Retro Games

Why are Retro-style Games More Popular Now Than Ever?

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June 14, 2021

Gaming has changed a lot over the last several decades, we now live in the era of flashy CGI trailers and amazing action set-pieces, an era where games can be marketed purely off their visuals and depth of animation. It’s clear to see that if you were to compare classics like Pong or Pacman to some of the modern triple-A behemoths like Assassins Creed Valhalla or Cyberpunk they would seem to be from completely different worlds. With modern titles becoming more and more photo-realistic a lot of fans are looking to retro games or retro style games to break them away from the monotony of reality.

To a lot of gamers retro graphics are a call to the past, a wave of nostalgia to their childhoods which leads them to them further enjoying the title regardless of whether the game in question is actually retro. Stylistic choices such as pixelated graphics, side scrolling levels and point and click adventures take us back to the times when developers had to find ways around the deficiencies of the hardware and software they were working with, these styles are still commonly used by indie developers who are not able to muster the same budget as larger studios.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

An example of a relatively new game that employs retro styles is the 2019 Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Bloodstained comes as the spiritual successor to the retro Castlevania series by Konami who had all but abandoned it believing that its side scrolling metroidvania gameplay had no place in the modern gaming scene. Coincidentally it was when the series turned to a modern 3d setting that sales and reviews for the games started dropping. The resurrection of the classical retro setting in Bloodstained leads it to not only being a fantastic spin off from the main series but also one of the best games in its genre.

An image of gameplay from Bloodstained Ritual of the Night

Final Fantasy 7,8,9,10 Remasters

In order to see the relevance that retro games hold in the current gaming market, you would need to look no further than the remasters of Final Fantasy games 7 to 10. These games were all created between the years of 1997 and 2001 but all of them have received remasters (and for 7 also a full remake) to make them playable on more widely owned consoles in the present day. Whilst the remasters do make the games more playable it’s the storytelling and character presentation that made the originals so widely loved and has now led to the remasters being enjoyed by fans both new and old.

An image showing gameplay from Final Fantasy 8

Red Strings Club

This beloved indie darling even though released in 2018 boasts a pixelated art style which would convince many that it is a true retro title, the art style attracted the game a lot of attention from lovers of retro and indie games but it was its cheesy cyberpunk bartender story that stole hearts. It features no voice acting and has little in the way of gameplay, acting instead as almost a visual novel with breaks in between to mix customers drinks. Red strings club has garnered a cult following and looks to be relevant for many years to come.

There is no doubt that gaming is advancing at an incredible rate but with every step forward there are many that look behind admiring the history that developers and fans have built and it is through appreciating that history that we realize just how much value retro titles have had in the past and how  much value they have in the present and future.

An image showing a scene for Red Strings Club

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