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Retro Gaming Roundtable: Why Old Games Are Relevant (Excerpts)

For the full Retro Gaming Roundtable, head over to our friends at Loud Mouthed Gamers.

Our fearless leader, @Nintendo_Legend built the @RetroRoundtable from scratch by collecting a group of interesting retro gamers (and me).

This week’s teaser: “Why are old games still worth discussing?”

My Thoughts

“Better question: why not? Seriously though, retro games are still worth discussing for two reasons: history and foresight.


I’ll try to avoid that line about “doomed to repeat” and just say that appreciating old video games is no different than appreciating any other piece of culture. As a guy with a Latin degree, I may be biased, but I will say that studying past cultures is immensely valuable. Even more importantly, “studying” the history of games means you’re playing video games. One thing we can all agree on: playing old games is still freaking awesome. Plus, discussing old games allows us to connect the dots on how games evolved over time. Last year, Ubisoft released a fantastic side-scrolling beat-em-up for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. On its own, this is a great game. With historical perspective, though, it rises to excellence. I argue that it never would have been so great without the legacy of Adventure Island, Double Dragon II, or Streets of Rage 2. The first reason to discuss old games: so that we appreciate past culture and its effect on our current culture.


Beyond just appreciating the past, discussing old games gives us a critical eye as we look the future of gaming. I LOVE my retro collection but I also play every current-gen console too (tag: TyBlues95) and I cannot wait for Vita, Wii U…Xbox 1080, and PS 52. Discussing old games reminds me of the potential for some of the emerging developers–when I hear about the latest Suda 51 game (sidenote: please, please make another No More Heroes), I am reminded of the old quirk of Fester’s Quest and Deja Vu.When I look ahead to Journey, I think of the first time I had full access to the world map in Final Fantasy 1. Old games allow us to appreciate the fundamental emotions that all new games will be built upon.

History and future, nostalgia and foresight–these are the reasons to discuss old games. If we do both, maybe we can avoid being “doomed to repeat” some pieces of gaming history, I’m looking at you E.T. on Atari.


My Favorite Excerpts from Other Roundtable Members:

Best Overall Post: Sean Ewington

“Perhaps retro games provide the brightest, clearest light for us to direct onto games to better understand them, and better understand ourselves.”

Deep comment: Mason Cramer, YouTube

“There actually is no such thing as “time” as people understand it in terms of hours, days, and years – so all “old” things are worthy topics of discussion and contain valuable undiscovered secrets.”


Most Unique Perspective: Peisinoe

“Old games are a lesson to programmers and developers. It might not be apparent how intricate coding in a seemingly simple game is, but they are simple enough to teach an aspiring game coder. They can learn from the old games on how to implement graphics, loops, and variables and actual game concepts.”

Best Narrative: Mr. Retro Sports

“Today we sit with our legs crossed in front of a television with a two(!) button controller in our hands and remember when life was easier”


First MLK Quote: Christopher Earls

“We are not the makers of History. We are made by History.”

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