It’s time to boycott the World Cup (and its sponsors)

“Put up or shut up,” “put your money where your mouth is,” and other similar phrases and sayings all have the same meaning: stand by your principles. And that’s what I shall be doing when it comes to the football World Cup, which kicks off in the nation of Qatar in less than 24 hours’ time. I won’t be tuning in to watch a single minute of football at a World Cup for the first time in my life, having cheered on England at every tournament (that they qualified for, at any rate) for literally as long as I can remember. But I can’t support the decision to send the World Cup to Qatar.

In my view, England, Wales, and any other footballing nation with a conscience should have officially boycotted the tournament, and made their intentions plain in that regard months if not years ago. All of this talk of a “political boycott” – in which senior government officials refuse to attend but the football team still goes and plays – is utterly meaningless and hypocritical. Either go to the World Cup and say that “sport and politics should be wholly separate,” or stand by your principles. The FA and UK government want to have their cake and eat it; to criticise Qatar while simultaneously attending the World Cup. But it doesn’t work that way.

England’s World Cup squad with Prince William, who is the President of the English Football Association.
Image Credit: Football Association

Qatar should never have been in serious contention to host a tournament like the World Cup in the first place, and despite an internal “investigation” in which FIFA cleared itself of any wrongdoing, let’s not pretend that the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar back in 2010 was anything other than corrupt. Qatar schemed, cheated, and bribed their way to hosting this tournament, and while they’re certainly not the only nation to have bought and paid for a major event (looking at you, Salt Lake City) the sheer brazenness of the bribery and corruption in this case was enough to turn off fans right from the start.

Qatar is simply not a place well-suited to play football. Setting aside the searing desert temperatures that, even at this time of year, can cause health problems, it’s a tiny place which in 2010 had a single football stadium that everyone agreed was unsuitable for hosting games at this level. Qatar pledged to build eight new stadia in time for the World Cup… and that’s where the problems began.

La’eeb, the official mascot for Qatar 2022.

At least 6,500 people have died building these eight stadia over the past twelve years. Let’s repeat that: six thousand, five hundred people died. Sixty-five hundred people. Have you known of any other comparable building project in the last few decades to have a death toll of more than a few individuals? For comparison, the London Olympic Games in 2012 required the construction of new stadia for the track and field events, swimming, cycling, and more – and recorded a single fatality (a crane operator in 2011 slipped and fell during a storm).

Many of the 6,500 people who died to build Qatar’s vanity project were “migrant workers” – many of whom came from the Indian subcontinent and Africa and were paid a pittance for their labour. Many deaths were attributed to heatstroke, but the poor working conditions contributed to many more. And according to recent reports from fans and journalists who have begun arriving in Qatar ahead of the event, major construction projects like the so-called “fan village” aren’t even complete.

Part of the unfinished “fan village” in Qatar.
Image Credit: Daily Mail

The treatment of these migrant workers should come under heavy scrutiny, and should have resulted in Qatar being relieved of its opportunity to host the tournament years ago. Had a decision been taken in, say, 2017 or 2018, lives could have been saved. Even as late as this summer, it would have been possible to strip Qatar of the World Cup and make alternative arrangements in countries that already have the footballing and transportation infrastructure to handle an even of this magnitude. Those decisions should have been taken by FIFA, and there were years in which the Qatari treatment of its forced labourers was obvious even to casual outside observers. But again, corruption at FIFA runs deep, and money talks. Qatar was allowed to continue as host of the World Cup, and FIFA seems to have taken no action whatsoever to prevent further deaths, even as the death toll continued to climb.

As if that wasn’t enough, Qatar also has an appalling record on human rights, with homosexuality being illegal. This issue also came up in regards to Russia four years ago, so it seems that FIFA has a knack for awarding the World Cup to the most homophobic countries imaginable. This has led to some utterly ridiculous statements, including from some government officials here in the UK: “don’t be gay” if you go to Qatar is basically the official advice from the British government.

“Don’t be gay” in Qatar is the best advice the UK government can offer.

And it’s this issue of gay rights where the England football team and others feel incredibly hypocritical. If they want to take a stand in favour of gay rights in Qatar, the only way to do so in any meaningful way is not to play. All this talk of rainbow shoelaces, rainbow armbands, or rainbow shirt logos is just nonsense – as long as the teams are there, they’re providing the Qatari government and its homophobic policies with their tacit support. Qatar is using the World Cup as a textbook exercise in sportswashing – and to make a packet of cash, of course – and we’re not only letting them get away with it, but actively participating in it.

