Same Player Playing Again: Why Have 'Retro Games' Been Such a Hit?

Same Player Playing Again: Why Have 'Retro Games' Been Such a Hit?

While the latest generation of video games has been popular during traditional year-end giveaways, an older gaming console has found itself in the fall 2023 video game news: Atari is marketing 2600+, Official reissue The console of the same name (also called VCS, for Video Computer System) was first released in 1977 in the United States.

the Official announcement He announced the “return of the icon.” new version, Technically very different from the originalCompatible with current TVs, it mimics the design of the console as well as the original joystick. Compatible with older cartridges, its release is accompanied by a promotion for new game Recently published in Cartridge.

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How can we understand the current interest in retro consoles, when many games can be accessed in a non-physical way and in the field of video games, compared to other cultural industries, the technological development is Basically everywhere And high value?

A wave of reissues of religious consoles

The Atari 2600 has a special place in video game history. Analyzed by gaming platform specialists. The first cartridge console to reach such a wide audience (27 million units distributed worldwide), it influenced Creativity of game designersthe type of interior and He led the popularization of the medium. Its turbulent history is also linked Notorious headlines And the economic difficulties the sector faced in the early 1980s.

Retro marketing innovates by trying to exploit the nostalgia of early generations of consumers.

In the current dynamic Video game legacyis regularly presented in exhibitions on the history of the medium, and is preserved in the museum Charles Cross Collection From the National Library of France.

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The re-release also comes on the heels of a long line of official remakes of popular home consoles, which began with Nintendo's NES Classic Mini in 2016, distributed across More than 2 million copies worldwide. Like other industrial sectors, this type of product is a form of… Retro marketingwhich innovates by drawing on the brand's heritage, relying on the promise of authenticity and trying to exploit the nostalgia of the first generations of consumers.

Between heritage and “reaction”

However, the connection to older consoles cannot be reduced to this modern strategy; For several decades, it has also shaped one aspect of video game culture with multiple customizations.

In fact, access to retro games has been made possible since the 1990s through communities of enthusiasts with expertise in programming and hacking, who have made this possible through alternative means such as Software emulation (a program that simulates the operation of ancient machines), to collect classic games, archive them and distribute them widely, thus participating in the dynamism The unofficial legacy of video games.

Cultural practices related to these games are generally grouped under this term “retro games” – Playing, collecting, archiving, information sharing and creative activities – reaching a wider audience Contribution platforms YouTube and DailyMotion since their launch in the 2000s.

In a frame Research in information and communication sciences Regarding the mediation and mediation of retro video games, we have observed through a series of videos the way in which amateur contributors have preserved the aura of these popular consoles, such as the Atari 2600.

Videos to see what games on old consoles look like

Through its games, the console and its characteristics can be understood. “Longplay” videos show entire games, without commentary, allowing you to discover content and gameplay on the move.Special aesthetic Beginnings.

Example of “longplay” from impasse On the Atari 2600 (Activision, 1982), one of the first multi-screen console games, on the channel The world of longplays.

Other videos, which prefer real footage, relate to the physical environment of vintage video games through the activity of collecting.

Other types of videos, captioned by videographers, allow you to discover the console and its games Through information asymmetry Stemming from recorded personal experience. These productions, which express memories, emotion, creativity and reflection, are part of a diverse collection Contemporary expressions of nostalgia.

Thus experienced videographers dedicated videos to the Atari 2600 at the beginning of their channels, which symbolizes for them the origin of video games, As an attic player (who, by producing humorous content on old games, became one of the most famous videographers in France) or videographer Huber.

The latter, also a pioneer in exploring old game libraries, knew of this console at the time, and dedicated it to it Video series Honoring. YouTuber Metal Jesus Rocks (USA, 9 million subscribers), who presents his series “Hidden Gems,” which Choose the game Which he considers interesting to discover today, as he rehabilitates the subsequent catalog of the instrument.

Other videographers from younger audiences, from later generations, are trying out these classics for the first time in 2023 by recording their reactions, like a game tester Adventure (Atari, 1979, one of the first graphic adventure games), from the New Game Plus channel. Videographer Erin Plays also recently presented a series of games, including two-player games with videographer Mike Mattei, during a session at Live on Twitch.

From collection to screen: save, view… and replay

Other videos, which favor real footage, are worrying Hardware environment for retro video games Through assembly activity. It's not just about the “display” pieces, but also about keeping the machines in working condition, and replicating the original games in favor of a vintage experience in search of a “historical experience” that cares about materiality.

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Channel “Dangerous Games”. Details, for example packaging, instructions, then game content headmaster (Williams Electronics, 1983). The use of original materials allows these experts to find The desired feeling in the original interface: The “pretty old school” videographer finds, for example, that The joystick is inseparable from the Atari 2600 gaming experience.

Many amateur programmers create new games on these devices that are no longer used commercially.

Some fans don't limit themselves to old experience frameworks, modding the console, or creating new software. These credits allow us to consider playing video games as well From the perspective of technical cultureBoth in terms of function, use, customization and power relationship.

For example, videographer Doc Mc Coy offers a Video tutorial to learn how to edit VCS By installing a dedicated card to improve display quality. Moreover, many Amateur programmers Create new games (such as “homebrews”, new unofficial creations, “rom hacks”, or modifications of existing games) on these devices that are no longer in commercial use, by meeting the challenge of technical limitations. The Canadian channel “The New Retro Show” devoted several years to it Videos containing many games developed for VCS.

These contributions therefore seem essential when one is interested in an old console: their authors have contributed to maintaining continuity with the past, and to nourishing the collective memory of video games. If these machines continue to work, to hear their analog sounds, click their controllers and display their simple graphics, it is also the work of gamers who have managed to transcend the consumer condition of sharing an online video game culture separate from commercial news.

Boris Orbas Lecturer in Information and Communication Sciences (University of Bordeaux Montaigne).

This article was republished from Conversation Under Creative Commons license. Read theOriginal article.

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