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Virtua Racing and How Gaming Continues to Breathe New Life Into Classics

When everything is considered, it is fair to say that gaming’s future is looking pretty bright at the moment. Incredible blockbusting titles are being released week after week, while fascinating innovations are pushing the industry into new territory. From the streaming capabilities of services like Google Stadia to the continued development of both AR and VR, it is an area full of huge potential.

However, while gaming seems to naturally be an area which is always looking to the future, it is nice now and then to take a breath and reflect on its past. For many of us, our love of gaming comes from years of bonding with friends while playing a host of different games and it is often nice to embrace nostalgia and celebrate those titles once again.

A new lease of life

Modern developers seem to recognize this too, as many games from a bygone age have been remastered, reissued or reinvigorated in a new form in recent years. One of the latest to get the treatment is Virtua Racing.

Originally released all of the way back in 1992, the title has been given a new lease of life almost three decades later. Japanese developer M2 is behind the new version of the game which has been created for the Nintendo Switch and the title has attracted a lot of attention in recent months.

Not only that, but it has been receiving very positive reviews too, with Eurogamer’s John Linneman describing it as offering an “untouchable” level of authenticity and ultimately adding that it is an “unmitigated success”.

A common trend

Of course, while Virtua Racing is the latest title to get this treatment, it is far from the only one. In fact, the idea of breathing new life into classic titles has existed in various forms of gaming now for some time.

For example, heading out of the digital realm for a moment, different versions of board game classics like Monopoly have been released down the years with more recent takes seeing the game adapted to embrace themes like Marvel’s Avengers or Harry Potter.

Elsewhere, the idea of reinvigorating classics has been common in online casino gaming now for some time. For instance, as Planet7Casino demonstrates, a card classic like blackjack has been reborn and inspired a host of variants through the years from Suit’em Up Blackjack to other takes on the game including Match Play 21 and Perfect Pairs. Each title may offer a similar feel to blackjack, but with subtle changes to offer players a new experience and keep them engaged.

A twist on a classic

That idea of introducing variations of a well-known classic is something which has taken hold in video gaming too. While Virtua Racing has been remastered for a new age, there are strong examples of developers taking the much-loved elements of classic titles and shaping them into a new style. A prime example of this trend across the past couple of years would be Tetris.

The tile-matching game has existed in some form now for 35 years, so you would think it would be difficult for any developer to offer up a new take on the title. However, in November 2018, Tetris Effect emerged to prove a lot of people wrong. Named after a syndrome where people who have played the game start to see blocks in mental images or thoughts, the title for PlayStation 4 was designed to offer an immersive experience by adding amazing visuals and ambient music to the gameplay.

As striking as it is, it is far from the only modern version of the game which has got people talking. Tetris 99 launched in February this year and took the title in a different direction closer to the increasingly popular trend for battle royale games. It sees 99 players battle to complete rows and compete to ultimately be the last ones standing – an interesting concept that perhaps intriguingly sets up a future in the increasingly popular world of eSports. Tournaments have already been held in relation to the game and it is highly likely this trend will continue in the months and years to come.

Celebrating the past

All of this highlights that while gaming is moving in exciting new directions, the idea of looking back and celebrating past classics is now a core part of the industry. From Virtua Racing and Tetris to the reports of an alleged re-release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the trend for remastering and reimagining games seems to be going from strength.

The likes of Google Stadia and VR may be vital to the industry’s future, but it is clear that the power of nostalgia can never be underestimated.

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