I cannot in good conscience support the World Cup in Qatar. I wish that the British government, the English and Welsh football associations, and others from around the world had been bold enough to take a stand, but they haven’t. So it falls to all of us as fans to decide – is sport more important than human rights? Can we support and endorse a tournament in a place like Qatar? Or should we do what our governments and football associations have been too cowardly to do, and boycott the tournament ourselves? I’m choosing the latter.

One of the stadia that cost so many lives to build.

By refusing to watch any of the matches, engage with any of the posts on social media, or buy products from brands and sponsors who are heavily investing in advertising at the World Cup, we can send a message that we don’t support Qatar, that we don’t support sportswashing, that we don’t support a regime that condemns workers to death and routinely violates the basic human rights of its citizens and residents, and that we don’t support hypocrisy.

It isn’t good enough to say that we oppose Qatar’s position on gay rights, or that we believe that migrant workers have been mistreated, if we then go on to cheer for our favourite teams, make the sponsors feel that their decision to invest in Qatar was worthwhile, and provide cover for the Qatari regime as they attempt to sportswash their image and their reputation. It’s time to take a stand on principle, and do so as loudly as possible.

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the current Emir of Qatar.

Qatar should never have been awarded the World Cup, and when the bribery and underhanded schemes that they used came to light, they should have been stripped of the tournament. When the bodies of migrant workers piled up as Qatar built its stadia, again the right to host the tournament should have been taken away. And when it became obvious that Qatar’s appalling attitude to basic human rights wasn’t going to change, that should have been the final nail in the coffin. At every stage, FIFA failed to act. But it isn’t only FIFA’s fault. The British government, the football associations of England and Wales, and governments and sporting bodies from Europe, the United States, and around the world could and should have worked together to take stand. They failed to do so.

That only leaves us. The World Cup is a nakedly commercial event, one which sponsors and advertisers hope will bring their corporations a bucketload of cash. The more of us who loudly and proudly state that we aren’t participating, and the more we call out corporations like Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Hyundai, and Visa (to name but a few) the more they will realise that they have made a mistake – and the greater the chance we have of avoiding a repeat of this disaster in the future.

Hit the corporations and the Qataris where it hurts: in the wallet. I hope you’ll join me in boycotting this year’s World Cup.

This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.

The European Super League will be bad for one simple reason: fairness

I don’t talk about football very often here on the website. In fact, I daresay I’ve discussed the FIFA football video games on more occasions than the sport itself! But with all of the discussion flying around online since last night’s bolt from the blue announcement of a possible European Super League, I felt compelled to comment.

The twelve clubs – six of which, I’m sad to see, are from my native England – have drawn a lot of criticism for this plan, and we’ll discuss in a moment the potential ramifications for them. But with so many people piling on with criticism mixed with ideas for “punishments” it feels like a really basic message is in danger of getting lost in the confusion. What it all boils down to is simple: fairness. That one word encapsulates everything wrong with a European Super League.

It’s deeply disappointing to see these six clubs – plus six of their European allies – planning to grab more money and power for themselves at the expense of basic fairness and sportsmanship.

Every sport, whether it’s curling, showjumping, ice hockey, or football, has to be fair and has to be seen to be fair. There will always be bad individual decisions; referees who make a bad call, a goal disallowed or allowed to stand incorrectly, and so on. Those idiosyncrasies will always be part of football, and indeed of any team sport. But the rules underpinning competition have to be seen to be fair – they can’t disproportionately favour one team, country, or club over everyone else. Yet that’s exactly what the European Super League would do. It would play favourites.

A closed league in which most clubs can never be relegated no matter how poorly they perform, and in which those clubs are given vast sums of money from the league’s sponsors is simply not fair. If those clubs are then allowed to participate in other competitions, such as their domestic leagues or cups, they have an additional unfair advantage in those as well. So the European Super League is not just unfair in that it would keep its fifteen “members” there in perpetuity no matter what else was happening in the wider game, it would give each of those clubs a massive boost in whatever other competitions they participated in.

Manchester United are one of the clubs involved in this scheme.

