These Canadian Games Borrow From Retro Staples In Big Ways

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These Canadian Games Borrow From Retro Staples In Big Ways

The phrase "good artists borrow, great artists steal" isn't limited to the world of painting, and although Pablo Picasso has been credited to tout that phrase, we think there are modern developers who would agree. And although "steal" might come across strongly, we think it takes a skilled developer to pull it off in a fresh way that works. So instead of "steal," we'll stick with the term reinvent.

In this article, we want to go over a few video games on Canadian platforms or created by Canadian developers that reinvent aesthetics or gameplay mechanics in clever ways - ways that make the final product shine.

Candy Bonanza

You don't have to look far to find a million different casino games, however, finding one that really leaves its mark can be a bit trickier. We think Candy Bonanza is one of those special titles. It can be found in online Canadian casinos with some of the best games on the market. However, Candy Bonanza sticks out by borrowing familiar design elements that we think really help the game pop off the screen. These elements, while similar to other games in the genre, instill happiness and intrigue with engaging color patterns and a soft, open background that invites players in. Games such as Treasures of Aztec and Dragon Hatch also do this well, but Candy Bonanza uses colors in creative ways that most other games simply can't by virtue of the content in their titles.

For example, the solid and striped candy that's used to play the game all has a brilliant sheen similar to Candy Crush before it. Going even further back than that we can see, while not candy, that Pac-Man had the player collecting fruits ranging from oranges to cherries. Even back then those bright red cherries stood out and made us do our best to grab them as fast as we could. Candy Bonanza takes that same driving force but then sets the action inside a candy machine. It's that thrill of chasing the digital sugar rush that keeps the game fresh and frantic.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game

A video game based on a movie with gameplay elements based on countless arcade games. How far does the rabbit hole go? Although it's easy to see why the world is still talking about the 2010 flick directed by Edgar Wright, we think the game deserves some serious credit as well. The side-scrolling beat 'em up game borrowed the fast action of classics like Streets of Rage and paired them with a stat-boosting system akin to something like Pokemon. New and upgraded moves can also be learned to dish out more damage later on in the game similar to something like Final Fantasy or other RPGs. Ubisoft Montreal paired these attributes to great effect and created a beat 'em-up game with staying power and replayability. That's impressive with a game genre made popular by Double Dragon.


The most recent entry on this list, Celeste is an amalgamation of many different games, but we think it borrows most from retro games such as Mario and Ice Climber as well as a modern platformer, Super Meat Boy. Maddy Thorson, the Canadian developer behind the game was clearly inspired by these three titles and used elements from each to craft the final product.

Combining precision platforming and the character control of Mario with a backdrop similar to Ice Climber we start to get a feel for the gameplay, but it isn't until the demand for fast reflexes comes in that we see its similarity to Super Meat Boy. Once those elements were combined, it paved the way for addictive, challenging action with serious storytelling elements that have made it beloved among fans. It's no wonder people are now using Celeste as a comparison to new titles.

It's worth keeping the past in mind while experiencing the present and looking toward the future. Let's see what connections we can make moving forward!

Head of Content, reality TV watcher and lover of cookies.