Retro Gaming Is So 2008

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Retro Gaming Is So 2008

This week Tom Endo tries to be a retro gamer.

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If you're looking for retro games to be anything more than pure fun, you're looking for the wrong thing.

Retro games are popular for that specific reason: They are fun, and nothing more.
Try playing Contra, its general regarded as one of the best NES games, yet you won't find anything thing deeper than, "Hey lets kill some stuff."

These days, people (developers especially) seem to thing that making games fun is a little bit beneath them. Its like they are trying to convince themselves that at the end of the day, all they are really doing is playing with a toy. Yes, the 360 is a toy, so is the PS3. You're lying to yourself if you think otherwise. A definition of the word toy is: Something that is specifically designed for fun.

I for one am sick of modern games that try to be some work of serious fiction. The result, more often than not, reeks of pretention.

The previous two console generations have such a rich & varied library of games that retro gaming no longer serves a useful purpose...

But maybe I'm saying this because I grew up with the NES, SNES & Amiga. Perhaps it'd be worthwhile to someone experiencing it for the first time. Still, every second you spend seeking out obscure retro games is a second that you could be spending seeking out obscure, relatively recent games. Why bother with Warsong when there's Ring of Red?

You wanted to try out retro gaming and you went for PC Engine and Neo Geo, two systems that almost no one owned? (except for PC Engine of course... IN JAPAN) Then you proceed to play some hair metal game and World Heroes? Christ, no wonder why you had a bad experience.

Amiga, C64, NES, and Genesis for the retro (SNES if you feel like stretching it out a bit further). Atari, maybe, but if you weren't there there's no reason (and it sounds like you weren't there). On the PC, there's Origin and Lucas who put out some great classic titles.

You've got to do some research first, but I applaud your effort. I hope this won't deter you from checking out real "classic" games in the future.

matrix3509:

I for one am sick of modern games that try to be some work of serious fiction. The result, more often than not, reeks of pretention.

i think its perfectly possible for it to be done well

harhol:
The previous two console generations have such a rich & varied library of games that retro gaming no longer serves a useful purpose...

A useful purpose? That's one of the strangest comments I've seen for a while. Is there a useful purpose for gaming in general?

The earlier eras of gaming were interesting since (especially the NES/C64 era and before that) you had a lot of mad people with programming skills doing games mostly by themselves. This meant that the ideas they had were implemented almost completely uncompromised. Results were games like Mario, M.U.L.E. (a board game like market simulator, is vastly more fun than it sounds), Archon and a whole load of other bizarre titles. Someone like Miyamoto would have a very hard time pitching an idea like SMB in today's landscape but then the concept didn't really have to make sense.

Sure, today we have the occasional downloadable game that's like this, but back then it was really the norm rather than the exception.

I'm not saying there weren't bad games: games like Ikari Warriors and Yie Ar Kung Fu are examples of pretty awful games I used to think were awesome back in the day. Cauldron and Cauldron 2 were awful even then, chiefly because of their crappy controls. I'm just saying that seeing old as irrelevant and unplayable is just as bad as letting nostalgia take the better of you.

Woe Is You:
1. I'm just saying that seeing old as irrelevant and unplayable is just as bad as letting nostalgia take the better of you.

2. A useful purpose? That's one of the strangest comments I've seen for a while. Is there a useful purpose for gaming in general?

1. What I mean is that we should prioritize. Perhaps I phrased it wrongly...

Yes, there is a certain appeal in one-man productions like Another World. But I believe that, on the whole, there are objectively better experiences to be had further down the console time line, because even someone with a PS2/Gamecube/Dreamcast obsession cannot possibly have seen all there is to offer. The industry moves at such a pace that remaining fixated on a single, older generation is something you're likely to regret in the long run (the treasure vault can only be so deep, after all). And while there may be vast differences between today's industry and the one of yesteryear, the same can be said of more recent generations. Each has its own trends & clichés.

In short, true "retro gaming" should be about seeking out the highlights of days gone by (especially games which cannot and/or will not be made any more). I believe the majority of those highlights are from the recent - as opposed to distant - past. Traditional retro gaming has always seemed to glorify nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. Do we really love those 8-bit wonders or are they just a novel distraction? I imagine most people will stop playing immediately if they find it too challenging. Difficulty is an inevitably high hurdle that usually steepens with age.

