(A review of Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle is coming VERY soon, btw)
As the remake of the first House Of The Dead game is set to release soon on Switch (as a retail packaged release too), i’ve just realized how incredibly really no company before Sega with this remake has tried to bring on-rail shooters to the only current-gen (kinda) popular console that still retains Wii style pointers controls via the Joycons.
Given how the nostalgia market will only grow even larger in time, i’m surprised Namco didn’t dig from its huge backcatalog and pushed out a Point Blank or Time Crisis collection, or made compilations of some of the many others games of this kind that only existed as arcade cabinets.
I named Namco, but heck, even Konami and Sega were quite prolific back in the day, though Konami nowadays it’s better when they just licensed compilations-ports of their older titles to people who care (like Digital Eclipse, also handling the recently announced TMNT Cowabunga Collection), and Sega quite likely simply doesn’t care.
And i kinda get it, i do, i understand that on-rail shooters are simply a dead genre, that they existed as a “stop-gap” middle ground genre as FPS in real 3D weren’t that easy to make or widespread, born in the arcades and eventually barely surviving there after the home console and PC markets took over as the main venue for the videogame crowd.
Also, there’s the fact that the Nintendo Switch Lite lacks pointers due to its “portable only” nature, and Nintendo clearly has reasons to try and keep the experience identical among games regardless if you have a NS Lite or the “dockable” regular Switch console. I get it.
But on the other hand the last problem could be overcome by having a new peripheral made and/or bundled with on-rail shooters releases, and there is some interest, as we got a Corpse Killer remaster recently: if there’s nostalgia for the 3DO (and to some extent, the CDi one) catalogue of light gun live-action trash of all things, i’m not ruling out American Laser Games compilation eventually surfacing when the AVGN makes an episode on those.
Keep in mind i’m a nostalgic nut that loves these games and would actually pay money for even a rerelease of Revolution X, i loved on-rail shooters back in the day, still do and when i can i play any i can get my mittens on… which means sometimes playing crap like After Dark, but also good stuff like the 2015’s Jurassic Park Arcade cabinet.
But still, it’s a quite unserved niche nowadays, one that wouldn’t cost much to cater to, and that has a more proper reason to exist, as even if you own old light-guns for various consoles (and a library of compatible games), you’ll need to hunt for an old CRT tv due to way these old “light guns” worked, which means – for those who don’t already know – they can be booted up on modern TVs-monitors, but the gun pheripherals simply don’t translate your aiming on the TV, ruining the whole point of playing an on-rail shooter with the proper pheripheral.
As usual, time will have to tell on the potential resurgence of on rail shooter for the home market.