mind what they were the strengths of those much loved classicshas infused the new game with a flood of innovative ideas without contradicting tradition butindeed, carrying it forward in one new directiongiving them new life blood.
It is good to come to terms with nostalgia as soon as possible. How long nice may have been the past, this must not be allowed to be fossilize and keep us anchored at the expense of something really innovativewhich is fine letting go on its new path.
Changeespecially if gradual and carried forward over time, is synonymous with evolution and growth. It’s kind of like when you see a friend for the first time in a long time: situations and age change, but the rind hardthe one that allows us to recognize that friend as such, persists.
Then, if the urgency of a journey into memory should emergethe masterpieces of yesteryear will always be where we left them: in the past.