With a technology-driven medium like video games, looking backwards seems to go against the grain. Compared to today’s top titles, games from even a few years ago can seem clunky and old-fashioned. But despite this, there is now a massive audience for older games, or if you enjoy retro gaming, which is recognized by modern developers and marketers.
One reason is that gaming culture has now been around long enough to have a sense of nostalgia, particularly around a perceived golden age when the form was still in its infancy: the early-to-mid 1980s. Over the years, a thriving market for second-hand games from that period grew up online, and games that once seemed merely dated were cherished for their simple, old-fashioned graphics, their eight-bit music, and especially the pure enjoyment of playing them.
Since then, we’ve seen many old games reissued or rebooted for modern systems. These can often be downloaded or played on streaming sites. There has also been a trend for inserting classic arcade games into new games as a side quest or Easter egg. Older players are transported back to their youth, and the passage of time adds extra layers of association, so the games feel both familiar and different.
Ready to go
It’s not just about nostalgia. One advantage of older games is that you don’t need a widescreen HD TV to play them. Enjoy Retro gaming that are ideal for playing on your mobile when traveling or waiting out a delayed flight. Just think of your current iPhone as an augmented Game Boy!
Retro games don’t expect a player to have years of experience and the skills that come from that. Nor do they require lengthy explanations before you start playing. That is also the appeal of online casino games and slots, with many mobile gamers looking for the best casino in NJ where they can enjoy classic table games, try their luck at the slot machines, and gamble for real money.
Working within limitations
Early video games had to work within the limitations of the technology that was available at the time. That meant they had to work harder on the games’ core appeal, making sure that the essential experience was enjoyable enough so that players would keep coming back for more. That is why the best old-school games are still so much fun today. Indeed, the games that are rightly forgotten are often those that were considered state-of-the-art in technical terms at the time but neglected to bring anything new to the table in terms of gameplay.
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. That was certainly the case with the early video games, where graphics were limited or even non-existent: think of Pong or the scrolling text adventure format. Back then, there were no rules or expectations about how a video game should be, so designers started from first principles, looking outside of the video game world for inspiration.
What experiences do we find fun and enjoyable? How can we recreate that sensation in a video game? Asking these questions meant they worked from classic gaming principles, with just the right level of challenge and just the right amount of novelty to make their creations work and stand the test of time.
Quality of experience
It’s not just older players who enjoy retro gaming. Young kids also love the bright and straightforward gameplay and quality of experience that doesn’t depend on high-res, realistic graphics, and sound. When we think about it, there’s no reason why older games shouldn’t still be entertaining. After all, we enjoy old films and classic novels for their own sake.
Many of today’s games are just refinements of older ideas, and adding more detail and decoration, more bells and whistles doesn’t necessarily make something better. Experienced gamers might appreciate the increased complexity, but there’s a danger of losing the essence and obscuring the factors that made a game so good in the first place.
Sometimes, simple is better. Playing retro games can remind us of what we always loved about playing video games, but that can get overlooked in the drive towards more realistic simulations and high-tech, immersive experiences. It’s not so much nostalgia as a rediscovery, a way of snapping out of the hypnotic trance of the present. By playing retro games once in a while, we reconnect with classic game design principles, and we can use the experience to decide what we want from tomorrow’s games.