Money has already made the upper echelons of football incredibly difficult to break into. The fairytale of Leicester City winning the Premier League a couple of years ago came after decades of dominance by a handful of very wealthy clubs backed by even wealthier investors and owners. The reason why Leicester’s win was so truly unexpected is because pundits and commentators had felt that it would be impossible for any club without significant financial resources to be able to compete against the so-called “big six.” The European Super League would cement the “big six” at the top of the English game, doling out huge sums of money to them to keep them at the top of the league in perpetuity. There would never be another Leicester or Bolton Wanderers winning the Premier League – and that’s exactly the scenario that the European Super League is designed to create.

That’s bad sportsmanship. It’s antithetical to the nature of free and fair sporting competition. By further eroding a sport already awash with near-incomprehensible amounts of money, the European Super League would effectively kill any real competition at the top. The other 14 clubs of the Premier League will be locked in a perpetual battle for seventh place – and whoever finishes seventh might as well be crowned champions, because the top six places will be effectively beyond the reach of any club without the financial backing of this new institution.

Hopefully this proposal will be shown the red card.

FIFA, UEFA, and the Premier League all bear a degree of responsibility for what’s happening, though. And they are not innocent parties to this clusterfuck. I’m old enough to remember the controversy in 1992 when the Premier League was set up, breaking away from the Football League. The clubs were tempted by money then, just as they are now. For the Premier League to criticise the European Super League for doing something superficially similar is at least slightly hypocritical, and sadly this gives ammunition to proponents of the European Super League.

UEFA and FIFA are both institutionally corrupt, with members quite literally and demonstrably accepting bribes. The only reason next year’s World Cup will be hosted by Qatar (or the 2018 iteration was hosted by Russia) is because of bribes paid to voting members. That’s just one example, and both institutions have been plagued by bribery and corruption going back decades, putting their own interests ahead of the wider game.

FIFA – football’s governing body – is institutionally corrupt and has been for decades.

So there isn’t really a “good guy” to back in this fight. It’s the billionaires versus the billionaires in a battle for power, control, and the right to make as much additional money as possible – on top of the money they already have. It almost doesn’t matter which side wins, because the “big six” English clubs, and their equivalents in other countries, will still dominate the game regardless thanks to their international owners and the vast sums of money in the game. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a “lesser of two evils,” nor that the European Super League is somehow okay.

Despite the money sloshing around football, there are still surprises. Leicester’s title-winning season is a recent one, but we can also point to the successes of clubs like Wigan and Portsmouth in the FA Cup, Leeds’ successful return to the Premier League in their first season after promotion, and in Europe the likes of Montpellier’s title win in Ligue 1. Even with all the money at the top of the game, football can still be unpredictable – and that’s why so many fans around the world love it.

Portsmouth’s 2008 win shows that the FA Cup can still create wonderful surprises.
Photo Credit: Jon Candy profile, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taking away the most basic tenet of sportsmanship and competition – fairness – would leave European football in a very dark place. Those fairytale seasons, already eroded by the long dominance of a select few wealthy clubs, would fade into history, with all but a handful of clubs effectively relegated to second-tier status.

This is why there’s so much backlash, even if not everyone commenting on the situation can fully put it into words. A European Super League in which fifteen clubs can compete against one another in perpetuity with no threat of relegation is not only unfair as a concept in itself, but that unfairness would not be contained and would spill over into every other league on the continent. The crux of why fans of all clubs – even those proposing to join the new league – are united in opposition is because everyone recognises the inherent unfairness of the proposal, and how that unfairness would kill sporting competition.

This proposal is all about money and power – and retaining both permanently for the big clubs.

So what measures can domestic leagues, as well as bodies like FIFA and UEFA, take to prevent this from happening, especially given how far advanced the plans seem to be?

Because this is a fight over money – and the television and broadcast rights that give whoever wins the right to make money – simply expelling the teams involved, as some have suggested, doesn’t seem viable. The Premier League would lose out in that scenario, because the broadcast rights would suddenly bring in far less revenue if the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea aren’t involved. This is the game of brinksmanship that the European Super League is playing – effectively throwing down the gauntlet and saying “you can’t make money without us.”

That said, there are measures short of full expulsion that could be taken – but they’d only work if every league in Europe and FIFA can all agree. First of all, there could be automatic points deductions for all participating teams. A deduction of ten points is automatically applied to any English teams that go into administration (i.e. that become financially insolvent), and something similar could be applied in this case. This would mean all European Super League clubs begin their domestic campaigns with -10 or even -15 points, which might go some way to restoring some semblance of fairness at the top, allowing the rest of the league to potentially compete on fairer terms with an effective handicap – giving them back their shots at the championship.

