Top 5 Arcade Game Reboots

Published 1 year ago by , Updated February 19th, 2014 at 9:46 pm,

Strider Original Arcade Game It's a sad truth that a large portion of today's gaming audience never got to experience the phenomenon of the stand-up arcade machine. And in the age of mobile titles and free-to-play experiences, the very concept of paying money for a fleeting attempt at beating a game in its entirety in a single sitting seems foolish. But even if those uninitiated never played the titles that debuted in arcades around the world, there's a good chance the era's biggest hits are still household names. That's thanks to developers who tore those classic arcade titles from the past, and re-imagined them for a new generation. Strider is the most recent example, but nowhere near the most influential - yet. Here is our list of the Top 5 Arcade Game Reboots.


Shinobi Arcade Game Reboot The original Shinobi took arcades by storm so powerfully in 1987 that the game was soon ported to multiple home consoles, and its star became an instant mascot for Sega (seeing as ninjas were something of a hot marketing item at the time). That success led to over a dozen other titles, meaning the franchise had lost considerable steam by the time the decision was made to develop a new game simply called Shinobi for the Sega Dreamcast. Unfortunately, the doomed console had failed by the time the game was underway, releasing instead for the PlayStation 2. Following a new hero, wielding a new weapon, the developers traded sidescrolling for third-person action, handing the player a sword that literally hungered for souls. The challenge then, was to dispatch enemies fast enough to keep the sword from turning on its master. The simple premise led to a tight experience, and a success worthy of the original's name.

Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden Arcade Game Reboot As yet another arcade smash success starring a masked ninja, the original Ninja Gaiden would go on to be ported for multiple consoles, with significant differences between each. Yet the original arcade game's use of acrobatic attacks in classic beat-em-up fashion set the stage for what was to come, specifically an action title that could test players' abilities like few others. The developers at Team Ninja took those defining characteristic to heart when they decided to reboot the series in 2004, targeting a Western audience as opposed to a Japanese one. Following the exploits of Ryu Hayabusa, the Xbox reboot shared little in common with the original game, aside from an excess of violence and gore. That caused censorship issues in some regions, but was a hit in the west, breathing new life into the ninja action series and spawning multiple remakes and remasters.

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat Arcade Game Reboot The brainchild of Ed Boon and NetherRealm Studios has had a strange life since the first Mortal Kombat arcade machine appeared, featuring photo-realistic characters and brutally violent finishing moves. Over the year, the franchise strayed into film, TV shows, and even the world of DC Comics. But along the way, it lost its grip on its runaway popularity. That is, until the studio took the series back to basics in 2011. Casting off 3D environments, and embracing the notion of stomach-turning Fatalities, the team managed to not only deliver one of the best games in the series' history, but bring fans old and new back into the arena. For a franchise many had written off, it was nothing short of miraculous.

Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter 4 Arcade Game Reboot There are few arcade games as well kn0wn, well loved, or more culturally relevant than Street Fighter. Starting as a single player fighting game - Capcom's first ever - the game's sequel became the first fighting game to offer fighters a variety of characters and move sets, cementing the series as an arcade institution. That success led to multiple spinoffs and side entries, all leading up to a staggering nine-year absence of any Street Fighter experience. Finally, Capcom decided to re-focus on the most appreciated elements of the series' early entries, and a bold new art direction. The return to tradition brought with Street Fighter IV and its 2.5D cel-shaded art style was an immediate success, and Capcom took that momentum an ran with it, rejuvenating the series to an extent that most publishers can only imagine. The reboot played a significant role in returning fighting games to the mainstream, meaning the reboot (SFIV is set between II and III) wasn't just impressive enough to reinvigorate the franchise, but the genre as well.

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country Arcade Game Reboot The villain-turned-hero Donkey Kong may owe his unique name to a typo, but his current popularity and solo series were far more intentional. There was a time when he challenged arcade enthusiasts around the world with his tossed barrels, but the Super Nintendo made him a legend. The idea of granting a villain his own title may seem strange today, but with Donkey Kong Country, DK was thrust into a 3D sidescroller in search of bananas (among other things). The result was such a strong example of platforming and a new direction for Nintendo, DK became one of the company's most trusted stars, and remains almost unrecognizable from his arcade roots.


Strider Reboot List There are many more arcade titles that have made their way onto home consoles in one way or another, and to varying degrees of success. Everyone is sure to have their favorites, so be sure to name them, or games you'd like to see rebooted, in the comments. _____ Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.