The video gaming scene has yet to be left unscathed by fast-evolving tech. Nowadays, you hear of modern game titles like Horizon Forbidden West, Elden Ring, Ghost of Tsushima, CS: GO and Overwatch. The graphics and gameplay of these games are mind-blowing to say the least. Unlike their old-school predecessors, modern games are interactive and engaging, taking gaming to a whole new level.
In fact, the games have found an innovative way to engage with fans and even help them win some money through esports tournaments. Esports betting has become a pastime for fans who idolize their favorite players and teams. Fans who would like a walkthrough of esports betting can have a glimpse at sites like BetVictor Ontario, which offers several esports markets. From real money and fantasy betting to skin betting, fans can experience another aspect of modern video gaming to boost their fun.
But, an interesting trend has been taking shape over the years regarding classic video games. The Video Game History Foundation partnered with Software Preservation Network in July 2023 to study the commercial availability of video games to shocking results. 87% of US-produced classic video games are ‘critically endangered,’ that is, there isn’t a simple and legal way of purchasing and playing them on modern consoles.
What does it mean? A gamer who wishes to play older titles has two options: source for old hardware or emulate the game’s software on their PC. The old hardware route is pretty straightforward if you don’t discard ‘obsolete’ hardware as soon as the ‘new’ stuff arrives or you know a pal who can willingly lend you one.
Emulating software has flaws, such as encountering visual artifacts or extra bugs; worst of all, it is illegal. As other media like movies and series are enjoying nostalgia kicks, video games have joined the mix, albeit with limited titles on the current software. With that in mind, it is no wonder collecting old games and consoles has become a lucrative venture.
The most outright path for acquiring these gems is on eBay, but an individual isn’t likely to find a decent deal there. Sellers on eBay are mainly exclusive collectors who know what they have and how much it is worth. An alternative is Facebook Marketplace or Craiglist, with their reasonable prices but far inferior inventory.
With the rising demand for classic video games, various gatherings have sprung up to connect gaming fans. One such event is the Classic Game Fest, a convention in Austin, Texas. In 2007, Classic Game Fest attracted a mere 50 people in its inaugural event. Sixteen years later, the 22-23 July 2023 convention drew a record 13,000 crowd.
Various booths sold gaming merchandise—peripherals and systems, old games, and authentic hobbyist artwork. Complementing the gathering were other festivities, such as competitions for Mortal Kombat and Tetris, cosplay contests, and at least 30 arcade cabinets.
Classic Game Fest has several sponsors, with Game Over Video Games (GOVG) as the event’s primary host. GOVG is a small retro game store akin to Game World in Spokane and has enjoyed considerable success than GameStop in recent years. On the other hand, GameStop is a reputable nationwide chain front trying to stay relevant with modern gaming systems already embracing digital stores.
Certain modern consoles have picked up the fans’ enthusiasm towards retro games. The costly versions of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 come with disc slots, but the lower-priced Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 lack any. Nintendo Switch provides a cartridge slot, and the next generation of modern consoles will probably only be some digital.
Eventually, only time will tell on the possible consequences of having or not having all-digital media as a form of game preservation. Unlike a CD-based game, a digital license has the most significant advantage of not being prone to physical damage or misplacement. However, if a gamer takes time to scheme through the user agreement terms, they’ll find they are paying for a license to play the game rather than the game itself.
Such a scenario gives the game publisher legal powers to deny access to their games, especially if it’s online-based. It’s also noteworthy that over the years, video games are now requiring players to have reliable internet connectivity to play, even the single-player versions.
The above technical hitches aren’t the only reasons players are looking back to retro video games. There is the typical situation of rose-tinted glasses, but it’s interesting to note most retro games made the most of the moment with tech at the time. Popular classics like Sonic and Mario utilized witty game programming techniques such as rotoscoping and pre-rendered graphics for a realistic appearance despite their small size.
All tech constraints aside, what sets apart one game from another is its timelessness in storytelling and pacing. Few games rival the 2001 Soul Reaver 2 storyline or 2000’s Legend of Dragon’s captivating setting. Some modern open-world titles are too much to handle, and bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
With continuous tech improvement, game publishers’ immediate challenge is their imagination as choices become limited. However, most retro games have stood the test because they focus on outright fun.