Over time, I have come to realize that I am a RETRO GAMER, and as a result, don’t fit in nicely with the conventional gaming crowd, which is content with the offerings of an unfeeling corporation only looking to turn a constant profit through uninspired series. Yes, that means that when someone comes over and looks at my game room, and their only experience with games include Call of Duty and the endless array of sports titles (none of which I play, personally), they don’t feel the same nostalgia I do.
The last two people that have visited, the maintenance man and a young man that I happen to be a mentor for, both of which are self-proclaimed avid players of Call of Duty, don’t share the same love for retrogaming that I do, and I think that’s a damn shame.
NONE of them were aware of Activision’s humble roots!
As a result, I have received much flak from the modern gaming community because I have not jumped on the bandwagon with them, and I don’t feel that I have to, and even further, that I have an obligation to my fellow retrogamers to stand up for what we LOVE! Modern games and consoles seem to focus more and more on graphics and as such, continually infuse their offerings with the latest in technological advances in order to handle the increased load on their GPU processors.
This continued strain has caused multiple issues that spell DEATH for new consoles, such as Playstation’s YELLOW LIGHT OF DEATH and XBox’s RED RING OF DEATH! When modern gamers suffer from these maladies, I chortle to myself because in my game room, I have an Atari 2600, a NES, a Super NES, an N64, a PS2, a hacked OG XBox, an Atari Flashback 2, a Sega Genesis Arcade Motion and a Sega Genesis Model 2…..ALL OF WHICH: 1) STILL WORK, 2) DON’T REQUIRE AN INTERNET CONNECTION and 3) DON’T REQUIRE AN UPDATE EVERY TIME YOU PUT A GAME IN!
SUCK IT, INTERNET! I PLAY WHENEVER THE HELL I WANT TO!
Sure, I may not be able to strap on a headset and go toe-to-toe with someone hundreds or even thousands of miles away on a round of Call of Duty playing my Nintendo, but it WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THAT and that is what many of them fail to grasp. There was a time when people used to collect at the same place and play an arcade or console-based game, share good times and create awesome memories.
When you are sitting alone in your living room or bedroom, strapped to a headset, that social aspect is GONE and makes the experience seem artificial. I used to love watching my brother’s face knot up in frustration when he couldn’t complete a jump in Super Mario Brothers or when I would best him during a high score run and THAT IS SOMETHING A MODERN GAMER WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE when they are all alone in their house!
This just looks sad, if you ask me.
Older consoles are also much easier to repair. I pride myself on being very tech-savvy and able to do my own repairs as needed, but after watching a few videos on how to revamp a dead modern console, I am genuinely STUMPED! For example, the inside of my Atari 2600 Light Sixer contains a single board that holds all the switches in the front, one of which broke off over the years.
To replace this, I simply order the board online, disassemble the console and reattach it. NOTHING TO IT! With a modern console, you have to basically melt the solder points and reball the GPU (WHATEVER THE HELL THAT MEANS), and even if you are successful in repairing the console, IT IS LIKELY THE PROBLEM WILL RECUR! These issues are very prevalent in the first-gen PS3 and Phat Xbox 360, but can STILL OCCUR on the new-gen models! Considering the cost of these new consoles, that is a risk I am not willing to take!
What a cluster fuck…
Finally, the most important aspect of retrogaming, of course, is the games. During Atari’s run, games were created by either single people or a small team, not subjected to scrutiny by a boss man (or lady) and thrown out in the market. Some would argue that this opened the door to subpar games, and to a certain extent I agree, but it’s not unlike the indie developers of today, that continue to crank out games that are innovative and fun to play (Fez comes to mind) but have a relatively small team with no “BOSS MAN” looking over their shoulder telling them what to do.
Nintendo continues to profit on franchises that are well over 30 years old, but still add something new to their time-tested formulas. Super Mario Brothers has come a long way from not being able to go left (or back) during a level and has even welcomed player exploration of a level, making the gameplay MUCH RICHER. Donkey Kong has left the skyscraper and princess-nabbing behind for Kroc-Krushing while trying to foil King K. Rool’s plot to steal his banana collection!
In conclusion, you may be asking why I retrogame? The reasons are MANY, but I will attempt to sum them up in a list!
1) Rewarding gameplay.
2) Doesn’t require an Internet connection.
3) Doesn’t require an update to play.
4) The more people-centric social aspect versus online play.
5) Get to play timeless classics that favor playability opposed to enhanced graphics.
6) Easy to perform repairs.
7) Innovative gameplay that is able to overcome console limitations.
8) Hardy console, cartridge and peripheral designs that can take a beating.
9) Smaller learning curve that ANYONE can learn and have fun.
10) Encourage the player to use their imagination to enhance the experience without artificial additions.
Again, I feel that I have to stick up for my fellow retrogamers in that we may be less in number than the millions of players that log into Call of Duty’s servers on a regular basis, but that doesn’t make us “freaks”.
We retrogame because it takes us back to a time filled with fuzzy memories. We retrogame because we ENJOY THE GAME. We retrogame because we have the imagination to look beyond flashy graphics. We retrogame because we like to get lost in the music of a bygone era. And finally, we retrogame because deep in our hearts, we enjoy the thrill of revisiting our childhood, which is something the weekend warrior who just picked up a controller a week ago would NEVER UNDERSTAND! I’M LOOKING OUT FOR YOU, MY FELLOW RETROGAMERS! KEEP PLAYING! Thanks for reading!!!
Lumpz the Clown is an avid gamer who does Let’s Plays, reviews and other assorted clowny goodness He aspires one day to make video games his full-time career and enjoys interacting with like-minded individuals with the same passion for gaming.