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The Game Effect Editorial

Ten Games that Deserve the Holodeck Treatment

Citizens of the Future, (Re)Make These Games!

By Nate Gillick on 10/17/2011
Perhaps the only constant with technology is that it is always evolving. In under 40 years, we've gone from the simplistic fun of Pong to the massive open worlds found in Bethesda's upcoming RPG opus, Skyrim. With so much evolution happening well within one person's lifetime, what could gaming look like in the distant future? One such possibility is the holodeck, as first seen in The Star Trek franchise. For those unfamiliar with the holodeck, this device in Star Trek allowed people to create a virtual environment, populated with holographic characters and objects, all of which were fully interactive. Want to relive the signing of the Declaration of Independence? The holodeck can do that. Feel like taking a vacation at a tropical resort, but don't have shore leave? Don't worry, the holodeck can do that too. Here's a video from Star Trek: The Next Generation that does a great job of showing a Holodeck in action:



With how fast technology advances, who knows if holodeck technology could exist in the 23rd or 24th century? Since many of today's classic games will probably be long into the public domain by then, consider this article my appeal to the future to bring these games back as fully immersive Holodeck experiences. Listed below are the first ten games I'd see remade, if I had access to such amazing technology. Do you have different games you'd like to personally experience in a Holodeck? Let us know in the comments.

Super Mario 64



Allow me to start off with an oddball pick. Super Mario 64 revolutionized the platforming genre upon its release, and offered up a wide variety of colorful worlds to explore. Imagine having the opportunity to don that red hat yourself and rescue the damsel in distress. This would be a holodeck experience where you could shoot yourself out of a cannon, fly around with a magic winged hat, and ride on the back of a dinosaur... what's not to love? Mario 64's appeal as a holodeck experience is that it offers solid level design, a wide range of experiences, and it's not realistic. Think of it like playing in Ninja Warrior or Wipeout, but way better.

James Cameron's Avatar



Avatar captured my imagination in a way no other movie, book, or game ever has. For a full week after watching Avatar, I could hardly think of anything else. Damn, I wanted to be a Na'vi. Of course, I would not want a straight-up port of the game or movie to holodeck form, but rather have the full world of Pandora recreated as a virtual playground, offering dozens of different possible game scenarios. Want to experience the thrill of hunting alien wildlife as a member of a Na've tribe? Do you feel the need to be a space conquistador and mow down a bunch of blue-skinned aliens? The potential for both experiences is there. Personally, I'd be spending days in Pandora doing nothing but flying around on those awesome banshee things (with a holographic Neytiri, of course).

Deus Ex



While I have a healthy respect for Eidos Montreal's recent Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I want to see a holodeck remake of Ion Storm's original game. Place people in the role of JC Denton, and let us unravel this cyberpunk masterpiece however we choose. Besides the obvious thrills of being able to explore and complete challenges in various ways, it would be fascinating to see how a holodeck handles the concept of personal augmentation. Since I can't really become super strong or super fast, would these effects be simulated by making objects lighter, or reducing gravity? A week of my life could vanish in a hurry at the chance to be virtually superhuman, and chat it up with the likes of Gunther Hermann or Anna Navarre.

Starcraft



Adapting the world of Starcraft to a holodeck would require a change of focus, but it could certainly be done. I imagine a Starcraft holodeck program playing out in a few different ways, either as a first-person action game, or staying true to its RTS roots. As an action game, players could take on the role of any of the Terran units on various missions against the Zerg or Protoss, and Blizzard's brilliant mission designs certainly provide plenty of source material to draw from. As a Ghost, players could sneak around alien worlds, sniping aliens while cloaked, killing enemies with their mind, or even guide nukes to their targets. How could that NOT be fun? If holodeck technology allows for playing as non-human units, sign me up to play a Dark Templar.

