The Retrogaming

The word “retrogaming” (sometimes called «old-school gaming ») designates the interest people have in ancient video games seen as « retro ». Unfortunately, we are already facing difficulties to understand this trend : to what kind of criteria does a video game have to correspond to be considered as « retro » ? And also, when did retro gaming appeared ?
Even if limits are still unclean, video games seen as « retro » as generally the 2 dimensional ones which appeared with the first four video game consoles generations, that is to say between the early 1970’s until the mid-1990’s. These first four video game console generations spread from the first video game console released in 1972, known as Odyssey to the last 16 bit console such as Nintendo’s SNES and Sega’s Megadrive (known as the “Genesis” in the United States). These two consoles were then overthrown by the fifth generation ones (with 32 & 64 bit processors) in 1994 and 1996 with the releases of Sony’s Playstation and the Nintendo 64.

This recent infatuation for ancient video games is hard to date, still the first nostalgia signs began to appear with the release of classic arcade games remakes at the end of the 1980’s. In this way, in 1987 was released an isometric projection version of Pac-Man (it was not a real 3d game however the result was really impressive) in which the player was able to jump over the ghosts.
Studying this new rising trend, a question popped into my mind: why retro gaming? People are now looking for High-Definition (HD) video quality and even 3D movies, however, some gamers just can’t help plugging their video game consoles again. And if you ask them why, the same answers regularly show up: simpler controls and gameplays, the higher difficulty which gave this leisure a “underground” aspect, the absence of compatibility (hardware & software), or even simple of nostalgia of an other era…The list is long and reveals nowadays frustration towards progress’ acceleration.

Since these first remakes, the retro gaming phenomenon never stopped to grow. As one can see on the digital distribution platforms, the number of retro gaming remakes and compilation has literally skyrocketed. Sony’s Playstation Store displays a “PSone Classics” and a “Neo Geo Games” sections, in the meantime, in the Nintendo Store a whole section named “Classic Games: Virtua Console” is dedicated to this type of games, and the Xbox Marketplace also gathers a collection of vintage games in its “Classics” category. Plenty of these games would have eventually pleased old-school gamers throughout the world if their price (between 8 and 10€ for the must-haves) matched with what they are: simple ported games.

Consequently, emulation (the process by which a software “think” it is a video game console) remains the ideal alternative for the gamers. A great deal of websites offers the opportunity to download emulators and roms (image files containing a game’s data) without any restriction. It is by the way a noteworthy fact that you can legally use emulation if you possess the original game and the video game console you want to emulate.

Well, this is the end of this article, I hope it gave you the wish to play to your vintage games again. For the time being, I would like to share with you one of my first memory about video games: Donkey Kong which was released in 1981.

This game is available at: donkey-kong.html