Spyro the Dragon - and the other PlayStation classics being reborn

Twenty years on from his debut on the first Sony PlayStation, friendly virtual fire-breather Spyro The Dragon is back. And he's far from the only '90s video game hero making a return.

Among a wave of newly revamped versions of classic gaming releases, Spyro is just the latest PlayStation icon to get the HD treatment, as the modern gaming landscape looks back as well as moving forward.

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A brief history of Spyro the Dragon

The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a complete remake of the original PlayStation trilogy, and will hit both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in September this year.

Released annually between 1998 and 2000, the three Spyro the Dragon games were part of Sony's attempts to compete with the astronomical success of Nintendo's Super Mario 64, which had proven to be the definitive, trailblazing 3D platforming game.

A crop of PlayStation platformers with plucky cartoonish mascots emerged, including the crate-careering Crash Bandicoot and the perennially grinning Croc.

Spyro definitely ticked the 'cute' box, and was fun to play with its simple but enjoyable mechanics - as well as offering kids everywhere the chance to breathe fire at their foes.

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More accessible than the tricky, challenging Crash, and with colourful and fantastical open environments, it found its audience with countless younger gamers.

Reviews at the time were positive, despite Super Mario's clear design superiority. And thanks to its entertainment value and charming sense of character, the original sold around 5 million copies worldwide.

To put that into perspective, Spyro was in the Top 15 best-selling titles on the original PlayStation. The series didn't quite reach the same heights as Crash Bandicoot, but its appeal remained strong, and both sequels amassed around 3 million sales apiece.

The nostalgic sweet spot

Spyro is just one of a number of late '90s and early '00s favourites coming back to modern-day consoles.

And being reborn for the hi-definition age.

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Crash Bandicoot's N Sane trilogy has proven incredibly popular

Most of these games or game series are coming back to consoles around 15-20 years after they first released. And that is certainly the sweet spot for any nostalgic return.

Those who were kids or teenagers at the time can re-kindle their youthful love affair a generation down the line. They can also share the delights that the game has to offer with the next generation, in the shape of their own children, or nieces and nephews. This is especially the case with a game like Spyro, which has a particular appeal for young gamers.

It's no secret that nostalgia is everywhere in the modern entertainment landscape, from TV shows like Stranger Things, to films like Ready Player One and IT.

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Video games have often been accused of neglecting their past in favour of forging new technological advances and trends. But now the revival of PlayStation classics from two decades earlier suggests that the mainstream industry has started to embrace gamers' very real love, admiration and respect for the titles they grew up on.

TV and film have been feeding into nostalgia - and now video games are too (Photo: Netflix)

By bringing back these crowd-pleasing hits from yesteryear, and re-working them with modern graphics and neatly-judged design tweaks, the theory goes that it's possible to have the best of both worlds.

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Now gamers are getting to scratch their nostalgic itch. In full HD.

The other PlayStation classics that have made a comeback:

Crash Bandicoot

The chart-topping success of the revamped Crash Bandicoot 'N Sane' trilogy proved that gaming nostalgia is big business right now. Last year's return for the chaotic marsupial was a real triumph.

Ratchet and Clank

Developed by Insomniac, the same studio behind Spyro, the Ratchet and Clank games are even more beloved among certain fans. 2016's Ratchet & Clank was a 're-imagining' of the original title for a new console generation.

Parappa The Rapper

"Kick, punch, block! Kick, punch, block!" One of the first really popular rhythm games, Parappa had you hit buttons at the right times to perform different tasks and actions, all along to some extremely catchy lyrics and music. A remastered version hit PlayStation 4 last year.

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Embark upon a heartbreaking quest in Shadow Of The Colossus (Photo: Sony)

Shadow Of The Colossus

The awe-inspiring, spellbinding Team Ico masterpiece received a welcome return on the PlayStation 4 earlier this year. With its already sumptuous art-style lovingly sharpened, and its core design expertly re-built, the results were fantastic.

God Of War

The new title in Kratos' epic saga is a fully-fledged original reboot of the series that follows the hack-and-slash anti-hero into middle age and parenthood. A very different God of War for a different age, the game - out later this month - nonetheless rekindles a groundbreaking PlayStation franchise which has not released a new main instalment for almost a decade.

Final Fantasy VII

Square Enix's forthcoming remake of the beloved, hallowed Japanese role-playing classic has courted some controversy with its mooted multiple part structure and some notable mechanical changes. Years in development, the release date/s remain a mystery.

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