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Thread: Is retro gaming really all about nostalgia?

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    Strawberry (Level 2)
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    Default Is retro gaming really all about nostalgia?

    I kinda don't like how people get this idea that you have to have grown up with a system to get into it today. I love the NES the best, like lotsa people, but I was born in 1986 so I was pretty young when I played it, and I only had 19 games at my disposal. Does that really mean I can't play tonsa great games on the system today? I just don't get why people find this kinda stuff unacceptable, it's like they're 16 year olds calling the new Metallica fans posers because they only have one Metallica album. Why is it important to them?? It's just retarded. My opinion is people need to invent problems that don't really exist.

    I never played Atari as a kid, it was just before my time, I never played it. But I have an Atari now and maybe 45 games or so and I love it. They're really fun. That's the whole thing about old games, if they were fun 30 years ago it's a good chance it can still be fun today, and nostalgia doesn't hafta be a reason to play at all.

    So I ask all you guys always saying crap like "Oh what do u know about Sega Genesis? You were born in '95"
    to just give it a rest, cuz who cares??

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    ServBot (Level 11) Edmond Dantes's Avatar
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    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: Lots of skeptics and, to be frank, idiots like to say its about nostalgia for reasons that don't always hold water.

    For instance, when you hear it from the Call of Duty crowd who are fine with DRM and DLC and other three-letter acronyms that begin with D, these guys are basically being self-righteous and attempting to validate their sheepishness. "Well, I wouldn't like those old games, I didn't grow up with them!" "Well, you're just too blinded by nostalgia to accept anything new!" This leads them of course to spring headfirst into the path of self-destruction just to prove that they aren't "blinded." I sense a corporate hand in this, since they clearly benefit from this mentality.

    Now, when you hear it from a retro gamer, there's... well, in this case, it's a lot more complicated.

    Some retro-gamers do in fact do it to relive the best eras of their life, or at least that's part of the appeal. And even if you never grew up with such a thing, sometimes you can still get into the "vibe" of the time it was made in. To use a similar example, when I read pulp stories from the 30s like Doc Savage I can still get into the spirit of the time it was written and feel like I know what it was like to be a kid growing up in those times, even though I obviously was born much later. That said, someone else's nostalgia is never as strong as one's own.

    This, however, is just a perk. The reason people play retro games is because they're fun, with the additional benefit of having less bull to put up with than modern games, and sometimes stylistic preferences (such as loving 2D sprites).

    So there you have it, my foot is firmly in my mouth. Omnomnom

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    Banana (Level 7) Atarileaf's Avatar
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    Nostalgia might get you there at first, but the fun and gameplay keeps you there.

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    No, not really at least.

    Depending on your age, odds are, it's a factor, if you grew up with a system but it's not the only reason. The reality of it is gaming since it went towards this trying to be realistic in 3D stuff in the 21st century (PS1/N64 wasn't going to cut that being like the atari 2600 of 3D console generation stuff) it has created a divide of sorts. On one side you have those who want that realism boundary pushed more and more, more added depth, more detail down to the blade of grass, and a thousand people on screen doing some death charge or whatever. Then there's that other camp, they aren't as focused on the realism of it, and they want the gameplay package, the total ride of sorts where you can quickly pick up and dive into something without all the added fluff and wait times. Some consider challenging themselves being tops at a CoD online gunplay battle, another would be the dude who figured out every corner of a Nintendo platformer. It's about taste.

    I can dabble in both, but I tend to prefer the more simpler audio/visual times without the lame memory cards and load screens, let alone taking 5min to get into a game to play it from powering up a system. It's why I have the PS4, working on getting a gaming laptop, yet I keep a large part of the games I've retained from the 8/16bit and GBA era. I've seen enough teenagers and 20 somethings who would rather dabble with this stuff legitimately, and not for profiteering purposes to know it's not nostalgia but as I said before, personal taste in gaming.

