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Top 10 Reasons Why Retro Gaming is Awesome

VO: Dan Paradis
Script Written by George Pacheco Everything old is new again. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons Why Retro Gaming is Awesome. For this list, we'll be ranking the most positive aspects about retro or nostalgic gaming practices, notable facts about old school gaming which should not be forgotten by modern generations of players. We'll be taking into account all sorts of retro gaming medium during the course of this list, from stand up arcade machines to home consoles from Atari, Sega and Nintendo. Special thanks to our user MikeyP for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script Written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Reasons Why Retro Gaming is Awesome


Everything old is new again. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons Why Retro Gaming is Awesome.

For this list, we'll be ranking the most positive aspects about retro or nostalgic gaming practices, notable facts about old school gaming which should not be forgotten by modern generations of players. We'll be taking into account all sorts of retro gaming medium during the course of this list, from stand up arcade machines to home consoles from Atari, Sega and Nintendo.

#10: Realism Optional


Bubble blowing baby dragons, anthropomorphic blue hedgehogs, Ducks in Suits of Armor and even McDonaldland mascots, the idea of fantasy was no stranger when it came to the world of retro videogaming, making many classic games of the day exercises of beautiful, imaginative madness. Although many current games still employ this sense of wonder and magic, today's focus on gritty, realistic situations and comparisons to everyday life make taking a step back into the wonderful world of simple, old school gaming all the more relaxing and fun.

#9: Risks and Experimentation


These days, big AAA games prefer to play it safe with focus group based results and tried and true ideas, but back in the day some of the best games on the market were often the ones that tried something new. Take Q*Bert for example, a puzzle platformer with bizarre looking characters and a foul mouth, Yet surprisingly it all worked. Or how bout Mortal Kombat, whom dared to introduce shock value to their game, much to the chagrin concerned parents. Surprisingly, there are a lot of games out there that were criticized back in the day for going against the trends for bizarre reasons. All that being said, this sort of thing has seen a revival in recent years thanks to the explosion of the indie market.

#8: Physical Media Still Lives!


Take a look through the collection of any self-respecting retro gamer, and you'll likely come across a cornucopia of gloriously gaudy artwork, fascinatingly detailed instruction manuals and multicolored cartridges. This was the world of retro gaming packaging, a truly awesome and artistic aspect of the medium that speaks largely of its intrinsic nature as a viable work of art. Whether it's the iconic layouts of the boxes themselves, the special coloring of a classic cartridge such as "The Legend of Zelda" or the countless hours was likely went into composing the detailed maps for early fantasy RPGs, the art of physical media was definitely not lost on gaming developers back in the day.

#7: No Installation Needed


Unless you were a PC gamer, with your favorite console there was no need to install any aspect of games onto any hard drives back in the 80s and 90s...heck, there wasn't even a hard drive involved at all! Instead, the only installation needed was the actual hooking up and plugging in of your chosen gaming console. That means no need to wait for patches, system updates or the game to finish downloading, just insert your newly purchased game into the console and away you go. Or at least after you blew into the cartridge

#6: Pure Gaming Satisfaction


In the pre-internet age, there was a certain satisfaction involved to making it all the way through a particularly difficult game, in order to catch an equally satisfying end sequence. And while that still exists today, There was no YouTube or means of seeing an ending prior to achieving it yourself, unless one was lucky enough to be in the room when a friend happened to beat a game, or maybe catch a glimpse of a screenshot in a magazine, This made achievements like game completion a hot button point of conversation between gamers, a topic of discussion made all the more natural given that so many iconic games of the day were being played simultaneously by millions of gamers around the world.

#5: Replayability


Another most excellent aspect of retro gaming tied into the notion endings and difficulty was replayability, specifically going back and attempting to run through a game again, such as in the hopes of acquiring a better ending screen, a la " Super Metroid". This idea of playing the same games over and over again also applies to high score based games in the arcade, party games such as "Super Mario Kart" or fan favorites like "Contra," where players simply had a blast playing through stages which, over time had become comforting and nostalgic, like revisiting an old friend.

#4: Cheat Codes


Speaking of "Contra," what group of gamers DIDN'T use the now iconic "Konami Code" to give their characters thirty lives in their war against the biomechanical alien hordes? That now classic combination of "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A" followed by "select" for two players, and then "start," is just one of a multitude of cheat codes designed to make the gaming experience easy, fun or otherwise unique. Cheat Codes were just one aspect of retro gaming tweaking, alongside password cheats which are almost as closely associated with the medium as the classic games themselves. Remember the first time you saw the Doom guy’s eyes light up after you typed I-D-D-Q-D? Good times.

#3: Gameplay Focus


Less talk, more rock. This was the main objective behind games of the retro world, exemplifying a specific focus about the game play itself, rather than inundating the player with a large amount of back story and expository dialogue concerning the plot. Instead, many titles of the day simply launched players almost immediately into the action and fun of game play, perhaps preferring instead to stimulate the imaginations of players via whatever pixilated craziness they might encounter along the way. Indeed, it was almost more fun for fans to discuss amongst themselves back stories behind such simple characters as Karnov, Rygar or Pitfall Harry than to have it all laid out for them by the designers.

2: Pick Up and Play


Have you ever picked up and begun a game, only to find out that the title in question has deemed it fit to bore you silly with an overtly long tutorial section? Retro gaming didn't bother much with this idea, preferring instead to keep it very much aligned with a "pick up and play" scenario. The combination of simple, stripped down controls and an easily approachable level of understanding made it commonly accessible for just about anyone to almost immediately get acclimated to their gaming surroundings, and get in on the fun. Then again, when your controller only has 2 action buttons, you don’t really need to learn all that much…

#1: Local Multiplayer


Speaking of "fun," what's more fun than actually having a group of your closest friends or family physically in the room with you for a gaming experience? This, above all, is our top reason why retrogaming is awesome, simply due to the fact that it stimulates our personal connections with each other, and all in the name of having a little fun. While there’s obviously still a good handful of titles that can be played locally on split screen, it seems like more and more that this sort of feature is becoming a thing of the past. Some day we might be telling our kids “You know, back in my day we used to sit NEXT to eachother to play games”. Crazy concept I know.

Do you agree with our list? Why do you play retro games? For more nostalgic top ten lists, published every day, please subscribe to WatchMojo.com!

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