If the holodeck programs go the RTS route, I imagine the player stationed in a flying chair or vehicle, hovering over the action. With the aid of touch screens and voice commands, players would command their forces and issue instructions while having a god-like view of the action. Perhaps in this distant future, we've perfected a neural interface, that would allow commands to be issued just by thinking them. Such technology already exists in a limited fashion with prosthetic technology, which translates brain impulses into action, but being able to control things by thought remains far beyond current technology.
                  

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron



No good holodeck should be without a Star Wars flight simulator. The Rogue Squadron series sought to give players the thrill of flying an X-Wing and taking out the evil Empire, but a controller can't come close to replicating what it would be like to be in the cockpit for real. Star Wars has such a rich catalog of space battles, that this game could stay fresh for months, without ever repeating a battle. Of course, this program would have the mandatory Battle of Hoth, but why not branch out to include some Clone Wars skirmishes, or branch out into the Expanded Universe? Most casual Star Wars fans may have no idea who the Yuuzhan Vong are, which is a shame, but could easily be rectified with a few melees against their organic ships and weapons. For the ace pilots out there, a skirmish against the Sith armada, either from the Sith era or the Fate of the Jedi era, could serve as a refresher course in humility. The Rogue Squadron franchise packs so much awesome, I can't understand why Lucasarts isn't trying to bring this franchise back, but I digress...

Red Dead Redemption



Rockstar really delivered with their open-world epic, creating easily the best Wild West themed video game ever. Red Dead provides more than just a Wild West simulator, which was done within several episodes of Star Trek. I'd love to be able to live John Marston's story, and enjoy the billion diversions, like poker, liar's dice, horse races, and more. While we're at it, why not include the Undead Nightmare expansion too? With a world so populated with interesting characters, like Bonnie MacFarlane or Nigel West Dickens, players could really own the story and go where the want to with it. Watch out Nigel, your conning antics are unlikely to be met with the strange patience Marston has for you.
 

Fallout: New Vegas



Fallout: New Vegas would be a superior holodeck experience for those seeking a healthy dose of exploration and customization, with a sense of humor included. Since the Courier in New Vegas has no real established character, players would be free to interact with the major characters of the world however they wish, creating a Fallout experience without being pushed by heavy-handed narration in a specific direction. If I could do it my way, I'd take over the Kings, and then move on to conquer the entire Mohavie Wasteland with my army of Elvis impersonators; NCR and Legion be damned. Naturally, be sure to play with holodeck safety protocols on, unless you feel like getting riddled with bullets or want radiation poisoning for real. 

Disgaea



Disgaea is a lighthearted strategy franchise that's not afraid to break the fourth wall to poke fun at itself, the player, or anything else. Nippon Ichi's flagship franchise has that special brand of insanity that would make for a tremendous, if bizarre, holodeck program. The game would maintain the traditional turn-based strategy format, except that players could walk around the board and talk to their units and issue commands personally, before returning to their spot to execute the turn's moves. This program would be worth making just to break out into arguments with Prinnies whenever they object to being sent off on suicide missions.

Dark Souls



If you've seen a theme yet in this list, it's that I favor large, open world games for conversion to holodeck programs. Dark Souls has an intricately designed world, with each area connecting organically with others. Players are given little to no help on how to proceed, and must therefore discover how to succeed on their own, in a brutal world where everything can kill the unwary. Like New Vegas, the main protagonist has no set character, allowing players to interact with the world as they see fit. If killing massive bosses and struggling through hard areas is satisfying now, imagine how much more so it would be if you're physically going toe to toe against enemies like the Gaping Dragon.

Skyrim



I'm taking a leap of faith voting for a game that has not been released yet, but Bethesda has a reputation for excellence that rarely disappoints. There will be dragons to slay, a massive world to explore, jobs to complete, and an open leveling system. Oh, and the Dark Brotherhood is back. Skyrim has enough physical space and content that it could be as much a fantasy vacation destination as actual holodeck game. I wouldn't be surprised if people found a nice little cabin up on a mountain in Skyrim's world and just spend a day there to relax, without really "playing" the game at all.

