When you look at the bigger picture, it becomes clear that the games industry is suffering from blatant reliance on nostalgia and brand names to sell its wares. We'd all like to blame it on the big companies, how dare they sell us the same thing over and over, milking us of our hard-earned cash! No, my dear friends, that is not where the fault lies.
We, as gamers, have become too satisfied with buying more of the same, over and over. We have grown accustomed to and even enamored by remasters and ports that no one ever asked for. Lack of proper backwards compatibility is being used by remake apologists as grounds for buying games again that were already bought years ago. Even games that came out last generation are getting the "HD" treatment. Somehow, we have become willing to shell out $60 again and again for trilogies and collections of games we've likely already played.
What's more embarrassing is the industry's pitiful attempts at creating something novel. We saw not one, not two, but three console revisions in 2016, two of them being slightly smaller versions of existing ones, and one of them adding a touch more power for a touch more "HD" at a $400 price tag. Virtual reality could easily be pointed to as a source of innovation in the industry, but in many ways, it was more like the laughing stock of the industry. Hardly anyone was rushing out to pay the price of another brand new console for a headset featuring a small handful of games that even work with it. Even the games that did support virtual reality mostly just threw in a little extra mode that lasts maybe an hour. And on the PC side, headsets ran about $800 and required a PC costing at least almost as much to run it capably.
The pitiful remaster trend is only half the problem; uninspired, forced sequels rain from the skies and sometimes even manage to slip under my radar. I wouldn't go so far as to criticize the concept of sequels, but when a game comes out that has the number fifteen in its title, I can't help but be a little concerned about the beating to death of the idea. Every year, like clockwork, our annual steaming heap of AAA franchise fodder gets shoveled on our doorsteps, doing little else than making sure the Steam Store has something to show on the front page each week.
But forgive me, for I have sinned also. I admit to getting that fix from Twilight Princess HD, and being enamored with the nostalgic world of I Am Setsuna. I can't help but want to play the Kingdom Hearts series again as scattered and disorganized as it is. But I, just as well as you, have a choice. We can choose to be satisfied this way: seeing a few typical indie titles with the occasional AAA hit of the year, and being happy with the shovels full of ports and remasters to fill the other gaps.
Or, we can make the other choice: to demand innovation. We can choose to stop buying these shovels full of ports of remasters, to push indie games beyond their usual limits and lengths, and to urge the AAA industry to create something more original. I'm not organizing a protest, nor creating some token petition. But rather, we must realize that sales are key. If we really want this bland trend to halt immediately, we, even I, need to stop spending money on nostalgia and cheap "HD". I can promise that if we stop buying these nostalgia-preying rehashes and money-hungry sequels, we will at the very least end up happier ourselves, and with more cash in the bank to boot.