When you leave the house; you don’t see people walking the streets adorned with Deeley Boppers and their least tasteful shellsuit covering their unmentionables. So, why is it suddenly becoming incredibly popular to invest time in a different 90’s craze? Of course, I’m talking about retro gaming rather than the Spice Girls – but still… Why!?
This summation is probably unfair actually; as retro gaming extends a long way back past the 90s but the age of Britpop, choker necklaces and jelly shoes was the first of gaming’s golden generations. The Sega Megadrive/Saturn, c and Playstation were all the masses had ever been waiting for and more since the days of Pong, Atari and Commodore dullness.
But the question remains as to why the retro gaming market has become so prevalent in recent years – what is it about these golden years that has us harking back time and time again?
Is it nostalgia? Are we truly admitting that blocky, pixelated graphics are all we need to have a good time? With the more recent Dead or Alive series entries recorded such large sales; I’m not sure we are as a group! But there is something about piecing together the images yourself that makes for a more interesting gaming experience – when is a bush not a bush? When it’s rendered on an N64; that’s when!
On the other hand; is it the more innocent/fledgling stories that captivated us so much? The first time we encountered Lara Croft, for example, she was just a pixelated lady on an archaeological quest in a bid to make Indiana Jones a less masculine orientated series. Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario had no ulterior motive; it was a simpler time overall.
Even Pokemon have had the modern overhaul to bring their retro appeal to the masses. Of course, we didn’t run around the town in pursuit of the creatures in the past but, if anything, this has only added to our happy memories of catching every last one of them.
Retro is a term that simply won’t go away to be honest. With the internet driving trends these days; it’s difficult to keep up and last week’s next biggest thing will no doubt be next week’s retro. Keeping pace with modern trends is too much like hard work so we have to look a fair way back for our retro enjoyment.
The online casinos have even cashed in on the retro market with many of their themed slots focussing on retro idols such as Marilyn Monroe, the Pink Panther and Marvel’s pre-cinema offerings.
Is there anything wrong with retro gaming? No, in brief, there isn’t. Much of what has come before inspires the current crop of gaming series, including those that have endured the savagery of time such as the Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid.
Would we have ambitions of making Virtual Reality accessible to the mass market if not for the retro gaming market? Definitely not. Kid Chameleon was released on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis in 1992 and focused heavily on the concept of VR. Did the game inspire the movement? Probably not but the idea was there, exploited for a game and now look at us!
Perhaps the most obvious example of the major players in the gaming world conceding defeat to the past has come from Microsoft. Their Xbox One consoles have been sold, since their release, with a downloadable copy of ‘Rare Replay’ – a collection of 30 games developed by the folded company: Rare.
Rare were responsible for some of the greatest games of the mid-eighties and nineties and the collection has been voted one of the most enjoyable gaming downloads of all time. Even the younger generation are accessing the retro titles; it’s time to admit that the old ones are still the best it would seem.