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What does 'Retro' mean to you?

What do you define as 'retro'?  

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So what I think of as retro and what others tend to seems well out of whack. I got the impression that, when I implied Gradius V was a retro game, people were a bit taken aback? 

 

It's fifteen years old!!

 

For quite a while I've been convinced that most people see the games from their childhood as retro, i.e. that it's linked to nostalgia. I'm completely not like that; in fact I don't think of games as 'retro' or 'modern' at all - they're just games. So I think i'm a bit of an edge-case? 

 

How many of you subscribe to Strider's POV with Retro Gamer, i.e. anything over 10 years old is retro, and how many feel it's a far older proposition, and why?

 

It's a completely subjective and unquantifiable term, so we're not trying to find out who is 'right' or 'wrong' :) 

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I'd personally say anything from two generations ago.

 

So at the moment, PS2/GC/XB generation is categorised as retro to me now, but PS3/360/Wii is still relevant. Of course, we're nearing the end of this generation, and it's getting tougher to pick up some notable games as circulation slows down.

 

The lines are muddier these days with HD Remasters up the wazoo, mind.

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Ideally old and new games wouldn't be separated as "retro" or modern; there's no "retrolistening" or "retrowatching", after all. However, when it's such an established thing you kind of have to play along.

 

For me it used to be about retail presence; can you still buy the games new without going to a specialist seller? What about the hardware? That said, things get weird when you have situations where NG.Dev are bringing out new games for "dead" hardware, and where games are being resurrected for digital distribution. It turns into "does the game's original release predate the hardware's "demise"" or something...

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:P So nice to see myself name checked in this poll.


I've had this question constantly come up for the last 16 years (when I first started professionally writing about old games for a living) as sometimes readers struggle with certain systems/games being covered in the magazine. It's tough to define from the viewpoint of the mag because every single person has their own idea of what the answer to that question is and it's often directly at odds with someone else's, which used to cause us no end of headaches.

 

Retro Gamer pretty much uses my own personal barometer which is 15 years and older (we changed it from 10 due to the insanely long lifespan of the Xbox 360).

What I find most interesting is that you'll typically see a bullish viewpoint on forums/groups etc because many of us seem to associate retro games with those we exclusively played in our youths and can't understand that other people who are younger than us will look at the later machines that came along in a completely different way.

 

After a few years of genuinely losing sleep over it, I eventually came to realise that there's no point arguing over whether Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory or Shadow Of The Colossus is retro. You simply make it clear to your readers where the magazine they read stands on the subject and then the choice is up to them. That's not to say we'll be putting a Xbox 360 on the cover any team soon. We know where the magic is when it comes to sales and that's predominantly the 16-bit/32-bit period. 10 more years and that might change.

 

Good replies so far, will be interesting to see where everyone stands, but I reckon it's going to be games from my childhood winning out.

Edit. I was wrong on the poll. Shows what I know :lol:

 

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40 minutes ago, strider said:

Retro Gamer pretty much uses my own personal barometer which is 15 years and older (we changed it from 10 due to the insanely long lifespan of the Xbox 360).

 

So the "strider metric" should be 15 years?

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Retro to me

 

Any console release before and including: Saturn/ PS1 N64

 

Any handheld released before and including: GBA

 

It's clear to me that ps3, Xbox 360, Wii are not retro, and neither is the DS handheld.

 

I think we will soon have Xbox, PS2 gamecube about to cross from the grey area into retro with the release of 'next gen' hardware.

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50 minutes ago, strider said:

After a few years of genuinely losing sleep over it, I eventually came to realise that there's no point arguing over whether Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory or Shadow Of The Colossus is retro. You simply make it clear to your readers where the magazine they read stands on the subject and then the choice is up to them. That's not to say we'll be putting a Xbox 360 on the cover any team soon. We know where the magic is when it comes to sales and that's predominantly the 16-bit/32-bit period. 10 more years and that might change.

 

 

360 release date.... 22 November 2005. Should be on the cover next year by rights :lol:

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1 minute ago, Lorfarius said:

 

360 release date.... 22 November 2005. Should be on the cover next year by rights :lol:

By rights, but we'd never do it (yet). Just like we don't regularly put PS2/Xbox/GameCube games on the cover :)

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12 minutes ago, ulala said:

 

So the "strider metric" should be 15 years?

Whatever works for treble :)

 

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1 hour ago, Siri said:

I'd personally say anything from two generations ago.

 

So at the moment, PS2/GC/XB generation is categorised as retro to me now, but PS3/360/Wii is still relevant. Of course, we're nearing the end of this generation, and it's getting tougher to pick up some notable games as circulation slows down.

 

The lines are muddier these days with HD Remasters up the wazoo, mind.