2. All knowledge is useful in content. I think an appreciation of gaming's recent past has more relevance than an in-depth knowledge of a mostly forgotten age.

Great article Tendo, you handsome fellow you.
Retro gaming is something I have indulged in, primarily to see what all the fuss was about. I think a lot of it is about nostalgia. I found a few gems when I got a few retro consoles, but a lot of the games that people wax poetic about were bland and not that much fun at all.

I liked the NeoGeo. Pulstar, Cyber Lip, Metal Slug, etc.

But good article nonetheless.

The only game I've retro played on purpose was Mario RPG. So much fun. And, I agree with the comment up there, if you're doing it for any other reason but for fun's sake, then you are doing it wrong.

Its at the time that Sega could get away with releasing Sonics ultimate Genesis Collection - essentially the entire Genesis catalogue on one game disc for current gen platforms - that you can tell Retro gaming is getting outta hand. Sega, don't give us your past. Just release Yakuza 3 to Australian shores, and we'll be cool.

Did you have a Genesis?

peachy_keen:
Did you have a Genesis?

I didn't have any system before the N64

Indigo_Dingo:

peachy_keen:
Did you have a Genesis?

I didn't have any system before the N64

Ah, so you don't have the same nostalgia. I agree with you, but sometimes I miss my old Genesis.

Samurai Showdown didn't hit its stride until the second or third in the series. Beautiful fighting game, probably the first one I actually stopped and just enjoyed watching. First one was ass if I remember correctly though.

I dunno, it's more of a milestone game than something you really approach to have fun with. If you want to watch the evolution of the genre, this was one of the first games that tried to look pretty.

Nice article, but... retro gaming ins't sooo 2008...
it's 1990! :D

I still enjoy my FFVI and Chrono Trigger... but then again that's just me

tetris, Sonic 2, Megaman and Mario games are all we need from the retro section of gaming.

I can still spend hours playing the original Dr. Mario!

World Heroes? Are you serious? That game is so laughably broken. I'm talking bug riddled, wooden movement, crappy hit detection type broken here. I still loved it, if only for the fact you could play with Rasputin and his heavy punch was a giant yellow hand. Jeanne d'Arc was also worth a few giggles.

I'm still amazed they put that game on the Virtual Console.

Anyway, I loved the Kyoshiro reference (that's Samsho's Kabuki guy for those not in the know).

And this is just about how I feel about retro gaming as well.

I love retro gaming. Me and a work buddy go down to a store that only sells used games ever pay day and throw down like 20 bucks for old NES games. It fun to spend a night playing games where the only thing you have to understand is that A is your jump button and B is for attack. That and 8 bit music is awesome.

I have a suggestion for you, Tendo. Next time you feel the urge to play with your father's Turbo-Duo, Go to your local gamestop. Search the PS2 titles and find a copy of Namco 50th Anniversary Museum. I think you will find most of these retro games (like Pac-Man) to be a lot more enjoyable.

But don't play Rolling Thunder, it sucks.

johnx61:
I have a suggestion for you, Tendo. Next time you feel the urge to play with your father's Turbo-Duo, Go to your local gamestop. Search the PS2 titles and find a copy of Namco 50th Anniversary Museum. I think you will find most of these retro games (like Pac-Man) to be a lot more enjoyable.

But don't play Rolling Thunder, it sucks.

Man that was kinda snobby and what's wrong with old consoles man. Part of the joy is blowing the dust out and messing with the games to make it work. Also, does Namco 50th Anniversary have classic like "Skate or Die" "Friday the 13th" or "Micro Machines". Not all the greats are re-released.

teh_v:

Man that was kinda snobby and what's wrong with old consoles man. Part of the joy is blowing the dust out and messing with the games to make it work. Also, does Namco 50th Anniversary have classic like "Skate or Die" "Friday the 13th" or "Micro Machines". Not all the greats are re-released.

That was not an attempt to be snobby. He clearly does not like Turbo-Duo games, so I was simply pointing him in the direction of retro games he might enjoy.

And no, none of those titles would be on a Namco Museum disc because they are not Namco games. Skate or Die was made by Ultra, and Friday the 13th and Micro Machines were both made by LJN, if memory serves. The disc I mentioned contains games like Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, Galaga and Xevious.