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Nostalgia is not the cornerstone of why I love old games, but it definitely adds another layer of enjoyment to certain games by tying memories into the experience. The reason I love retro games, though, is a different style and atmosphere not present in most modern games. To try and break it down:

    -Older games, using more variety of methods to create their visual presentation within the limitations of developing hardware, created a broader spectrum of visual styles to display their atmosphere as opposed to the vast majority of modern games that just go for photo-realistic 3D or or a slightly exaggerated caricature thereof. Early 3D games had to try more variety such as creative shading with low-rea textures or almost modified cubism in the case of games like Sega's Virtua line. Sprite-driven games utilized an enormous variety of drawing styles in pixel art to try and convey the image the developer intended. Looking at modern game screens, a lot look like they could all be from the same game, and as such lack personality.

    -Old games get to the point better. Relatively new to games is the whole thing of giant open-world games with lots of travel time, back-tracking, and filler to try and flesh out a more "realistic" world. I have to watch so many conversation play out in datail, car rides that take minutes for no other reason than to show off a world, and every frame of realistic animation to push a block or climb a ladder. Retro games aren't trying to show me a realistic experience so much as to capture my imagination by allowing me to accessibly and quickly move through worlds and leave the details to my mind to fill in the gaps.

    -Retro games have atmosphere that is difficult to replicate because of their limitations. Stylistic color palettes in NES games because they could only display so many at once. Haunting chip tunes getting creative with noises in the sound channels. Black, starless skies making you feel alone because leaving out the stars let the programmer have one more color for something else. Fog in games like Silent Hill being embraced to enhance the feeling of dread. Stark, low-res or textureless landscapes in early 3D offering an old sci-fi vibe. The best developers got creative and made something special, like the sets and models in the old Star Wars movies when they couldn't just digitally produce whatever they wanted.

    -In the '80s and '90s, control mechanisms were largely based around what had been successful in arcades, which meant pick up and play with ease without a lengthly tutorial. Yes, some games benefit from convoluted controls. Most don't.

    -Finally, yes, nostalgia. I am predisposed toward themes that were made culturally relevant to me during my formative years, and sometimes it's fun to catch a little cold war paranoia, GI Joe like nationalism, or ninjas jumping around cities because that totally happened throughout the '80s. I saw Beverly Hills Ninja, I need no other proof. Retro themes appeal to me. Also, I like at times to for a second to be in the same state of mind I was in 30 years ago and smile to myself about the memories.

    Real life is too boring to be the subject of video games, and playing out all of that realism instead of fast-paced fantasy takes away time I can spend actually living. With retro games, I can get lost in a game for awhile, finish it, and still live my life while maintaining a balance.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    To the post above, one well deserved image I rarely use.


    You're dead on with that post. The older mediums had to work with a very far more constrained and limited environment both on capability but also storage, they had to get to the point and hammer it home well within the limited space there was. Things had to have a personality created to keep you entertained backed by solid game play mechanics. There was not so much color, space and hardware specs that you could just coast someone through a 15 min yap fest showing off the pretty world babbling on about crap a pop up box could have done effectively and in a far less boring way that wasn't showy. Old games got to the point, they didn't drag on and make you go through tons of hoops and fluff, you didn't have to replay the stages repeatedly to collect more junk to move along, you just kept on rolling, and doing so made you feel more accomplished by staying in motion.

    Maybe your'e right, all these retro wannabes few feel like something of the time because even if the best intentions are there, the better hardware will tempt someone to step up their game even further and keep on trucking with it, and then that feel is lost. Or perhaps due to how newer games are they feel the pressure to add more junk to feel the purchase by the gamer is more justified when it really isn't needed. Thing were just simpler, right down to as you said still basing things in the 80s and 90s off the arcade protocols of immediate pick up and play controls, where your learning curve was the game, not learning how to manage the game and the 12 buttons and 2 sticks between it and you.

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    Reto gaming to me isn't really about nostalgia, but games that are fun to me as long as the system doesn't have any problem with durability. I don't want realism in the games I play. I also don't want to pay for games that are incomplete and you have to pay to download rest of the game.

    Some of my favorite genre's actually don't have the amount releases as they used like shoot'em ups.

