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What is considered a retro game?


Rewind33
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I asked this to several people and some consider 80's and 90's retro. Other said anything prior to xbox 360/wii/ps3 is retro. What do you think?

I think for me retro is kind of two generations of hardware back at least. Like Dreamcast is definetly retro for me now. As well as GC. PS2 had a long life, but it's rolling into retro territory as well. I alsmot feel like the games I started with in the 2600 era should be called classic gaming or something. But as a good thumb rule I kind of like two generations back as a measurement.mor maybe 10 to 15 years. Stuff from last generation is still on the shelves so gotta go back at least two hardware cycles.

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The term has a different meaning for different gamers, but for myself - technically - it begins when something is no longer supported at mass market retail by hardware manufacturers and software publishers. Neo-retro, basically. Then you have various levels of retro from there.

Video gaming is a young hobby and still maturing but I'm sure we'll eventually see generally agreed upon "divisions" of retro eventually. We already do if you consider hardware generations to be the defining factor.

That said, I expect the personal definition of "retro" to be whatever a gamer grew up playing. :)

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For me, retro means PS1 and earlier, since like RD said, that's what I "grew up" playing, even if I was in college at the point the PS1 came out. Really, anything which hasn't been around for fifteen years or more should be considered fair game which means the Dreamcast totally fits, but not the PS2, GameCube, or Xbox just yet as they were all selling well into 2005-2006 when their next-gen counterparts showed up.

It's actually amazing to me to think we've gone ten years between new console releases for this past generation, since before that consoles were on a roughly five-year cycle (except for Sega who seemed bound and determined in the 90s to release a new piece of hardware every year or so). The fact the PS3, 360 and Wii ran for nearly a decade before their new counterparts all showed up is, I think, a testament to just how powerful these machines are now. It took five years for devs to tap the most they possibly could out of the Super NES, but considerably longer for them to find the upper limits of the 360 and PS3 hardware. That's awesome. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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I think a couple big contributors to last generation's super-long life-cycle was 1) OS updates and 2) HD displays going mainstream. We pretty much had a massive graphics "upgrade" without having to change out the console hardware (the Wii, not so much), and the hardware itself was able to keep up thanks to constant updates (as annoying as they are).

Kinda cool (and a little weird) that an entire generation of gamers may have grown up essentially playing only one generation of hardware though. :)

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retro, to me, is pre-GameCube. GC games were still supported by the Wii, so were still (somewhat) relevant until 2012, the debut of the Wii-U. As far as Nintendo systems go, that also means cartridge-based rather than disc-based. i feel that's a pretty good turning point.

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My parents only ever let me have a NES, so the SNES and Genesis remained permanently "advanced" in my mind. Even when the Dreamcast came out, and I was able to buy one, I still felt left behind.

So, although I know that "retro" encompasses basically everything two generations ago and older, to me it means pre-NES.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, I remember a time when playing video games just made you a guy who liked video games. There were no fancy words attached to it. No retro words, nothing. It was a lot harder to get people to try video games back in those days because they were seen a lot differently.

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Retro is in the eye of the beholder. For me, most all of the cart based systems thru the N64 back are retro, and I consider the PS1 to be the last of the retro platforms.....maybe the Dreamcast fits in that category as well for me. However, my son considers the original X-Box and PS2 "retro".

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For me, and this may change over time, but I consider "retro" games mostly 2D games starting with any classic arcade game like Pong or Pacman and probably ending during the SNES/Genesis days (MAYBE N64/PSX). After that, systems like the XBox, Gamecube, and PS2 I would consider "classic", maybe an exaggerated term, but doesn't feel quite as "old" as "retro" to me. The XB360, Wii, and PS3 are "previous generation", soon to become "classic", and whatever is on the market now is obviously "current generation", down-titled upon their release as when they were hype people referred to them as "nextgen"

When it comes to computer gaming... it gets more complicated... I guess I consider anything Commodore or those old school Apple Macintoshes that you played Number Munchers and Oregon Trail on as retro, games pre Y2K for Windows a "classic", and anything newer as an older generation or current generation. But it gets really complicated. How would you describe an independent game like Xenonauts or Project Zomboid, which while developped recently, are designed in an old-school isometric fashion with graphics that are less than state-of-the-art?

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It's hard to come up with a good dividing line. Most times when calling something 'retro' I mean games that are 2 gen's back and 'classic' would be the gen that just passed. But then you think about it and it doesn't seem right to say PS3 is classic since it's still readily available and PS2 feels like it shouldn't be called retro yet.

I'll bet a lot of it has to do with how long you've been gaming. If you started with Atari you'll feel different about 'retro' than if you started with N64 or PS1.

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Retro is new made in the style of old.

Classic is old, made in the style of when it was new.

Classic games to me, I would have to say go back to early PS2 about now. 15 or so years seems like a good enough time to be classic. 1996 WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO! OOoooOOoooO!

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