The nostalgic resurgence of classic video games

Anyone who grew up in the early 1990s is more than familiar with the famous rivalry between SNES (Nintendo) and SEGA. This friendly yet fierce competition saw the creation of some of the most iconic video games that not only revolutionized but built an entire Industry. Both SNES and SEGA, by being constantly at each other’s heels, had to one up each other (pun intended) in order to attract greater players.

The fan base naturally diverged into two camps, staunchly supporting each console (similar to Mac and Android of today), yet many appreciated and enjoy the quality both companies offered. SNES had Super Mario as a hero, whereas Sonic the Hedgehog reigned at SEGA. As with any comparison, reviews would argue over which system had better image quality, sound, gameplay, and more.

When compared to modern video games, leaps and bounds have been made in these features with animations virtually life like. So why do retro video games not only persist, but witness a growing popularity with many gamers of today? There is undoubtedly a high demand for classic video games on the market, and many are willing to spend large amounts of money to purchase old nostalgic titles. Nintendo and SEGA have even met this booming demand for old by re-releasing old consoles like the NES Classic (the NES Mini) or currently with the SEGA Mega Drive Mini.

Given the average age of the current video gamer is in their mid 30s, these players are old enough to remember the classic titles. Nostalgia is an extremely powerful force, especially when concerning toys or items that caused so much enjoyment at such a young age. Psychologically many of these gamers associate retro video games with a simpler and happy times. These were periods when the industry was new and exciting, and this coincided with young players creating their identity and their interests.

The popularity for a return to retro games is reflected in the emergence of numerous vintage video game arcades or bars where players can soak in old time nostalgia of their beloved classics. What sets games uniquely apart in terms of positive negative feelings is the very nature of gaming itself. Anyone who has held a controller knows the continually dance of frustration, defeat, competitiveness, and triumph. Combine this with the formative times of our lives, when young and impressionable, and there is little surprise why adults want to relive these nostalgic memories. The virtue of games (be it online, mobile, or console) is cathartic in a rewarding feedback loop that ultimately relieves stress.

The other reason for the massive return of retro games is that they are extremely well-designed and timeless in terms of enjoying gameplay. When a game in essence is fundamentally great, it will always attract gamers and be a bright candidate for a comeback. Unlike other Industries, it is interesting how the early games seem to dominate in this regard. Because the Industry was at its infancy, developers had limited resources as well as funding and overall experience. Therefore, they were forced to be creative within these limitations and further had greater use of their imagination. There is a famous anecdote that illustrates how limitation leads to creativity. When filming the shark blockbuster Jaws, tight budgeting and mechanical issues forced the shark to

‘hide’ under the water for most of the film. The result (rather intentional or not) was that the unknown and unseen monster beneath inflicted greater fear and tension for audiences. The iconic 007 Goldeye game for Nintendo 64 in the mid 1990s is still beloved today, yet it was developed by just 9 workers, 8 of which whom never designed a video game beforehand. This game alone revolutionized the multiplayer mode for all other titles that followed and, amazing, it was only created with a one month left in the production schedule and singlehandedly by programmer Steve Ellis.

SNES and SEGA were like the foundation of the Industry on top of which all modern developers expanded upon. Similar to how Shakespeare, Plato, or the Classical Myths of Homer, defined and influenced many future works – so too do the early pioneers of video games. Building a video game from nothing is much different than today when developers build upon their previous titles or those of their competitors. There is a different sort of creativity involved when designing from scratch. Given the resurgence of these classic video games, even the new and young generation are discovering how much fun they are to play. There are also many heartwarming moments when a parent plays a vintage game like Streetfighter with their child. Who do you think would win that fighting match?

The return to nostalgia is not a phenomenon limited only to the world of video games, as there are many examples in various industries. The business of Fashion continually sees a resurgence of vintage styles such as 1960s bell bottom jeans and Ray Ban sunglasses. This has also been prevalent in film with the remake of many classic movies. Further, online casino sites are great places to relive nostalgia of retro style slot games. While there are many online slots with innovative animations, such as Yggdrasil’s ‘Vikings Go Bezerk’ or Sunfox Game’s comical ‘3 Blind Mice’, there are still a large number of classic and straightforward style slot titles to choose from.

For example, Playson’s ‘Joker Expand’ online combines the vintage fruit slot machine with a modern artistic charm while NetEnt’s ‘Jackpot 6000’ online places you on an actual casino floor in front of the old style one handed crank machine. The usual slots of today have an easy to understand gameplay of 5 5eels, 3 or 4 wager rows, a specific number of payways, and various features. The more retro style slots, however, have a greater simplicity of play (usually a 3×3 grid) that many players of retro video games in general appreciate. As mentioned earlier with reward anticipation while playing games, these slots casino go to the heart of this with exciting bonus rounds that can be unlocked on any random spin that often award many chances to win real money. The other great aspect of these slot games, and overall most video games from SNES or SEGA, is that they have mobile compatibility so that gameplay is possible anywhere and at any time.

It will never be ‘game over’ for classic titles as nostalgia and the quality of the game itself are powerful forces. Retro games, even in the form of online slot machines, lets us escape to a time when we thought we felt happy and carefree and overlook any nostalgic illusion that may be a bug in the brain.

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