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How Retro is Retro?

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:45 am
by pocketmego
I'm wondering where the line is drawn between retro and modern gaming?

I mean certainly discounting the modern retro-style games covered by RG, how far back is the line?

Some have suggested the original Playstation could now be counted. Except that makes the N64 and Saturn viable as well. I don't know how comfortable I am with that. I wasn't all that thrilled when RG covered the jaguar as a retro machine.

Some say Retro ends with the 16 bit machines. This is certainly "my area" so I am not disagreeable to this idea. But, I can see some flaws with drawing such a definitive line there.


What do you think?


Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:49 am
by The Master
For me it has more to do with the overall feel of a game than the age of any specific piece of hardware. For instance, Ultimate Ghosts'n'Goblins on the PSP is definitely retro in my book. I still suck at it though :(

Hardware-wise isn't the general rule of thumb that it's anything over a decade old? After all, in 1997 we were using P90s (if we were lucky)...

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:50 am
by Antiriad2097
We've covered this before, but for me 'retro' is pre-PS1 and/or game styles that are no longer predominant (e.g. shmups).

PS1 and that generation's 'all 3D' games gave a real generational shift in game dynamics that are the division. Ridge Racer, for me, is a 'new' game.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:54 am
by The Master
I'd say R-Type Delta's still retro though. I so wish they'd bring out an f'ing R-Type Collection on PSP, like the Gradius one. I'd never be off the bloody thing!

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:29 am
by sleeper77
Saying what era retro is depends on ones opinion. I would like to see retro being from the early days of the Dreamcast and further back. Pre PS1 was mentioned here & in a way that would be ideal as it was in the days when gaming was not mainstream with most games being in 2d & 3d still being in the experimental stages.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:57 am
by CraigGrannell
As far as Retro Gamer goes, I'd say retro is whatever stuff's no longer around that people are interested in reading about, in order to keep the mag profitable. I personally prefer the emphasis to be stronger the further you go back, but I'm happy to see articles on more recent games in there. Then again, I always liked the reviews for the likes of OutRun 2—for me, Retro Gamer was always a magazine for retro gamers, rather than merely about retro gaming.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:27 am
by RetroRik
To me it is 8-bit and 16-bit systems.

However the PS1 does just make it into my list.

But Retro is in the eye of the beholder. :)


Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:28 am
by The Master
You can pick up a PS1 for a fiver these days, that's surely got to be retro.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:34 am
by GarryG
Well I think I’ve always taken the magazines title at face value ‘Retro Gamer’, a magazine about retro style gaming.
I think ‘Retro computer and Console User’ would be a very different publication, and that’s not what RG is about for me ;)

For me the question is more: ‘What makes a retro game?’ Obviously any game running on anything up to and including 16Bit machines is automatically classified as ‘retro’. After that it starts to get a bit messy and I think it entirely depends on the game.
For example: I’m happy to say DOOM is definitely retro, but is ‘half Life’? How about ‘Halo’?
And newer released games can have retro style game-play, and still be very good like the ‘Viewtiful Joe’ games!
So I think it’s whatever you class as a ‘retro’ gaming sytle that makes a game retro.
That’s why I would class all SHMUP type games as retro, not meaning an old game, but meaning an older or classic gaming style is used.

There are numerous versions of modern game releases for handheld and mobile phone gamers that have retro style game play, e.g., side scrolling versions of the current 3D FP games running on the latest generation of consoles like ’Prince of Persia’ and ‘God of war’ etc.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:39 am
by Smurph
Jesus Jones, not again.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:39 am
by seanmcmanus
I'm only really interested in the 8-bit era and arcade stuff. I can see a case for 16-bits being retro, but I'm not particularly intrested in Playstations and other later consoles. I thought about cancelling my sub a couple of months back because it was all getting too modern for me, but it seems to have redressed the balance a bit again.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:56 am
by GarryG
seanmcmanus wrote:I thought about cancelling my sub a couple of months back because it was all getting too modern for me...
So are you not interested in new games in the retro style then?
How about new games for old systems?
Would you consider the proposed feature on Dreamcast SHMUPS too modern?
Not saying you’re wrong, just asking your opinion?

We’ve had the ‘What machine is and isn’t retro’ debate too many times before IMO, and I honestly think the platform (machine) is irrelevant, it’s the game-play style that makes something retro or modern IMO!

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:33 am
by CraigGrannell
seanmcmanus wrote:I thought about cancelling my sub a couple of months back because it was all getting too modern for me, but it seems to have redressed the balance a bit again.
I think what people need to do with Retro Gamer (and this isn't a slight against you, Sean, but a general comment about reader reactions) is try to avoid knee-jerk reactions regarding the magazine's content, in terms of 'era'. The amount of x-bit content varies month-to-month, largely on the basis of who we can pin down to interview. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the mag ends up with more 8-bit stuff, and then another month there's more modern stuff. Ultimately, it's best to make any considerations regarding sticking with the magazine based on a sample of several issues, rather than just the one.

As for the 'what is retro?' argument, I don't have a problem with the thread popping up again. After all, this type of thread doesn't usually degenerate into a slagging match, and new readers always come on board and have opinions on this matter, which are handy for Darran to see.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:50 am
by Type2XS
In my opinion "retro" is first the type of game and then the plattform on which the game is running. As much as I love 8bit and 16bit, I wouldn't have a problem with features about "newer" systems like PSone or Saturn. Latter much because I never had one for myself and woult love to see some coverage of games, that are worth playing. Perhaps some rather unknown games for PSone as well. Don't know if I make friends here with a opinion like that :lol:

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:02 am
by GarryG
That sound like a perfectly friendly statement to me...

And I would suggest playing the Abe's Odyssey and Abe’s Exodus games for the PS1. If you haven’t seen them there not like the newer Oddworld titles, they play as side on platform games with some pseudo 3D elements.