Retrogaming is the playing, and hopefully enjoying, of video games from early home consoles, arcades, and personal computers. I tend to think of myself as a retrogaming hobbyist, but if you were to ask my wife, she might describe it as an obsession or possibly a “love affair.” To me, playing a lot of these games is just an act of reliving my past.
My knowledge of these old games and hardware is not all encompassing. I am constantly learning about new games I’ve never played or even hardware that was used to play these games in the past. I prefer to play most of my games on original hardware, but I have enjoyed some of these game through the use of emulators as well. I don’t generally take sides on the case for or against emulators, because I do see legitimate uses for emulators. They allow you to screen capture and video capture your gameplay to share it with others. Emulators also allow you to use save states, even on games that never supported that feature originally. The latter feature is useful for those of us who don’t have to time to complete those older games in a single sitting. In the future, I believe their use will become more important. I believe that at some point you won’t able to easily enjoy playing a lot of these older games without an emulator, either because original games and systems will become too cost prohibitive or too rare. This is part of these reason I think they should be enjoyed how they were originally designed, on original hardware using original CRT display if possible while you can. Of course, there are plenty of different ways to enjoy these classics now and each person can find a way to enjoy them that works for them.
Classic games are generally much harder than the modern games coming out. They lack a lot of features that developers have come up with over the years that make games easier to complete. In general, the amount of content that you can expect from newer games is more than you have with a retrogame. This is mostly due to limitations in the amount of memory available to developers. From the earliest arcade games, they would have to repeat content over and over, with many games not even having an actual ending. These early arcade games were designed to be engaging to the customer, but they were usually made to be difficult on purpose so the player would have to keep paying money to continue the game. I think the lack of space to program content caused a lot of developers to create games that are short, but difficult. To justify the high prices of the earlier home console games, they didn’t want the consumers to beat the game in the first few hours of purchasing from the store, so they would design games that took memorization and practice to beat. There are lots of games even today that I own that I have yet to complete due to their difficulty.
Modern games, in my opinion, owe a lot of what they are to retro games. Without these classics to nurture young gamers as they grew up, I don’t really think there would be as big of a market for these modern games. A lot of the classic game genres have lost their way through the years. Games like Final Fight and Streets of Rage don’t have any modern big budget equivalents. I’m kind of okay with that because I know I can just boot up my SNES or Genesis, or even my favorite emulator to enjoy these games in all their glory. They really don’t make them like they used to.
With this blog series, I’d like to revisit some of my favorite retro games and games that I deem to be historically significant. In my next post, I will be discussing my favorite game featuring well-known blue hedgehog. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!