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EA taps '90s nostalgia for 'new' PSP games

"Wing Commander," "Virtual Pinball" are among titles to be rereleased as part of "EA Replay" package.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
Game creator Electronic Arts has announced the release of "EA Replay," a compilation of its '90s-era titles reprogrammed for use on Sony's PlayStation Portable.

Even with the upcoming launches of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii consoles, the game industry can't ignore the marketing potential of nostalgia.

Redwood City, Calif.-based EA plans to jump onto the retro bandwagon on Nov. 7 with "EA Replay," a set of 14 of the company's titles that were originally released between 1990 and 1995. The games run the gamut from the martial-arts "Budokan" to the fantasy role-playing "Ultima VII," which has since morphed into the massive multiplayer online game "Ultima Online."

While "EA Replay" will be available only for Sony's PlayStation Portable handheld, the games featured in the compilation were originally released for a variety of platforms. Some, like "Wing Commander," were PC games. Others, such as the "Road Rash" series and "Haunting Starring Polterguy," were made for consoles like Super Nintendo or the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

The appeal of old-school video games is nothing new. Arcade games originally launched in the 1980s were a big hit at this year's E3 trade show; and MySpace used a Flash version of "Pac-Man" to appease its fans when the social-networking service an suffered outage this summer.

But with "EA Replay," Electronic Arts is mining the nostalgic value of games introduced well after the "Pong" era--titles from the early to mid-1990s--and marketing them as "classics."

"EA Replay" is set to sell for $19.99.