When it comes to video game systems, I make sure I have the best new system, controllers, and gear. I’ve been known to wait overnight outside a store a time or two. I like the complete immersion of current video games, with their ability to make you feel like you’re really pitching in the ninth inning of the World Series, or that you’re really wearing MJOLNIR armor and following Master Chief’s orders. But when it really comes down to it, I am more of a classic guy. I can’t help myself. Call it whatever you want—lame, reliving my childhood, whatever, I don’t care. As a programmer, I still enjoy games that had to rely on a good story to interest the players without the distraction of HD movie-style graphics, a killer soundtrack, and more than just a d-pad and two buttons. Plus, it’s a lot less work.
I’m not alone in this. Just check eBay. Old video game consoles and retro games are to today’s older generation as the baseball cards they left behind in their parents’ attics were to them. It’s how some people are putting themselves through community college.
If you’ve found this blog and you’re interested in classic games, there are a couple ways to go about it. You can spend a lot of money tracking down games on their original consoles, and be a retro gaming purist. A great resource for you if you’d like to go that route is Racket Boy, which has just about everything you can think of—lists of games and their value, guides to help you out, forums to reach like-minded others, and a store for hard-to-find accessories and adaptive equipment.
If you don’t care about authenticity, you can get things like the Intellivision Flashback—it’s got sixty of their most popular games on it, plus replica controllers. Nintendo also has some of their older, more popular games (as well as Sega and Turbographx 16) available for download in their online store. It’s not quite the same, but it’s pretty close. It is also cheaper and less time consuming than tracking down the old consoles, games, and accessories.
If that all seems like too much work, money, or trouble, you’re in luck. There are sites like Play Retro Games and Game Oldies that have games as far back as Atari! There are also a bunch floating around on the appstore and in google play. Next time you’re really bored, check it out and see what you can find. Even if you weren’t around when some of these games started—Mario’s been around since his stint in Donkey Kong back in 1981—it is something to do until the next game comes out. It is an even better way to test out titles and see if they are as great as you remember. I’ve found that they usually aren’t, because I can blow through them way faster now than when I was a kid (no homework or bedtime holding me back) but somehow they are still worth it.
Anyway, hope I gave you some food for thought for today and reopened up your video game library to some titles you may have forgotten about.