Why Retro Video Gaming is so Popular & What makes it fun?
Why is retro gaming so popular? Most retro gamers will give you the short answer—that retro games are just plain better than modern games.
However, you’re probably looking for a more legitimate, less biased answer. Lucky for you, we have several such answers listed below.
Retro games don’t need realistic graphics, complex controls, and downloadable bonuses in order to be fun. The simplest games, like Dig Dug and Bubble Bobble, are often the most enjoyable. That’s why Candy Crush Saga has remained popular for an entire decade, earning over 2.7 billion downloads. It's not like the old games were not hard, many older games are probably hard than today's games. My son can't even make half the jumps in the original Super Mario Bros. Here's a cool article I wrote about why retro games are harder, than the games today.
On the other hand, mobile games like that are available everywhere. But old school gaming offers rare and unique titles, like Panzer Dragoon Saga. Many of these are still not available for download on modern consoles.
Aside from these examples, there are plenty of good reasons why more and more people are getting into the classic gaming groove. Find out more below.
They Make Lockdowns Fun
In 2020, when COVID-19 locked us all in our houses, supply and demand went nuts. Namely, we all became desperate for anything thatcould sate our cabin fever. This immediately increased the demand for things like streaming video services, novelty crafts, pets, wine, and retro video gaming.
Furthermore, at this time, our entertainment options were mostly limited to things we could purchase online. Thus, there was a huge boom in the retro gaming market as thousands of gamers dove into this hobby like never before. As a result, retro video game prices increased by 33% between March 2020 and March 2021.
They’re Just Plain Fun
So, if vintage games are more expensive now, why are they still trending? It’s because, once players sample the goods, they’re hooked.
And why is that? The same reason these games were popular in the first place: they’re fun to play.
Ultimately, “fun” is all a game needs. And, seeing as retro games are powered by outdated technology, “fun” is the only thing they have to offer.
Competition Led to Greatness
Furthermore, these original games had to be fun or else the companies that made them went bankrupt. In the 80s and 90s, video gaming was new marketing terrain and the industry was extremely competitive. Thus, game companies of this era put literally everything they had into making their games as amazing as possible.
Simple Is Better
You’ve probably seen farm equipment before, such as pitchforks and wheelbarrows. But we bet you’ve never seen a “Smart Pitchfork” or a rocket-powered wheelbarrow. The obvious reason is, if a wheel works just fine, there’s no reason to reinvent it.
Along those lines, simplicity is precisely why retro games are so fun. To illustrate, here’s a list of the most popular mobile games of 2022. You’ll notice that many of them are very simple and straightforward.
Besides that, many of them have retro graphics that resemble 8-Bit or 16-bit games. Number one on the list actually is a classic console game: Grand Theft Auto V, originally released on PS3. Who wouldn’t want to play the popular classic video games that made this gameplay style famous?
Today’s generation of gamers may scoff at the bulky consoles of yesteryear and their blocky cartridges. But, as your surly grandfather might say, “They were built to last back then.”
Atari, NES, Super Nintendo, Genesis—these systems were produced 25-45 years ago. And yet, millions of these systems are still in working order (without any refurbishment), even those that have been heavily used.
Go ahead: order an old, used original Nintendo NES online and watch as it runs like a dream for the next millennium. There’s something deeply reassuring about investing in something that lasts. Conversely, try buying a used Xbox 360 today and just see if you don’t get the Red Ring of Death within four minutes of firing it up.
Despite the aforementioned increase in price, retro gaming is still cheaper than modern gaming, in some cases. To illustrate, let’s look at the most maddeningly frustrating example, the ----ing Final Fantasy VII Remake.
The Ridiculous Cost of Modern Gaming
After years (and years, and years, and years) of endless rumors, Square Enix FINALLY released the long-awaited remake in 2020. Only, they didn’t. They released half a remake at $70 a pop.
Then, only months later, they released a special version, FFVII Remake Intergrade. This version is enhanced with bonus features that Square Enix mysteriously forgot to include in the original version. Or, more accurately, they purposely withheld these features so that pre-order-obssessed gamers would buy the same game twice.
Undoubtedly, gamers will have to shell out another $70 when the second part is released, plus $70 more for any subsequent installments. Similarly, modern games like this usually offer several installments of downloadable enhancements, each at an additional charge.
Retro Video Gaming: The Affordable Alternative
Put all this together, and you’ve got gamers paying over $200 for a single Final Fantasy adventure. Alternatively, you can get the original FFVII—plus a PS1 console with hookups and two controllers—for half that price.
Smash-hit franchises like Halo, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto may always be around. But it was the 80s/90s home consoles and popular old games, like Mario and Zelda, that captured our imaginations in the golden age of gaming.
To be clear, we’re not saying that all modern games are completely unoriginal. What we will say is that many of today’s most popular video game franchises released their awesome origin titles over a decade ago. In fact, these origin titles are the only reason why franchises like Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros still exist.
Think about it. If the first Resident Evil game was awful, there never would have been any sequels. As it is, this franchise now has almost 30 sequels, spin-offs, and remakes, with another coming out this year.
The point is, retro gaming lets you experience the games that spawned epic video game legacies. And these are undoubtedly some of the best games from your favorite video game franchises.
Tried and True
Lastly, ignore everything we just said. You don’t need to take our word for how great retro games are.
Ask anyone else. Ask everyone else.
Classic games have been around so long that they’ve been reviewed thousands upon thousands of times. At this point, these games speak for themselves. We encourage you to research these tried-and-true classics for yourself.
See For Yourself Why Retro Gaming Is So Popular
Now that you’ve learned why retro gaming is so popular, experience this hot, new, old trend for yourself. Grab some video game history right here in our store, as we have all types of games for sale.
Want to learn more about retro gaming awesomeness? Then read our list of The Best NES Games to Share With Your Kids.