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What is retro gaming?

Of, or relating to, the past, past times, or the way things were
To play card games, board games, or video games

Let’s combine these:

Retro gaming
To play video games relating to the way things were

What is the purpose of retro gaming

Is preservation the objective?

If this is the case then the cut-off point of what would be considered a retro game is those that cannot be played natively on contemporary hardware; or, perhaps, on consoles that can no longer easily be connected to modern televisions. Preservation, however, requires only archival; the storage of games so they are not lost to time. That doesn’t seem sufficient for our definition.

“Gaming” is the present participle of the verb “to game”. It requires the act of playing. Preservation is not sufficient.

Why do we play retro games?

If we have Call of Duty: Vanguard, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, or Animal Crossing: New Horizons, why would we play old games? I can only answer from personal experience.

It’s the smile that grows as Samus lands on Super Metroid’s planet Zebes; the crack of thunder an overture to the coming boss battles.

It’s the adrenaline from manically trying to remember the controls before I die in Robocop on a Sinclair Spectrum emulator – I used to be good at this!

It’s the quickening of my pulse as I recognize a song in the original The Legend Of Zelda, even though I’ve only ever played the later games.

What is retro gaming?

For me, the definition has to include that feeling of nostalgia.

To play video games relating to the way things were

Retro gaming takes us back to the way things were. The expressiveness of a character represented by only a few dozen pixels; the immersion from a two-dimensional, side-scrolling world; the simple fun. Even a game we’ve never played before can do that.

Do you agree with my definition? How important is that feeling of nostalgia? Let me know in the comments below.

How can I retro game?

You could buy some fancy equipment to connect your original NES to your 65 inch TV. You could use the backwards compatibility of your console to play games from previous generations of that brand. However, my favourite method is to use emulators.

Emulators can play games from a wide range of consoles, handhelds, and arcade machines. This gives you the ability to play thousands of retro games on one machine. You can install emulators on your PC or you can buy a device that plays thousands of these games and fits comfortably in your hand.

If you’re in the UK, you can find these in our shop.

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