Barcelona (Camp Nou stadium pictured) are one of twelve teams planning to join the European Super League.

Secondly, one proposal UEFA threw out last night was that any individual player who plays in the European Super League would be banned from international competition, including in the World Cup. This sanction would make a lot of players think twice before signing for a European Super League side, even if a lot of money were on the table. Some would still take the money, of course, but any player with dreams of representing their country would think twice.

This proposal in particular is a threat to the European Super League. If it could be expanded, with players who play in the European Super League banned from all other competitions including domestic leagues and cups, the only players who would ever agree to participate would be has-beens. The European Super League, if it were forced to operate under such restrictions, would end up looking like the Chinese league or, at best, Major League Soccer in the United States – where players who used to be good enough to play in the big European leagues essentially go to retire!

Banning players from international competition could be a way to fight back against this proposal.

By pushing restrictions onto the individual players instead of (or as well as) the clubs themselves, and remaining united in doing so, the big European leagues, UEFA, and FIFA could drive a wedge between the clubs and their players, forcing players to choose. Maybe this kind of tactic feels shady and wrong, but if it kills a bad proposal it would be worth it. Though the big clubs do wield a lot of power, they don’t hold all the cards, and if players felt that signing for Manchester United would be bad for their career, you’d see better players moving away from those big clubs, and the already-boring European Super League would look worse and worse.

And that’s another good point. The European Super League will be boring, or at least unexciting. A league where there’s no relegation for the big clubs has no threat, and with no threat comes no drama. There’ll be no reason for players to push themselves in the final minute to score that amazing goal because… what’s the point? Once you’re in the European Super League you’re set for life, apparently. If you lose fifteen matches in a row there’s no consequence, except perhaps for the manager who’ll lose his job! By destroying one of the most basic elements of sporting competition – relegation – the European Super League doesn’t have much to offer anyway.

But whatever you think about these clubs and this announcement, it all comes back to one central point: a European Super League with permanent positions for wealthy clubs is inherently and inescapably unfair. There will be consequences, somehow, for any clubs that go down this road. I just hope that, when the dust settles, football isn’t too badly damaged by this latest self-inflicted wound.

All brands, clubs, etc. mentioned above are the trademark or copyright of their respective owners. Some stock images courtesy of Pixabay. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.

Ten games that I’d remaster (if I could)

A few days ago I looked at the possibility of a remastered Mass Effect trilogy. While unconfirmed, this project has been rumoured to be in development for at least the last six months, and while I could certainly consider the argument that we don’t need a remaster less than a decade after the trilogy wrapped up, it got me thinking about games that I really would like to see given a proper update for 2020.

When it came to choosing titles, I excluded anything from the last couple of console generations, as those are new enough – in my opinion – to hold up reasonably well in 2020. I excluded titles that have been remastered already, as well as one title (Super Mario 64) that has been the subject of intense speculation regarding a potential upcoming remaster. I considered a number of titles from the 1980s and early ’90s, but despite some good contenders, the titles I ultimately chose are all from the mid ’90s through to the mid 2000s. Remember that these are just my opinions; the list is subjective.

This list is just a fantasy. Some of the games below may one day be remastered, but others are so obscure that I may be one of only a handful of people who knew they existed even when they were new! So don’t get excited at the prospect of an impending remaster; if you must play a title on this list… I dunno. Try eBay?

Number 1: Star Trek: Generations (PC, 1997)

Data and Picard in stellar cartography.

When it comes to naming my “all-time favourite” game, I struggle. There are so many good video games that I’ve played over the years, and what I enjoy playing changes with my mood. That said, the PC game Star Trek: Generations has to be a contender. Part Doom-clone, part puzzle game, part tactical ship-to-ship combat game, featuring fully-voiced characters and some great sequences set in stellar cartography that I don’t even know how to categorise, Generations was a fantastic and incredibly well-rounded experience. It’s such a shame that it released way too late – several years after the film – and was overlooked by even the hardest of hardcore Trekkies.

A first-person away mission.

The main part of the game is a series of Doom-inspired first-person missions to various planets. Generations took a randomised approach – there are a number of planets that the villainous Dr Soran can visit, and which ones he travels to differs with each playthrough. All of the main characters from The Next Generation have their own missions, and the final act of the game lets players take on the role of Kirk. The story sticks to the film in the beginning and near the end, but diverges greatly in the middle during some of the away missions. It’s a fantastic title, and a few years ago I was able to track down a copy on eBay. I’ve been intending to replay it but haven’t got around to doing so yet.

