I don't share the shining hope and optimism

Flojomojo

Patron of the Nerdly Arts
What does EA Replay mean to me?

Unfortunately, I don't share the shining hope and optimism reflected here. It strikes me as a cynical cash-in. It's an emulation of a second-rate port, bundled with other intellectual property from the era that happened to be ready to go. It's not a comprehensive collection, and the quality of the emulation remains to be seen. It shares shelf space, a release date, and a budget price with other retro collections (namely "Activision Hits Remixed," a collection of Atari VCS games, and the "Sega Genesis Collection," which is a similar, better-known 16-bit collection like EA Replay).

The little development effort that went into this project was very likely spent on packaging, distribution, and marketing. Personally, I would prefer to see some game design work on my retro collections whenever possible. A good example of this would be Namco Museum Battle Collection, which adds new modes and styles of play to the familiar emulated games. Failing that, it would be nice to have the best possible version of the game on display, like the Capcom Classics Collection Remixed, which was never previously possible on home consoles. EA Replay is too little, too late. Are we so hungry and desperate for Wing Commander that we'll take any scrap that's thrown our way?

I liked the Super Nintendo when it was new, and I really wanted to like Mindscape's take on Wing Commander, but it's easily the weakest version available. I knew it then and I know that it will not have aged gracefully. As much as I'd like to see a portable space shooter, this isn't going impress anyone. Reviews and young people will not be kind to the crude graphics and animation in this 15-year-old game, and I suspect it will be relegated to the bargain bin soon after the holidays.

You might think I'm being a little negative about this game. That might be true, but at least I'm paying attention to it, which is more than the bulk of the PSP-buying public is likely to do. I'll probably buy it eventually, even though I have the cartridges and can play the Genesis games anytime I want on my GP2X.

Best case scenario: EA Replay sells enough to justify its release, and emboldens EA to release other emulation packages with no risk and some potential reward. Will they look at the numbers and realize that space shooters are still popular with a certain segment of their audience? As much as I'd like to think so, all rational signs thus far point to NO.
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
Dude, it's Wing Commander on the PSP, for crying out loud. Now fans can play Wing Commander on a handheld. How can that be a bad thing for Wingnuts? Come on.
 

Flojomojo

Patron of the Nerdly Arts
Dude, it's Wing Commander on the PSP, for crying out loud. Now fans can play Wing Commander on a handheld. How can that be a bad thing for Wingnuts? Come on.

Don't you want MORE than a warmed-over console port from 15 years ago? The PSP has the horsepower and storage space to run Wing Commander III, IV, or the 3D version of Prophecy, all with full motion video and proper symphonic sound.

The SNES versions of Wing Commander could be done on the GameBoy Advance.
 
Why wouldn't we want the first Wing Commander game on PSP? The game that started it all. Wing Commander is one of the best Wing Commander games, in my opinion.
 

maniac89

I love Wing Commander: Prophecy
Don't you want MORE than a warmed-over console port from 15 years ago? The PSP has the horsepower and storage space to run Wing Commander III, IV, or the 3D version of Prophecy, all with full motion video and proper symphonic sound.

The SNES versions of Wing Commander could be done on the GameBoy Advance.

Maybe we will have more WC ports coming our way, but for now WC1 and Secret Missions is more than enough for me.
 

Flojomojo

Patron of the Nerdly Arts
The internet demands to know what "symphonic sound" is, let alone the difference between proper and improper.

The internet has Google and dictionary.com, but I will indulge you:
of, for, pertaining to, or having the character of a symphony or symphony orchestra.
General MIDI is nice and retro, and the SNES had an excellent sound chip for the time, but so much more is possible now.

The PC versions of WC1 and 2 could work on the PSP platform with some porting work -- the analog stick would be a welcome enhancement to the game.

Again, why the excitement for a cut-down port of this important game? Maybe outrage is too strong an emotion for a video game release, but gratitude seems misplaced here.

All IMHO of course. Believe it or not, I'm not trying to flame here so I'll keep quiet unless someone else asks me a direct question.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Again, why the excitement for a cut-down port of this important game? Maybe outrage is too strong an emotion for a video game release, but gratitude seems misplaced here.
The excitement stems precisely from the fact that it is a more or less direct port. For a lot of us (and I don't just mean the people here, but everyone else out there that buys "retro" packages like this), this package offers a chance to go back and play a game that we enjoyed fifteen years ago (well, ten years ago in my case). It's pure and simple nostalgia.

Like you said, a lot more could be done today. EA could certainly produce a WC1 remake with stunning 3d graphics and an orchestral soundtrack. And we'd probably enjoy this remake a lot... but it wouldn't actually stop any of us from going back to the original WC1 every once in a while. There is a lot of great memories, a lot of good times associated with that old game, with flat, pixelated spaceships on a 320x200 screen and with artificial-sounding MIDI music. We're all looking forward to new WC games - but no matter how great and amazing they are, they'll never actually replace the original game.

