With so many people cooped up at home recently, it’s no surprise that video game sales have increased. What is unexpected, though, is the number of retro games that are making a comeback. Perhaps it’s because so many of us have nostalgic feelings for our youth and simpler times. There’s something magical about playing video games that we played when we were kids. We don’t always want to play games that demand hours and hours of our time, if not days or weeks such as modern combat games. The games that are resurfacing are those that remind us of what it is to have carefree fun.
Gaming and technology were considerably different before the twenty-first century. During the 1970s and 1980s, most games were 2D platforms that required a lot of computing power and cartridge capacity. Things improved in the 1990s, but visuals were still nowhere near as good as they are now. In addition, because the internet was still in its infancy, online gaming was primarily reserved for serious poker players playing high stakes games with enough bandwidth to load the online table games.
Doesn’t that sound tedious? Maybe it wasn’t so horrible after all, and the fact that retro games are steadily making a comeback suggests that many gamers miss those pixelated days.
So, why are these old games and formats resurfacing, especially now that we have access to such cutting-edge technology? It’s tough to explain, but perhaps the most obvious reason is the power of nostalgia. Many modern gamers recall the late twentieth century and have a fondness for older games. However, another explanation for the retro rebirth could be that today’s games are sometimes a bit overwhelming. They can be overly complicated, time-consuming, and lack the sense of wonder that envelops older games. Simple, pure, and frequently brilliant games like Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Sonic The Hedgehog are what we crave. Perhaps that is why classic games and platforms will never truly vanish.
With that in mind, let’s look back over some of the classics making a comeback today.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
It’s not just the most in-depth adventure of all time and one of the most artistically pleasing games ever created, but it’s also a firm favorite among critics. Ocarina of Time is the first game in history to obtain a near-perfect score on Metacritic, outperforming all other titles at the time. It’s easy to see why, with bosses like Twinrova and Shadow Gannon, as well as the entire epic journey from Young Link to Hyrule’s savior. Ocarina of Time also has the best version of Hyrule in any Zelda game, and the tale is so good that Twilight Princess virtually copied it to be sure of success. Ocarina of Time is a fascinating tale of courage, honor, and two realms joined by a hero chosen by the gods, whether on the N64 or the 3DS.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Mario and his parent company, Nintendo, are synonymous with classic video games. The Super Mario franchise is well-known the world over. Mario has appeared in so many different gaming genres that it would be impossible to mention them all. Still, there is no better game than Super Mario Bros. for classic, 2D Mario gameplay. In 1985, the original Super Mario Bros. was released and it is widely considered as the game that saved the gaming industry after the crash of 1983.
SMB3 introduced concepts that would become commonplace in future Mario games, the most notable of which was the over-world screen used to traverse between levels. When it was launched in 1990, Super Mario Bros. 3 was so eagerly awaited, the 1989 film The Wizard was basically a feature-length commercial for it. SMB3 is widely considered to be the best game of all time. As a result, it should definitely be on every gamer’s must-play list.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Like all of the other notable characters mentioned above, Sonic the Hedgehog is a gaming icon, if not a hero. He’s Sega’s mascot, as well as one of the most influential characters (and hedgehogs) in history. Younger gamers are still finding this game in 2021 because of the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie and the Sega Mega Drive Mini. Sonic 2 did a fantastic job with the formula as well! I enjoy Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, but the courses in this game have influenced virtually every Sonic game since.
I know I might sound like an old fogey, but blowing dust out of a cartridge is preferable to sobbing over scratches on a disc. Sonic 2 is the granddaddy of all side-scrolling adventures; you must stop Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds, and save the small critters while stacking those rings as both Tails and Sonic. What more could you ask for?
Journey back in time
There you have it! The most-loved and respected retro games of all time. Why wouldn’t you want to relive those carefree days through a pixelated adventure? These retro video games afford loads of fun and incredible gameplay. Start playing your favorite classic games and see if you still have what it takes to clock it.