If there’s one thing console gamers have grown accustomed to over the past few generations, it’s been backwards compatibility. Sure, it wasn’t always perfect and it’s only been implemented well in few cases, but it’s still something that was taken for granted. Unfortunately, to those of us who like playing our old games on our classic systems, whether to save physical space or for ease of use, it seems like the days of backward compatibility being a killer app are nearing an end. Neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One are capable of playing their predecessors’ games natively: though Sony has recently announced their “PlayStation Now” streaming service and Microsoft has offered the insulting suggestion to “just hook your 360 into your Xbox One”. While the Wii U is still capable of playing disc-based and digital Wii games via an on-board emulator, we lost the ability to play GameCube games in the process and the Wii U’s Virtual Console library is pathetically small compared to the original, both in terms of game libraries and consoles supported. Worse yet, we’re even beginning to see various licensed titles get pulled off of digital distribution platforms, bringing the future viability of such games into question. Couple that with the several games from previous generations that have been lost to the ages for one reason or another and it’s clear that there are some problems with the way the industry has been heading.
Of course, there is another option. Compared to dedicated video game consoles, PCs have a much higher rate of backwards compatibility with older programs on newer OSes. While not always a perfect solution, in cases where games no longer function properly on newer computers, either official or community-led initiatives have been spearheaded to fix these games. With such emulation software as DOSBox and SCUMMVM, classic PC games that once seemed to be lost to future gamers forever were playable once again. Furthermore, in a stunning reversal of the negative opinion regarding DRM, specific ones, including Valve’s Steam, allow users to be able to download previously-purchased games on newer machines, regardless of whether they remain on the marketplace or not, much like the case with XBLA and PSN. Couple this with the fact that many companies have started doing late PC ports of games from the previous generation and it seems like there’s a new avenue for these games to maintain their existence for years to come.
Of course, in order to keep this list fair, I’ve decided to implement a few rules. First of all, I’m only going to look at third-party games for the most part (Microsoft being the exception, due to the fact that they’ve released previous console exclusives on PC down the line anyway), and there will be a significant lean towards companies that have already released games on PC. The games can’t have been released any earlier than the seventh (PS3/X360/Wii) generation, though this means that eighth-gen games are fair game as well. There will be only one game per company on this list, to make things fair and more challenging. Finally, games from the same series that were released on the same platform CAN be packaged together. So with that, let’s get started!
Lollipop Chainsaw – WB Games/Grasshopper Manufacture (360/PS3)
I thought this game didn’t get enough love from the mainstream gaming media, which dismissed it for its shallow story, simple arcade-style gameplay and short length. But they were just blind to the truth of the matter: it was a great little throwback to the hack-and-slash games of old and it didn’t bother taking itself seriously. Sure, the game didn’t perform as well as WB probably expected, but I’d love to see a PC port anyway. Just don’t have High Voltage Software handle the port: MK9 and Injustice’s ports were fairly buggy at launch and still suffer from lingering issues at present.
MegaMan 9/10 – Capcom (Wii/360/PS3)
This should have been a really obvious pick to anyone who saw my MegaMan wishlist last month. Considering they’re both fairly small games, it only seems fair to put them together in a double-pack, hopefully with all of the DLC included in the base package. Though that last bit seems fairly unlikely, as long as Capcom prices these games reasonably, I could see myself buying it again.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Namco Bandai (AC/360/PS3/WiiU)
People have been harassing Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada about putting an entry of the World’s most popular fighting game on PCs, but until fairly recently, he’s said he hasn’t seen much of a point, despite being an avid PC gamer himself. Given the recent successes of other fighting games on the platform, however, he has softened his view on releasing a Namco fighter on PC. While the free-to-play Tekken Revolution seems like the most likely choice, especially given Namco Bandai’s previous F2P releases on PC, I’d prefer it if we got the previous game in the series: Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Both games were built on the same engine, but TTT2 is pretty much the complete package, including various match types, a fuller roster and even a customizable character mode. I would absolutely love to see this game hit PCs with an excellent port.
