December 2018
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HD Collections, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Game

HD collections get a lot of hate.  For the uninitiated, HD collections in gaming are when a publisher takes their old games, typically from the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era, makes them run at either 720p or 1080p and adds trophy/achievement support.  Typically these are sold in bundle packs, though they can also sometimes be purchased individually as downloads.  And for some reason, a lot of people hate them.  They see them simply as money grabs by the publishers with no real merit to gamers.  So I’m going to try to set the record straight – HD collections, when done right, are a fantastic way to relive old still-great games.

Atari 2600 Pac-Man

The perfect arcade port

If you’re like me, you tend to remember games in HD anyway.  You remember them all shiny and running silky-smooth.  You don’t remember the blemishes, the screen tears or the stuttery framerate.  In your mind’s eye, they all ran in widescreen (didn’t everything?) and looked fantastic.  Then you actually boot up one of those games on your old PS2 and….yikes.  That couldn’t be how it looked, could it?  Turns out, yes it could.  We tend to look back on old games with rose-colored glasses.  To me, Pac-Man on the Atari 2600 was a marvel of video game programming.  When I hear people talk about how crappy of a arcade port it was, I just assume they’re talking about some OTHER Pac-Man that I didn’t play.  Surely the one from MY childhood was pixel-perfect to the arcade version – right?

See, that’s one of the brilliant things about these HD collections – they bring these old games up to what we remember them being.  I booted up the Ratchet and Clank collection last week and there they were, just as I remembered them, running better than they ever have before.  Logically I know that these games look much better now than they did before.  Widescreen, 1080p, with a silky-smooth framerate – but that’s also how I see them when I think back to when I first played them 10 years ago.

Ratchet & Clank HD

Nostalgia re-invented

Of course, that isn’t the only good thing about these collections – they also give people a second chance to catch up on some classics.  Sure, anyone could hook up an old system, track down the old games and still play them, but there’s a lot more effort involved in that.  Not to mention the fact that some of those old games are getting kinda difficult to find.  And then even if someone does go through all of that, they still have to contend with the dated graphics (which look even worse on today’s HD televions).  For most people, this just isn’t going to happen.  But make all of these games easily accessible with updated graphics packaged together in series collections, and that becomes a much more viable prospect for most.  This isn’t just good for newer or younger gamers either – how many of us played every single series from last gen that was worth playing?  Personally, I’m hoping the rumors of a Hitman collection are true because that’s one series that slipped by me.

And last but not least, the very reason that many people deride these sets – because they’re a quick way for publishers to make a buck – is actually a good thing.  Not only do these sets serve to renew interest in a franchise, making a new entry a better proposition, but they can provide vital funds needed to get that project off the ground.

So go pickup your favorite series in HD – I heartily recommend that Ratchet & Clank set – and enjoy gaming the way you remember it being.  Your inner child will thank you.

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