The return of the hottest retro games

Nostalgia and a belief that things were better back in the ‘good old days' has been present throughout all of human history and every generation. It is not remotely uncommon to believe that the times we are living now are full of corruption and inauthenticity, while the bygone eras of our childhoods or even by our ‘parents' childhoods were somehow happier and more genuine. The archetypical hipster seems to personify these feelings most among the millennial demographic. Their throwback style in clothing choice, hatred for all things mass- or corporate-produced, and preference for simplicity in technology rather than the flashiest, or most hi-tech gadgets -all betray the belief that the past was somehow more defined or profounded. One interesting effect of this alter-reality is the return to popularity of ‘retro' gaming.

Mortal Combat WWhile some hardcore gamers and tech nerds believe that better is… well, better, more and more millennials are ganging-up in droves in order to believe that less is more when it comes to video games. Now here is a simple argument. A beautiful, 4K graphic environment can be used to mask a storyline for gameplay that is simply bland and underdeveloped. On the flip side, intensive, strategic gameplay is nice, but it takes away from one's ability to enjoy the game because they are so focused on the massive amounts of detail the player must account for. A lot of online MMORPG games require a lot more attention and mental energy than the simple side-scroller like the original Mario Bros. games, and this simply isn't fun for many of the so-called ‘casual’ gamers you hear about these days. Furthermore, the increased involvement necessary for most modem-driven games requires that they be played solo, rather than potentially in a more social setting where you and your friends can take turns or play on a split-screen. You can play plenty of online games nowadays, but there is something about them that just isn't the same. Many of us living in the 21st century already struggle with feelings of isolation and complain that we simply aren't as close and community-oriented as we used to be, and the rejection of online gaming in favor of games that can bring groups of people together may be a reflection of this.

In a way, however, the revival of ‘retro' games is a little bit futuristic in and of itself. For most people, all these old consoles and games are simply inaccessible. Copies are hard to find, and because of their rareness, can be on the expensive side. Any old console you find is more likely to be broken, defective, or incompatible with a modern TV or anything else it would have been hooked up to. Adaptations of these games must be created to bring these simplified retro games into the future, and those adaptations might be a bit more futuristic than some hipsters would care to admit. Now in one case- Emulators, which are a type of hardware or software that allows one computer system to act like another, are an essential tool for getting a game like Ocarina of Time to work on a modern-day PC. Some prefer to build their own retro-style consoles, complete with 3D printed cases, an effort that one should certainly be proud of themselves for, but certainly does rely to some extent on futuristic technologies most people do not have access to. For those without the knowledge (or personal interest) to attempt making their own device, there is an increasing library of ‘remastered' classics! These are retro games that play exactly the same way, but have their controls slightly altered to work with modern consoles, and their graphics redone to look less pixely and dated.

While many a hipster would certainly argue that the latter point is unnecessary and detracts from the true ‘retro-ness’ of the game, for many who want to experience a real nostalgia trip, remastered versions are a quick and easy way to replay some of their old favorites. Ultimately, the revival of retro games is doomed to be overrun by its own market, to some extent. As more and more people get into the trend, larger companies will be incentivized to create remastered content, upgraded versions of the older consoles like the Atari, and buy and sell older titles among themselves. Proof of this can be seen from recent eBay sales of old school console games that are jacking-up prices hand-over-fist! One such example is an original mint condition and sealed “Frogger” game for the Atari 2600 selling for a staggering $300 US dollars!

Soon- Retro games will no longer be considered truly retro, but a capital that will no doubt be bought, sold, and created upon by corporations. This is the opposite of the so-called hipster's agenda, and so within a short period of time, he will likely have moved on to something else.