15/09/2015

☆ This Is Retrogaming Present & Future ☆ #Retrogaming #GamersUnite

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Since starting Games Freezer 2 years ago I have seen the landscape of retrogaming change quite considerably in that short space of time and I think it's for the good of retrogaming.
It feels like the status and profile of retro gaming has increased beyond what it was 2 years ago and the retro gaming communities seemed to have swelled to a large online presence.
I can't quite ascertain why exactly but I think it has to do with the following key factors that have contributed to the growing presence of what feels like a fully fledged retrogaming movement.
Hey, I'm no expert but I think a combination of the following have really pushed retrogaming into the minds of the people like us who adore not just current gen gaming but the wonderful days of growing up playing some of the classic games from down the years.

Let's Get It Started In Here
Let me start with my personal favourite, Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a portal into the world of indie games, retro games and all manner of video games related projects that look to continue or revive the spirit of the video gamer and the games from years gone by. People are able to share retrogaming niche projects with an audience who are hungry for these cool things that celebrate the era of gaming past. For me my first encounter with backing a Kickstarter project was the wonderful ArtCade concept that was well over funded by the retrogaming community and will now be made into a cool book of arcade art by the Bitmap Books team who brought us the visual compendiums for Commodore 64 & Amiga and soon to be the ZX Spectrum. I can't wait to get my hands on the Artcade book and I'm sure the final product is going to be awesome and truly bring to life Tim Nicholls original design. How cool is that for a retro gamer to be able to share the wonder of the art form with like minded people and to even get your name into the final version of the book. Kickstarter has changed the landscape of these hobby projects forever more.


Book Him Danno
Linking nicely from Kickstarter are the wonderful guys at Bitmap Books who make the books who we would all love to make. Lovingly crafted retrogaming books aimed at those who adore the pixel art from the era and are still in love with the machines. The thing with the consoles and computers of the time is that they were all vastly different looking from each other and each one deserves it's own book as a result. I can't actually imagine the current gen consoles having this effect on people in the future as PS4 and XBOX One are the same box from a distance! Bitmap Books have tapped into this visual feast of differences and really brought home the beauty of the retrogaming machines from the time.
Indiana Dev & The Temple Of Games
Let's face it. It's cool to say you are Indie Dev. A one man band of creativity, you control all elements of the creative process and share your masterpiece with the world. These bastions of disruption and agility are keeping the 80's bedroom coder spirit alive in the current generation and are therefore keeping the retro gaming aesthetic alive too with some beautiful pixel art new old school games that are just as good if not better than the games in the 80's & 90's. I admire these guys massively as they bring to us the latest clever use of gaming mechanics invariably with a retro flavour thrown in. Lovely Jubbly!

Event Central
The events calendar for Video Games in general seems to have swelled and with this has also come a variety of prominent retro gaming specific shows such as PLAY, NERG and EGX also will host it's very own Retrogaming section. With EGX being the biggest video games show in the UK this is a massive tip of the hat to the retrogaming community and how it is seen by the mainstream gamer. Hopefully this will help people understand that we are all gamers whether we like current gen, retro or both. Games are fun so let's just all enjoy them.
Virtually Retro
The massive range of download services such as Steam, Origin, Good Old Games, iTunes App Store and Google Play alongside the virtual console, PSN and XBOX Live services have all embraced the retro games community in one form or another. This has meant that if you want to play that classic game but no longer have the hardware to play it you can still get that copy of Syndicate running on your PC like it was 1995 all over again! I love these services as I have been able to pay a reasonable price to play some of the classic games that I have missed out on over the years. These are great services and never have gamers young and old had this opportunity to really delve into the past at the touch of a button and download greatness from eras gone by. Bloomin' awesome that's what I say!
Community Spirit
What about those cool communities on Reddit and Google Plus that constantly spread the word on all the internet greatness that is out there on the subject of Retrogaming. These brilliant online communities really allow us retrogamers to immerse ourselves in the past and maybe discover and learn something new about our beloved past time that we may never have got the opportunity to previously. There are some real good communities but these two are my favourites:



Welcome To Retail Wars
Then we come to the retail stores out there who stock retro gaming items. These so called relics of the past used to be confined to the local car boot sale or jumble sale but now there is a recognised need for video games stores to stock retrogaming items. Funstock for example have a great range of new retrogaming items such as emulator handhelds and consoles which play multiple types of console games either through use of the physical cartridge or through use of the rom on an SD card. Funstock also stock a shed load of other merchandise such as books and collectibles from the retrogaming eras. 

