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The Importance of Understanding Retro Gaming

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Many people play modern video games without having an idea where their dynamics came from or why exactly they are the way they are. Overall, gaming has always had the tendency of looking forward, meaning that the industry is always working very hard to provide gamers something new in terms of art and better graphics. However, as the years pass, games keep evolving in a way that they are now completely different from what they used to be, and sadly many people are missing the experience of enjoying great video games that shaped our contemporary video games. Thankfully, we have gamers that play or collect video games and consoles that are either obsolete or discontinued in contemporary times and share their experiences through websites, social media platforms, emulators or even gaming museums such as the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Russia, the Finnish Museum of Games in Finland, the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in California, The National Video game Arcade in Nottingham, and many other platforms. These are what we call today retro gamers, classic gamers or old school gamers.

Those who lived around the 1970's and 1990's, can still remember the arrival of gaming in their homes. This did not only provide a new means of entertainment but also changed the world as we knew it. Computers and many consoles became part of their living rooms, and the sounds of finishing attacks in Mortal Combat, the “Mamma Mia” of Super Mario complimented with the beautiful “Game Over” sound effect, the addictive and simple game play of Galaga and many other favorite video games of this time became part of their daily lives in their homes keeping children and adults alike “hooked on the feeling”.

Now many years later retro gamers go back to the roots of gaming itself and keep playing these games. Some only play them for the nostalgia and the memories of getting together with some friends having marathons trying to figure out all the tricks and special attacks in Street Fighter or getting together as an adult to have some beers and laugh at the infuriated friend that cannot beat the first perfectly difficult level of Mega Man (contemporary games are too easy). On the other hand, other players go back to retro video games because they recognize the beauty, the creativity and the perfect design that many of the old school games have. Contemporary developers now have many ideas to create their video games from, or they can also follow the tendencies in the industry to develop what people wants or what people buy (money, money baby - - Call of Duty same old, same old…). Most of the initial video games were completely original and developed by individual programmers. The idea of following tendencies in the industry was not a thing (almost not an industry); trying to develop a game to convince a board of director that they will get a huge return on their investment based on business analytics was not something that most developers had in their minds at that time either. Furthermore, the developers had limited resources to work with. For instance, the average SNES cartridge had a maximum capacity of just 4MB with limited graphics and sound capabilities. As a result, this gave birth to unique videogames. Of course, modern games might still have the platforming, fighting, shooting, etc. nonetheless, the way they were designed was completely different. Therefore, this created a complete different experience that contemporary gamers should not be missing out.

Regardless of your reason to play classic video games, it is good to know that you are not alone, and that this is an activity that is practiced around the world. Also, keep always in mind that even though technology has advanced throughout the years and video games have better graphics thanks to better hardware, it does not always mean that new games are better than old ones. Thus, it does not matter what classic console you choose to play today, I assure you will find something incredible.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” -Soren Kierkegaard.

And as always, do not opine without being well informed!

Pedro Rios (L-Rios SHOW).

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