Just the other day, the Nintendo Direct broadcast on the 23rd of September, 2021, my mind was blown clean out of my skull by Square Enix’s surprise announcement of Actraiser Renaissance, a remake of one of my all-time favorite, put-on-a-pedestal games, Actraiser for the Super NES. Making the news that much more nuclear was the uranium cherry on top: the game was available THAT DAY.
This is one of only a handful of times in my 40-plus years of gaming that I can remember having a visceral freakout over a piece of video game news; an emotional response straddling the line between fanboy excitement and a full-blown panic attack, reminding me why I love this hobby and how much I feel it when a company shows its longtime fans some true appreciation.
That said, it was actually the second of such moments to occur this year; the first, of course, was Nintendo’s shocking and unexpected E3-week reveal of Metroid Dread, a mysterious title that had been whispered for 15 years until it actually turned out to be real. An announcement that reduced me to literally shouting profanities of euphoric disbelief as it unspooled before my eyes in — you guessed it — a Nintendo Direct stream.
This got me thinking (as these topics always do): what other truly Earth-shattering announcements have had that kind of impact? Honestly, I can’t think of too many. Sure, there have been hundreds of surprises that I’ve been hyped about, and instantly sold me on the games they were promising. Metal Gear sequels and new Metroid games have always gotten me revved up. But what about those revelations that have elicited those kinds of extreme emotions, the feelings of my stomach tied into knots of excitement, those feelings that I may be dreaming, that the news is too good to possibly be true? Pretty scarce.
The most obvious one I can think of prior to this year was Yu Suzuki’s E3 reveal of Shenmue III a few years ago. After 18 years, nobody thought the third entry in the series would actually materialize. And of course, along with that came the HD remasters of the first two games in the series.
Replicade’s mini Dragon’s Lair machine came pretty close, too — that was a no-brainer pre-order for me, and it was worth every penny, as it delivered an experience I never thought I’d have at that scale, but dreamed of ever since I was a kid in 1983.
Before that? I may have to go allll the way back to Nintendo’s 2000 Spaceworld Gamecube sizzle reel, with the brief clip of Samus Aran running down a hallway from a horde of alien bugs, turning, and charging up a shot from her arm cannon. These precious few seconds promised the return of the Metroid franchise after several years of dormancy and the fan community was whipped into a frenzy.
Oh, there was also the time I was at E3, and saw a Game Boy Advance display at Nintendo’s booth showing a surprise prototype of Metroid 4 (which later became Metroid Fusion) — quietly running on a loop with no hype whatsoever. At that point, we knew about Prime, but had not heard about Metroid 4, and I couldn’t WAIT to get back to a PC to tell the Metroid Database community about it.
Other than that, I’m having a hard time coming up with any more moments that were truly mind-blowing to me; that made me believe that anything could (and did) happen in this hobby.
So then I wondered, well, what kind of announcements would get me that excited again? What are some things that would literally make me lose my composure the way Actraiser Renaissance and Metroid Dread did? Well, let’s see:
Time Gal HD
If you know me, you know I have my many pillars of gaming fandom: Metroid, Metal Gear, Actraiser…and of course, Laserdisc games, particularly Dragon’s Lair, Cliff Hanger, and Time Gal. Well, one of my wildest dreams is to see Taito put out a fresh, high-definition remaster of Time Gal. Even better, of course, would be a deluxe physical release containing an art book, interviews with anyone involved in the game’s creation and design, and any/every piece of historical ephemera that’s ever been produced in association with it. Taito has brought back Reika a couple of times over the years (such as her appearances in Shikigami no Shiro III and Elevator Action Deluxe, not to mention the mobile edition of Time Gal which, sadly, is not available in North America), so since they’ve obviously not entirely forgotten about the character, I would hope that a quality re-release of the original game could see the light of day. (OR OR OR — what if they put it on the Egret II Mini?? hmmmmm….)
I know I’m not the only one who’s wishing for the proper return of the Vampire/Darkstalkers series. With the immense popularity of the characters, and the continued interest in fighting games, it’s actually kind of unbelievable that it hasn’t happened yet. But since Darkstalkers is by far my favorite fighting series (I’m not all that into fighting games in general, but I LOVE Darkstalkers), I’d be first in line to play a new one, ready to get back together with my main fish-bro Rikuo, and check out what monstrous new characters they might come up with.
After the disastrous attempt at a new Lunar title way back with Lunar: Dragon Song on the Nintendo DS, all hope has pretty much been lost for a revival of my favorite JRPG series, other than further remakes of the first game in the series (which has been remade no less than three times — four, if you count the minor differences between the Saturn and PlayStation versions). But Lunar 3 has been rumored since the ’90s, so that’d be almost 30 years of buildup ready to explode into a confetti blast of fandom if they finally announced it. I, for one, am ready to go on another adventure with a third cat-dragon friend.
…So there are at least a few spitballs that would make me lose my mind. Part of me says they will never happen; but of course, that’s precisely what we all thought about Shenmue III, Metroid Dread, and a revival of Actraiser, right? What gaming announcements did YOU never think would happen, but did? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Never say never.