Why Ports Will Always Be Important for Older Titles
Another year passed, and another year of progress on porting efforts is now firmly behind us. Gearing up for what comes next, we’ve spent a lot of time playing older games over the holiday break, which made us think about why these games are still so great. Ports are just as important in this realm as they are for newer titles, maybe more so, but why is this?
Gamers Going Back to Their Roots
For most gamers, nostalgia plays an enormous part in keeping old games popular. This was the case for older PCs and consoles, and as this research from Betway shows, it’s even true for more modern systems like smartphones. Looking at this research, the recent popularity of some of the earliest smartphones games illustrates this point.
Infographic via: Betway
Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga were some of the breakout hits on these devices and, despite being overtaken in a technical sense by big 3D games, these still perform extremely well. Most indicative, however, is the continued success of Tetris. Originally released in 1984, Tetris has appeared on dozens of consoles and devices, and we’ve followed it every single time. Porting this game lets us connect to our roots, and this will always be key.
Preserving our History
As a newer form of entertainment, video games are unique in many ways. One of the most annoying of these can be how they’re tied to specific and often dead systems. Older systems eventually die out, as Racket Boy explains, which can leave us with no way to experience gaming’s historical legacy. Even when older systems do still operate, increasingly rarity tends to eventually relegate older game ownership to a wealthy or fortunate few. A modern trend to try and resolve this issue is by releasing the ‘mini’ version of the original console, which Nintendo explored with the Classic Mini SNES, which emulates many of the titles found on the original console.
Ports help us overcome this issue and can let us keep engaging with otherwise dead libraries indefinitely. Even better, transferring them off short-lived media and bringing them online can ensure they’ll never be lost to the annals of time.
Older Games can Improve
The final way we’ve constantly seen ports as being important for old games is in how they can address certain bugs, gameplay problems, or even improve upon the core game. Before and even after the age of patching, some games might never have operated in the manner intended, and ports can, in some cases, address these failures. Whether by simply boosting performance, adding new features or by completely removing crash-scenarios, newer ports of old games can make classics even better.
Going into 2021, we’re looking at our backlog of games to be ported to weigh what comes next. Regardless of our personal direction, it’s great to know that there are so many others in the porting community doing their part. Helped by better and easier to use systems, this world is only going to grow bigger. Whether to connect to their roots, preserve our history, or bring older titles to new levels, porting is something we can always get behind.