Do I really need a shot-for-shot remake of Ocarina of Time?

I’m not sure that I do… Unfortunately, it looks like that’s what we’re getting, based on the newest trailer. Ocarina has kind of dated graphics, but they’re not so dated that I need a game that spruces them up and does nothing else. Part of the appeal of seeing a remake is revisiting an old favorite — but an equally important part is seeing what’s changed. For the 3DS remake, the answer to that question appears to be “it’s portable, and that’s it.”

You can’t really blame Grezzo for going in that direction… Ocarina is one of the most beloved games of all time, after all, and they’d have started a riot if they took any real risks with it. I don’t have any doubts that the 3DS version will be both ideal for newcomers and the definitive version of the game, but… I’ve played the N64 original at least once a year since it came out, half my life. I’m having second thoughts about whether revisiting that experience on a smaller screen is really the best way I could spend my time.

Oh, sure, there are some other changes. The remake includes the Master Quest, which I’ve never beaten in its entirety. There’s also apparently a boss rush (although I’m afraid I don’t see the appeal there — Zelda bosses are approached the same way every time, and are more puzzles than fights, so I doubt there’s much additional challenge to be had in facing them all in a row). I wonder, though, if all these marginal changes add up to “I want to buy this game again.”

Ocarina’s superb and I love it, but I’ve played it to death. If I get the urge to play it again, my N64 cartridge is right there, and I could get it for $10 on Virtual Console should something happen to it. I feel like if I’m going to spend $250 on a new portable, I need something new to justify the purchase, something I couldn’t get anywhere else — not ports of games that are five or ten or fifteen years old. And when you look at the forthcoming releases for the 3DS, that’s all you see right now: Ocarina. Star Fox 64. Tales of the Abyss. Cave Story. Metal Gear Solid 3. Super Street Fighter 4. I’m sure that software will be there eventually, but it’s not yet. Ports and remakes can flesh out a system’s library, but they can’t stand on their own.

Of course, I’m considering buying a PSP instead, whose library (or at least the part of its library that I’m interested in) consists almost entirely of ports and remakes. I guess that makes me a big ol’ hypocrite. Then again, for the price of a 3DS and no games I could get a brand new PSP, a whole mess of quality games, and, I’m given to understand, even a computer know-nothing like myself could hack it to emulate older systems, which would be enough to keep me busy well into next year, when the 3DS’s library might be more substantial. There’s a difference in the level of investment there.

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