The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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nightrnr
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by nightrnr Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:15 am

You guys are doing a great job of convincing me that "retro" is a nonsensical term.
I shall refrain from using it in the future. :P
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dogman91
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by dogman91 Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:16 am

I'd actually say what's retro is what people who are NOT "retro" gamers think is retro; with which I found is basically whatever is not current generation, OR simply not being played by the majority of gamers nowadays.

I'm more specifying the gamers I know who get caught up on new releases within the first few months of their release on a consistent level, and think spoiling certain parts of a one year old games are fine because "you should have played it by now", and something like Grand Theft Auto IV is an "old game".

Here's some examples:

Super Smash Bros. Brawl: despite being released five years ago on the Wii (last generation, SD console) no one considers it retro because it's a very relevant game today as there's still lots of people playing it.

another are the HD collections.... retro, old and outdated UNLESS people are playing them today... whoever bought the God of War compilation at the time aren't calling it retro at all (along with the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus, Sly Cooper collection, all those). Basically remakes of old games aren't retro either, even if they're nearly the same. Ports still seem to be "retro" though. Oblivion isn't "retro", but it's "old". Morrowind is considered "retro" though. This is what I kind of pieced together just from talking to various gamers over the years.

Basically whatever console/games are still not relevant today just to sum it up. Simple.
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by J T Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:43 pm

What is more important for considering something retro: nostalgic fondness for classic older style or tongue-in-cheek goofing around with kitschy old style?
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by vic oakland Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:48 pm

J T wrote:What is more important for considering something retro: nostalgic fondness for classic older style or tongue-in-cheek goofing around with kitschy old style?


Neither. While both are relevant to retro, retro can't be exclusively about nostalgia, which is subjective based on the gamer. And, as you say, "goofing around with kitchsy old style" is not all that useful either because it implies that enjoying retro involves a self consciousness about the experience, and that doesn't apply universally. (Some people like retro games entirely for other qualities than kitsch or nostalgia, ie. because they are simpler, easier, harder, use different hardware/technology etc.)

The most useful way to define retro is a game experience offering outdated gameplay, game mechanics, art design or hardware that is significantly enough different from what is currently available/being played that part of the enjoyment of the game experience is specifically the difference between the older gaming eperience and what's new and currently available.

That's what we really mean by retro, underneath it all. And this includes nostalgia or kitsch if you want it to, but it doesn't have to.

Time limits, as some have offered, might seem a natural way to create an objective yardstick to measure retro, but they really don't make sense to me.

In the early days of gaming, technological changes made games obsolete on a very short time scale. Using a "retro after ten years" yardstick in that context makes no sense. For example, enjoying 70s Pong-only devices and Mattel Handhelds would be retro, by my definition, as soon as people started playing Pac Man in the arcades and Atari 2600s, which was just a few years later and made both of those gameplay experiences out of date.

Or, to look ahead, if VR immersive gaming becomes the predominent way people game over a short period of time, then all games played looking at a flat, 2d display will become retro as soon as that happens, not ten years later.

My proposed definition of retro is useful because it is focused on the actual gaming experience and applies to more gamers universally. It also isn't tied to one generation, which confuses things. (ie. the situation where folks who grew up with SNES have nostalgia for that retro system therefore argue that SNES defines retro. By my terms, of course the SNES is retro, but so are the PS1, and the Dreamcast. Enjoying anything out of date, in part because it is out of date, is retro.)

Finally, having lived through it, a good early example of a game that had "retro popularity" would be Ms. Pac Man.

Ms. PacMan was one of the earliest games that made a comeback because people were very much looking for, and were willing to pour quarters into a older school game. Some did it for kitsch reasons, some for nostalgia, others because the other games in the arcade were charging 50 cents a play or because fighting games had made gaming too competitive.

Most people weren't self-conscious about it. To them, Ms. PacMan was just "fun" and so a ton of businesses kept the machine around and Namco kept inventing new cabinets and ways to move the machine.

So, this broader, simpler definition of retro encompasses more of the reasons, more different people enjoy retro gaming. In my opinion, that's the most useful way to pin this down.

And, btw, despite all the grumbling, this is a worthy topic. Being able to express what retro is, helps promote and sustain retro gaming and retro games culture.

A broad definition of retro means more people can be included. We want that.
Last edited by vic oakland on Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Damm64
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by Damm64 Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:52 pm

Well i just read someone on facebook say that the PS3 is retro. Riiiiiiiiight.
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vic oakland
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by vic oakland Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:05 pm

Damm64 wrote:Well i just read someone on facebook say that the PS3 is retro. Riiiiiiiiight.


Robotron, Berserk and Tempest machines were retro in a much shorter time frame.

So were these home consoles.

I'm not necessarily arguing that the PS3 is retro.

I am arguing that if the retro gaming community wants to make a very narrow definition of retro that only hurts...the retro gaming community.

If someone finds the PS3 retro, because they think it's old school or different from what's available now, more power to them.
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by o.pwuaioc Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:34 pm

In other news, I no longer think we should define water as consisting of molecules comprised of 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. I mean, that only hurts the water community. Water should be about what I define water, which I take to mean liquid that is clear.

Take that, English language!
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3DSStrider
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by 3DSStrider Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:09 pm

When Gamestop stops selling them.
Insert clever quote here.
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vic oakland
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by vic oakland Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:03 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:In other news, I no longer think we should define water as consisting of molecules comprised of 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. I mean, that only hurts the water community. Water should be about what I define water, which I take to mean liquid that is clear.

Take that, English language!


Actually, in point of fact, no.

Attacking posts and mocking them may be fun for you.

Of course, that's a lot easier than making a thoughtful argument.

Retro can be defined by a small, self-selected community that mocks people and makes folks feel unwelcome. That's our choice. I'd say it's a foolish one, but we can go that route if we choose, it wouldn't be the first time.

I don't think we should.

I first came to this website through the "Best Undiscovered" PS2 thread from November, 2008.

That was a time when the PS2 was still in production, not dissimilar to where the PS3 is at now.

http://www.racketboy.com/retro/sony/ps2/the-best-undiscovered-playstation-2-ps2-games

It's a good list of games. I'd even say it's exactly the kind of list that retro gamers like to make and find, discussing the merits of overlooked, hard-to-find and collectible games.

Someone could come to Racketboy, read that list and get turned on to game genres and styles that would get them further interested in retro gaming, in collecting and maintaining older equipment and participating in a community that shares those values. When that happens we all win.

That's what I'm talking about when I say if someone wants to treat the PS3 as retro, they should be welcome to do so. They may even have some compelling reasons to back them up.

And, yeah, that may not match everyone's definition of retro exactly, especially purists who'd rather mock people than build a community...but then again, when has everyone ever agreed on video games?
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Luke
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Re: When are retro games retro?

by Luke Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:12 pm

nightrnr wrote:I shall refrain from using it in the future. :P


When are games from the future actually from the future? I mean, as soon as you talk about them it's old news.

This thread has been silly for quite some time but it's fun to read everyone's opinions.
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