Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Role Playing (Games) Games Hardware

Meet the Gamers Keeping Retro Consoles Alive 79

Posted by timothy
from the disco-is-not-dead-disco-is-life dept.
An anonymous reader writes "You see those stories popping up every now and then — new Dreamcast game released, first SNES game in 15 years etc — but an in-depth feature published today takes a look at the teams behind the retro revival, and looks at why they do what they do. Surprisingly, there seems to be a viable audience for new releases — one developer says his games sell better on Dreamcast than they do on Nintendo Wii. Even if the buyers vanished, the retro games would still keep coming though: 'I wager I'd have to be dead, or suffering from a severe case of amnesia, to ever give this up completely,' says one developer." Update: 03/23 18:28 GMT by T : If you want to play original classic games on new hardware, instead of the other way around, check out Hyperkin's RetroN 3, which can play cartridges from 5 classic consoles.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Meet the Gamers Keeping Retro Consoles Alive

Comments Filter:
  • a special place in my heart for Super Mario World so why wouldn't there be a special place for new SNES games if they come out?
    • by oztiks (921504)

      Mobile gaming has made classic games relevant again. Lets look at what's popular these days.

      - Angry Birds
      - Swampy Where's my water?
      - That zombie in the veggie patch game
      - Runner games
      - Bubble shooters.

      Look at classic games

      - Tetris
      - Mario/Sonic
      - Space invaders
      - Pac man

      The new games, though based on different mathematical concepts are still very similar to what was out 15-20 years ago. The only resounding difference is anything running a 3D engine of some sort but then we can always go back to the evolution o

      • Mobile gaming has made classic games relevant again.

        How so? Apart from Sony's Xperia Play, mobile devices don't come with physical buttons for controlling gameplay. The few physical buttons on a phone or tablet, such as power, quit, and volume, are reserved for the system's use. An on-screen gamepad on a current mobile device doesn't provide any tactile feedback as to whether or not your thumb is over the button that you intend to press. Devices with Tactus technology are still at least several months off.

        • Oddly, the only people interested in filling that niche seem to be the Asian knock-off companies like JXD. I picked up their latest version a few weeks ago. It's a ~7" Android tablet that looks like the WiiU tablet controller (the abominable Kindle/Game Gear crossbreed).

          Sadly, it's disappointing. The power is impressive, I'll give it that, in that I was able to play the original Legacy of Kain in the PSX emu with nary a stutter.

          The controls, however, are a mess. I've confirmed that the thumbsticks are legit

          • While they are an Asian company, I don't think Samsung is what you're talking about when you say "knock-off companies like JXD"... and yet they are releasing a game pad with their Galaxy 4 series:

            http://www.mobilefun.com/38583-genuine-samsung-galaxy-s4-game-pad---ei-gp10nnbeg.htm [mobilefun.com]

            ...and it isn't their first. So there are some top tier companies addressing hardware game controls, even if they are accessories.

            • I was talking about built-in, like the device I'm talking about.

              Gamepads are all well and good, but having to carry around a controller roughly the size of the phone seems a little ass-backwards to me.

              • And it's just worth mentioning: given my experiences with Samsung android-based hardware, yeah, they fit my original assertion anyway.

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @11:39AM (#43257119)
    Given the demand of emulators on PC, Wii, smart phones, etc, this article really isn't surprising. Old platforms do many things better than new generation consoles, including fostering creativity by limiting resources and force developers away from spending their time budgets on shallow eye candy.
    • And then, some of us still have those consoles hooked up and ready to use, like my Dreamcast.

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        I loved the controller for the dreamcast. I had the video screens on it so we could call plays on football game and the other player couldn't see what you were calling. That was the coolest feature.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Not only that, but interrupt based controllers (as opposed to polling the controller) that meant minimal lag between pressing a button and something happening on the screen. Games like Street Fighter can't really even be properly experienced on an emulator with a USB controller. I'm surprised that consoles haven't retained this over the years. Some PC gamers still use PS/2 keyboards because of the inherent limitations in USB keyboards.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're full of shit. Both the NES and SNES, along with most other consoles, don't have "interrupt-based controllers", they poll the controller during vertical blanking, every 1/59.97th of a second in the NTSC region.

      • by Sigma 7 (266129)

        Not only that, but interrupt based controllers (as opposed to polling the controller) that meant minimal lag between pressing a button and something happening on the screen.

        The only interrupt-based controller is the keyboard. For games, you want to convert that into a fixed state to ensure that the player doesn't do funny things when the input changes mid-frame. (Which you have to - keyboards trivially allow you to move up and down at the same time.)

