We’re drowning in remakes and remasters. Big publishers are rereleasing every game which is older than three years and sold at least thirty copies. Some of these remakes, I suspect, sold as few as seven copies. But they’re ‘IP’, precious intellectual properties to be recycled and rebooted and combined in new forms until the sun burns out in the sky. So why have we still not seen the one we actually need: a $500 million remake of the Mavis Beacon minigame where you type words to make penguins jump across ice floes.
I like Dead Space and I will watch that Dead Space remake stream today, but I can play Dead Space just fine today. Mavis Beacon’s penguin platformer? That’s ancient, mate. It’s a classic too, doubtless the first PC gaming experience for many people over the past 24 years. And yet publishers are spending squillions of dollars on giving characters HD haircuts. Shameful. While it was good to see typing games resurrected with Typing Of The Dead: Overkill, what I need is a fancy modern remake of the Penguin Crossing minigame from Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 8.
I want subsurface scattering on the billion-polygon ray-traced ice floes engraved with the words I must type. The penguin whose fate is dictated by my typings and typos will have every feather rendered individually, and a neural net modelled on brain scans of actual penguins will govern the blinks and head tilts of its idle animations. Nolan North will go method and live in a penguin colony for six months, hunched over in a wetsuit and diving for fish, before he voices its squawks and honks. And when I do flub my words and the penguin’s floe crashes into the rock, I want full a full physics simulation, dynamic destruction of each floe, billions of particles in each frame, a simwater so real that its ripples might reverberate across the globe and cause a tidal wave in the Arctic. Anything less, and anything else, is frankly an insult.
I truly believe the mental energies stirred by such a remake could even manifest Mavis into reality.
Also, maybe you could host the launch party in my sixth form study room and invite my whole year as guests so I can again wow them with my WPM while trying to avoid explaining “because I’m up until 4am on IRC” as how I learned to type so fast.
Screenshot via MobyGames.