Old School Games

While I enjoy playing all types of table top and video games, my true love is ‘old school’ or ‘retro’ video games.

Wikipedia defines old school gaming as:

Playing or collecting of older personal computer, console, and arcade video games. Usually based upon systems that are obsolete or discontinued, these games are played either on the original hardware, on modern hardware via emulation, or on modern hardware via ports or compilations. Participants in the hobby are sometimes known as retrogamers in the United Kingdom, while the terms “classic gamers” or “old school gamers” are more prevalent in the United States. Similarly, the games are known as retrogames, classic games, or old school games. Retrogaming is often linked to indie gaming, which involves current games, though unconventionally published. Additionally, the term could apply to a newer game, but with features similar to those of older games, such as an “retro RPG” which features turn-based combat and an isometric camera perspective. –Wikipedia

Now while different games define old school differently, I define it as console games from the 5th generation and older; games for the Nintendo Game cube and Sega DreamCast. Due to the shear number of games published every year for PC, I have considered them on a case-by-case basis. At this time there are no android games that I would consider old school due to how new and widespread the platform is. In the future this may change.

During my life I have had a NES (front and top-loading versions, plus the knock off version after the NES patents ran out), SNES, N64, Gameboy (original, Pocket, Color, SP, and the DS) PlayStation (original, PS2 -I have the large version and the wife has the slim- and PS3), DreamCast (I bought it to play emulators and never bought any actual DC games), along with PC (I’ve been using a computer since I was 5 and we were running Windows 3.1 -or maybe 3.11?-), and Android.

I am drawn to older games as the represent what I see as a ‘golden age’ of gaming that we say in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This may be because I was born in 1983 and I was a child of the late 80’s and 90’s. While there are definitely good games being published currently, the sheer amount of crap games (especially worse in the cell phone gaming sector) that the golden age has ended. However, I am sure there will be another in the future.

I feel that the transition from physical media to digital was both a blessing and a curse on the gaming community. Digital media opened up many new options for game developers who were now able to make bigger and more expansive games now that they were free of the storage limits of the different physical mediums, but consoles started to rival computers in terms of processing, memory and storage. However this transition I feel also in some ways lowered the gaming community standards, as it is now becoming acceptable for developers to publish uncompleted and buggy games and they can now be fixed and finished later by patching the game.

Also recently has come the rise of ‘free-to-play’ games where players can play for free, but game developers can make money by selling add-ons (such as additional content, special items, the ability to remove currency or level caps, etc…) While I am not personally a fan of the nickle-and-dime business model of free to play, there are currently many good free-to-play games out there (I am a fan of Lord or the Rings Online).


Jedite83 is a professional geek-of-all-trades and founder of Hacker Labs - The Geek and Otaku Blog.