No matter how many video games we’ve played throughout our lives, we always remember the first games that we enjoyed during our childhood. It didn’t matter that we were controlling boxy, pixelated characters across a two-dimensional world. Back in those days, we had a blast smashing the buttons of our Nintendo SNES or Sega Genesis, without a care in the world.
The dawn of the 8- and 16-bit games is far gone, but the public’s love for old-school gaming seems to never die. In a time of video games with photo-realistic graphics and expansive open worlds, it’s amazing how the simple gameplays of retro (and retro-inspired) games still receive so much love from the community.
Here are 4 reasons why retro games stand the test of time and remain beloved by millions of gamers, no matter their age.
#1 They take us back to the good, old times.
Video gaming has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the 80s and 90s. From being just little pixelated heroes in their first games, Mario and Link have endlessly upgraded to give us games like Super Mario Odyssey and Hyrule Warriors.
Modern technology has transformed our video games to become more interactive and complex, but sometimes we want to get reacquainted with how we knew those games back when we were playing them for the first time.
Playing a game proudly designed with endearing pixel art and 8-bit gaming soundtracks brings back memories of a simpler time from our childhood. Even after so many years of growing up, we get to re-experience being an excited child when playing a retro game, even for just a short while. Back to a time when our biggest worry in life was saving Princess Peach.
#2 They bring warmth and comfort.
Under stressful times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, gamers often turn toward playing their favorite games, many of which are their childhood favorites. Going back to the games we grew up with, like Pokemon, Castlevania, and Mario Kart, gives a sense of comfort that we all need in order to cope with times like this.
Especially now that we’re stuck at home with a lot of time on our hands, many of us have revisited these old-school games to give us the feeling of warmth and innocent accomplishment when finishing a difficult level.
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#3 We’re looking for simple gameplay and pure fun.
Sometimes all we’re looking for is a fun adventure game with a straightforward goal, without the complex stories of an open-world RPG or the realism of a modern first-person shooter. And that’s what retro games are all about. They are, at the very core, pure and simple fun.
Simple fun doesn’t mean easy though, as some of the old-school games’ levels can be quite difficult to beat. And this only makes winning the game even more rewarding. You’re only given three lives, and you can’t rely on any fancy upgrades or boosters to power you up. With retro games, the challenge is simple, and you simply have to play to win.
#4 There’s no need for high-end software and hardware.
Most, if not all, of the biggest, triple-A games require you to have a monster of a gaming system, especially if you’re looking for that immersive 4K and 60fps experience. Take the marvelous Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, which requires a whopping 12 GB of RAM and 150 GB of disk space to play on your PC. Modern gaming can so quickly become a hobby too expensive or inaccessible to most of us.
But that is not the case when playing retro games which only ask for the most minimum of requirements. Perhaps there’s an old Nintendo console in your basement waiting to be revisited and only needs a little dusting to run as good as new. If you plan to play on your phone or your PC, retro-styled games like Stardew Valley and Undertale run smoothly even on the most average computer.
How easily accessible these low-key games make them fantastic go-tos for some good, innocent fun, without the need for shelling out big money on specs alone.
Even as the technology and the quality of video games continue to skyrocket before our very own eyes, the simple, pixelated beauty of old-school games will always have a special place in our hearts. Retro games carry with them the warmth and memory of a simpler time, and no matter where we are in life, sometimes that nostalgic warmth is all we need.