What are old video games called?

Objectively speaking, I would say that “retro” refers to games created before around 1998, Kratky says. They are mostly NES, SNES and Sega Genesis games, although they are not limited to those consoles. These are the first titles that laid the foundations for the games we play today. What I do know is that it's fantastic to see games being released for the consoles I played when I was a child, as well as the incredible support that many of these titles receive from the retro gaming community.

Yesterday's most popular new releases are now “classic” or “retro” games, and in recent years I've heard a lot of debate about whether they exactly meet the requirements for such labels. The revival of previous game styles, based on nostalgia, has also been accompanied by the development of the modern chiptune gaming music genre. Retro games are generally based on previous generation video game systems that are outdated or discontinued, but can also be enjoyed through emulation using modern hardware. In my opinion, retro games become something new every year, and in recent years, the Nintendo GameCube has gone retro.

With the growing nostalgia and success of retro compilations from the fifth, sixth and seventh generations of consoles, retrogames have become a trending topic in modern games. Retrogames are generally based on outdated or discontinued systems, although ported retrogames allow playing on modern hardware through ports or builds. The first known instance of the term retro in gaming came from the online video game store RetroGames, which was launched in 1997 as a joint effort by Turbo Zone Direct and Robert Frasure. Like anyone who has been reading me here or following my video games on the Internet for the past 19 years, I've basically been playing video games long enough to qualify for old status as garbage.

Retrogaming has existed since the early years of the video game industry and became popular with the Internet and emulation technology. It was a very simple tennis game, similar to the classic video game Pong from the 70s, and it was a great success at an open day at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. I took a photo of the C64C with all the games I had at the time and shared it on Facebook and Twitter, and that post began my journey to the retro gaming community on social media, leading me to attend events and meet people, as well as making some good friends along the way. So, for my brief answer, a game or system must be at least 15 years old to use the term retro or retro game.

One of the first to lean in that direction was the 1983 game show Starcade, which referred to Space Invaders as “the grandfather of video game fashion”, even though it premiered just five years before that series debuted. Retrogaming, also known as classic games and old school games, is today's game and collection of outdated personal computers, consoles and video games. An early 1989 edition of Nintendo Power also followed this path, referring to several games such as Pac-Man, Q*bert and Xevious as classics, despite their relative freshness in retrospect.

Dorothy Hetcher
Dorothy Hetcher

Subtly charming food fanatic. Infuriatingly humble travel maven. Friendly web advocate. Avid pizza fanatic. Passionate internet ninja.

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