Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Musings on Retrogaming

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 11, 2015

TavernMM4Sometimes I wonder if my weird retrogaming habit isn’t to appease my insatiable inner 13-year-old, who didn’t own a console system, and blew his allowance regularly at the local arcade. That kid had way more time than money, and not a lot of games (for a while).

That was probably a good thing for me, in the long run. I wrote games because I wanted to play games, and most of what I could afford came a quarter-a-play. Or I’d play at a friend’s house. So I’d go home and dream of how to make games like these. Only better, of course. At the time, that was at least remotely achievable. These games were largely developed by teams of one or two people, over a period of just a few months. That was something a kid learning programming in his bedroom could aspire to. Nowadays, a AAA game is so far beyond the pale of what a newbie can even conceive of developing (and yet, they do…)

Then came college, when a lack-of-time kinda matched lack-of-money. By that point, I could afford the occasional game every month or two, and would play the crap out of it, because it was all I had. And I’d drool over the magazine ads and reviews for games I really wanted to play but couldn’t afford.

And now I’ve got very little time, but the prices on old games are ridiculously cheap… especially if you wait for sales. Hey, another PC game from the 90s that I was always interested in playing but couldn’t afford the $50 for… now for $7 (or $2 or $3 on sale)! Okay, maybe. And I’m supposed to play this game WHEN?

Ah, well. So I have a hoarding mentality. I could play games 50 hours a week for years at this rate and not get through them all.

The thing that’s funny is that for me, it’s not just playing the old favorites. Sure, going back and replaying the old Ultimas and Might & Magics is a blast, once I get over the clumsy interface. No problem there. But it’s also going back and playing the old titles for the first time, and seeing what I missed. Sometimes (most of the time), I find I didn’t miss much. Or whatever praise I remember hearing back in the day, it didn’t apply to me for some reason.

But then I encounter the occasional gem. Something overlooked when it was new. Something simple and fun. Sometimes those old games were only popular because they were technological novelties. But sometimes… well, they are just as fun now as then.

Most of the time, I feel like a collector these days. ┬áNot a collector of oddities or rare items. No, I just collect digital versions of games. And I think to myself, “I have this vast library of games… definitely one for any possible mood!” Except then I still can’t figure out what to play. It’s like picking a show to watch on Netflix. Staggered by possibilities.

I’m just glad that’s still an option. Thank you, emulator-makers!

Filed Under: Retro - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Xian said,

    I think GOG has helped in that respect, games that either flew under the radar or I missed due to lack of funds when they were first released now have another lease on life.

    I can think of several that I missed but have since played after they came out on GOG, for instance I played the Dragonlance Gold Box games (Krynn) but not the Forgotten Realms ones (Gateway/Treasures of the Savage Frontier). Starflight and Ishar were ones I totally missed and Star Control 2 I hadn’t experienced until the free Ur-Quan Masters release.

  • McTeddy said,

    For me, retrogaming is all out “No rules”

    These day’s there’s rule about everything that have developed through years of experience. When you pick up a new game, you can generally know how it will control, how it will guide you and so on.

    Old games were just winging it. They were still looking for the “Right way” to do things and as such, tried what now seems crazy. Whether it’s RPGs that simulated weight or food, unique control schemes or strange game concepts like firefighting or diving for treasure.

    7/10 times were crap, 2/10 evolved into what we know, and 1/10 were some really cool concepts I that can potentially be revived by clever designers.