Cashing in on gaming nostalgia is big business. That’s why games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have been ported over to every gaming platform imaginable, and why The Last of Us is getting a PS5 remake not even a decade after its initial release for the PS3.
Every year, a few classic video games may get ported to new consoles. And while porting may be uncommon, full-blown remasters and remakes are far rarer. Several years can pass by between high-profile remakes like Final Fantasy VII Remake.
And that’s a shame because there are so many great classic video games that remain stuck in the past yet deserve to be updated with modern graphics and technology.
Here are our top picks for classic video games that deserve modern remakes or remasters, from JRPG classics to obscure multiplayer gems, to be rediscovered by today’s gaming generation.
4. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (1996)
The Super Nintendo was home to some of the best JRPG titles of all time, but there’s one that still gets slept on compared to the well-known ones like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasy VI.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was developed by Square and released in 1996, coming late in the SNES’s life cycle. The plot had Mario teaming up with familiar allies (like Peach), classic foes (like Bowser), and some new characters to save the world.
It was an ambitious title with multiple regions to explore, over-the-top character encounters, innovative turn-based battle mechanics with timing-based prompts, and a unique art style that feels like it’s never been replicated since.
A remaster of Super Mario RPG could retain the core of what made this game so fun and memorable while giving the graphics a much-needed upgrade to bring it more in line with modern Mario games.
And if they can bring back composer Yoko Shimomura to score the remaster, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars could have a great modern revival with very little extra content needed.
3. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)
Often considered to be the best Castlevania game in the franchise, Symphony of the Night was hugely influential—not just for the rest of the series, but as a momentous force in the popularity of the metroidvania genre as well as the eventual Netflix anime adaptation.
Originally released for the PlayStation in 1997, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night introduced RPG elements to the platforming adventure for the first time, with Alucard learning new abilities in the lead up to his final, emotional confrontation with his father.
The game was remarkable for its midway twist, which saw Alucard seemingly saving the day only to find that there was an entire upside-down version of the castle still left to explore.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has since been ported to Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and both Android and iPhone.
However, it still deserves a proper remake or remaster, which would be quite timely. The Castlevania anime on Netflix is well-received and still in development, with a setting that has already incorporated several elements from Symphony of the Night.
Giving this classic side-scrolling adventure a new release on modern consoles would allow a whole new generation of gamers a chance to explore this rich setting and plot once again.
2. The Legend of Zelda (1986)
This one is going all the way back to where it all started: the simple gameplay and exploration of The Legend of Zelda on Nintendo’s original NES home console.
From the classic overworld theme song to the iconic sound effect of Link opening a chest, the core of what would eventually become one of gaming’s most popular franchises was there from the beginning.
Though its place in video game history is indisputable, the original Zelda game that sparked the franchise is rather underwhelming by today’s standards—especially with the world-shattering success of the latest entry in Breath of the Wild.
Due to hardware limits, the bulk of the story in The Legend of Zelda was relegated to the instruction manual. A proper remake that weaves plot into gameplay, while updating the engine for modern gamers, would be incredible—for nostalgic gamers and new gamers alike.
1. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001)
Before Naughty Dog dedicated themselves to re-releasing The Last of Us every few years, and before they had unleashed the lovable thief Nathan Drake upon the world, the studio created one of the most unusual gaming series of all time in Jak and Daxter.
Though the first game in the series was a straight action-platformer, the second and third games in the series took a decidedly darker turn. It was one of the most surprising tonal shifts that any series has ever dared to attempt, and it makes the trilogy remarkable to this day.
There have been a handful of ports for the Jak and Daxter games over the years, popping up on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. But these ports weren’t much. They lacked gameplay and graphical improvements that could have brought the series into the modern era.
A full reboot of the original Jak and Daxter games with modern graphics that retained the cartoony art style but updated everything else with modern controls and quality-of-life improvements for current consoles would be absolutely amazing.
It would also give Naughty Dog the chance to rewrite the first game’s story with the time travel plot of the subsequent games in mind, making for a more coherent narrative.