I've named ten different games that I think people from the future would do well to bring to a holodeck, but there are certainly many more great candidates. Didn't see one of your favorites listed here? Let us know about it in the comments!

Honorable mentions left out of the list, but loved in my heart: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Bioshock, Resident Evil 1 and 4, Starship Troopers, and Vampire: The Mascarade: Bloodlines.
Have something to say about this article? Let us know about it!
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USER COMMENTS
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SuperSonicPunk on November 17, 2011
Avatar? I fail to see why it's even on the list.
It's perfect the way it is! A remake will destroy it.
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pem2300 on November 06, 2011
i agree with all of these
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varun2000 on November 06, 2011
yup.....
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Genert on November 02, 2011
I wanted to see BRINK,it's not the best but deserves the holodeck treatment for the idea.
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cjf582 on October 25, 2011
What about Borderlands? That would be amazing.
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TwistedSoul on October 24, 2011
How could you leave out Bioshock :'( best game I've ever played, can't wait till the next one comes out.

Also, you missed Borderlands (if you haven't heard of it, look it up. Amazing game), it's very open-ended
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cyb3rkn19ht on October 19, 2011
Metro 2033. Since I am remaking it I would also add in more elements form the book. Not to destroy the game story because in some ways it is better than the book.

A few examples would be the blackness under the Moscow Palace, mind controlling tribes men, and the old men in the tunnel.
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skyrim on October 20, 2011
this guy is so right i cant believe choclates wowwowoww
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Entropic on October 19, 2011
For me, it would have to be Metal Gear Solid 4 (naturally as it's my favorite game), but the ability to activate Octocamo and witness Raiden rock some Gekko's would be hard for me to pass up.

I think it's be pretty intense to play a fighting game in a holodeck as well; perhaps the upcoming Soul Calibur V for instance.

Either way, in my opinion this is what we as gamer's need, not the half hearted efforts of the Kinect and Move. The concepts there are strong, but the implementation and technology just aren't there for me yet. Maybe in the next 2 generations we'll get some more compelling options.
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skyrim on October 20, 2011
yea true IKNOW AYE yor so right
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Dualsmg14 on October 18, 2011
Agree with Skyrim and Red Dead but that's about it. Avatar seriously? Avatar the Last Airbender yes. Dances with Blue Aliens no.
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skyrim on October 20, 2011
no avatar does desreve it it was a very good game but was not big enough
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OSMenace on October 18, 2011
Oh, but I would like to nominate WoW to be banned from 'going holodeck'. There's already plenty of 'regular' WoW addicts, one can only imagine a realistic/virtual version.
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skyrim on October 20, 2011
wow should be upgraded
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OSMenace on October 18, 2011
I'm sorry, but I think a holodeck Pong would go over pretty well too..... On that note, I'm wondering why no one has mentioned Assassin's Creed...? or Burnout??
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david77ff on October 22, 2011
ya pienso que la saga de Assassin's creed han sido unos de los mejores juegos!
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theoriginalgibly on November 14, 2011
hell yeah
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Haikouzen on October 18, 2011
what about GTA, Saints Row, Soul Reaver, Vampire Rain, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Max Payne, Dead to Rights, MGS, Splinter Cell, Uncharted, Battlefield series, NFS Underground, Spyro, Spy Hunter, 007, Tenchu, Ninja Gaiden, Mini Ninjas ( for Kids), The Dishwasher, Time shift, Singularity, Perfect Dark, <<<< This games would shit on the games you listed no offense :P
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Entropic on October 19, 2011
That may be a bit harsh, as many of the games in the list would be pretty incredible on a holodeck (and RE1 did get an honorable mention). However, I do agree that MGS, Uncharted, 007, Battlefield, and a NFS title (Hot Pursuit would be my preference) would all be awesome on holodeck.

In short, I just want a holodeck for games :)
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