About ports of old games

I have to admit that I bought several Square Enix-games several times. We have Final Fantasy Tactics for the Playstation, the PSP, the iPhone and when the last sale hit, I seriously thought about getting the iPad-version. I have Final Fantasy IV1 for the Wonderswan, the PSP2, the DS and iPhone. I have Chrono Trigger on the DS and iOS and I might get me the SNES-version. For christ’s sake, I just ordered Final Fantasy VI3 and Secret of Mana in Japanese for the Super Nintendo. I have FFVI already for the PSP and GBA and Secret of Mana on iOS. And I am thinking whether I want to get FFVI for iOS as well. And those are not the only duplicates I have4.

The games by SquareEnix are great. There are only few I have beaten and far more on my pile of shame. But why do I buy them over and over. And I bet I am not the only one. When I was in Japan in 2004 NTT Docomo released a mobile phone that contained Final Fantasy I and Dragon Quest 1 as games. I am pretty sure that people got a contract or switched phones just because of those games and they already played them on the Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System/NES) or remakes of them on the Super Famicom (SNES), Game Boy Color, Wonderswan (depending on the game) or even all of them. This company or in the past these companies make some of the greatest games ever released. I never finished Final Fantasy VI but there were already some awesome scenes that directly come into my mind when I think about the game and I get the shivers when I see the intro-animation with Terra and the two soldiers in the mechs.

I guess if there was a popular microwave out there that would allow to play games on a tiny screen, Squenix would start porting games for it. And you know what, people would buy them. I wonder why not more companies do that. Sega ports a lot since they abandoned making their own home console-hardware5. Nintendo might be able to do it, but they never will as long as they are in the hardware-business and understandably so. After all, they make a profit from their consoles on day one6. Games from Kōjima Hideo got ported a lot7.

But all in all, several companies are porting, remaking or re-releasing via emulators old games to new platforms. And we buy them multiple times. Even if we own them. But why? If I want to play FFVI on a portable device, I just can get my old NDS or GBA and put in the GBA-module. If I want to play it on the big screen, I will soon be able to put in the SFC-module or get out the Playstation-version8. Is it just because we want to play that game on our current devices? Do we even play them or do we buy them for that moment we have a bit too much time? After all, it’s not like buying a game you can play a bit while commuting. FFVI needs 40-60 hours and more to be beaten and has some replay-value in trying to get all the hidden characters.

I am pretty sure that when I pay the probably $16 for the iOS-version of FFVI I will start it once or twice and then do not play it because it just takes sooooo much time even though it is a great game.

But why do we buy them anyway? Is it just the hope for playing it some time on our current device?


  1. or Final Fantasy II for my US-readers

  2. ok, that version got extra-content

  3. Final Fantasy III for the people from the U…well, did you finally adjust? 😉

  4. I just have to mention it: The World Ends With You. I have that on the DS and on the iPhone. Thinking about getting the iPad-version. And it is handdown one of the best games I have ever played. You just have to get it, you have to, it is that great. The only games from Squenix which might beat it are Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI and those are in lists for best games of all times

  5. I think they are still in the Arcade-business

  6. Hm…actually I am not sure about the Wii U

  7. My favorite one Snatcher got ported seven times if I didn’t miscount but only 1 version got translated to English interestingly. I spoke about it in German on the retro-gaming podcast I am part of. And I really want a port for iOS. That would be awesome.

  8. with its unbearable loading time or cough, cough just use an emulator and the ROM

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