    Some of the game systems I brought as an adult I really didn't have feeling to get when they were in retail stores new like Sega Master System, and TG-16 as an example. I really didn't want a Sega Master system before I started playing the Phantasy Star series and I found out the SMS actually had a great game library without a region lockout in terms of Europe. The other reason I didn't at the time was the cost of the system before the Genesis came out.I seen TG-16 back in 1989 and at flea markets for time in the 1990's, but I wasn't interested in the system at time since the Genesis and SNES were the big 2 systems.

    I got myself a Sega Saturn after it was discontinued and it wasn't caused by nostalgia either. While I did want the system for a short time, the cost of the system was one the reasons and the other one was the fact the Saturn was hurting by the time the N64 came out.

    Buying portable systems like a Game Gear wasn't for nostalgia, but had games I wanted since my eyes are better as an adult compare to when I was a teenager. I had problems seeing small screens as a teenager due to my eyes being dilated everyday like a gameboy or a Game Gear screen as an example. My eyes were dilated everyday due a prescription for helping my eye vision stabilize. I had to use a special pair glasses to read stuff on the compare as a teenager thanks to my eyes being dilated everyday besides my eyes being sensitive to light. My eyes as a teenager had an easier time to playing video games on a big screen, but not on a small screen as a result.

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    Banana (Level 7) WCP's Avatar
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    If there wasn't any nostalgia, I don't think I'd ever play retrogames. I would always be looking forward to new, current day releases, and would have never even noticed the existence of retrogaming.


    I was like that for the first 13 or so years of my gaming career. Had no clue about retrogames, and didn't care. I randomly stumbled into retrogaming, and it would have never happened if the nostalgia factor wasn't off the charts for me.

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    Nostalgia is a part of it, it gives the interest to look back at these old systems and games which are no longer available at retail.

    Plenty of old games are just good enough to play on their own so nostalgia isn't that much of a factor. Then there are games which have aged badly and people play them mostly because of nostalgia, remembering playing those games either when they came out or when they were young. The ones that are more tedious than fun with a poor interface or awkward controls due to technical limitations or just poor programing.

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    There's definately a level of nostalgia, but if it were all nostalgia I'd stick with the games I had as a kid and that'd be it. Nostalgia is why I get chills from the music in the first Sonic game, the Green Hill Zone theme, it's why I'll go back and beat Mario Kart 64 again and again, why I love Ninja Gaiden and Super Mario Bros, and Tetris, but I had only 19 NES games as a kid and today I own 196. That's not all nostalgia lol.

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    The reason I'm a retro gamer is the same reason I'm a modern gamer: I like videogames.

    And know what makes retro gaming exciting? Playing a game you've never played for the first time.

    It doesn't matter how old a game is to me at all; if I've never played it before, the experience is the same as playing a brand new just released game.

    So no, nostalgia has very little to do with why I play retro games.
    check out my classic gaming review site: http://satoshimatrix.wordpress.com/

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    There are lots of thing people like that are 'before their time'. Why? Because of the 'attitude' of the video game, movie, book, or whatever it may be (and the fact that it's a very high quality work).

    A huge amount of effort went into thoroughly play-testing the retro games that people still rave about today.

    And as many have mentioned, the elegance of the old-skool games is pretty phenomenal. Run it, play it, put it down -- all within a few minutes. Most of them don't require that you read a manual. They're usually designed to make intuitive sense to the player.

    So in answer to your question, I think it's 30% nostalgia (for those who were there the first time around) and 70% the games being friggin' awesome in their own right. This is why so many re-makes of classic games really suck. People seem to underestimate how much time goes into fine-tuning these beasties. To quote an architectural lecture, "Elegant simplicity of design requires a great deal of effort."

    Oh, and this, "My opinion is people need to invent problems that don't really exist." <-- so TRUE.


