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Why do we still play retro games?

I’ve had many conversations with people asking me why I keep playing retro games when there are newer, visually better games on the market. Why am I still interested in playing old arcade classics like Donkey Kong or Mr. Do? Why have I spent so much time tracking down games I used to play on systems like Atari St, Spectrum, and Amiga when I can just buy a PS4 and play these amazing games with fancy graphics and effects? What do older games and systems have that the latest consoles don’t?


The world has programmed us to keep up by replacing the old with the new. I replaced my Atari 2600 with a Spectrum, then an Atari ST, then an Amiga, and finally several PCs, each more powerful than the last. Out with the old and in with the new is how we live our lives. Why go back to something inferior when you have something so much better?

I have happy memories of discovering these systems for the first time. Playing classic adventure games like The Secret of ST Brides and Twin Kingdom Valley on the Spectrum gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I think back to them. Thinking back to the many happy hours in my room playing Chuckie Egg and trying to get through the almost impossible Level 40 to complete the game. Upgrade to an Atari ST and be amazed to hear sampled sounds in a game for the first time. I am a firm believer that a game does not necessarily need amazing graphics and effects. It’s the pleasure you get from a game that counts.


Once you’ve completed certain games on newer systems, you may not play the game again for a while. After all, you know the story and have completed the missions. Some older games tend to go on forever, each level getting harder and more challenging and they have the advantage of recording your score every time you play. So you get more than one game when your goal is to get your name on the high score table, especially if you’re competing against a friend. People would get a high score in an arcade game and then come back to see if another player beat them.


Older control systems would consist of a joystick that could be moved in eight directions, and a single fire button. You even have the option to define your own keys. These appeared on systems from the Atari 2600 to the Amiga. Later systems such as the Megadrive and Nintendo offered more buttons, but still kept the game easier. A simpler control system allowed you to get into the game faster and was the same for all games on that system. The main control system was up, down, left, right, and shoot/jump. Later systems such as the PlayStation 3 began to introduce many different combinations that would be shown in tutorials as you progress through the game.


The average price of a game on the PS4 can be anywhere from £40 to £70, so developers need to provide a lot for that money. This consists of hours of movie footage, huge maps that take forever to explore, and lots of fancy visual effects. On older systems, there was a wider variety of games ranging from free to cheap to full commercial price. You could get games like static screen platformers, text adventure games, bouncing games, and just plain shoot ’em ups that would never see the light of day on a more modern system unless they were part of a bundle or subscription service. .


Once you bought a game in the old days, there was nothing else to pay. Games today have become a money magnet where people spend a fortune buying packs to earn extras in games, older games can be earned by completing certain tasks. Although it is possible to win things by playing games, you usually find that paying for something saves you many hours of effort.


The most important thing about a game is what you get out of it. There is no need to believe that you just have to play the latest games like everyone else. There are plenty of retro fans on Facebook who still play games on the older systems, but still enjoy the weird modern games on the PS4. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need Mario past the castle to rescue the princess.

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