I've had many discussions with people who ask me why I am still playing retro games when there are newer games that are visually better on the market. Why am I still interested in playing old arcade classics such as Donkey Kong or Mr. Do. Why have I spent a lot of time tracking down games I used to play on systems such as the Atari St, Spectrum, and Amiga when I can just buy a PS4 and play these amazing games with fancy graphics and effects. What have older games and systems got that the latest consoles haven't?
The world has programmed us to keep up with the times by replacing the old with the new. I replaced my Atari 2600 with a Spectrum, then later with an Atari ST, then an Amiga, and finally several PCs, each one more powerful than the last. Out with the old and in with the new is how we live our lives. Why go back to something inferior when you have something much better?
I have happy memories of discovering these systems for the first time. Playing classic adventure games such as The Secret of ST Brides and Twin Kingdom Valley on the Spectrum gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I remember them. Thinking of the many happy hours in my bedroom playing Chuckie Egg and trying to get past the near impossible Level 40 to complete the game. Upgrading to an Atari ST and being wowed by hearing sampled sounds in a game for the first time. I firmly believe that a game doesn't necessarily need amazing graphics and effects. It's the pleasure you get out of a game that counts.
HIGH SCORE TABLES
Once you have completed certain games on the newer systems you may find that it's something you might not play again for a while. After all, you know the story and you have completed the quests. Some older games tend to go on forever, each level getting harder and more challenging and have the benefit of recording your score each time you play. So you get more out of a game when you are aiming to get your name in the high score table, especially if you are competing against a friend. People would get a high score on an arcade game then go back later to see if it was beaten by another player.
EASIER CONTROL SYSTEM
Older control systems would consist of a joystick that could be moved eight ways and a single fire button. You even got the option of defining your own keys. These appeared on systems from the Atari 2600 up to the Amiga. Later systems such as the Megadrive and Nintendo offered more buttons but still kept gameplay easier. An easier control system allowed you to get into the game quicker and was the same for all games for that system. The main control system was up, down, left, right, and fire/jump. Later systems such as the PlayStation 3 started introducing many different combinations which would be displayed in tutorials as you progress in the game.
WIDER VARIETY OF GAMES
The average price of a game on the PS4 can be anything from 40 to 70 so the developers need to provide a lot for that money. This consists of hours of movie footage, huge maps that take forever to explore, and lots of fancy visual effects. On older systems, there was a wider variety of games ranging from free to budget to full commercial price. Games such as static screen platformers, text adventure games, rebound games and simply shoot em ups could be obtained that would never see the light of day on a more modern system unless it was part of a pack or from a subscription service.
NO MORE TO PAY
Once you bought a game in the old days there was nothing more to pay. Today's games have become a money magnet where people are spending a fortune buying packs to gain extras in games wherein the older games you could earn them by completing certain tasks. Although it is possible to earn things by playing you usually find paying for something saves you many long hours of effort
The most important thing about a game is what you get out of it. No need to believe you only have to play the latest games like everyone else. There are many retro fans on Facebook who still play games on the older systems but still enjoy the odd modern game on the PS4. Now if you'll excuse me I need to get Mario past the castle to rescue the princess.
Dean Sharples is a writer and programmer from Manchester, UK with many years experience. He has written articles on subjects such as Home Business, Retro and Programming. You can find out more about Dean at: http://www.deanosharples.com
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