The games you get today Well, they might be very flash But they'll never beat the thrill of getting through Jetpac!
An interest in playing older video games. Retro games have had an upswing in interest in the last 10 years as the average gamer gets older, and computers have become sufficiently powerful to emulate
earlier systems at full speed.
Retro gaming generally plays out in a 2-D game space, often offering gameplay with no determined conclusion other than loss of all lives, often using a simple numerical score as its game goal. Controls are likely to be simple and non-analog with only one or two fire buttons. For this reason retro gaming has recently become more prominent on mobile phones where these attributes are advantageous to the platform, a platform which encourages simple gaming experiences that are quick to learn, use simple controls and are easy to pick up and put down.
, being the infancy of videogaming, was the start of many many gaming tropes and genres. Shoot em ups, beat em ups, platform games, puzzle games... virtually every genre started here, including 3d gaming.
The first perennial question for retro gaming is, "What counts as retro?". Diehard older retro gamers may insist that only pre-crash
games and systems count, while more liberal definitions have a moving point of retro as any system at least 10 years old. Most people seem to pin their preferred retro gaming system to "whatever I was playing when I was 12
". For some, Retraux
Gaming also counts.
The second perennial question for retro gamers is "real hardware versus emulators", generally a question of authentic look and feel opposed to the convenience of having 10,000 games for a dozen systems available at your fingertips. Earlier systems relied on effects caused by the fuzziness inherent in their output to allow the illusion of more colours on screen and smoother transitions between colours than was strictly possible for the hardware, meaning that an emulator may not show a retro video game as the makers intended. Some very old systems are nearly impossible to emulate, as they were based on analog systems. Or may use hardware that may not be emulated at the moment. For example, for someone who grew up with a computer with a particular sound cardnote
, not having the sound card emulated in DOSBox
is a good enough reason to go and splash money on the hardware route for some because "the game will not sound like how I remembered it".note
It is retro gaming that often supplies the sound effects in television and movies to denote that video games are being played, regardless of the fact that Halo does not sound remotely like Galaga or Pac-Man
Home of the Underdogs
is a 'digital museum' of underappreciated games, the vast majority of which are fifteen to twenty years old. (Its previous incarnation at http://www.underdogs.net/info
became defunct a few years ago due to an apparent lack of funding.)
The Retronauts podcast
at 1up.com is dedicated to discussion of retro gaming.
There are now museums set up around the world dedicated to capturing the history and examples of the early years of videogaming. Much like early Doctor Who
tapes, early videogame developments were thought of as disposable, and little to no effort was made to conserve source code, original artwork and other associated products of the process. Further, early (and not so early) storage media are notoriously unreliable, and efforts are being made to transfer early digital artifacts into more stable form.