Pretty much the same as me. PS2/Xbox/Gamecube back is retro to me, and even the Wii. Can't see the 360 as retro yet as a lot of the output still stands up today. 

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When I read "retro" means old in the sense of "no longer in shops +1 generation". More or less. However, personally, retro for me means the NES, DOS and Amiga 500. Simply because that were the games I played when I grew up. So there's like two kinds of retro, and I like both of them 

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3 hours ago, strider said:

Retro Gamer pretty much uses my own personal barometer which is 15 years and older (we changed it from 10 due to the insanely long lifespan of the Xbox 360). :lol:

 

 

You can't just f~<%ig go changing the b{^#@)+d rules whenever you sh£££ing well want! 

 

Spoiler

Cunt :D

 

3 hours ago, strider said:

Whatever works for treble :)

 

 

Damn right. Don't make me come down there! 

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What I consider retro.

 

Played as a kid:

Arcade/NES/GB/MD/MCD/SNES/DOS

 

Played as a teen/young adult:

Arcade/SAT/PS1/N64/DC/WIN95/98

 

Played in my 20s:

PS2/GCN/XB/GBA/DS/WINXP

 

And they’re all full of amazing games that still stand up.

 

 

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My personal approach as a bloke in my forties who grew up with Grandstand's and ZX81's through to the 32 bit era is, I consider anything up to and including the year 1999 as retro and/or classic gaming. These were the pioneering years for me. This takes you up to the Dreamcast years, and neatly covers my misspent youth. Plus it just about pulls in the first Shenmue. After that, everything else is just nostalgia gaming. My daughter grew up with Super Mario Sunshine and other GC games, but even she doesn't consider those as "retro" games. I loved Rez and Vice City on the PS2. We still play them now, but don't consider them classic or retro games. Just imho, of course.

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2 hours ago, Treble said:

 

You can't just f~<%ig go changing the b{^#@)+d rules whenever you sh£££ing well want! 

 

  Hide contents

Cunt :D

 

:lol:

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I suppose it depends on your age, really. I work with someone who described PS2 as "really retro" because it came out the year she was born. Whereas I was 18 when PS1 launched.

 

To be honest, I kinda think anything last gen is retro, especially as we're approaching the end of this generation. Could it be that retro is essentially "no new releases"?

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Games from your childhood is how I would define "retro". Its very age dependant.

 

TBH not even sure what retro actually means? It seems to just apply to games and tech? For example I wouldn't call 60s music retro... I just say music from the 60s I tend to do the same with games.... 

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10 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

anything discontinued and no longer actively available at retail is "retro" to me. 

The Wii U is retro. 

 

Wonder what will be classed as "Retro" going forward will the term even apply as we enter a world of backwards compatibility, streaming and subscription services.

 

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Like @strider said, we've had some immensely long-tail generations since the 7th gen (PS3/360) were released. I think partly down to the success of the 360, that the credit crunch hit just as the 360 was peaking and people not wanting to flash out hundreds on new kit, but also because Nintendo made a virtue of tech stagnation.

 

All this has made the past feel much more recent. Around 1987 we were amazed by the SMS; by 1993 we were staggered by a massive leap into Mode 7 and basic 3D, then four years later we'd progressed to Final Fantasy VII, four years after that Halo was out, etc. etc. Nowadays, you look at a game released even eight years ago and it stands up: Killzone 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Uncharted 3... Super Mario Galaxy 2 is nine years old. Four years ago? Not even worth mentioning; they just look 'new'.

 

I'm rambling, but I'd say the big 'WOW' tech revolution is VR, which still hasn't hit the mainstream properly. If it had, this would be a different conversation. As it stands, the tl;dr is that retro can feel a lot further back in time these days.

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38 minutes ago, MattyP said:

 

Wonder what will be classed as "Retro" going forward will the term even apply as we enter a world of backwards compatibility, streaming and subscription services.

 

 

And remasters/remakes, yep. But that said, I think older games are still going to be fairly niche. Look at the disinterest in pre-90s movies on Netflix and Amazon; they'd rather stick up 30 straight-to-streaming films than one B&W film. Games are even more future-focused, and nostalgia for original old games will remain a tiny part of the market, I think.

 

I think the likes of Nintendo are drawing back from making their old games available, too. They'd much rather make the big titles scarce so that they can do a fancy-schmancy remake like Link's Awakening. I have a feeling this will become the new normal: why have an old game permanently on the digital shelf selling for $6 (netting you maybe 10k a year) when you can make it absent/desirable and charge $50 for a remake when your core demographic gets nostalgic for their youth, and make millions? I think that's gonna be the new normal.

