Living in the Age of the Reboot
I feel as if this is the greatest time in history to be an adult; especially one that grew up in the 90’s. My childhood could have easily have stayed in the past, but the very moments that captured my youth are now once again returning to grace my own children. This time, it is in high-definition! Everything from the 90’s, from The Power Rangers to My Little Ponies, is getting rebooted, and video games are no exception. Donkey Kong Country received a nice reboot a few years ago, as well as the Spyro games. Nintendo is especially good at resurrecting its old and tired IPs. Unfortunately, one particular IP has been no show since the 90’s, and many fans are looking for it come back into the limelight. I am not talking about Wave Race or Balloon Fight; no, I am referring to great adventure title, StarTropics.
StarTropics and the Adventures of Mike Jones
If you are not familiar with StarTropics, allow me to fill you in. StarTropics is a Nintendo franchise that was developed by their own Integrated Research and Development Division (Nintendo R&D 3). The first game was released on December 1, 1990 to North American audiences on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This game was unlike other Nintendo titles in the way that it was presented. Most Nintendo titles were created with Japanese audiences in mind, but StarTropics was Nintendo’s love letter to America. If you do not believe me, look at the content.
StarTropics focuses on a boy named Mike Jones from a land called Americola. He is a huge baseball star where he is from; his actually a star pitcher. He is brought to C-Island to meet his uncle, Dr. Jones. However, soon after he arrives in the tropical paradise, he comes to find that Dr. Jones has been abducted. It is up to Mike to search the surrounding islands for clues of his uncles disappearance and fight off the forces that threaten this tropical refuge.
The gameplay is very similar to that of Legend of Zelda. There are even hearts that make of the health bar of the character. Mike must dungeon crawl through levels full of monsters and use baseball bats, yoyos, and even snowmen to combat the baddies. Even the second game, Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II, continues this style of gameplay that was popular at the time. However, something happened and the franchise was forgotten.
What Happened to the Game
Most of the Nintendo franchises that were made around that time have received reboots and guest appearances in games over the years, but StarTropics virtually dropped off the face of the earth after 1994. The main reason for all of this was mostly timing. The first StarTropics game did moderately well, but it was dwarfed by a much more popular game. Actually, it was the most popular game of that era, Super Mario Bros. 3. StarTropics was released during a year that saw the emergence of the Super Nintendo in Japan, as well as Mega Man 3. It was easy to look over the game in the midst of such powerhouse titles.
Due to the lack of interest by the community, StarTropics did not make the leap from NES to the next gen SNES. It was that failure to launch that grounded the game. Along with that, StarTropics was not released in Japan at all, thus limiting its influence on the very company that created it.
Some Rumors and Speculation
Fans of the old game have been waiting for any signs that a reboot is in the works. Sadly, all there has been is rumors and speculation. Recently there was a rumor that Retro Studios was working on a rebooted version of the game, but that theory has no viable evidence to support it.
It is interesting to note, though, that Nintendo still claims StarTropics as their own. The game was placed the virtual console for the Wii, 3DS, and WiiU, and it will no doubt come to the Switch as one of their titles for Nintendo Online subscribers. Nintendo has also held a death grip over its IPs by attacking ROM sites and ensuring that games like StarTropics are kept in house. So it is obvious that Nintendo still claims the franchise as there own, so why not reboot it?
In simple terms, StarTropics does not fit the world that we live in right now. The original game was a goofy and quarky adventure RPG that worked for the 90’s. However, with today’s more “edgy” content, the title would have to go through a major face-lift to regain relevance with the current gaming populace.
What We Would Like to See
Nintendo has many original IPs that fit almost ever facet of a gamer’s desires, that is except for the bad-ass treasuring hunting survival types. If Nintendo wanted to make a title that could compete with the Tomb Raider and the Uncharted games, pulling Mike Jones out of retirement and giving him an edge might just do the trick. A StarTropics game that focuses on survival and discovery, much like Breath of the Wild, but with guns and not yoyos, would be something that this generation of the gamers would willing embrace in a big way. Bringing back that awesome sound track would also be a plus.
As far as I can see, it doesn’t look like StarTropics is going to get a reboot anytime soon. Than again, I could be surprised. As North American fans cry out to Nintendo for a possible continuation in the series, maybe the gaming overloads will hear their plea and grant them a boon. However, it is more likely that Mike Jones will be included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate than in a new title.
What do you think? Is it possible that we are going to see Mike Jones take up his baseball bat once again? Let us know in the comments below.