Number 2: Jet Force Gemini (Nintendo 64, 1999)

Saving a Tribal in Jet Force Gemini.

Jet Force Gemini was a Nintendo 64 exclusive just before the turn of the millennium, and it was a fun sci-fi adventure in an original setting. The game gave players three characters to control: twins Juno and Vela, and their dog Lupus. An action/adventure title with some basic 3D platforming sections, the game had a slightly over-the-top story that involved saving teddy bear-like creatures and defeating a nefarious villain. Considering how many sequels and franchises exist right now in all forms of entertainment, Jet Force Gemini could offer something different – or at least something most players in 2020 haven’t experienced before!

Lupus the dog.

Developed by Rare, the game had weapons that could be upgraded as well as an open level design that was comparable to other Nintendo 64 titles at the time. Though it was included in the Rare Replay compilation a few years ago, no remaster – or even a sequel – has been attempted, which is a shame. If a title like Jet Force Gemini were to launch today it would undoubtedly spawn a whole franchise!

Number 3: Knights of the Old Republic I & II (PC & Xbox, 2003-04)

I talked about Knights of the Old Republic a few times during my playthrough of Jedi: Fallen Order, because some aspects of the two titles are comparable. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I didn’t enjoy the Star Wars prequels, and the first two films were especially bad. But in the aftermath of Attack of the Clones I got to have two of my favourite ever Star Wars experiences – these two games.

With all the discussion around a Mass Effect remaster, Bioware’s Star Wars game hasn’t been mentioned. But it should be – both Knights of the Old Republic and its Obsidian-developed sequel are phenomenal. The Star Wars franchise has struggled to break away from its original trilogy and characters for a long time, but Knights of the Old Republic took a genuinely original and interesting setting and told a story that took place millennia before the films. These games did wonders for the Star Wars brand at a time when two crap films had tarnished it, and playing them again but with the enhanced graphics of a title like Jedi: Fallen Order would be amazing.

(A KOTOR remake was subsequently announced in 2021!)

Number 4: Blue Stinger (Dreamcast, 1999)

Protagonist Eliot explores Dinosaur Island.

The only Dreamcast exclusive on this list was a bargain-bin find even at the time it was released! But that’s such a shame, because if you can look past the hammy dialogue and silly premise there’s a fun game hiding just beneath the surface. Blue Stinger didn’t pretend to take itself too seriously. Its dinosaurs-from-space apocalypse setting precluded that! But not every game – or every film – has to be dark and gritty; there’s plenty of room in the gaming realm for titles like this.

Fighting a monster.

What I liked most about Blue Stinger was the fact that the game offered a lot of customisation. Different outfits and different weapons for the multiple playable characters all contributed to making my playthrough feel unique, that I was having an adventure all my own. Few games at the time offered that kind of experience, and I appreciated it.

Number 5: Arx Fatalis (PC & Xbox, 2002)

An underground lair.

After playing and loving The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on the original Xbox, I was looking for another fantasy-inspired roleplaying game to play. There were a few such titles around, but after finding Arx Fatalis and seeing little more than the box art I was convinced it was going to be the next big thing. The PC version of the game – which I didn’t play – is generally considered to be better, as its spellcasting system involves using the mouse to draw symbols in the air. That extra sense of immersion must have felt great!

The magic system.

Arx Fatalis’ underground setting was amazing, with towns and settlements built into caverns, and I had a great time exploring the dungeons and caves of this unique world. There was a decent amount of choice, both in what quests I could take on and how to go about completing them. While Arx Fatalis arguably offered less than Morrowind, it was a solid and decent title nevertheless. Sadly it didn’t sell very well, partly due to being overshadowed by Morrowind, and remains in relative obscurity.

Number 6: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Future’s Past (SNES & Sega Mega Drive, 1994)

Riker, Worf, and Picard on the bridge of the Enterprise-D.

You knew that there was going to be at least one more Star Trek title on the list, right? Future’s Past (or Echoes from the Past if you got the Sega Mega Drive version) plays out like an extended episode of The Next Generation in a lot of ways, and there are things to do on the bridge of the Enterprise-D as well as on away missions. A team of up to four crew members – including both redshirts and major characters – can be assembled for away missions, and different combinations of characters can yield different results.

An away mission.