So, this is the reason why there is so much excitement and gratitude over this cut-down port, as you call it. There is excitement, because people will be able to play the game again without having to worry about how to run a DOS game in Windows XP, without having to worry about whether the means to run the game in XP will still work when Vista comes out. And there is gratitude, because (as far as we know, at least) the game is a straight port that doesn't attempt to improve the original - which is something that it could never hope to achieve in any case. You can't improve memories.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
The internet has Google and dictionary.com, but I will indulge you...

That still doesn't make any sense. None of the music in the Wing Commander series involved an orchestra, or live players beyond the composers themselves. Besides, when the music for the series was "remastered" for Kilrathi Saga - many people complained about it. So, "if it ain't broke, why fix it?"

You just liked that silly vocabulary word making you sound bigger than your shoe size; it doesn't go over well at all with this crowd.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I think it's a valid question, and it's only fair to answer it reasonably. I support everything Quarto said and the manner in which he said it, and add the following:

I believe EA Replay is important for several reasons.

First and foremost, it gives us as a community hope. Maybe it's a false hope, maybe it isn't - ask me again in December. You spoke of a dismal 'best case scenario', which is silly. That's a crummy rhetorical trick that won't win you any friends. Maybe EA Replay will be a terrible failure, and Electronic Arts will blame us personally for it... maybe it will be a surprise success and there will be versions for the next generation of consoles, all of which are specifically designed to support a modern interest in retro gaming. I don't know what will happen, and neither do you. We're Wing Commander fans, so lets quote Captain Eisen on exactly this issue -- "Now, some of these newbees rattle on about 'what if this happens', 'what if that happens'. This is the brain case, I tell them: make good use of it." Whether it's terrible or wonderful, though, it's still a hope -- and hope is what has kept us together when there were *no* new Wing Commander games... why should we give up on it when there is one?

Second, it has the potential to introduce Wing Commander to an entirely new audience who can appreciate it. Is EA Replay for the professional gamer who's busy buying whatever the latest kind of 3Dfx super-graphics card for his home theater computer? No, of course not -- but neither is the gaming industry. What's the best selling X-Box 360 development? Live Arcade Uno. The guys who care about "symphonic sound" and high resolution everything are the minority... and even they are often interested in playing old games again. That's the reason we have 'Live Arcade' and the 'Virtual Console' on the next gen gaming systems.

When I was home visiting my family last Christmas, my brother and I picked up one of those 'five in one' arcade games that you see in bins at superstores, on a lark. In a house full of X-Boxes, GameCubes, Playstations and high powered computers, that stupid little blue box was what ran constantly for the next month. Galaga, Pole Position, Pac Man and Mappy ran constantly, and they enthralled every member of the family, from my dad who remembered playing them in the arcade to my twelve year old sister who had never heard of such games. EA Replay can do the same thing for Wing Commander.

And, of course, there's the personal reasons -- mostly outlined above. I'm a Wing Commander fan, I love more than anything enjoying the tiny little differences in the ports. How will the original game act on a tiny screen? Will that make everything look better, or worse? How will the music sound on a PSP? How will the controls work with the thumbstick? All of that is exciting to me -- I'm not going into this with some kind of post-modern too-cool-for-school attitude about the release, and because of that I'm having the time of my life. When it comes to something as unimportant as *video games*, you define how much fun you're going to have -- and you're being negative for no reason.
 

Flojomojo

Patron of the Nerdly Arts
The excitement stems precisely from the fact that it is a more or less direct port.

... but it wouldn't actually stop any of us from going back to the original WC1 every once in a while. There is a lot of great memories, a lot of good times associated with that old game, with flat, pixelated spaceships on a 320x200 screen and with artificial-sounding MIDI music. We're all looking forward to new WC games - but no matter how great and amazing they are, they'll never actually replace the original game....

the game is a straight port that doesn't attempt to improve the original - which is something that it could never hope to achieve in any case. You can't improve memories.

You know it's the Super Nintendo version, right? :)

Thanks for the insight LOAF -- I admit I'm more of a classic game fan than a Wing Commander fan, so I've played most of the other games on this collection to death already. I really like WC and want to see it done right, and I think the emulation route in this case is half-assing it, that's all. You should keep raising your voice about how much you like WC too -- and demand that we get something better than this port next time.

I suspect it will be a good product for what it is: the PSP controls match up to those on the SNES almost exactly, and there's plenty of processing power for a super nintendo port -- homebrew players have already determined this by running "unauthorized" code on their systems.

I just want more, that's all.

That's all I'm going to say before LeHah jumps on my neck again.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I'll ask LeHah to stop (and I would also ask that a moderator separate these posts out into a different thread, apart from the contest). He is right, in so far as you were being intentionally caustic in your first post -- but you're thinking about this none the less.

I'll be honest, I like the SNES port.

I have had the opportunity to speak to the men who developed SNES ports for Origin, both at Mindscape and in-house... and their process is really an incredible, unappreciated story. Going from games that originally shipped on piles of diskettes to tiny SNES cartridges is an amazing accomplishment.

It's one of the things we forget in 2006 with our super-DVDs full of texture graphics and so forth -- the desparate bands of programmers hacking together weird graphic modes to make a game play properly in a very limited environment. They're a neat accomplishment in that sense, to me.