    P.S. I suppose I should mention that I play modern games as well. So there's no reason to exclude anything if you like it. And for those who run into a favorite modern game developer at E3 or some show like that, try asking them (the developer) if they still play classic games. I can pretty much guarantee they'll say yes (and they'll probably enthusiastically list them for you). They're on the cutting edge and they still play classic games like mad.
    Last edited by Neb6; 11-14-2014 at 04:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neb6 View Post


    And as many have mentioned, the elegance of the old-skool games is pretty phenomenal. Run it, play it, put it down -- all within a few minutes. Most of them don't require that you read a manual. They're usually designed to make intuitive sense to the player.
    How far we going back about the manual bit and who are we targeting? If a person never played a 2-D game from even the NES era, they may not know they need to go say left to right and what to avoid without some serious trial and error. Some may think they have "life" and will take a hit only to start at the beginning again. Go further back and you'll run into titles that will have you scratch your head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atarileaf View Post
    Nostalgia might get you there at first, but the fun and gameplay keeps you there.
    +1. Definitely not all nostalgia. It's gotta still be fun to be relevant, or it would get old real fast, real quick.

    Nostalgia can definitely play a role, even a huge one, but is it the end-all, be-all? No way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    How far we going back about the manual bit and who are we targeting? If a person never played a 2-D game from even the NES era, they may not know they need to go say left to right and what to avoid without some serious trial and error. Some may think they have "life" and will take a hit only to start at the beginning again. Go further back and you'll run into titles that will have you scratch your head.
    Man, if they struggle with left or right and what is an enemy, I can only imagine how overwhelmed they are in full 3D environments! I hope they are in a safe location when playing with no sharp corners or un-padded floors so they can take off their protective helmets and put on their thinking caps.

    While the vast majority of older games were designed with ease of play in mind, yes, there are of course exceptions, especially on Atari 2600, where the lack of buttons sometimes meant creative use of the switches on the console or additional controllers, so you'd need a manual.

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    Hah no doubt, she may not have the motor skills yet, but my just turned 3 year old can kind of move along a little in Super Mario Bros and sometimes miss getting hit or she will jump on or over the goomba that shows up as 1-1 starts. If she could figure out which jumps, and the direction to go in, if an adult can't handle that, they just need to go away and pick up a book as that's a slight bit less complicated even if that goes left to right too.

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    It was never about nostalgia for me. The Atari 2600 never left my livingroom. It's just as current as my PS3. In fact, I've got two games I developed coming up for order soon. I've made at least a dozen new games before that. CLASSIC. GAMING. FOREVER!

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    Nostalgia part of but not fully,going back to 8-bit&16-bit does indeed take me back to a simpler time.Still when the game has aged well i don't have a problem going back to it.While i play both old and modern video games if any thing it's all about the experience to me.Still nostalgia can trick you for older video games.Just when you think the game you played as a kid was great it turns out it wasn't to begin with.

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    I still have my old consoles. Never got rid of them. I always play the games I like. But I also find "new" games I haven't played. Hell I am playing Beetlejuice for the NES for the first time. So technically its a new game to me, since its a new experience.

    For me nostalgia is only part of retrogaming if you count yesterday. Cause I haven't stopped playing retro games since I was a brat. (90's)

    Everything new to you is new. If you enjoy it, then don't let those self righteous retro gamers get to you. Every group and subculture has the "I liked it before it was cool" idiots. Screw them. If they truly loved the culture that they're in, than they would accept anyone who also enjoys and embraces it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    Hah no doubt, she may not have the motor skills yet, but my just turned 3 year old can kind of move along a little in Super Mario Bros and sometimes miss getting hit or she will jump on or over the goomba that shows up as 1-1 starts. If she could figure out which jumps, and the direction to go in, if an adult can't handle that, they just need to go away and pick up a book as that's a slight bit less complicated even if that goes left to right too.
    Haha that's awesome. I remember when I was 4 or 5 and my uncle sat me down with this game for the first time, back around 1990, it took him 2 seconds to explain, and it took me awhile to beat level 1-1 cuz I was like 5, but it's a great memory. What he failed to explain to me was that u can run with B, and this was never explained to me till about 2 years ago. Embarrassing to me, but I was finally able to go finish that game.

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