The annual Limited Run Games Summer Showcase has always been one of my highlights of the myriad of summer gaming events, if only because I’m curious to see what digital-only games can live on physical media forever. In recent years, the company has become increasingly dedicated to reviving classic games for modern preservation, which has helped exponentially keep these games alive. Overall it’s just a drop in the bucket, but every effort counts. But Shantae Advance: Risky Revolution of WayForward and Limited Run is a stunning step beyond what I thought was possible.
Shantae Advance was supposed to be a 2002 Game Boy Advance sequel shantae that was canceled after WayForward couldn’t find a publisher for it due to the original’s low sales. As a result, the shantae The series was paused until 2010 Shantae: Risky’s revenge was released on the Nintendo DSi and became the best game on the service. However, WayForward kept all files and code Shantae Advance hoping to eventually revive it as a true second chapter in the series, and that’s finally happening now. So this is not just lost shantae The entry is finally released 20 years later, but also appears physically on the Game Boy Advance. When was the last time you bought a new Game Boy Advance game?
When you break it down, talk about it Shantae Advance: Risky Revolution is verifiable evidence that game preservation and archiving will benefit the industry. Here we have a game that has been lost over time and never saw the light of day simply because WayForward went to extensive archiving efforts to allow the game to be released. God knows there have been instances of several video games that faced the opposite hurdle where the developers lost the original source code. This is one of the reasons why not a fan of it silent Hill Series will pay tribute to the HD remasters of Silent Hill 2 And 3 as they were reconstructed from incomplete files, resulting in a worse end product than the originals.
But reviving lost and incomplete games is just the beginning. Limited Run Games presented many other revivals that many video game conservators like me enjoyed. It has been announced that several inaccessible games will receive modern physical ports tomba, El Shaddai: Rise of Metatronand for some reason Gex. I personally don’t have much connection to it Gex series, but it’s still a positive development Gex come back and present to a new audience. Whether they’re drawn to these games or not isn’t really the point – the point is that they’re back and playable again on modern systems. You no longer have to pull out the Nintendo 64 or, God help, the 3DO.
But another pretty big win during this presentation was for bell tower. Despite being a respected horror game and having fan translations and homebrew cassettes if you know where to look, the original SNES game never left Japan. Once again via WayForward, bell tower will not only be releasing in the US for the first time in 2024, but it will also be a fairly authentic recreation of the original game. I say quite because the game will be expanded with additional features such as new cutscenes, an animated intro and new music. So it might not be a perfect recreation of the original game, which might upset some people who want a direct port of the original game, bugs and all, but it’s still a game that’s almost three decades old and will be released to an audience that has never experienced it.
These efforts are all commendable steps that help keep classic games alive. But more needs to be done. I’m in the minority of gamers who still collect and play their retro games. I get a lot of new games, but regardless of when our favorite games came out, ultimately all games must be preserved – and ESA is actively fighting against that. Additionally, companies protect their classic content behind compilations, subscription services, and the odd re-release whenever financially feasible. Some games will never make it financially worth releasing them again. I can’t imagine a reality where Gearbox would want to re-release the amazing DS game Aliens: Infestation. Does this mean that we should forget about such games and throw them away like garbage? These games still had developers struggling with them to create a finished product, and they should at least be playable in some way, shape or form.
As has been widely reported lately, the Video Game History Foundation recently conducted a study showing that 87% of all pre-2010 video games cannot be legally acquired or bought in the current market. If you want to play these games realistically, you either have to maintain a collection of vintage hardware and games, or break the law to pirate them. And even with the games currently available, there is no guarantee that they will always be available. Just this year we’ve had to deal with the closure of the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops and have struggled to keep the PlayStation 3 and Vita stores open for a while longer. It’s an issue that came to the fore in television and film last year when HBO Max, now known as Max, banned virtually all of its animated series with no real way to legally acquire them.
Be it through a universal video game library or some sort of archival museum, more needs to be done to preserve video games. Yes, I’m very excited to be able to play a new Game Boy Advance game in 2024, and I’m excited to have Limited Run Games carry the torch when it comes to protecting classic games. However, it’s only a start. For now, supporting these games and trying to keep physical collections is the best we can do, but my apartment has limited space to keep physical games. At some point, there has to be a game developer or publisher who offers help and support to organizations like the Video Game History Foundation in their efforts to preserve video games. Our medium deserves to be cared for and protected. And if that means everyone is excited GexThen that’s the way it is.