It was sad and a little shocking when Disney Interactive announced earlier this year that it was ending Disney Infinity and getting out of the self-publishing business. What that means is they’re going to let other companies publish games based on Disney properties, instead of doing it themselves. It’s tough to lose Infinity, but if this means seeing more and better Disney-based games, perhaps it’s a smart move. It’s how the company used to handle videogames, basically licensing their characters and movies to other publishers, and in the past it’s resulted in some fantastic games based on beloved Disney properties. And three of the best of those games—Virgin Games’ 16-bit platformers Disney’s Aladdin, Disney’s The Jungle Book and The Lion King—have just been rereleased on PC through GOG.com, making them officially available for the first time in years.
These games were originally released for the Sega Genesis in 1993 and 1994 before being ported over to PC, Amiga and the Super Nintendo the following year, and they fully exploited the capabilities of those 16-bit machines. They weren’t the first Disney games for that era of consoles—1991’s Quackshot was a great early Genesis game, whereas the original Fantasia platformer (also from 1991) was a bust—but by 1993 and 1994 game developers had fully cracked the 16-bit hardware and knew how to get the most of it. Virgin used their knowledge to make three of the most gorgeous games of the day, using sprites, backgrounds and animation created by actual animators from Walt Disney Feature Animation. You won’t mistake them for the movies, but at the time they were some of the best looking games ever made, and that level of care and artistry is still visible today in the new updates.
All three are available now for PC, Mac and Linux at GOG.com, with no DRM. They cost ten bucks a piece (currently on sale for nine at launch) or twenty bucks for all three.