What today is known as a genre, for many of us was the present. The “retro” thing became fashionable years ago, both in video games and in the movies, and here I leave some thoughts about it and a list of classic games that no one should stop trying.
Considered, perhaps in a way that few share for a mere matter of age, that retro games are not retro for many of us. I understand the concept of “retro” as something old, and unfailingly, this concept became fashionable a few years ago. But I always noticed a logical lack of nostalgia for this nickname by those who, for temporary reasons as I said before, did not experience these games at the time, but did so when they had already gone out of style.
That is why I say that the halo of nostalgia is absent, and that precisely those who enjoy “retro” games as if they were a genre, are those who did not live that generation. And let’s stop there: with this I am not saying that it is good to see it like this or that it is bad. I am only exposing a chronological reality that I feel, at least in my way of seeing things, that is the possible cause of said dichotomy. I am not making, not even close, a value judgment. For me, all those games that today we call “retro” and are considered part of a genre, at the time they were a face-to-face, tacit reality, part of a lifestyle. Shooter was shooter, beat’em up was beat’em up and platformer was platformer. Each game had its own genre, and the white hairs in this beard can attest to those memorable times.
As I stated all of the above, I always considered that living things in their moment has a very particular taste, which is generated for you precisely by a social, technological and psychological context completely tied to the time factor. It happened to me when, several years ago, I began to be interested in the horror movies of the Hammer. For those who don’t know, the Hammer was an English producer who made many of the best horror movies of the 50s, 60s and 70s. I started watching these films when I was approximately 15 years old, and although I enjoyed them, I could not appreciate their context, since said production company, as I said before, had its splendor from 1955 to 1979.
So, was I able to enjoy the movies? Clearly yes. I am not saying that if we do not see or enjoy a work at the time, then nothing makes sense.. It helped me a lot, at that time, to understand the context much better, having listened to people who lived through that era of cinema, and the fascination with which they spoke to me about those films was not the same that I could feel, obviously because of context issues. The cinema at that time was not, for logical reasons, the cinema that I had been consuming.
Many times I talk to much younger generations, and they tell me about their first console, a PlayStation 2, for example. Or from his first video game perhaps, the Ico or the Halo: Combat Evolvedlaunched in 2001. And it is impossible for me not to look back and think about what the new generations experience compared to what I was living in my time, at the same age. Perspective, context, hindsight.
Let’s take these two examples. While they enjoyed the Icowith its great narrative, its beautiful and colorful graphics, the immersion of the game, the mechanics, the cinematics… I for one was watching a pair of giant pixels hitting each other, in what simulated a boxing fight, with three colors on the screen and mechanics completely reduced to what a joystick with a single button could offer. And I’m not saying it’s bad, just different. Completely different perception of both realities.
And thinking about all this brings me back a lot to what we were talking about in this other note about the additional benefits of video games. For a logical matter, the handling of values, ideals, mechanics, concepts, designs and a great etc., which are handled by the younger generations, Those who are my age did not drive it at that time. For an obvious matter of technological evolution, our brain did not have to process as many things as those offered by the games of the closest generations.
That is why I found it interesting to show a small list of the videogames that marked me and with which I always used to play, as a boy and adolescent. So that, if they want, they can find them and play them, so that later they can tell me how they felt about these titles that, at least for me, completely changed my life. Taking into account that I was born in 1980, these are some of the consoles that I knew how to have (it would take a long time if I included them all) and the video games that I should highlight from each one.
It was my first console, when I was just in kindergarten. The future in my hands, something out of this world, a new experience that I shared with my dad and my cousins. The games that marked me at that time were: Frogger, Pitfall!, Pole Position, Boxing, Bowling, Dig-Dug, Donkey Kong, Basketball, Commando Raid, Human Cannonball, No Escape!, Keystone Kapers y Mario Bros.
Actually, the original NES I never had, it was rare to get the console for these payments. I had the version called Family Game, which is the one that almost everyone had. After the experience with the Atari, a whole new world opened up, full of games that could already tell you a story, with concepts such as levels, bosses, increased difficulty, learning curve… literally, a new world. The unmissable titles that I remember from that time are: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, Ninja Gaiden, MicroMachines, Battletoads, Excitebike, Tennis, Battletoads and Double Dragon, Kunio Kun no Nekketsu Soccer League and the Super Mario Bros 3one of the best video games in history in my opinion.
It was a big jump. Although somehow that feeling of surprise no longer existed, the console gave the same as the NES but multiplied by 10 on a technical level in many cases. The jump from the crude pixels of Atari to the best of the NES had been such that now this jump between generations, although it was great, was not so abysmal. At this time, I was dazzled: Altered Beast, World of Illusion, The Revenge of Shinobi, Comix Zone, Aladdinthe franchise Sonic, Streets of Rage II, Super Street Fighter II, Earthworm Jim, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist, Lion King, Mortal Kombat II, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master y Splatterhouse 3.
Again that incredible sensation of absolute surprise, of novelty, of having the future in our hands again. The leap from the previous generation to the PS1 was also abysmal, and a whole new world of possibilities was opened up for consoles and the world of video games. This generation has classics like: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Dino Crisis, Tekken 3, Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, Resident Evil 2, Tomb Raider, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Wipeout, Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit y Silent Hillone of my favorite games ever.
The same thing that had happened between the case of the NES and SNES that I mentioned, although there were notable differences, the surprise factor was not intense, since the PS2 also brought us incredible games, like those of PS1 but enhanced by their technical qualities. From this time, I remember: God of War 2, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, Tekken 5, Okami, Resident Evil 4, Black, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Cold Fear, Forbidden Siren y Silent Hill 2The best of the entire saga.
Although we’ve always been talking about consoles, I don’t want to put aside a vice that, despite having had many consoles, I never put aside: the PC. I wanted to focus on the days before the release of Windows, the beautiful days of MS-DOS, the operating system before the revolutionary creation of Microsoft. At this time, I must name: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Another World, Flahback, BlackThorne, Alone in the Dark, Doom, Battle Chess, Maniac Mansion, Stunt, y The Incredible Machine.
Obviously, I am missing hundreds of video games, great titles that marked eras, moments, indisputable times. What I tried to do is a list, as a demonstration, of those titles that also marked me in some way, exponents that I was able to enjoy at the time of its release and that I think everyone should play sometime. I had other consoles (Game Boy, Game Gear, SNES, Master System, Dreamcast, Wii, N64) but I didn’t put them first, because I didn’t want the list to go on forever and, second, because most of the games I had on those consoles had already enjoyed them on other platforms and there was no wow factor.
If you feel like it, then take note and try all these titles I mention, if you haven’t already. I would love to know what you think of this retro fashion that has become a new category among those who widely enjoy this beautiful world.