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Missed opportunities

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When I look at the history of video games, I often wonder about why certain things that should have expectedly happened never really materialized. Some of these things can be explained via a closer examination of historical events and context, while others can only be attributed to overlooking potential or "stars not being aligned" from a business standpoint. Here are a few examples of missed opportunities that I find regretful:

 

Sequel to H.E.R.O.: I see a lot of untapped potential there. One could even make a Metroidvania-style remake of the game, with caves to explore and missions to complete that wouldn't necessarily involve rescuing stranded miners, although that would still be a significant part of the game. I don't see why today's Activision (which is a totally different company from the Atari 2600 era) would object to publishing a modern take on H.E.R.O.. If I could have a talk with John Van Ryzin, I'd ask him about his thoughts on the subject.

 

Classic Mega Man Metroidvania title: Here's another MetroidVania idea that seems like a total no-brainer to me: Have Mega Man infiltrate and explore a sprawling fortress, separated into distinct areas with one Robot Master per area, and defeating a Robot Master would grant you a weapon or ability that you need in order to unlock access to other areas (or sub-areas). Lots of backtracking, with maybe a few teleport stations to get around the fortress quicker (like the keyhole gates in Castlevania SOTN), some familiar faces like Duo could make an appearance, it would be the kind of game that practically codes itself. I'll never understand why Capcom never bothered to do it, although to be fair, they did do Mega Man ZX on the Nintendo DS, so I can't say that they never dabbled into MetroidVania territory. Still, my point is that classic Mega Man was (and still is) a perfect fit for the concept.

 

Mega Man X series re-released on GBA: This one is more understandable. Capcom did release a couple of Mega Man X games on the Game Boy Color, and they invested significant effort into the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man Battle Network series on the GBA, so maybe re-releasing Mega Man X1/X2/X3 on the GBA could have seemed like overkill at the time, and Mega Man & Bass didn't do much of a splash on the GBA. But with Nintendo re-releasing many of their flagship titles (Super Mario Advance series, Donkey Kong Country, and several others) and Capcom re-releasing many of their own tiles on the GBA (Final Fight, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Breath of Fire I & II) I sincerely think they could have outsourced the development of Mega Man X1/X2/X3 for GBA to an outside development studio and the games would have seen some good sales. And who knows, perhaps having Mega Man X4/X5/X6 redone in the graphic style of X1/X2/X3 would have been a hoot, and they could have fixed a lot of "design errors" in X5 and X6 in the process to make them better than their PS1 counterparts.

 

Dark Forces on GBA: A true missed opportunity here, but I have to admit I'm biased because Dark Forces is the most memorable first-person shooter I've ever played on PC, despite its age. Seeing all those 3D engines running on GBA (Doom, Duke Nukem, and many others) I was expecting someone somewhere to say "Hey, LucasArts should actually release Dark Forces on the GBA" but it never happened. I would have bought that game on GBA in an instant. Go figure.


So those are a few examples off the top of my head. What "missed opportunities" have left you scratching your head throughout the years? Feel free to contribute to this thread without any restrictions in terms of game genres, series or console/handheld generations.

 

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concerning Dark Forces on GBA,  i would say it is a good thing that it does not appear on that support.

 

When you play Doom or Duke Nukem ,  despite the very honorable effort for the console , it is not really fun to play compared to originals.

 

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53 minutes ago, youki said:

concerning Dark Forces on GBA,  i would say it is a good thing that it does not appear on that support.

 

When you play Doom or Duke Nukem ,  despite the very honorable effort for the console , it is not really fun to play compared to originals.

 

Oh, I dunno. Looks nice to me...  ;) 

 

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 1.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 2.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 3.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 4.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 5.gif

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9 minutes ago, Serguei2 said:

Is this mock-ups or actual real screenshots?

