Words by Owen Trewartha
Gaming fans rejoice as we see the legendary Crash Bandicoot spin, jump and face-plant his way back onto our screens. After a long absence, Naughty Dog has jumped on the nostalgia train with other franchises such as Banjo-Kazooie (in the form of Yooka-Laylee) and Abe’s Oddysey, releasing yet another HD remaster onto the market.
Crash holds a place in nearly all gamer’s hearts and was the first game I ever played on my dad’s new PlayStation. From that day onwards my gaming addiction would dictate my schedule to no end, taking up valuable homework, eating and sleeping time from my adolescence. The way I saw it was, that those things were taking up valuable Crash Bandicoot time. This level of nostalgia is incredibly powerful in the gaming industry and has kept arguably dated franchises from dying out. This can be seen as both a positive and negative influence.
Gaming companies are notoriously releasing waves upon waves of remasters, sequels and re-skins of previously consumed products and licenses. It doesn’t take a sharp eye to realise titles such as Battlefield: Hardline is a re-skin of the original game released as a new product. Although Crash is a sight for sore eyes, we can’t escape the thought that maybe the industry is struggling and is resorting to previously successful titles to boost sales and excitement.
Where are the new Crash Bandicoots?
Gaming on certain platforms – especially Xbox One – has been stale for quite some time. There has yet to have been a truly iconic, flagship title to make people feel the same obsession I did as a child playing the classic platformers. Instead, we see Gears of War 4, Halo 5 and a myriad of other forgetful releases which have minuscule lifespans. These titles were once loved but undeniably heavily dated.
The successful re-release of Crash can mean a number of things to the gaming community and may foreshadow a turning point. Games are steadily becoming more realistic, challenging, immersive, and ultimately more complex. We’ve seen this in the Call of Duty franchise which has now had to turn back from its dizzying amounts of features it includes in its gameplay, to a more basic World War conflict style in the wake of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s spectacular failure. The days of being excited when you receive a red dot sight for a weapon or a new skin for your sniper are long over. The same goes for calling in an airstrike or any other over the top ‘in game’ ability which is unimpressive in today’s market.
Crash Bandicoot represents the roots of the popular gaming movement, and those roots lie in simplicity. The community is screaming out for a new mascot and more importantly a simple, fun game we can all enjoy. The platformer has been dead for a number of years, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we see this retro style of gaming making an impressive come back in the years to come. I’ve witnessed people (including myself) enjoy running away from a fast approaching boulder a thousand times more, than being the pilot of a high tech military drone destroying entire cities. Perhaps what we need isn’t more kill streaks, vehicles or better graphics, but what we need is a return to a focus on ‘fun’.
Crash puts the fun back into gaming. A fun that has been missing from this gamer’s life for far too long. Crash Bandicoot: N’sane Trilogy hints towards the possibility that looking backward, is the way forwards for the gaming world. Many gamers aren’t kids anymore and don’t have the time to sink into massively in-depth and popular titles such as Fallout or the Witcher series. Crash is versatile enough to be quickly booted up and enjoyed in 20-minute bursts which most people’s busy schedules allow.
As a lifelong gamer, it warms my heart to see my hobby becoming ever popular and successful, but with all the money, conventions and marketing it has slowly lost its way. Our quirky, orange, marsupial friend has reinvigorated the gamer in me and has many of the community shouting for more and consequently a return to a simpler time of gaming.