Most gamers have a special place in their hearts for retro games. At the moment, most avid adult gamers will have grown up in the 80s and 90s and so they can remember certain stylistic choices about these games. Choosing to play more modern iterations can be great fun, but it isn’t always the same. Let’s take a closer look at why we still enjoy these retro games today.

The Nostalgia Factor

One of the primary reasons why we love retro games is purely for that nostalgic fashion. By replaying these games, we can step back into our childhoods in some way and it allows us to feel like a child again. There are many top franchises out there, such as Super Mario Bros, that has a strong history. Though it may be that there are modern updates to this game that new audiences are more familiar, the weight of this history gives them plenty to explore if they are going to search for something further back in the series.

Some gamers also like to start at the beginning of the series and work their way forwards. For example, someone starting the Assassin’s Creed series for the first time may want to go back to the 1st game and start there, rather than jump in when the next in the series – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – is released. This will allow them to learn more about the series and the lore as a whole instead of just jumping in at the latest installment. Just as jumping into a television series at Season 8 may leave you feeling confused, so can heading into the middle of a game franchise.

Modern Takes on Classics

Many companies are working hard to ensure that modern takes on classic games are received well by the public. This could be a modern adaptation of a retro game or it could be an entirely unique game that simply uses retro graphics.

AS an example, we could take any of the Mario Karts. The original Super Mario Kart was released for the SNES in1992. It is thought to be one of the greatest video games of all time and has been praised by critics across many areas. It had multiple maps, multiplayer capabilities, and spawned an incredibly successful franchise for Nintendo.

There have been steady releases of new versions of Mario Kart every few years. The most recent of these has been Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, the best-selling game yet for this console. Though new modes and maps have been added with each iteration of the game, there are some things that have continued over from the original game. For example, there has always been a battle mode on top of the race, and the infamous Rainbow Road map is nearly always included in some new form.

Classic Takes for Modern Games

On top of these reimaginings of classic games, there is also a slew of games being released that take the older style and make something new from it. Whether you fire up a retro 3-reel slot at a site like Slots of Vegas or you sit down to play an 8-bit platformer, there are so many places that you can find new games that use items and motifs that we have picked up from previous years spent gaming.

For example, one game that everyone fell in love with in the gaming world was Cuphead. Designed in a classic rubber hose cartoon style, this run and gun platformer was surrealist and offered plenty of fun. It was challenging and occasionally required some serious thought to get past the bosses. It was very firmly rooted in retro games and this love the developers have comes through in the playstyle.

Not Always a Success

Of course, trying to recapture some of the majesty of retro games does not always go to plan. Sometimes a switch to a more modern platform and an update in graphics is not well-received.

Two big franchises that have seen this happen are Rollercoaster Tycoon and Dungeon Keeper. The first was an amusement park management simulator that first came out in 1999. It was massively popular and spawned several spin-offs. However, the attempt to modernise the game by bringing it to mobile has not been very popular. The choice to use a freemium model was not accepted by the long-time fans, with many choosing to stick to playing the original game son desktop computers instead.

Dungeon Keeper originally came out in 1997 and is a strategy game. You step into the role of the villain and have to build dungeons and recruit monsters as you slowly corrupt a fantasy world. Both this game and its sequel are beloved by gamers and many fans-turned developers have carried concepts from Dungeon Keeper across to games they have made in their professional careers. However, an attempt to launch a mobile freemium game was met with a similar reception as with Rollercoaster Tycoon.

Keeping the Spirit of Retro Gaming Alive

What the mobile versions of Rollercoaster Tycoon and Dungeon Keeper proved is that the title of the game is not enough to draw in an audience for a new adaptation. If developers are not able to produce a quality game, as was done with something like the Mario Kart series, fans of the originals will just keep playing the originals.

It is not too difficult to either build a retro computer or get an older game running on a modern system. Though we are now moving into a world offering realistic graphics and the ability to immerse ourselves in a world of virtual reality, many gamers still love to return to the retro world when they can. Retro games should never be dismissed simply because they may look a bit old or dated compared to a fancy new release. Many of the best have set a benchmark that modern games now have to meet to be a success. They should always be celebrated.

Old School Gamer Old School Gamer (1130 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Old School Gamer Magazine. Press releases and other general information sent to Old School Gamer are often posted here.