Mockups I did several years ago. I snapped some screens from the PC version and redimensioned them for the GBA resolution. At the time, I just wanted to see if the GBA's resolution was good enough to render this game appropriately. There's a loss in detail for sure, but I think it's acceptable.  :)

 

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What's wrong with Duke and Doom on GBA, they're amazing.  Doom II in particular is a PC port, not Jaguar, and the largest single mod was cutting 1 stage into 2 as it was too big for the GBA RAM.

I think Dark Forces probably would work, but as the stages are more sprawling (which is also why I noted D2) the stages would likely need to get sliced or something to break them in half to fit.

 

I do think entirely a super metroid style Mega Man would be an instant purchase for many.  It would take that old formula and make it really fun again, and approachable by a wider audience.  Those wanting a nasty game just wouldn't grind, others who have problems can.  Everyone wins on how hard they want it, and more can approach an excellent setup with a modernized style to it.

 

 

On that Act Raiser 2 was a disgusting loss on the SNES.  A missed opportunity would be a true Act Raiser 2.  Bring back the overworld with the Sim City 'lite' mechanics, keep them on the lighter side still, but somewhat more detailed like SC Classic to sorta closer to 2000 did, middling between there, using all those propped up assets and the citizen search to perk up your avatar for the action stages.  Make it again about yet another world, just have more continents and locations on each so the game can't be finished in just 3-4 hours.  Just take the short cuts of parts of the game probably due to being a launch era title and expand on it, just not too far to alienate and ruin a solid design with bloat.

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I have been very disappointed by Duke Nukem 3D on GBA.    it is very well done for the console , but i don't  get any Duke Nukem feeling when i play it.

 

Doom is a little better, but again i have absolutely no the same pleasure playing on the GBA version  compared to the PC Version.

 

I don't think hand held are the best platform for this kind of game in general.   May be not enough immersive for me.

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That's I think the only true loss, immersion.  You're on a small screen so that getting caught up is a bit lost vs having a 15" CRT/LCD or larger in front of you going at it.  Duke it doesn't have the tits and four letter words but is otherwise intact and Doom are as they are so it probably is just that, not getting sucked in due to the little screen portable factor.

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Just thought of another missed opportunity: Remaking some of the better Virtual Boy games for the 3DS. I'm thinking mostly of Wario Land and maybe Red Alarm (ditching the wireframe rendering for actual polygon-based 3D graphics), Jack Bros and maybe Teleroboxer. Come to think of it, they could probably have fit many of those games on a single 3DS cart and sold it off as a quirky collection of 3D-based games, perfectly showing off the 3D effect of the 3DS screen. Too bad it never came to be.

 

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How was there not a space sim on 3ds?  Did I just miss it?  space games were suddenly all the rage again in that era.  3ds has a touch screen which fixes the console space sim interface issue of not having a keyboard full of buttons.  Not to mention the analog stick, and the built-in 3d.  It'd be a perfect fit. wii-u could have probably done well with one too.

 

Also on 3ds, why the heck did nintendo not put out an fzero? They make a 3d system, but didn't bring their futuristic racing series to it? the series specifically designed to show off wizbang graphical effects. what the heck, nintendo?

 

speaking of space sims.  On gba, Raylight studios made the surprisingly solid wing commander prophecy, and also the surprisingly solid open-world goods trader 'big mutha truckers' (a game with the most unfortunate theming ever).  I guess the missed opportunity is that those 'c+' games mashed together equal a solid 'A' game.

Edited by Reaperman
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Part of the magic of Duke & Doom on the PC was just that. On the PC. A platform not really known for fast action 3D games suddenly was presenting something completely out of character. And then there's the mods and additional levels and stuff.

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7 hours ago, Reaperman said:

speaking of space sims.  On gba, Raylight studios made the surprisingly solid wing commander prophecy, and also the surprisingly solid open-world goods trader 'big mutha truckers' (a game with the most unfortunate theming ever).  I guess the missed opportunity is that those 'c+' games mashed together equal a solid 'A' game.

Heh, I remember the commercials for Big Mutha Truckers.