Retro Gaming is all about the nostalgia factor... games of your past. However, I have found a lot of very interesting games just searching through older ones. A specific example I can remember is a game that was on the PC I was introduced to called: "Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura", a game much like Fallout before somebody decided to make it a first-person shooter. You could have also tried like NHL 95 on the Genesis or Shining Force III, Final Fantasy Tactics, Ultima 4-7, Goldeneye, UFO: Enemy Unknown (now called XCOM: Enemy Unknown) or something that has some kind of unique element to it that other games have copied since their release.

Instead of the Neo Geo, which umm... you're the only person I know who has tried it.

johnx61:
[quote="teh_v" post="6.90520.1425660"]

That was not an attempt to be snobby. He clearly does not like Turbo-Duo games, so I was simply pointing him in the direction of retro games he might enjoy.

And no, none of those titles would be on a Namco Museum disc because they are not Namco games. Skate or Die was made by Ultra, and Friday the 13th and Micro Machines were both made by LJN, if memory serves. The disc I mentioned contains games like Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, Galaga and Xevious.

That was kinda the point I was making some great older games you're never going to find on a greatest hit DVD. You'll only get to enjoy them on the consul or emulated. I also just love walking into a story seeing something like "Illusion of Gaea" on the shelf and going "OH MY GOD I NEED". It's like finding a treasure.

teh_v:
That was kinda the point I was making some great older games you're never going to find on a greatest hit DVD. You'll only get to enjoy them on the consul or emulated. I also just love walking into a story seeing something like "Illusion of Gaea" on the shelf and going "OH MY GOD I NEED". It's like finding a treasure.

Oh, I agree with you that there are many games that people would enjoy that are hard to find now. But not everyone agrees on what makes a game collection disc worthy. I don't particularly think Friday the 13th was that good a game. But as I've always said, taste is subjective. I can't really comment on the other two games. I haven't played them.

If you are at all interested in retro pc gaming, go to Abandonia.com. You can download a ton of old school games. Now first of all, I'm not advocating piracy. This is legit. These games have been abandoned by their original creators and are therefore public property. You'll also need to download Dosbox to run the games. This is easy, however, and totally worth it. The whole experience has been like a walk down memory lane for me. I highly reccomend it.

Yeah, a bit of research would've helped here, Tom. After all, they offer Cho Aniki on the virtual console.

Bleh, I'm currently going through some retro-gaming for the snes and have been picking up games I never got to play due to not being able to afford them as a Kid. Waiting to receive Demon's Crest from ebay right now.

bkd69:
Yeah, a bit of research would've helped here, Tom. After all, they offer Cho Aniki on the virtual console.

I considered downloading it but I feared how incredible I would find it.

In all seriousness though, I've heard the first Cho Aniki is pretty tame/less fabulous than its later iterations.

retro gaming is only good if its on a console you played constantly over 10 years ago, ie SNES.

And why, pray tell, did you throw a 360 in the bin when it can be fixed perhaps by M$ or for the princly sum of £30?

Play sum Starcraft!

Vortigar:
World Heroes? Are you serious? That game is so laughably broken. I'm talking bug riddled, wooden movement, crappy hit detection type broken here. I still loved it, if only for the fact you could play with Rasputin and his heavy punch was a giant yellow hand. Jeanne d'Arc was also worth a few giggles.

I agree almost completely but I don't remember Janne as a laughable character.

For me, she was just annoying! What is so funny about her?

Akira Kazama:

For me, she was just annoying! What is so funny about her?

The entire concept of Jeanne d'Arc having long hair, being encased in armor with moulded boobs flying all over the place with a flaming sword screeching like a banshee. The whole thing is just absurdist slapstick.

Maybe it's just the first time I'd seen something like this though. You expect it to happen with Asian priestresses or weird guys to whom all manner of magical powers were attributed to (Rasputin, Hanzo Hattori, Vlad the Impaler, Aleister Crowley, those types). D'Arc just never struck me as a character you could fit into that kind of magical superhero role. The girl was burnt at the stake for crying out loud. Though in retrospect I doubt it was the first time it happened in gaming and its defiantely not the last (Bladestorm anyone?).

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