When I look back on my childhood I can remember playing so many games on the PS1 and the PS2, so many great memories and so many great moments, from the sheer terror of running from a historically accurate T-Rex in Tomb Raider to jacking cars in GTA3. But the one game series that really shaped me as a gamer and pretty much started this whole love affair with gaming would have to be Jak and Daxter.
Jak and Daxter is one of those series that really imprinted itself into the hearts and minds of gamers all around the world. The masterminds at Naughty Dog (well known for games such as Uncharted and Crash Bandicoot) came up with an outstanding story and a living breathing world that made you want to climb through the screen and join in on the fun and craziness. Pretty much buying the game on release, I sank dozens of hours into this wonderfully crafted world and created a strong bond with the two characters. I was in school around the time the first instalment released, which probably reflected in my grades as I was always playing and never studying. I still have fond memories of coming home from school, swinging my backpack off my shoulders and onto the ground and drilling my finger into the power button on the PS2. Thinking about throwing myself onto my bed and watching that iconic PlayStation book up screen still gives me shivers today. I think back to those days and it brings a tear to my eye. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is one of those games that people will remember and will stand the test of time, it really defined the PlayStation 2 and had a huge impact on my life.
If you give me the choice of all the games ever created and tell me that I can only play one of them for the rest of my life, I would pick Jak and Daxter in a heartbeat. I have finished the first game (Precursor Legacy) uncountable times but every time I play it again, it’s like a whole new experience. Naughty Dog are truly the masters in video game development, I have played through many of games and I generally get bored after one play-through but if you give me a Naughty Dog game, I could play it over and over again until my fingers bleed and my eyes are on the verge of giving up and popping out of their sockets. To me, Naughty Dog aren’t just the masters in development, they’re the unbeatable overlords in making video game stories that will emblazon themselves on gamer’s souls. This is what happened to me all those years ago with Jak and Daxter but it has rarely happened since with maybe the exception for The Last of Us. I still have the poster of Jak and Daxter’s world map that has been hanging on my wall after all these years and I don’t plan on taking it down any time soon. The corners are all folded and the top is slightly ripped but my heart is telling me to keep it there even though I know the world inside and out.
With all the games coming out in 2016, there is a clear absence of the Jak and Daxter franchise but in a way, I am happy that’s the case. I think Jak and Daxter should be left alone as it is the pure example of a nearly perfect game. We see it too much in this day and age, movies that were released near perfect have been remade only to be absolutely destroyed *cough Point Break cough*. A good example of a great game franchise that was destroyed through reboots is the infamous Duke Nukem series. Granted, the recent reboot attempt had a very rocky production period, but it was still ripped to shreds by reviewers and critics alike and was widely viewed as hot garbage. When a reboot is poorly done, long time fans of the series are naturally gutted and angry that their favourite game’s image has been sullied by the subpar modern entry that spits on its memory. I believe Naughty Dog are certainly capable of rebooting Jak and Daxter without fault but I cannot take the risk of playing it because I could not handle the heartbreak if it was a failure. Jake and Daxter should be left in the past. Let gamers experience it on its original platform where it kicked ass. So Naughty Dog, please no reboots or remakes.
This game holds a huge piece of my heart and it would kill me to see this awesome franchise suffer the shame of a less than awesome modern iteration. Jak and Daxter, please stay the same. Thanks for the memories.