As the release of Mega Man 9 looms closer, the so-called "old school gamers" are about 17 pixels away from exploding out of their skin with anticipation. This is the retro gamer equivalent of a "Phan" witnessing a Phish reunion. The kid inside all of us, having been smothered behind flabby beer guts for years, is beginning to crawl towards the surface. I imagine there's quite a few younger gamers who scratch their heads at all of the love for comparatively prehistoric graphics and gameplay. However, if one were to wipe off the thick coat of nostalgia emblazoned onto the games of long ago, they'd often find enjoyable and satisfying titles. They're not definitively better or worse; just different from much of what is released today. Some prefer that, and they're hungry for more.

The biggest hurdle for those folks is commercial success. Not too long ago, retro revivals were rarely considered serious. After all, it would be silly to have Mega Man 9 released on a retail DVD disc. Yet with the success of downloadable services, the floodgates are now blown wide open. The slightly less hyped but similarly retro-themed Gradius: Rebirth was just released in Japan, and cowboy hat-clad developer Igarashi has stated that he's "very much looking into [WiiWare]." Perhaps the style of retro gaming is seeping into the bloodstream of major retail releases. Despite the beautiful hand-drawn graphics and cutscenes of Wario Land: Shake It!, the gameplay is heavily grounded in 2D. Perhaps we're experiencing a retro-renaissance, if I may quote Mr. Greenhough.

With this in mind, here's a few more dusty franchises we're nominating to be reborn through the birth canal of Nintendo's online service (wow, gross). These range from the unexpected to painfully obscure, so don't be offended if your favorite was not included. A small note: I excluded some IPs due to either a retro-esque presence on the GBA/DS or because they are likely destined for WiiWare. These include Mario, Castlevania, Contra and Metroid.

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This article was originally published on Joystiq.