Retro Power: Issue 5
Thank you, dear readers for the excellent, amazing, and spectacular feedback you have given to our question of the month. We say it every month, but we really appreciate you all and could not do this without you. We’re hoping that the discussions started here can lead to further conversation and even friendships across the internet. After all isn’t that the power of retro gaming?
-Alex & Valerie
“When did you rediscover your love for retro gaming, or did that passion never die?”:
I’ve managed to keep relatively up-to-date with the release of every new Nintendo system since my first two, the Nintendo 64 and GBC. After getting my GameCube and GBA, my brother and I split the cost of a Super NES around 2004. Since then, my video game collection has gone both ways. For every new system my family owns, there are at least two old systems that I have to match it. The Super NES was followed by an NES, monochrome Game Boy, Genesis, Atari 2600, and PlayStation 1 (which I’m especially proud of because I found it in working condition at a Goodwill for ten bucks!). So I guess, in the end, my passion for retro gaming was never lost…I’ve just retained my appreciation for all my older systems and expanded upon that.
I got a PlayStation as a gift shortly after it was released. This was the first time I had ever owned a new console. My family would usually buy a used console towards the end of the system’s lifespan when it was cheap. So having something brand new was really special. I think we sold my Sega Genesis so we could get more games for the PS1. It wasn’t until Halo had been out for a few years that my neighbor brought over a box of games from his basement that he didn’t want anymore. In it was a Super Nintendo with a bunch of games I had never played before: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Gemfire, Skuljagger, Sunset Riders, and the most played of the bunch, Super Mario World. These games had aged beautifully! The graphics were colorful and charming, the music was unique and full of life. For the first time ever I was excited to play old games. At one point I had to sell most of my games, but my love for retro games remains alive and I’m slowly getting them back.
I’ve always loved gaming on older platforms. When I was a kid, my family had a summer cottage and, since I didn’t want to carry my newest console all the time, I usually kept the old one over there. It helped associate my NES and, later, my SNES with memories outside of the games themselves. It kind of “amped up” the nostalgia. Of course, even though I never stopped playing my old games, I didn’t really have a passion for retrogaming. I’m guessing I can pinpoint the start of my passion with the start of my collecting.
Ironically, even though my life partner is far from a gamer, she originated my collecting through her own memories of childhood video games. It started with us discovering our common love for DKC2 (she still plays the roller coaster stages for me), then Top Gear, then some Mario games, etc. I was reliving my youth and hers at the same time, which was a beautiful thing. This allowed me to collect a few gems for my NES and SNES. I wanted to add to her passion so I bought a N64. After a few attempts, I realized the common ground ended at the SNES (and later some Wii, but it’s irrelevant to this website).
What I did notice, however, is that by talking about some games with the game in hand, I could light up the flames in pretty much everyone who had ever played video games, even if they were not passionate about it. That’s when the passion took off. From helping my sister reunite with her Tetris skills to bringing my NES to work to let people play on lunch breaks (including a guy who reached level thirty something in Duck Hunt) to hosting amazing Mario Kart 64 and Super Smash parties in college, I was, and still am, ecstatic at sharing the pastime with people who want to relive moments of their youths.
This is such a great question. I had never put any thought into why or when I got into retro gaming. I always thought my love for retro games was always just there. As I thought about it, I discovered it wasn’t.
I started playing on an Atari 2600 and mostly moved along with each new console generation until the 5th. I was 15 when the N64 came out, so it was my two younger brothers who saved up their money to buy it. I still played it quite a bit, but I had also started playing on PC and had plenty of other interests to keep me busy. I played video games less and visited the old consoles with decreasingly frequency.
Fast forward to 7 years later and I’m now living on my own. My girlfriend of 4 years has broken up with me and my roommate dropped out of university, so I am now living 100% alone for the first time in my life. All my university classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I spend from Thursday afternoon to Tuesday morning without speaking. It often takes a few minutes on Tuesday for me to use my voice properly again due to not having used it for so long.
During this generally awful year, a couple things happened. First, I brought my GPA up 4.0 even though all my classes were some of the toughest 4th year classes I had ever taken. Second, and more importantly for this question, I was a poor student, so instead of buying a new computer or console, I had to compromise. My roommate had forgotten his PS1, after a visit to my parent’s place I took the NES and Genesis, and I installed a few emulators on my PC that was so old, it didn’t even had a CD drive in 2002.