Bayonetta – Sega/Platinum Games (360/PS3)
Well, considering the fact that Kamiya’s been talking about porting the original Bayonetta to the Wii U, it only seems fair that they should also consider a PC port as well. After all, with the recent PC release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on PC via Steam, Platinum Games will finally have one of their titles on the platform. Given the fact that Sega’s incredibly pro-PC, it seems likely that they would sign off on a PC port as well. Just use the 360 version as a base for both ports, okay Platinum?
UPDATE (1/24/2014): There’s even a petition to get Bayonetta (as well as VF5 and Vanquish) ported to PC.
The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match/2002 Unlimited Match – SNK Playmore (360)
These two games were actually rumored to be coming to Steam for some time. When King of Fighters 13 was found listed on Steam’s backend, there were also listings for ’98 Ultimate Match and 2002 Unlimited Match as well. Considering both of these games were released on the Xbox 360, KoF13 Steam Edition used the 360 version as part of its base and SNK Playmore has expressed interest in releasing more games on PC, these two seem like an obvious pick. Use that awesome netcode from KoF13’s PC version though.
Well, technically, this shouldn’t even be on here anymore, considering it’s already been confirmed to be coming out on Steam sometime this year. With the addition of Online Co-Op, I’m eagerly anticipating this game’s release. Still, I came up with this list last month before the recent announcement. So, as I don’t feel like coming up with a last-minute replacement, DD Neon remains on my list. Can’t wait for this one to hit.
Catherine – Atlus (360/PS3)
One of my favorite puzzle games of the past few years, Catherine meshed amazing gameplay with elements from the visual novel and dating sim genres in order to deliver a much more interactive and engrossing story, similar to what they’ve done to JRPGs in the Persona series. Considering that Atlus was recently bought out by Sega, seeing this classic ported to PC may be a lot more plausible than ever, but Atlus has had a few releases on PC themselves, including Rock of Ages and God Mode.
Guilty Gear Xrd – Arc System Works (AC/PS3/PS4)
Okay, I’ll be clear up front with this one. Arc System Works doesn’t exactly have the best history with supporting PC gaming, but they did manage to get an early version of Guilty Gear XX and the original Blazblue on PC, problematic as both of these ports ended up being. Both games were woefully out-of-date upon release, Blazblue didn’t even hit PC until after the second game had hit consoles. Still, there have been some rumblings over online petitions for getting the game on Wii U and PC, as Arc System Works has already all but deconfirmed releases on either Xbox. So I’m hoping that if ASW manages to pull through this time, they manage to give the game some real support.
Konami’s “ReBirth” Games (Castlevania: The Adventure/Contra/Gradius) – Konami (Wii)
I love me some classic Konami games. While I’ve only played Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth, I loved the game so much. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like these games got enough love, being exclusive to WiiWare. Maybe if they were re-released on a platform with much more lasting appeal, they might perform better.
Killer Instinct (2013) – Microsoft Studios (XBO)
You know how I made a big deal about making an inclusion for Microsoft in this article? Yeah, this is why. Considering the fact that Microsoft has a history of porting their first-party Xbox games to PC and Phil Spencer’s recent proclamation that Microsoft Game Studios is going to begin focusing on bringing core gaming experiences to PC, this pretty much seems like a slam dunk. Now, I’m not going to expect anything in the near future, because clearly the Xbox One still needs some time to grow a userbase. But hopefully, maybe by the time the as-of-yet pseudo-confirmed Season 2 wraps up, Microsoft will see it fitting to consider a PC port.
All of those games hitting PC at some point in the future would be a nice little birthday surprise for yours truly. While many of these games may have little chance of actually receiving PC ports down the line (with one glaring exception), it was actually pretty fun to speculate about games I’d like to see revived on the platform. To be honest, this isn’t the only list I’ve written on the subject thus far, so I’ve decided to turn this into a recurring segment. What crazy choices do I have in store for Part 2? You’ll just have to wait until March to see.