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2021 is a big year for gaming anniversaries, with many fan-favorite franchises reaching notable ages. Yet while beloved titles like Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter II will be showered with fanfare, some other classic games may be celebrating their anniversaries alone.

Whether the reason is dormancy, a recent release or something else, these five names could go the entire calendar year without any commemoration for what should be a major milestone, and that shouldn’t happen.

Castlevania (35th)

How has the father of horror video games been so completely shut down in recent years? Castlevania has not seen a new game release since 2014’s Lords of Shadow 2, meaning we’re in a nearly seven-year slump. That’s not to say the franchise as a whole has been dormant, as the Netflix series has set a high bar for episodic video game adaptations, top heroes Simon and Richter Belmont are in the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster and 2019 did see a Castlevania Collection featuring the NES and Super NES entries. A brand new Castlevania is long overdue, and considering the technology we’re working with now that game could be a visual masterpiece. Think of a Castlevania game in a Dark Souls-style format, where you’re controlling a Belmont against hordes of the franchise’s iconic enemies. It’s a perfect match!

F-Zero (30th in the West)

Yes, including only the Western anniversary of a series is a stretch, but the lack of a true F-Zero entry across two full Nintendo console cycles and now into a third needs to be addressed. F-Zero was one of the most adrenaline-packed racing experiences in gaming, with the Gamecube’s F-Zero GX being the top of the franchise. How have we not seen a full console release since then? The two games that did follow GX were on the Game Boy Advance, but the Wii or Wii U can’t get a new game? We’re hoping the Western 30th anniversary of this fast-paced racing series will show us its moves.

Persona (25th)

The previous entries aren’t currently sitting on the top-rated game of the previous year, so Persona certainly isn’t dormant by any stretch of the imagination. However, it would be a crime not to recognize in some form the silver anniversary of the game that started it all. Some sort of port or remaster of the original Shin Megami Tensei: Persona makes perfect sense, as it brings the first game back to the spotlight much like how the PSP port did back in 2009. A full remake may be asking too much, but if Atlus is up for it we’d gladly play it.

Donkey Kong (40th)

Here’s another where the character is still hanging around, with games like Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe keeping Donkey Kong and his crew relevant. However, DK hasn’t seen a new adventure of his own since 2013’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the Switch port notwithstanding. While we’d be happy with another platformer, what we’d really like to see is a Ghosts n’ Goblins Resurrection-style modernization of the classic Donkey Kong game. After all, that’s the game turning 40 this year, so if this anniversary is going to be acknowledged it should be the original game that gets the glory.

Kid Icarus (35th)

This one is more of a pipe dream than the others, we understand that, but Kid Icarus: Uprising on the 3DS was really good and we just want more of it. A full sequel would be awesome, however Masahiro Sakurai and his team were the ones who made the original game and they’re mighty busy with Smash at the moment, so a remastered port of the 3DS game adapted to Switch could be a major boost for the franchise. Kid Icarus is a cult classic Nintendo franchise, but proper celebration of its 35th birthday could make it a more household name.


Photo courtesy of Konami