Video games have achieved incredible heights over the years, accomplishing things that early development pioneers may only have dreamed of. Yet some games are so perfect that they simply stand the test of time, and are as much fun to play today as when they were first released. Whether you are keen to play a game that holds special childhood memories or wish to discover for the first time a hallowed classic that has inspired many more down the line, Retro Games are a great way to experience the broad history of gaming.
What is a retro game?
There is no one single metric for determining what makes a video game “retro”. Some might argue that a game is only retro after a certain number of years has passed. Others may feel that any game can be considered retro based on the age of the gamer reflecting on a given video game library. For many, we tend to think of the games we played when we were younger as retro titles, as well as those that may have come before our time.
Regardless, whatever your opinion of what makes for a retro game, there are vast number of ways to enjoy and appreciate older software in the modern gaming landscape.
Classic Mini Retro Consoles
One of the best ways to experience a large library of retro games dedicated to a now-defunct console generation is with a “mini” or “classic” console reproduction. These are often miniature versions of the original consoles, designed to mimic the original design while carrying a selection of built-in software rather than functioning as a working console for old discs or cartridges. Lately this retro gaming trend has received a huge boost in popularity with the release of the NES and SNES Classic consoles from Nintendo.
Following suit, gamers can now find classic mini versions of a number of popular platforms from the 1980’s and 1990’s, such as the Sega Genesis, the PlayStation One, Atari, and even the Commodore 64. Despite mirroring their older counterparts, these new consoles are often redesigned to work with modern television aspect ratios and HDMI inputs.
Handheld and Plug-and-Play retro games
A number of other devices allow access to old video games and even retro arcade games through simple handheld devices. Some take the shape of a game controller that can plug directly into your television input, providing access to a built-in library of vintage video games. Other devices feature their own screen, like any other handheld or mobile gaming device, but grant players access again to a pre-installed selection of classic titles dating as far back as the halcyon days of arcade cabinets or the very first home gaming consoles.
Retro games on modern consoles
Current generation consoles also give players ways to experience some of the best retro hits of the past. For example, the Nintendo Switch offers a growing library of digital NES and SNES titles in conjunction with a subscription to its Nintendo Online service.
Xbox One consoles are conversely backward compatible not only with digital purchases, but with physical discs as well. An ever-expanding library of games dating all the way back to the original Xbox console can be played from their original discs, or purchased digitally from the Xbox marketplace.
PlayStation 4 has a back-catalogue of games originating from previous console generations as well available for streaming via its PS Now subscription service. However, unlike with the Xbox One these games must be accessed through a PS Now subscription, and cannot be played by inserting the original disc into a PS4 console.
Playing your retro games on new hardware
Some manufacturers are actually creating new consoles that are in fact capable of playing retro video game cartridges for a variety of older platforms. These “new” retro game consoles will regularly feature the ability to host cartridges and software from across a number of different platforms. One example, the RetroN 3 gaming console, can actually play cartridges for the NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis consoles. Of course you’ll still need to provide your own library of retro games!