Then we had the announcement from Gamestop who announced that they would begin to stock retro games in their high street stores. That is a massive indicator of the need to satisfy the hunger for retro games if a high street store is beginning to stock our cherished golden oldies.
The Worlds Marketplace
Some gamers view eBay as a negative as some sellers drive up prices for games by being unrealistic or just plain greedy when pricing up games on eBay. But the thing with eBay is that if you are looking for a specific video game, 9 times out of 10 you will find it on eBay. It's a colelctors dream in one sense as it provides you with a one stop shop to completing your collection(s). A bit of savvy research and you can invariably bag yourself a bargain. 
Readers Digest
The media coverage of Retro Gaming has been led excellently by Retro Gamer Magazine for as long as I can remember and with their marvelous series of console and computer specific 'bookazines' they ensure that retro gaming remains in print and as accessible as it was when back when physical print magazines such as Super Play and Mean Machines ruled the world! 
To Be This Good Takes AGES
Gamers who were around in the 80's are now in their 30's and 40's and are now looking back on the days of NES and Atari 2600 with a rush of nostalgia. This time round though they have plenty of disposable income and are able to buy the cool machines that they missed out on first time round and play the games that maybe they didn't get the chance to. There's plenty of gamers now who are looking to complete full libraries of machines such as the NES catalogue. It's something that really fuels the need for retrogames to continue being made available for those collectors who need that copy of Earthbound!

A Social Chameleon
I love being able to go onto You Tube and immediately find gameplay from a game that I haven't played in an age. Or maybe just tap into Twitter and uncover a cool retrogaming twitter account full of video games gems. Then I can head to Pinterest and find some of the finest fan art that you can think of all devoted to video games of my youth. Not to mention the hundreds of different Facebook groups I can join to talk retro games until the sun comes up. The social media of today puts us in touch with all of the cool people from all over the world of retrogaming. There's nothing more satisfying than creating new friendships online with fellow gamers who appreciate retro gaming as much as I do.
New Old Skool
Then there's the recent developments in the hardware world where we have witnessed the RetroN5, The JXD S7800b , the Recreated Spectrum, the Spectrum VEGA and a whole host of other emulation machines that resurrect the physical form factor of machines and games from the past. It's emulation with a twist as it gives a new lease of life to games that maybe people would be able to purchase or consoles that people wouldn't have the room to house. Purists seem to feel that the hardware is tacky and not in the spirit of retro games but I feel it has its place in keeping the retro gaming flame burning brightly.

The Future's Not Ours To See
So with this amazing base that defines the retro gaming scene 2015 what does the future hold for this awesome gaming community?

I'm sensing that we are moving to a time where there will be no retrogaming, no current gen gaming just gaming on one platform that will incorporate old school games and next gen games as gamers are realising that it's all about fun and less so about graphics and hardware. 

What I would love to see though is someone like SEGA or Nintendo create new games for old consoles......imagine a new SNES game coming out in 2016.......it would be a number one hit. The whole gaming world would stand up and take notice of the awesomeness that can be produced on a cool machine like the SNES or the Megadrive or the Dreamcast. I am amazed that SEGA haven't already taken this route to resurrect their fortunes.

Or imagine SEGA, Atari or Nintendo bringing out a new retro console with features that bring it into the 21st century.....maybe it would have a Steam like portal to enable you to buy from the back catalogue and play against online opponents. I'm 100% sure these kind of services would be popular and maybe just maybe this is what the future holds....

Whatever happens next in the world of  retrogaming i'm sure it's in the safest hands......the hands of us retro gamers.