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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

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Wing Commander - Recollections to Remakes
8:18 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

"Best. Game. Evar."

Every gamer has a list of all-time favorite games. The games that they've played for hours and hours and never get tired of. Centipede, Super Mario Brothers, Marathon, Kitty Spangles Solitaire - the choices are unlimited. But the reason a game is so great to one gamer might be very different from another.

To many gamers, particularly those of us old enough to remember games coming on six floppy diskettes, Origin's Wing Commander still stands as one of the greatest games of all time. 1990 was a time devoid of polygons and pixel-shaded bump mapping, and to experience an open-ended space combat and exploration game in three dimensions was unheard of. The series was so popular that it not only spawned a slew of sequels and spin-offs, but even today continues to be remade on new platforms.

Several months ago a group of open-source programmers collaborated to create the Wing Commander Privateer Remake. This Remake takes the classic Wing Commander Privateer game and updates it with 3D graphics and Mac OSX support.

While one would like to think this remake solidified Wing Commander's place in the history books, not all gamers agreed with this modification of their beloved classic. In the aftermath of the Privateer Remake, users and developers began modifying and creating their own vision of what the Wing Commander universe was, and how it should be.

Wing Commander Privateer: Gemini Gold is a remake of the classic Privateer game that more closely resembles the original game. Known to some as the "purist" version, Gemini Gold removes the fan-made content of the original Privateer Remake. The gameplay and physics were also tweaked to more closely resemble the original.

Wing Commander Universe by contrast, is a more open-ended take on the Wing Commander series. Universe adds a plethora of star systems to navigate and many new starships. You can also choose your character as male Human, female Human, Kilrathi, or Firekkan.

While all three of these remakes are based on the same Wing Commander series, their nuances have created three very different games, reflecting the different memories and perceptions of the developer. The fact that balancing gameplay in remakes of a game over 10 years old shows how differently a game can be percieved by different players, as well as the great impact Wing Commander has had on the gaming industry.

All three Wing Commander remakes are available to download for free from the developer's website. To visit the websites, click the links below.

Privateer Gemini Gold
Wing Commander: Privateer Gemini Gold
Wing Commander: Universe

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