 

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7 hours ago, Reaperman said:

How was there not a space sim on 3ds?  Did I just miss it?  space games were suddenly all the rage again in that era.  3ds has a touch screen which fixes the console space sim interface issue of not having a keyboard full of buttons.  Not to mention the analog stick, and the built-in 3d.  It'd be a perfect fit. wii-u could have probably done well with one too.

They could have done a Star Trek TNG game with that same idea, as they used a lot of touchscreen interfaces on the Enterprise D, especially on the bridge. Also, a modernized version of Elite would have been a worthy addition to the DS/3DS library.

 

7 hours ago, Reaperman said:

Also on 3ds, why the heck did nintendo not put out an fzero? They make a 3d system, but didn't bring their futuristic racing series to it? the series specifically designed to show off wizbang graphical effects. what the heck, nintendo?

That one can probably be explained, although I can't be sure I'm correct: Fast-moving 3D could possibly put an unusual strain on the eyes of the player. After all, there was a reason why there was a switch on the 3DS to turn off the 3D effect, that reason being that many players felt a strain on their vision from playing with the 3D effect enabled for extended periods of time. I figure this strain would be accelerated with a fast-moving game like F-Zero.

 

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4 hours ago, The Usotsuki said:

Heh, I remember the commercials for Big Mutha Truckers.

 

Yeah, the commercial was one big incest joke...  It's the most unfortunate theming of a game ever, but it's not really unique any more.  Shine runners (on mobile+others), adopted much of the same gameplay and theming (super fun game), and  thankfully it doesn't take the theme nearly as far.  Still one wouldn't expect there to be much crossover between fans of buy-low-sell-high hauling simulators and the hillbilly theme.  Really the missed opportunity is that big mutha truckers wasn't themed in literally any other way--a Bratz doll license would have probably done better for it.

 

 

Edited by Reaperman

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13 hours ago, Reaperman said:

How was there not a space sim on 3ds?  Did I just miss it?  space games were suddenly all the rage again in that era.  3ds has a touch screen which fixes the console space sim interface issue of not having a keyboard full of buttons.  Not to mention the analog stick, and the built-in 3d.  It'd be a perfect fit. wii-u could have probably done well with one too.

 

Also on 3ds, why the heck did nintendo not put out an fzero? They make a 3d system, but didn't bring their futuristic racing series to it? the series specifically designed to show off wizbang graphical effects. what the heck, nintendo?

 

speaking of space sims.  On gba, Raylight studios made the surprisingly solid wing commander prophecy, and also the surprisingly solid open-world goods trader 'big mutha truckers' (a game with the most unfortunate theming ever).  I guess the missed opportunity is that those 'c+' games mashed together equal a solid 'A' game.

Oh yeah, I can not more highly suggest anyone who cares for flight combat sims, space or not, or are a fan of wing commander to not miss this.  I got it new back in the day, and truly because of how it is in space, it leaves so much power towards just rendering ships than backgrounds, the level of detail and stability is astounding.  They incredibly were capable of wedging the entire PC game in there, sure the models have a few less polygons, not incredibly so given the time period Prophecy came out.  The loss, if you consider it, the terribly cheesy FMV from the era which is known for being popped out for entirely stills, boxes and text...no loss.  The game also has moderate speech too, cockpit chatter for launch, landing, and various comments/jabs are in there during flight too.  If there is one damning issue, turning is not 100% fluid, they took a joystick and went digital with it, so it's slightly ever so ticky, but it won't cause you to miss any shots or missile locks either.  I comfortably finished the game.  Oh also Smashing Drive used the engine too, it was the best of that sorry games release from comments i've seen online as the home versions were considered terrible.

 

Also totally agree about the 3DS and F-Zero, so damned stupid, could have easily done something on the quality level of the Gamecube game there and did squat.

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On 12/19/2020 at 2:46 PM, Pixelboy said:

Oh, I dunno. Looks nice to me...  ;) 

 

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 1.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 2.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 3.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 4.gif

Dark Forces on GBA - Image 5.gif

I concur.  Pretty good to me too.

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