What is Considered Retro Gaming

What is Considered Retro Gaming?

Now this is always a hot topic among gamers especially ones of a certain age – What is Considered Retro Gaming? I thought I would write about it and give my honest opinion on what is considered retro gaming. I have seen on various online forums where people are adamant that certain systems are not retro and even certain decades such as the whole of the 1990’s cannot be considered retro. It is a very interesting subject so let’s get stuck in.

What is Retro?

We all know what gaming means but what about the word retro? Well if you type said word into google you soon get some clear definitions. Everything points to something from the recent past with the adjective meaning being: imitative of a style or fashion from the recent past.

The word Retro is often used with the word style as in ‘Retro Style’. Retro Style would normally be used with fashion but nowadays there are so many different products coming out that are trying to achieve either a retro look or just be very similar to a popular product we used back in the day that the term is often used a lot.

We have games, clothes, TV and movies all trying to be in a Retro Style from different Era’s but usually the 1980’s or 1990’s. We are bombarded with products and entertainment attempting to give us a sufficient dose of Retro.

Black Mirror featured 80s retro games and retro computers
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (Available on Netflix)

My take on what is Retro and this which is something I have seen written elsewhere is a time period of 15 to 20 years ago at least. This would mean that early 2004 is now considered retro which some people might struggle to get their heads around. If you think about it though 2004 was a different time, this was pre-YouTube and Social Media as we know it now and I can bet your mobile phone back in 2004 was not what it is today. So, I would say these were very much different times.

What is Retro Gaming?

Retro gaming, also known as old school gaming, classic gaming and sometimes vintage gaming is the playing of older generation consoles, computers, handheld games, and arcade games in the present. Retro gaming is usually based upon older generation video game systems that are obsolete or discontinued but can also be enjoyed using emulation through modern hardware.

Sega Mega Drive - my favourite retro gaming console
My Sega Mega Drive

In my opinion retro gaming becomes something new every year with in recent years the Nintendo GameCube becoming retro. Basically, I go loosely with the 15-year minimum rule. I would consider early PS2 games retro but with the console’s long-life span obviously later titles wouldn’t fall into the retro bracket that I try to use.

Of course, you might have your own opinion and totally disagree with me and that is absolutely fine. I can remember many years ago having an argument with regards to what bands are considered metal and which are just rock bands. The whole retro gaming thing is a very similar grey area with no one definitive answer.

So, for my short answer a game or system must be at least 15 years old to use the term retro or retro gaming.

Systems I Consider Retro (as time of writing)

Basically, the Nintendo GameCube and any system that was released before it. Again, this is all loose as I know in the back of mind come the end of 2020 the XBOX 360 will be 15 years old and calling that system retro is going to be something I really struggle with! 

What is considered retro gaming - I would say the GameCube is.
Nintendo GameCube

What About Really Old Game Systems

There was of course games console’s in the 1970’s so what do we call these. I have seen vintage and classic being used which is fine, but I still go with the term retro just to make things simple. Fashion from the 1960’s can be classed as Retro, so I haven’t got a problem with using the term Retro for 1970’s gaming systems.

What About New Games Released for Retro Systems?

This one confuses me. New games are being released all the time for various retro systems such as the Commodore 64, Vectrex and Sega MegaDrive so are they retro games?

I suppose as they are designed to operate on a retro system then they are games designed in a retro style. Are they retro games? I’ll let you decide this one as for me it is definitely a head scratcher.

Are new games for old systems like the Vectrex considered retro gaming.
Frontier for the Vectrex was first released in 2019.

What I do know is that it is great to see games being released for the systems I played growing up as well the amazing support a lot of these titles get from the retro gaming community.

Will the Term Retro Change?

Over time the term retro and retro gaming may very well change. Words like nostalgia and old school are often used with gaming and the terms Vintage and Classic may come into play more over the coming years. Of course, Retro could remain or maybe even a new term could be accepted and widely used across the gaming community and social media.

There was a time of course when I didn’t even know that the term retro gaming existed. In the early days of YouTube, I would just watch videos that involved the games and systems I played growing up. Even when my wife got me a Sega MegaDrive plug n play device with 6 games back around 2006, I wasn’t aware that was retro gaming. It wasn’t really until I discovered how to use Twitter to find people with the same interests as myself by using hashtags that I really discovered retro gaming as I know it now. This was the big eye opener for me and when I really started to think about the term and how it should be used.

My Discovery of Retro Gaming

I think the first time I used the term on social media was to share a photo of my Commodore 64C which had permanently come out of the loft. I took a photo of the C64C with all the games I had at the time and shared it on Facebook and Twitter and that one post started my journey into the Retro Gaming community on social media that led me to attending events and meeting people as well as making quite a few good friends along the way.

The Commodore 64 is Considered retro gaming
My first Retro Gaming Post

What is Considered The Future of Retro Gaming

To wrap up this article let’s just take a look at the future. My son is nine years old and even he has started to think about looking after his games as some day in the future they could be collectible and possibly called retro. He is very careful of his Nintendo 3DS collection, his Wii U collection and his ever-increasing XBOX 360 library (he likes picking up cheap games when we find them). So where as we are looking back some younger gamers are looking forward getting ready to look back.

I just wish I had done the same when I was younger long before Retro Gaming became what it is now.

What is Considered Retro Gaming?

I hope you have found this post on what I consider to be retro gaming helpful. You can find a lot more retro gaming content across my site such as the articles below.

80s Retro Games -10 Things Only 1980s Gamers Did

90s Retro Games – 15 Things Only 90s Gamers Did

My Top 10 NES Games of All Time

Commodore 64 Games – My Top 10 Games

Thanks for reading this article you can find a host of retro inspired stuff on my Amazon Store right here.

Keep it Retro.