We are slowly closing in on a milestone of 50 published articles, but there is one issue that has been bothering me since day 1. More often than ever before we are seeing games re-release and brought to digital storefronts of modern systems, which forces us to ask the question: “What version do we review?”
We are a website dedicated to the rich history of video games, so what exactly do we do when presented with different systems of different eras that all have access to a certain game. For example: with the review for Link’s Awakening finished it’s about time to review Ocarina of Time, yet I have that game on the Nintendo 64, the GameCube, the Wii, and now also on the 3DS. It was about time to figure out what our policy should be.
Naturally, we want to review games by sticking as close to the original as possible. For the sake of preserving the history of these games and judging how well they hold up today, it’s essential that we experience the game the way it was originally finalized and released (keeping in mind potential patches). However, another argument is that we should review games the way most people will be able to access them. After all, somebody that wants to play Ocarina of Time today is more likely to pick up the 3DS version or one available for digital download (or emulate it) than hook up a Nintendo 64, fix their wonky controllers, clean up the cartridge, and then experience is like its 1999 again.
I decided to settle for what seemed most logical and came up with the following guidelines:
- Reviewers get to review whatever version of the game they happen to have access to, so long as any of the re-releases does not differ too much from the original. There is a clear difference between Ocarina of Time 3D spicing up a fifteen year old game with new graphics and better controls and a title like Ratchet & Clank completely remaking the first game in its series.
- Reviewers should strive to play the original or at the very least understand in what fields the version they picked differs from it. In the review itself, this should be communicated by lines like “Ocarina of Time 3D uses an appealing animated style whereas the original used the somewhat polygonal art-style the Nintendo 64 was known for.”
- Games that are completely different from the original will potentially receive a separate review.