Monday, April 22, 2013

In the Age of Retro

It’s no shock to anyone, at least to me, that I’m a HardcoreGamer. I yearn for the past while lament at today’s video games. “When I was your age, we didn’t have two joysticks on one controller. We got a square box, with a long peg, and one button. But you kids, you kids and your 8 buttons!” Everything old is new again. We’re seeing more early titles from the days of NES, SNES, Playstation and the likes coming back on the market, receiving a minor graphical upgrade and going on sale digitally. And we’re eating them up. Just a quick glance at Xbox Live’s selection and it makes the eyes spin.

As we ramp up into the next year and the oncoming changes in gaming with new consoles and products, will we continue to see retro? I want to believe that retro will always hold a place in gaming, even as technology grows up and away from the past.

Let’s take the Ouya system. An Android based power-house that focuses on developing games. And there are already a load of emulators being pitched to the console developers. It’s in the system’s best interest to play ball. They will be tapping into a market of gamers, old and new, who have been begging for years for older content to come back out on the market. As we become more and more digital, it seems almost silly that some games are being withheld from us. Minus the licensing issues, it doesn’t feel like it should take “that” long to update a game. Even with all of the coding and graphical issues. Technology has grown over the past year to make a lot of those issues a non-issue.

For many of us, we see retro games as our link to our childhood. Where old stuffed animals, blankets, and toys have decayed over the years, the games we played haven’t. There is out there, somewhere, a digital copy of it, and we know we can obtain it again. It doesn’t matter that RadRacer was a game with virtually no driving mechanics to make avoiding ditches impossible, or that Mario could get locked into a wall, or that Edward was called a Spoony Bard, or Zero Wing made meme into an house-hold word “All Your Base Are Belong To Us.” Those “flaws” are meaningless. We still see the games from our past and treasure them. And the gaming publishers of the world know this…and make us wait.

Long and short of it all: I don’t see retro games going anywhere soon. More of us are clamoring to get boxed copies of our childhood favorites, while digital continues to make a hit through PSN, Xbox Live, and Nintendo-ware. We want it. They know we want it. And we’re going to continue wanting it until it all becomes available again. And then we’ll still want it.

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