Only a few years ago, retro gaming was the very definition of a niche, clustered around web forums, fanzines and with the venerable Retro Gamer magazine as its only notable mainstream outlet. Then, around 2012, something changed.
This was the year the ZX Spectrum celebrated its 30th anniversary. Mainstream news covered that milestone, and it seemed to unclog the nostalgia pipes, leading to a rush of renewed interest not just in the classic games of yesteryear but the iconography of 1980s gaming in general. From retro-themed T-shirts served up by dozens of new online stores, to a flurry of competing crowd-funded hardware revivals and documentary films, it was as if the floodgates had opened. If not quite "big business", retro gaming was definitely becoming commercial.
This is most obvious in an ongoing wave of books documenting gaming's distant past, from tomes dedicated to specific publishers and developers, to art books lavishing glossy praise on the pixel artists of old. Now there's Britsoft: An Oral History, a book that is chunky, exhaustive and academically robust.
Read more…