If you’re of a certain age, you’ll almost certainly remember the video games of your childhood, whether it be the global Nintendo hit Super Mario Bros, the Amiga classic game Lemmings, or something else.
As retro gadgets, like old consoles found on the likes of Gdgtpreview.com, remind us, the games we play as children have a deep influence upon us. They give us some wonderful memories, inform us of the culture of the day, and take us back to a simpler time when all we did was arrive from a day at school and play on our favorite console.
Today, if you searched for ‘retro games’ online, you’d see how popular retro games and arcade machines really are. In fact, you’d see an endless number of websites that enable you to play the most popular computer, console, and arcade games of the 70, 80s, and 90s.
But what will these retro games look like in the future?
Gaming has, after all, undergone significant changes since the Nintendo Entertainment System and the days of Decahexatris Tetris, and the like. We now have smartphones that have come to play an important role in modern life.
They don’t just help us stay in contact with friends and family, they also allow us to send emails, read the news, play games, and all typically through an app. While in years gone by, we’d visit our local games arcade, home games are every bit as popular today. Who hasn’t imagined owning their very own games room with arcade machines and pool tables?
Arcade games will continue
Gaming is constantly evolving. Even looking back just a few years ago compared to today shows us how quickly technology continues to advance and continues to revolutionize gaming.
What is also evident is how hungry we remain for classic arcade and retro games- the main difference likely being that tomorrow’s retro games will be played on smartphones, as opposed to machines and consoles. One thing is certain: we will still play them because deep down, we never grow up.
Today’s games that we can expect to be still playing tomorrow include Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Snake, Pokemon, Clash of Clash, The Simpsons Games, and Tetris.
But is a positive future for retro gaming as simple and as certain as all that?
A legitimate threat
Unfortunately, it isn’t as that at all. The fact is that, with Microsoft having released its disc-less Xbox One S console earlier this year, as well as a number of companies like Google pushing the developments streaming platforms for games, there’s a chance that retro gaming could become a thing of the past.
That doesn’t take away anything we’ve said about its current success. It’s a thriving community with celebrities, economic infrastructure, tournaments, and events. This became possible, however, since games take the form of physical media with only a small number of technological independencies.
The games work if you have the system to play them on. Modern games, however, are distributed digitally or by streaming without a physical presence, so may become unplayable or unavailable.
Companies may opt to make their games available via streaming in the long-term, but it’s also possible that they won’t. Even if a company decided to provide download streaming access to games in perpetuity, that company itself might not last. The gaming industry is known for being volatile. Telltale Games famously closed in 2018, but what didn’t make the news quite as much was the fact that over a further nine companies had closed over the preceding 12 months.
Streaming is a legitimate threat to the future of retro gaming, but it also poses a threat to culture. Having a popular medium that can’t be shared between generations will be a loss to the bonding of those generations.