Go Retro - A Growing Fascination With Old Video Games

December 01 2008 / by StuartDobson / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: General   Rating: 3

Retro gaming is a bizarre phenomenon. Being a technology driven medium, games go through generations in just a few years. However, the differences between generations is more profound than technological advances. It seems that more advanced possibilities change the entire landscape of gaming culture.
Old Ass Atari
Retro gaming is a growing trend, but it is becoming hard to define. There are so many generations of games now, all differing so significantly, that the definition of retro changes according to age, tastes, and personal nostalgia. It's not enough to simply say "Retro means old" any more.

The reason for this blurring of definition, is that games advanced so fast, that human creativity couldn't even keep up. To understand this, remember how old 8-Bit games had such primitive sound, yet the creators did what they could to make the sounds good. We still remember the old music with fondness, not as impressed by today's music that was created with no limitations.

It was the limitations that made the old games so good. It forced the creators to focus on gameplay, and on doing as much as they could with the little they had. Of course, as technology advanced so rapidly, game creators didn't need to do this for long. It's this limited time frame that seems to have inspired the retro-remake scene.

Just as there are some people who perform entire concerts using the original Game Boy, there are others who are remixing old music in a modern style, yet keeping the original feel. And now, the entire community of Street Fighter fans came together to make an updated, but still-true-to-its-original-form, version of Street Fighter 2.

What these ventures go to show, is that there is a lot of potential for art if we look back at opportunities missed. There is so much left unexplored because of the incredible acceleration of technology. There are so many possibilities that have passed us by, not just in art, but in culture, and in application of technology. A prime example of this would be the Nintendo Wii, it ignores the advances of technology and focuses on providing new experiences, new solutions.

So why not stop waiting for tomorrow, and take a look around? Why not try and do the best we can with what we have, embracing limitation for a moment before eradicating it?

Because before we know it, the doors will be broken down before we've had a chance to explore the room.

Comment Thread (2 Responses)

  1. It’s too late now. It’s hardwired into gamers that graphics and engines get better and more realistic almost every year. You can still play pac-man, if you like.. The PS3 and Xbox have retro games to download..

    Posted by: Covus   December 04, 2008
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  2. I think traditional gamers more likely pay attention to game play rather than graphics. Graphics can only take a game so far because no matter what, if a game sucks it just sucks.

    It’s true that the next generation consoles offer the old-school games for download, but as a retro gamer myself I still prefer the traditional controllers, especially the ones for the arcade.

    Posted by: christinep   December 09, 2008
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