I also enjoy the little changes a lot. The strange little dialogue edits (I spoke about some in the front page news today) and the tiny additions -- the new Secret Missions introduction cutscene, the numeric keypad for entering your password, the two new 'takeoff' sequences (one in each game). Seeing what is changed in the SNES version has always been a lot of fun for me.

I haven't seen EA Replay yet, so I don't know exactly how the emulation works -- it sounds like they have hteir own proprietary SNES/Genesis emulator, but I can't swear on that. At the same time, it sounds like they actually ran all 14 games through QA -- another neat and unappreciated part of development.

They could have easily shoveled every EA SNES game onto a UMD (is that what PSP cartridges are called, or is that just the movies?) and been done with it... but the fact that the left out a pile of Ultimas (and Metal Morph!) indicates to me that this is a little bit more than shovelware.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Unfortunately, I don't share the shining hope and optimism reflected here. It strikes me as a cynical cash-in.

How does "cynical cash-in" describe the game at all? EA used to be well known for rereleasing games, but over the last several years, as every company started to dump all its back catalog on the market, Electronic Arts became much more conservative about this. They've been selectively picking strong titles to rerelease them with strong support.. Nothing about this current EA process is cynical. You might be cynical about game rereleases overall, but it's not the case when you look at this situation.

It's an emulation of a second-rate port, bundled with other intellectual property from the era that happened to be ready to go.

I *love* the Super Nintendo port. The team that made it did tremendous things getting it to work on the SNES, and it was one of the best looking games on the system. For every green Salthi that we got stuck with, we got a new cutscene or bonus line of dialogue to add to the experience. Reviews of the game were similarly flawless and it sold very well. There's nothing second rate about it. I don't really care how they get it to work on the PSP, but seeing it there today is a wonderful thing. Retro 90s gaming is hot right now. It's making companies tons of money who are willing to faithfully bring their classics to modern systems, and people are going crazy for games like this. The SNES version of Wing Commander was one of the first WC games I received, and I played it constantly for years, even as newer WC games were released.

EA Replay is too little, too late. Are we so hungry and desperate for Wing Commander that we'll take any scrap that's thrown our way?

Did you not hear the collective gasp from this community as you typed that? You may not feel this way, but thousands of people who visit this site each day do not consider Wing Commander I "scraps." We might've picked it up in 1990 because it looked amazing, but we still played it in 1995, 2000 and 2005 because it has a gorgeous art style, gripping gameplay, memorable characters and an interesting storyline. None of that gets old, and no release of Wing Commander will ever be too little, too late.

You might think I'm being a little negative about this game. That might be true, but at least I'm paying attention to it, which is more than the bulk of the PSP-buying public is likely to do. I'll probably buy it eventually, even though I have the cartridges and can play the Genesis games anytime I want on my GP2X.

If someone as negative as you will buy it, I have limitless faith in the general gaming market which currently has an insatiable appetite for classic games from the early 90s.

The SNES versions of Wing Commander could be done on the GameBoy Advance.

Yes, and after the beautiful Prophecy Advance release we got, people were begging for it. And here it is. The GBA is out of style, and direct ports don't work when you have to find a way to fit in a second touch-screen, so here we are on the best handheld solution for this in 2006.

Best case scenario: EA Replay sells enough to justify its release, and emboldens EA to release other emulation packages with no risk and some potential reward. Will they look at the numbers and realize that space shooters are still popular with a certain segment of their audience? As much as I'd like to think so, all rational signs thus far point to NO.

I disagree, but you don't have to agree with me until they announce the next Wing Commander game.
 

Darkmage

Vice Admiral
the beauty of this release lies in the fact that EA has chosen to bring Wing Commander to the masses once more. they're choosing to actively use the wing commander IP, and this can only result in good things for the community.
 

ZanLong

Spaceman
space shooters have been dead in the US for more then 6 years. I can not remember one that was made in the US over the last 6 years that was not a Star Wars game. The good ones that are coming out now are from EU. So for EA to put a over 16 year old space shooter out at all tells me that EA at least thinks there still some life in WC, and that there are a good number of gamers who will buy this.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
space shooters have been dead in the US for more then 6 years. I can not remember one that was made in the US over the last 6 years that was not a Star Wars game.

Freelancer in 2003 would be a big one. Eve Online might qualify. This year's Darkstar One was relatively big in the US, but I think it was developed in the UK. There was a decent console Battlestar Galactica shooter a couple years ago as well. I'm not sure which branch of Warthog made that one though.

The good ones that are coming out now are from EU. So for EA to put a over 16 year old space shooter out at all tells me that EA at least thinks there still some life in WC, and that there are a good number of gamers who will buy this.

Definitely. There are also a bunch of Russian space sims that have been developed over the last few years.
 

MartySheen

Rear Admiral

DyNaMiX

Spaceman
I gave up on a handheld Wing Commander when I couldn't get it to run on my Pocket PC.

And PSPs here in Australia are just too damn expensive.
 
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