what-is-retro

Retro Games, More popular now than in the 80’s & 90’s?

When is a Retro Game actually Retro?
If someone was to ask you which games are Retro Games, what would you reply? Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, or maybe Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and Playstation 2?
My personal opinion is that it all depends on what games you played during your childhood. There really are no rules despite what some people may tell you. I grew up playing games on the Commodore 64 and Amiga. For me, these are my Retro Games.

Not every new game these days has crazy 3d graphics and special effects. I remember as a child, waiting in anticipation for the next game release with ‘better graphics’ was something to really look forward to. Videogames have surpassed the point where we expect more, they don’t need to look amazing to be fun, they need to be good games to be fun. A great example of this is Nintendo. The only company that sticks with what they do best, ‘Making Great Fun Games’.

Nintendo never give up on their ideas and choose not to release a ‘Mega Powerful Console’, and I agree, It’s not needed. I am quite happy to let Microsoft and Sony carry on remaking visually pleasant war games for the fanboys, whilst I sit at home playing another new classic 2d Mario Bros adventure.

Steam is another great example. Take a look on the Steam website shop. There are literally hundreds of Platformers, Point & Click Adventures, Pixelated RPG’s and many other ‘Retro Inspired’ titles and remakes. Retro Games in my opinion are more popular now than when they was originally released. Why is this? Games have more exposure today than in the past.

Back in the 90’s, the internet was something not everyone could afford. Those without such¬†luxuries meant things like advertising your game on your own website simply wasn’t an option. Other things we take for granted now like social media sharing (getting your game idea out there) simply didn’t exist. Back then all you had was Magazines to look through in the hopes you could contact someone via an advert or an address to get your game published.

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New Retro Games
The Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum scene is another great place to look. There has been some fantastic releases over the last two years. Commando, a classic on the c64 received a complete overhaul by Nostalgia group and re-released as Commando Arcade. New graphics, new music, a massive improvement over the original. Another recent Nostalgia release was Ghosts’n Goblins Arcade, which was given the same treatment as Commando plus added levels from the Arcade version, and these two games are completely free to download! Other small game companies like RGCD, Psytronik Software, Revival-Studios and Knights-of-Bytes are releasing new 8bit games all the time and with great success. It’s 2015 and people are still mad about Retro Games!

Knights-of-Bytes are currently coding Sam’s Journey for the Commodore 64, which is looking to be the best cutesy platform game on the C64 ever, (move over Mayhem in Monsterland, your time is up!) really pushing the C64 hardware to it’s limits. I am very excited about this game and will be purchasing it as soon as it’s released. Graphically it’s looking to put the likes of the Mastersystem and NES to shame!

The good old Speccy isn’t short of new Retro Games either. Here’s a few recent ZX Spectrum releases you may want to download and try out for yourself. Jet Set Willy 2015 Bug Fixed Edition, Explorer (Scramble Clone), Complica DX (Puzzler), Rabid Mower (Lawn Mower Game?) and Saboteur! 2, to name a few. The ZX Spectrum Scene seems to be thriving with new Homebrew releases, coders old and new heading back to the bedroom to create their new masterpiece.

Most if not all games I have played that have been released in the past year or so, have all been free downloads, which shows that gaming isn’t always about making money and that deep love for old games and ‘Feeling a child again’ is still there in all of us. It’s hard to believe that these games still seem to be attracting young and old gamers after all these years. Maybe it’s because they are more fun?

I would love to hear what you guys think about the current Retro Gaming Scene. Share your comments below and thank you for reading.




  • Kasreyn

    The retro remains strong! Even the hardware itself is starting to be reproduced, an exciting time to experience. Thanks for the C64 links, Sam’s Journey is looking especially good.

  • Alec Foster

    Great article – I think you make a lot of valid points, especially regarding Nintendo focusing on delivering games that are actually fun and not getting hung up on the graphical/CPU arms race being waged by Microsoft and Sony.

    Personally, some of the best and most innovative titles have gone out of the Indie/retro scene in recent years, especially on Steam.