Playing Old School Games is that Considered a Retro Gamer?
Usually, when technology becomes outdated, people stop using it. That’s why no one watches movies on beta cassettes anymore. In fact, most of you probably don’t even know what beta tapes are.
That’s the point. Beta cassettes are so inferior to modern video formats that they’re not even worth remembering.
And yet, retro gamers spend $200 million a year (collectively) on obsolete, primordial technology.
In fact, used copies of classic games often cost more than brand-new games.
How is this explained? Just what is a retro gamer, and what drives them to pay such high prices for old stuff?
Furthermore, do they play old games exclusively, or are they also invested in new games? Exactly what is considered retro gaming?
To answer these questions, this guide explains the origin of old-school gaming and what it means to be a modern retro gamer. Read all about it below.
So what Is a Retro Gamer?
First, let’s clarify who fits into the “retro gamer” category. A retro gamer is anyone who seeks out and plays “retro games.”
Some of these gamers play old-school games exclusively. Others play modern games as well.
Retro gamers are not the same as retro game collectors. Collectors don’t necessarily play the games they purchase, whereas retro gamers do.
What Is Considered Retro Gaming?
The tricky part is determining which games count as “retro.” Does it make sense to use this term for all previous console generations, even those as recent as the PS4?
Unfortunately, there’s no official answer. Though, to us, it makes sense to wait at least 10 years before calling a game “retro.”
Alternatively, one might use this term for any game that was released two or more console generations ago. It’s generally agreed, however, that the 1st-4th generations of console gaming (up to SNES/Sega Genesis) belong in the retro category.
But games as recent as the 6th console generation (GameCube Console, The Sega Dreamcast, and Sony's PS2 Console) are commonly considered retro, too. One reason for this is that these games were created primarily for old, picture-tube TVs with standard definition and a 4:3 picture ratio. Another is that this generation includes many hard-to-find, out-of-print games, particularly Sega Dreamcast Games.
Furthermore, the term “retro” is sometimes applied to modern games that mimic the graphical/gameplay style of classic games. One recent example is the 16-bit-style Stranger Things: The Game.
When Retro Gaming Was Just “Gaming”
So, how did retro gaming come to be? Well, at one point, the games we now call retro were brand new. We bought them, played them, and loved them for years.
Then, console companies made new, more powerful systems to replace the previous generation. But many gamers weren’t yet finished with their old systems.
Their “outdated” games still had a lot of replay value left. And there were many last-gen titles they had not yet played. This illustrates how classic games retained their value long after they were out of print.
A Matter of Time
Next, the kids who played the popular consoles of the 70s and 80s grew up into adults. Many of these former kids then focused on adult toys like cars and tech gadgets.
But that doesn’t mean that they all stopped playing their old game systems. On the contrary, they continued to build their classic gaming library for fun and nostalgia.
A New Generation of Gamers
To dispel a common myth, retro gaming is not only about nostalgia. Case in point, new gamers are learning to appreciate classic gaming all the time. Mostly, this is due to the widespread availability of these games as downloadable content on new consoles like the Nintendo Switch. Masses of new gamers now have direct access to a huge library of older titles.
This is also an excellent method of cross-generational bonding. Fathers and sons can now share in the simple joys of jumping on a Koopa Troopa in Super Mario Bros. or solving puzzles in The Legend of Zelda.
It’s not just home gamers who make up the retro-gaming world. Competitive-type gamers love to flaunt their retro gaming prowess by achieving high scores in the arcade for all to see. And who doesn’t enjoy reminiscing about those long afternoons in the arcade, sinking quarter after quarter into an SNK or Galaga machine?
For these reasons, classic game festivals are still extremely popular today. Many folks drive for miles just to see a couple of old-school gamers go head-to-head on a classic arcade machine.
It can even capture the imagination of non-gamers. After all, the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters attracted fans of all demographics.
What Kind of Retro Gamer Will You Be?
So, then, what is a retro gamer? Many are older gamers who are drawn back to the control pad to relive their childhood joys. Others are new gamers, learning firsthand that the older gamers were right all along.
Which type of retro gamer will you be? There’s only one way to find out. Browse our collection of retro games for sale and start building your old-school gaming library today.