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I enjoyed Sony’s PlayStation Showcase on Thursday. I’m excited for Spider-Man 2, Wolverine and God of War: Ragnarok. But as a retro gaming fan, I’m a little sad that Sony isn’t reviving its old franchises.
Now, that should change soon, as our own Jeff Grubb hears that a twisted metal reboot is on the way. But I want Sony to do more with its old IP. I want Jet Moto, Parappa the Rapper, Jumping Flash and App Escape.
Really, I really want to joke. More than others, it looks like a great fit for the PlayStation 5.
The monkey business
The original Play Escape first came out in 1999 for the PlayStation. Sony created the game to show off its new dual analog controller. Two analog sticks have been standard in console gaming, but in 1999 this was a big deal. In Ape Escape, you control the movement of the main character with the left stick, while your right stick handles all your weapons and gadgets. So if you have a monkey trap, hang the rod right in the direction you want it to swing.
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The PlayStation 5 has its own fancy controller, Dual Sense. Sure, it’s not as revolutionary as the dual analog gamepad, but Sony prefers the PS5 controller’s special features, especially the haptic response and adaptive triggers. But we’re close to the PS5’s first anniversary, and we haven’t seen many games take advantage of the dual sense. Heck, the packed-in Astro Playroom is still the best performance of the controller.
Sony should bring App Escape to show the fancy gamepad once again. Also, you know, that means getting another entry into this passive category. App escape games are fun and colorful. They are puzzle-platforms, where you have to find the monkeys and find out how to catch them.
Sony has a well-earned reputation for making high-quality first-party games, but they’re starting to look a bit similar. I love third-person action-adventure games, but I missed the kind of cartoon platforms Sony and its studio once made great. And yes, we still have ratchet and clunk, but I want more.
It wasn’t so long ago that it seemed like Sony couldn’t stop themselves from creating app escape games. The first game got two sequels and one PSP tech. Sony also released spinoffs like the PSP party game Ape Escape Academy. Then, following the 2010 release of the PlayStation Move: The Prank for the PlayStation 3, the series just … disappeared.
That’s a shame. The main idea of Ace Escape is still fun, and it deserves some exploration. PS5 Ape Escape with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s production values and Astro’s playroom-style dual sense can be one of the best gimmick console games.
I’m looking for these Marvel Games and Triple-A open-world experiences, but I hope Sony doesn’t forget some of its older, more offbeat IPs.
Retrobeat is a weekly column that looks at the past of gaming, diving into the classics, new retro titles, or old favorites – and their design techniques – inspiring today’s market and experiences. If you have any retro-themed projects or scoops you would like to send my way, please contact me.
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