The away missions take a top-down view, making the game a kind of real-time tactics game as well as being a fun Star Trek adventure. Some of the game’s systems are quite in-depth for a mid ’90s title, and performing tasks like navigating the ship from one star system to another actually made it feel like you were a crewman on the Enterprise-D!

Number 7: FIFA 97 (Multiplatform, 1996)

Though the FIFA series had been running for three years by the time FIFA 97 arrived on the scene, it was the first iteration that I owned. FIFA 95 had introduced club teams after the first entry only featured national sides, but it was only available on the Sega Mega Drive. FIFA 96 was the first truly multiplatform release, and after the excitement of the 1996 European championships in England I was craving a football game to play!

FIFA 97 had a choice of indoor or outdoor stadia to play in!

Nostalgia is big in entertainment at the moment, as people look back fondly on the past. What could be absolutely fascinating to see, as a football fan, is a recreation of the various leagues and divisions as they were in the 1996-97 season, but with the graphics of modern FIFA titles. I think such a game would play on the nostalgia that football fans have for the players, stadia, and kits of their younger days, and if it were successful, there could even be a whole range of legacy FIFA titles going all the way back to the inception of competitive football leagues! Can you imagine a FIFA game set in the 1890s featuring clubs like Northwich Victoria, Glossop North End, and Small Heath? Maybe it’s just because I’m a history buff but I’d love something like that!

Number 8: Pirates of the Caribbean (PC & Xbox, 2003)

Ship combat in Pirates of the Caribbean was great.

Despite the name, 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean has very little connection to the film series – the first iteration of which was released the same year. Though the Black Pearl makes an appearance, the story is really that of Captain Nathaniel Hawk, an original character. Hawk must put together a crew and then can sail across several islands in a shrunk-down map based on the Caribbean. There’s a main quest involving a war between England and France, and a number of smaller side-quests too.

The player character – Captain Nathaniel Hawk.

The popularity of titles like Sea of Thieves and Assassin’s Creed IV shows that gamers love a good pirate-themed title, and I think the under-appreciated Pirates of the Caribbean could work brilliantly in 2020. It had a fun and engaging story, and was a title that allowed a decent amount of player choice.

Number 9: Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64, 1999)

The DK rap…

As I mentioned at the beginning, Super Mario 64 has been rumoured to be the target of a remaster. But the Nintendo 64 also saw the first 3D adventures of that other great Nintendo character – Donkey Kong. Where the Donkey Kong Country games on the SNES had introduced Diddy Kong and a couple of others, Donkey Kong 64 kicked things into high gear by having five playable characters.

Diddy Kong with his twin pistols.

The game is similar to both the aformentioned Super Mario 64 in terms of its 3D platforming as well as titles like Banjo-Kazooie, which was also developed by Rare. It had a multiplayer mode, well-designed and diverse levels, and while the plot was pretty basic it was a lot of fun. The game was re-released on the Wii U as a download title, but wasn’t remastered.

Number 10: Max Payne (PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2, 2001)

Max duel-wielding his handguns.

Despite receiving two sequels and a feature film adaptation, no attempt has yet been made to remaster the original Max Payne. I’ve often talked about how Shenmue on the Dreamcast was my first experience with a game that felt genuinely cinematic – well Max Payne was the second such game I played. Gaming before the turn of the millennium was a lot of fun, but as an art form and entertainment medium, it hadn’t fully hit its stride. Many games had stories which were childish, over-the-top, or just silly; Max Payne was a classic detective/noir adventure that would have been just as at home on the big screen.

Taking out an enemy with a shotgun.

The story and even 95% of the gameplay would need absolutely no adapting; this is one game that just needs to be updated using today’s better graphics! The story is what makes Max Payne worth playing. Its sequels were fine, but nothing can top the original experience. Though the game’s signature “bullet time” has since been reused in many other titles in the years since its release, the story underneath the gameplay is still one that players today could enjoy.

So that’s it. Ten games that I’d remaster if I could. In the years since I got my first home console in the early 1990s – a SNES – I’ve been lucky to play many different games on a range of platforms. These are just a few that I’d love to remaster – if I had a studio, an unlimited budget, and a willingness to lose money!

This has been a fun topic, and it’s one I may revisit in future. I had at least ten more titles lined up that could have made the list, and with so many great games from the past, there’s no shortage of options! It was great fun to talk about some games of yesteryear that I enjoyed during the 1990s and early 2000s.

All titles listed above are the copyright of their respective developers, studios, and/or publishers. Some screenshots courtesy of IGDB. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.