Bundled Releases Breathe New Life in to Older Video Game Franchises

Like many of our followers, I love video games. I really do. The bulk of my expenditures since 2008 have been on amassing a collection of current gen hardware and games that anyone would probably consider excessive.

But I came into the game late.

I got my first real home console for my seventeenth birthday back in 2005 when I was a senior in high school. My family had been transferred by the Army to rural Missouri and my new group of friends were all really into video games. I never had been, though, and I was tasked with trying to catch up with over a decade of video games. I mean, growing up I had played a handful of NES games and Sega Genesis games but they were mostly kid centric. I got an N64 one year – probably for Christmas – but all I ever had for it was Hey You, Pikachu!, Star Wars Episode I: Racer, and a  VW Beatles racing game that I never could save because I didn’t have a memory card. My dad had a Sega Saturn, too, but all he ever played on it was old arcade games from Atari’s arcade hits collection. (Tempest is freakin’ awesome, by the way.)

So, really, even though I love video games now there is a large part of video game history that I missed out on. I got my PS2 just a year before the PS3 came out and by then the vast majority of notable games were already out and set aside by most gamers in favor of  newer stock.

And it’s not easy to try and catch up with video gaming. Trying to build up a catalog of older games can be expensive and games can be hard to find. Some titles – like Panzar Dragoon Saga – were never widely available in the first place. Others – like original copies of FFVII – can cost upwards of $30 on eBay.

A recent trend, however, may help gamers like me catch up without breaking the bank. Just as long as you’re not dedicated to playing on the original console.

A lot of games are seeing new life on current gen consoles. Downloading has helped. Publishers have made a significant number of their older games available for download through the PSN Store, Live Marketplace, and Wii Shopping Channel. But for those of us who prefer to have hard-copies of our games, they’ve also started bundling them on discs as well.

It started in June 2010 with the release of the Call of Duty: The War Collection remastered for the XBOX 360. The following year, both the original Tomb Raider trilogy and the Prince of Persia trilogy were similarly released. But it wasn’t really until back at E3 last year, when Sony made news by announcing that it would be releasing an HD bundle featuring the PS2 classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus (as well as a PS3 bundle of the two previously PSP exclusive God of War games) that the trend realy picked up. For those who had already played the games it was a way to share them with new players and for those who had never had the opportunity – like myself – it was a chance to experience what were arguably two of the greatest PS2 games ever released.

Now more bundles have hit the market and more appear to be on the way.

But they aren’t just a few wayward series that many consider to be past their prime or compilations of more kid-centric series. We’re seeing more and more modern classics being bundled together in expansive packs that are actually rather impressive. The compilation that really caught my eye, for example, was the Resident Evil 6 Anthology. The bundle includes all six of the main Resident Evil titles – from the Original Director’s Cut to the Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – alongside the newest entry in the series. For about $90 you can have all six for much less than it would cost to try and collect them all individually. And instead of having to play them across an entire family tree of consoles, you can play them on just one. They are doing something very similar with the The God of War Saga Collection which collects all three of the original games as well as the two PSP exclusives.

It’s kind of incredible when you really think about it. Games that would have otherwise been completely inaccessible to the current crop of gamers are finally making their way into their hands. And people who have had to lament a game’s console exclusivity are finally able to have these experiences that they had been previously denied.

Below are a few other bundles of interest. Most of them are available either on the PS3 or XBOX 360.

Splinter Cell Trilogy
The Sly Cooper Collection
Jax and Daxter Collection
Mass Effect Trilogy
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Ratchet and Clank Collection
Devil May Cry HD Collection
Silent Hill HD Collection
Killzone Trilogy Collection
Zone of the Enders HD Colletion

NOTE:
I did not include the Gears of War, inFamous, Uncharted, Rockstar Games Collection or Assassin’s Creed: Ezio trilogy bundles because those are all current generation games.  (The Mass Effect bundle is on there only because it’s the first time the original Mass Effect will be released on PS3.) The bundles are available, though, and they are pretty awesome. There are also a number of arcade classics bundles and a Sega Saturn classics bundle that you can look into, too.

Know of any other bundled collections people should know about? Have a particular series that you’d like to see re-released and remastered? Let us know in the comments!