Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Multi-console gaming

For as long as there's been home console releases, there's been multi-console releases...
What is that, multi-console, you ask?
It's when a game is released on different systems.
Before games being released on Xbox 360 or PS3, there's been games released for Gamecubes/Xbox/PS2 and before that SNES/Megadrive and before that Atari/Commodore/etc..etc..

Now, I wanna just take a quick look at those sort of multi-console games.

Well, there's not a ton of options when a game gets a multi-console release.
It's either a port of the game, an "adaptation" or something different altogether...


The more common type of multi-console release is the "ports".
You know, when a game's released on several systems at the same time...

Games ported to many systems. Similar-looking games, albeit always with some minor differences.
(in sound, textures, etc.. but the exact same experience in the end)

This is the more common case.
Most "blockbuster" titles get the port-treatment to be released on all major systems at the time.

Since I have many systems (yep), I always prefer to go with the "main build of the game", if I have the choice and can (meaning if I had the console for it).
Because there's always a main-version of the game which was "ported" to the other systems/different builds.

For exemple, most Ubisoft games of the 128-bit generation were build on Jade-engine (and variants) specially designed for the gamecube. Then ported to the other systems. Beyond Good & Evil, Sands of Time, Warrior Within, Rayman 3, etc.. all run better and more smoothly on the 'Cube. The PS2 port is a bit grainy/blurry (cause it runs on a reduced power/system), the PC and Xbox version don't make full use of the more powerful systems... My choice for those Ubi-titles is always the Gamecube!
Also, Sonic games from that era also run better on the Gamecube, which the Sonic Team was getting pretty much used to work with. Sonic Heroes, Shadow, Riders, they all look better on that system. (I had Sonic Heroes for the Xbox for a day only...and didn't like it.. they added particles effects, shiny stuff, more detaills..and the game was even able to have framerate issues in the end!)
Oh, and let's not forget some recent exemples like Ghostbusters or Bayonetta. Build on Xbox 360 development kits, the PS3 ports, even if it's a better more powerful system, get messy, with less texture details, doesn't run with the same framerate, etc...

Remakes and Upgrades:

Some games get ported later on, even years after the original release date.
In that case, it's like a port that took a long development time.

Most often, the game gets edited/changed. People had to wait more to have it on the other system afterall!
Those delayed "ports" often includes bonus modes, new content...and even a title/subtitle change!

There's sort of two kind of those upgrades.
Either it's the cheap ones, the ones quickly done after the exclusive contract takes off and don't really help the games get ported on the other side.. or it's the more polished kind. The ones that take time, where the development team and producers want a quality product and don't rush things.

Anyway, even if I want to prefer a game's original version/release...for...uh.. old school-ism/multi-console gamer purpose. I gotta reckon', some remakes shouldn't be ignored just because we want to love/prefer the original releases!
Remakes like Resident Evil on the Gamecube, Bionic Commando on the Xbox live, etc.. Those took a lot of time and offer a lot more! They're produced with love for the original game, and it shows up in the end!
Quick cash-ins like MDK2Armaggedon, Sonic Adventure DX... Those try to offer "new content"..but are often meant to disguise the product and hide the fact some stuff's been altered...
Like MDK2A doesn't run as smooth as the original, is a lot simpler than the original game, and even offers new "more" easy difficutlies (losing all hardcore aspect of the MDK franchise!!). And SADX didn't translate well from DC to Gamecube..the framerate's aweful...everything looks a bit too shiny (to hide the fact they didn't want to remake the 3D models) which end up making the older Sonic Adventure 2 looks a helluva lot better! (so they added all the Game Gear titles and some missions, slapped a DX subtitle, and VOILÁ! ready to sell a lot more!)

I guess remakes can be good! But simple upgrades/delayed ports often end up poorly...specially if you know those game's original releases!
So try these out beforehand!

Same title, same concept, different execution:

And last, sometimes, when a game's get a multi-console's an altogether different product in the end.

Most times, it's because a different team handed some specific versions.
Some other times, it's on purpose, to offer a different experience according to the systems.

Those were a lot more common during the 16-bit era.
But they're kinda back now, thanks to the Wii offering such a different hardwarefrom the Xbox360/PS3 (gameplay-wise and graphically).

I gotta admit...this is the kind of multi-consol-ing (err...let's accept that word, 'kay?) I like to see.
It offers so much possibilities!
And I'm always intrigued by the ways the developers will be able to make their version of a game stand out from the other.
Okay okay..sometimes a version might turn out not as good as the others... But most times the experience is also fun to try!

During the Snes/MD era we often had Virgin work the Sega versions and LJN do the Nintendo versions... Or sometimes a same brand having various sub-studios working on different ports.. anyway, it was always fun to see the same concept done differently in the end!
Terminator, for exemple, most versions were pretty simple shoot'em up/platformers, a bit simple but fun on most systems. And The Mega-CD version was a very complexe Arcade game with a lot more depth, FMV scenes, etc..
The same goes with the famous Aladdin. The Snes version was a great platformer, colorful, fun. The Megadrive version was more action/combat oriented, with wonderful 2D animated sprites done by the talented team at Virgin. But the real surprise was the Master System version, sadly overlooked even if retro gamers seem to finally love it now. That last version was a very difficult Prince of Persia-like platformer, it was also the version following the Disney movie the closer!

Anyway, that's the kind of multi-console I prefer. Well, it will cost you a bit more, if you're interested in checkin' various version..but it's also the more original kind of multi-console gaming!

Anyways, that's my two-cent advice/commentary~


  1. Ah, multi-consoling. The problem to people not able to make lots of decisions. Usually, I just go with the console I own or just stick with my brother's 360/PS2, depending on content or looks, I suppose. But it's still a hassle for me.

  2. But if a game come out on, let's say, both the Wii and the Xbox 360. And both versions seem pretty different/original. Would you, maybe, want to check out both versions?

    That's just what I'm sayin'~