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17 minutes ago, Treble said:

Like @strider said, we've had some immensely long-tail generations since the 7th gen (PS3/360) were released. I think partly down to the success of the 360, that the credit crunch hit just as the 360 was peaking and people not wanting to flash out hundreds on new kit, but also because Nintendo made a virtue of tech stagnation.

 

Indeed certainly hasn't been that much of a leap in terms of game design between the 7th gen and current IMHO. Just seems the graphics are ever more shinier. Still play on my 360 now and doesn't feel old in anyway. At times I prefer it to the current gen as it never needs to patch these days and everything feels snappier. Miss "proper" consoles sometimes - you know the ones that just played games. End of.  

 

I've been clearing a lot of retro stuff out of late - simply don't have time to play and hate it just sat in cupboards taking space  up. I am now actually thinking of getting rid of the PS4 and Xbox One and just keeping the Switch and Xbox 360! I find there is simply more variety of games on my 360 (like arcade drivers, old 2D shooters - Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun etc), the games are cheaper and its faster to get playing.

 

Also still have a Wii too and a Wii Fit board. Still use Wii Fit and Wii Sports. Keeping it just for those.

 

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...and that's why I love emulation so much. Well, one reason! Turn on your PC, stick a game on that used to load over the course of what felt like hours, back in the day, and you're playing it in seconds. Often with zero load times.

 

And although i'm not into it personally, FPGA-based stuff like that Megadrive console are fantastic pieces of hardware. You're not shackled to whichever publisher holds the rights to your favourite games, curating what you can and can't play simply because old hardware fails and then they have you by the danglies. This is turning into a right old bluster, isn't it? I'll shut up now :D

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1 hour ago, Kevvy Metal said:

anything discontinued and no longer actively available at retail is "retro" to me. 

The Wii U is retro. 

 

Same here e.g. PS3 is retro.

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I usually see it as up to and including the generation before last.  So GC, PS2, Xbox and DC are the last consoles I consider to be retro.  It's a bit trickier now as Nintendo has started to release out of sync with the others.

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Interesting - I kinda agree that the PS2/GC/DC era kinda defines the end of the retro era; but that's something more to do with the kinds of games that were made; we seem to have hit a more directly evolutionary phase, rather than revolutionary; so we're seeing fewer new game types.

 

And why you're seeing direct remasters of PS3/360-era games, plus BC; modern games are much more the same as that gen, only shinier, larger, more complex AI and the like.

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On 02/07/2019 at 10:59, Treble said:

...and that's why I love emulation so much. Well, one reason! Turn on your PC, stick a game on that used to load over the course of what felt like hours, back in the day, and you're playing it in seconds. Often with zero load times.

 

That is the route I'm going. Have one PC box that does pretty much everything. If I get the urge to play and old game I can quickly and easily.

 

Realised for me its a bit of rose tinted glasses thing. I would boot a game up on an old piece of hardware, play for 30mins or so then pack it all way. 

 

Only have a few stone cold classics from the past that I want to play regularly and can get access to those easily. So whilst I was kind of sad to see my  collection go it didn't have as big of an impact as I expected. Happy I made so much money out of things I'd largely got from boot sales or in sales TBH. :) It's all about the gaming experience for me - so the rebirth to a degree of arcade gaming and gaming cafes is great. Fully intend to visit these more frequently when I move. 

 

So I will have a mini-SNES and a mini-NES. I have a soft spot for these machines, particularly the SNES and they are lovely and compact. so don't take up much space and I can leave them out at all times! Quite content with these and the older games I can access through the PC or as downloads on the consoles I do have.

 

I can play both Salamander and R-Type arcade perfect. Which is absolutely fantastic. 

 

Anyway apologies for the slight derail....

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On 01/07/2019 at 13:17, Treble said:

How many of you subscribe to Strider's POV with Retro Gamer, i.e. anything over 10 years old is retro

 

98% of the original RLLMUK users. Basically everyone except Divebomb, who probably can't even tell you what day of the week it is (due to being drunk) and Uncle-Clive, who likes to pretend every day is 1985 like that Wizzard song.

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On 01/07/2019 at 15:02, Qazimod said:

Ideally old and new games wouldn't be separated as "retro" or modern; there's no "retrolistening" or "retrowatching", after all. However, when it's such an established thing you kind of have to play along.

 

It defines wether something is fair game to reverse engineer, pirate, exploit or clone for a public domain audience. The older ruleset for what we call 'copyright' has things enter a fair game scenario after multiple decades, but the consesus within gaming userbase, is that a single decade counts as public domain. Or the rule of thumb, that if it gives you the feeling fuck am I that old already, I need a Guiness.

 

He Waits. That's What He Does. Andah tell ya what Tick Followed Tock Followed... 

 

 

 

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