• Curtis Mutter

Five Video Game Series that Need to Come Back

We’ve got Michael Keaton returning to the big screen as Batman soon, Toby Maguire coming back as his version of the webslinger, and we’ve recently witnessed some disappointing and not so disappointing Star Wars media on screens large and small. There’s no doubt about it — this is the era of revamps, retcons, and reboots. In the very real world we occupy in which Bubsy the Bobcat got rebooted with 2017’s aggressively mediocre The Woolies Strike Back and 2019’s awful (READ: Pawful) Paws on Fire! it’s time we take a look at some video game franchises more deserving of a new life.

Ristar: Maybe Ristar was destined to live in Sonic’s shadow, coming late in the Genesis’ lifespan after the Blue Blur’s many outings. But he would prove to be just as talented as his spiky older brother. With rock-solid gameplay and some of the finer graphics the Genesis has to offer, Ristar is a strong platformer with a unique grabbing mechanic, great level design, and terrific music. It’s criminal that the yellow dude with the perfect amount of 90’s “this ain’t your grandma’s mascot” attitude only has one game to his name. And now that Sonic has escaped his… ahem, awkward years… maybe Sega can find the right people to give a second life to Ristar?

Commander Keen: Nintendo had Mario. Sega had Sonic. MS-DOS had Commander Keen. Created by Tom Hall (of fame) and released by ID software throughout the early 90s, Commander Keen defined PC gaming for those of us who were doing it before it was cool. Another chapter in the Keen-verse was planned for release in 1992, but then a little game called DOOM (speaking of defining PC gaming) had the Keen team otherwise occupied and that much anticipated sequel was toasted. Bethesda recently announced and then cancelled an attempt to cash-in on the Keen IP with a mobile game, but the fans were loud. Another true Keen game can’t be made without creator Tom Hall, who has been trying to get the rights back for years in order to do just that.

Virtua Racing: Alright, hear me out on this one. While there are examples of video games using 3D polygons before Virtua Racing hit arcades in 1992, it wasn’t really until Sega’s untextured little racer came out that people knew the future of video games was the third dimension. It looked better than its predecessors, but it also played better. Why make another Virtua Racer now? Well, as VR becomes more and more common, what better franchise to convince everyone to get a VR headset for their PS5 than the franchise that convinced everyone to buy into polygons almost thirty years ago?

Skies of Arcadia: It’s Pirates. It’s tech-carrying, Japanese Anime Pirates in a flying pirate ship visiting exotic towns and cities in the sky in the future where everyone dresses like it’s the past. Nuff said? Skies of Arcadia was one of those classic multi-disc RPGs that came out in the late 90s and early 2000s, but unlike many of its contemporaries which spawned sequel after sequel, Arcadia never made it past that first voyage. It’s a beloved game, and fans have been begging for a sequel for years now because, really, who wouldn’t love another go at kicking the Valuan Empire’s butt?

ExciteBike: The Original Excitebike for the NES is a fun racer that’s instantly recognizable to gamers and non-gamers alike. Excitebike 64 is maybe the best dirt bike game ever. So, what’s a series to do with all that goodwill and momentum behind it? Never make another game again, of course. You can’t even download Excitebike 64 on the Switch. There was a generation gap between the franchise’s maiden outing and it’s N64 counterpart, with no installment being released on the Super Nintendo, but we’ve now gone through the GameCube, Wii, and Wii-U without slamming face first into the Grand Canyon, and that’s just unacceptable. It’s about time Nintendo let us take Sarah “Sugar” Hill and “Tricky” Ricky Stern out for another rip on a modern console.

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