Remasters!! If it worked for Monkey Island (which I personally thought it made Guybrush look like a Vanilla Ice backup dancer), and if it worked for Grim Fandango, let’s just keep remastering games. They remastered the Resident Evil remake with huge success. Good lord, The Last of Us was accepted with such uproarious acclaim just one year after its first release because the graphics were sharper and “omfg PS4 share!!”. I mean, GTAV released at least two facelifts as well. Each one heralded as new feats in gaming without any real recognition that it’s a new paint job with a few new tweaks.
Now we have Day of the Tentacle, a game a lot of people loved and also a game that early P&C (point and click) Adventure fans saw as part of the decline of the genre. I was 13 years old in 1993. I was and still am an avid P&C fan, with several friends who are as well. At that time, we all felt P&C Adventures had hit a wall and we couldn’t figure out the intricate puzzle involving gun powder and a rubber chicken to get over it. Mix that with Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM that same year and PC/Mac gamers had lost interest. Day of the Tentacle, perhaps unfairly judged because the genre had become saturated while competing with the birth of the First Person Shooter, is coming back after 23 years of its release (take notes Naughty Dog).
We recently have been treated to screenshots of the remastered game and I’m not thrilled with what look like Photoshop’s posterize/art brush filters applied to the backgrounds and very very sloppy vector tracings of the sprites. I’m glad they didn’t throw out all the original designs (like Monkey Island) but I don’t know if we can call a fresh coat of wax on a rusty game a “remaster”. Word is that the developer is providing updated music and sound effects. I doubt they’ll record new voice work, which is one of the biggest complaints my friends and I had about the original game. You can turn it off, but you can’t unhear it.
Tim Schafer mentioned that he wanted to retain the original art style, which was among the best of its time for the genre. He wanted to smooth it out, help us to see it now in reality as we did then in our minds back in ’93. So the elimination of pixels will draw us back into our perception of the game? I don’t think it works that way. What the game could use is more frames of animation when the characters walk and interact with environments. That was a huge immersion breaking annoyance to me for this game.
These screenshots look really slapdash to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a jaded, grumpy adult. Maybe because when I was a kid, I actually saw pixels when I played games, and I liked it. And I still do! Whatever the case for me and I’m sure a lot of you, having the same “old game” with a face lift and a tummy tuck, doesn’t make it a remaster. I know for a lot of people, this game was masterful to them at it’s release, filled with nostalgia that brings back memories like certain smells do to others. Looking at either side of the coin, do we need this when developers can be working on new ideas?
I’m interested, albeit skeptical, to see how Day of the Tentacle’s “remastering” shapes up and I’m hoping that it’s not just Photoshop filters/sloppy vector art with an inflated price tag. We’ll see next year.