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Five Game Series That Need A (Re)Boot

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Posted December 14, 2010 - By Stephen Johnson


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Five Game Series That Have Grown Stale

Yesterday, Jake "Totally Positive" Gaskill posted about games sequels we'd like to see. Ever the contrarian, I'm responding with a list of game series that we don't want any more of. Call me the Curmudgeonly Gamer, if you will.

A quick look at this year's sales charts reveals that the video game industry has a bad case of The Sequels -- All ten of the curent chart-topping games are sequels, with Madden having been around since the 1980s! Meanwhile, interesting, compelling original IPs too often sit and pine with very few players, and eventually die for lack of interest (Enslaved, Disney Epic Mickey, etc.)

While there's something to be said for the improvement that comes from variations on a theme, the below five game series have overstayed their welcome in my eyes, and need to be gently, caringly led behind the barn to be shot. Or given the boot. The reboot, that is.

Tony Hawk The Ride Skateboard Controller
 

Skateboard in a Coma: Tony Hawk

No other game series on this list has taken quite the fall that the Tony Hawk series has. Like a skater missing a 720 McTwist, when Tony Hawk went down, it went down hard. Where TH games used to be the ultimate in extreme sports games, nowadays, the series was first relegated to the bargain bin, then a desperate transfusion of cool was attempted in the form of a crapped-out, gimmicky controller. Tony Hawk's final resting place: Kiddie Game Hell. The new TH (Tony Hawk: Shred) is strictly for the young ones who don't mind jumping around on a cheap piece of plastic. It's time to pull the plug on this hoary series and let Tony Hawk rest, the game and the skater – dude’s pushing 50, right?

How To Bring The Magic Back: Get back to what made the series great to begin with: Colorful presenation, and skateboarding action that feels real enough. Aim straight for the middle between the last Skate game and Shaun White: Skateboarding, then make it fun!

Madden 3DS
 
Madden NFL Should Die That Others May Live

A solid Madden game is released every year, to the delight of football fans everywhere. Everyone plays it, and it rarely disappoints gamers. So why should it die? It's that damn exclusive licensing contract with the NFL. Because there's no pro-football competition, and hasn't been for years, we can't even imagine the direction another gaming company would take Pro football. It would be worth sacrificing Madden for a chance to find out.

How To Bring The Magic Back: If Madden signed a non-exclusive deal with the NFL and shared the wealth, we'd end up with competing franchises, and the competition would spur greater innovation and awesomeness. I know it's never going to happen, but wouldn't it be cool if it did? Wait, it did. Remember the old days? We want more than one NFL title, NFL.

Mortal Kombat Hands-On Preview

Mortal Kombat: Fatality! Please!

We all have fond memories of Mortal Kombat, but even back in 1992, the original MK was a second-tier fighting game. Street Fighter was better back then, and it's better now. The only reason there still is a Mortal Kombat series is because the game's graphics were really impressive at the time, the fatality moves were particularly gory by the standards of the day, and Mortal Kombat had an appealingly silly presentation. Twenty years later, bloody games are no big deal, and the MK graphics aren't particularly better than any other game. MK's time has come and gone. Let it die, already.

How To Bring The Magic Back: The original MK was more about gimmick and humor than solid fighting mechanics, so why not go totally over the top? The upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot seems to be on the right track. Gone are the PG-13 rated fatalities of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, plus, Mortal Kombat will include Kratos as a playable character, allow 3D support and offer weird new game modes. So we'll give it one more chance, but someone had better yell "Toasty!" when I land an uppercut.

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing: Dying of Boredom

We do not need any more Animal Crossing games. Period. It's not that there's a lack of untapped potential in this cuteness simulator, it's that Nintendo seems adamant that they will not explore this territory. A few cosmetic changes are added with every new iteration of Animal Crossing that comes out, but at its heart, AC is the same on every successive Nintendo system. While people will continue to purchase the game every time a new title drops, you'd be doing yourself a favor to just stick with the original, Nintendo 64 version. Little has changed since then, and do you really want to devote hours to buying the same couch you've bought in other Animal Crossing games at least three times before?

How To Bring The Magic Back: Something new and radical needs to be added to this game to bring the series back, like making it into an MMO. or turning the game into a ticking clock, where if you don't log back into the game in a timely manner, all of the denizens of the world turn against you and try to kill you the next time you hop in.

Halo: Reach

Too Good To Live: Halo

Although Halo games have been coming out regularly since the release of the original Combat Evolved back a decade ago, precious little has changed. Sure, the graphics get shinier, and there's new weapons or abilities introduced, but the experience of playing the game remains almost exactly as it was in 2001. Unlike Animal Crossing's refusal to expand the idea, the original Halo had such a linear story, there was nowhere for it to go but sideways. It's time for something new.

How To Bring The Magic Back: Since the existing Halo games are basically extensions of the original title, there's a lot of potential for this franchise to choose a new direction. What would you do with the Halo-verse? I'd suggest heading to UNSC research and development, and overseeing the development of a mega-mech meant to take on the Covenant. When the facility is wiped out, you're the only one left and you have to jump in the driver's seat and kick ass.

So what do you think? Leave your reboot ideas and thoughts in the comment section below, and then get off my lawn! You crazy kids.

Five Game Series That Need A (Re)Boot
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