So, on top of replaying my favourite games like Mega Man 2, Zelda II, Ninja Gaiden II, Super Mario Bros. 2, Shining Force 2, and likely some other games that were the second in their series, I played stuff like Super Metroid, Super Mario RPG (I still had never owned and SNES at this point), Twisted Metal, Dragon Warrior 3, Kirby’s Adventure, Resident Evil, and Final Fantasy VIII for the first times. It didn’t take long for me to realise that as much as I was missing out on some great new games, there were tons of amazing old games I had never played, and even better, they were cheaper than new games and had the benefit of the Internet’s hindsight to prevent me from buying terrible games accidentally.
I haven’t looked back since. From that time, I’ve tried to maintain my rule of only buying consoles one generation behind current (though I did get a Wii and a PS3…oops). I’ve rarely gotten games I’ve regretted buying, several old consoles and their amazing libraries become ‘’retro’’ every few years, and I’ve come to know some pretty cool folks thanks to the retro community on Twitter. Looks like rediscovering retro gaming is another thing I can thank my ex for (other than introducing me to my wife, which is another story).
I’ll admit, my passion for retro gaming faded with each new console generation. When the N64 and Playstation came out, I ditched the Super Nintendo and Genesis. And so on and so forth with each passing year. I was hooked by the ‘shiny’ and ‘new’ iterations of new console gaming. I moved on with each generation and never looked back.
Things changed a few years ago. I’m a loyal Sony gamer, and have been since the PS1 days. So I own(ed) a PS3, and that was the majority of my gaming time, save for a Wii or PC title here and there.
As things in my life became more hectic and time consuming, (bigger career, parental responsibility, etc.) the more I yearned for something a little more simple. As much as I enjoy my life as an adult, the stresses that I endured weren’t always easy to shake.
One day, I was cruising through the Wii’s Virtual Console, and started downloading some old NES titles. “These were so much fun,” I remembered. As I started playing games like Bubble Bobble, Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros, it started to take me back to when I was a kid. A simpler time. It was while playing these games that I was able to remove myself from REAL LIFE, and go back to being a kid.
From a mental standpoint, retro gaming became a valued method of stress relief. And then, a hobby. I started collecting games again. I wanted to re-play all those games I had owned as a kid. And then I started exploring games that I had missed. And not just games, but generations of games. Sega Saturn, 3DO, Game Boy Advance…I had missed so many great games over the years and I really got excited to go back and try them for the first time.
Did my passion die? Not for gaming, but like many people, I moved forward with each generation. Nowadays, I can appreciate modern games for what they are, and retro gaming for paving the path.
STARTED WITH THE N64 AND NEVER STOPPED LOVING IT. AM I RETRO YET?
When I discovered Game Center CX!
I guess the passion never really died — I just never moved onto the newest stuff. I would gradually get systems years after they were supported, but I was always a couple consoles behind the current market, and… I enjoyed it. When the Internet really took off, and I discovered that “retro gaming” was actually a thing, it was like a massive validation of sorts.
If I ever rediscovered a love for old video games, I suppose it would be when I started writing about it, engaging in social media about it, and discovered that there is an awesome community around the phenomenon. Long live old games!
Thanks again Retro Revenge for submitting that question.
Aaron Alcorn came across some pretty decent pickups recently. It seems as if our own Valerie has spread the love of the GameBoy Color RPG Magi Nation. It always warms the heart when new classics are discovered.
A long overdue thank you
It’s here. The moment has finally arrived. You’ve spent months waiting, & we can now put that nagging feeling to rest.
You’ve been wondering where we got our MAGNIFICENT logo designed. We’d like to take some time to give credit where it is so very due– our great logo came from Angela Goguen! She also designed the Game Overkill logo, which is a personal favorite. Mmmmmm. She did a lot of great work on our behalf, presenting us with multiple options, each of which deserves adoration!
What is this world coming to?
Every once in a while whilst browsing the internet I will come across something so bizarre that I can’t help but share it with the world. I don’t recall was search phrase I used to find the video, but it was something along the lines of ‘Nintendo Nose Flute.’ What gets me is not only does this guy play through Super Mario World with a FLUTE (how is that possible?), but the flute is played through his nose. I have to hand it to him. I probably don’t have that much talent in either of my nostrils.
Thanks again for a great month, dear readers. As a reminder we are always accepting pictures of your retro game inspired art and/or game hauls. We’d love to feature them. And as always we encourage you to answer our question of the month which you can find here. Please have all submissions in by April 24th.
This month’s reader question is:
Is there an aspect of gaming (e.g. grinding) that you think is unfairly criticized?