        Gamepads, joysticks, and the like, are all polling-based

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        I still use my clicky clack PS2 keyboard because I can tell the difference in my games, the USB keyboard has more of a "jerky" quality, its not fluid no matter how high you crank the polling.
      • by Trogre (513942)

        Heh, and I wonder how many newbies put those very same PS/2 mice and keyboards through PS/2 to USB adaptors and think they're still getting the same benefits.

        Interesting aside: It's not only gaming that benefits from interrupt control. I keep my computers on PS/2 keyboards so I can wake them up by hitting the space bar. I've yet to see a BIOS that lets you do that with USB and all its interrupt emulation.

        • by raodin (708903)

          Really? When was the last time you even TRIED waking a computer with a USB keyboard up?

          My Asus P5Q SE Plus, a 5 year old board, wakes from usb (keyboard or mouse) just fine.

        • by bedouin (248624)

          I do it with Bluetooth every day, so I'm imagining someone's got USB figured out . . .

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @12:14PM (#43257389)

      And they cater to the same needs that the now so successful "casual games" do: They are simple, easy to learn, ok to pick up for a few minutes whenever you have time and generally very "family friendly" (ok, aside of brawling games where you spend those hours simply learning those friggin' combos).

      There is a market for "simple" games and it's far from small. And such games don't need fancy graphics or flashy gimmicks, they don't need realistic physics or an involving storyline. They mastered the art where you could learn the controls and "rules" of the game in 5 minutes but could still play for months to master it.

    • by Xeranar (2029624)

      Not at all. Fostering creativity? Utter fallacy, what they did was promote a simple puzzle concept. Modern consoles do it and PC indies do it exceptionally well. More is more. This view is totally driven by nostalgia.

      • by tepples (727027)

        what they did was promote a simple puzzle concept. Modern consoles do it and PC indies do it exceptionally well. More is more.

        And a lot of developers lack the resources to make such more. Players tend to expect far higher-budget graphics and sound from a game that runs on a modern console or PC than from a game that runs on an obsolete platform.

        • by Xeranar (2029624)

          I don't know, back in the NES/Genesis era and then the Dreamcast the 3-man team in your basement was pretty much gone. It was a smaller budget than today's AAA games but the good stuff wasn't programmed on a tiny budget by comparison. I grant the simplicity benefited a limited resource group but it doesn't mean you can't be as innovative on a modern PC or console. I would point to Xbox Arcade, Steam's indie section, and the PS3 store as a perfect example of small innovative games made by a smaller budget

    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      fostering creativity by limiting resources and force developers away from spending their time budgets on shallow eye candy.

      Shallow eye candy sells better than creativity. It's nice to say that everything sucks and diamonds in the rough don't get the credit they deserve, but for the most part, the products actually on the market reflect what the market wants.

      There's market demand for the old way of doing things, but it's still a small market. Much the same way that there's people who still want XP, unlocked $600 smartphones, and diesel-powered cars, but they are so few that they officially qualify as "nobody." I hate it when

    • I'm sure to get modded down for this, but limiting resources is not a thing that old consoles do better. That's absurd! All that does is reduce the problem space that a developer can utilize. Perhaps less skilled game makers use the additional resources to churn out garbage games, but it certainly doesn't mean we were better off for not making that problem space available.

      Put differently, you'd surely find some creative ways to feed yourself if I came over to your house and removed your refrigerator and ove

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If people still appreciate analog drum machines or the sound of a vinyl why wouldn't one appreciate Snes or dreamcast games in 2013?

    I used to work in the games industry and left once game programming became more of a 'design your game and script your interactive movies with Unreal etc.' sort of thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I guess I'm a crotchety old fart now at 41, having grown up with Galaga, C64, etc..

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Classic is relative, but yeah, I'd say Sega Master, Atari 2600 and NES as the newest to really deserve that title.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The point is that SNES and the Genesis were the pinnacle of 2D games, after that (almost) everything was 3D.

  • Hipsters gonna hip (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dadelbunts (1727498)
    Seems to me that instead of making games for PC, XBLA, PSN, these people are doing it for the cool factor only."Yeah i only code games for SNES while i watch pirated TV shows on my iDevice as i dont believe in TV". The fact that they keep referring to new as of yet published games as "retro" because they are for out of production systems also baffles me and adds to their retardedness. If you go buy a recently released LP you wouldnt call it retro, even tho it plays on a record player.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BasilBrush (643681)

      The fact that they keep referring to new as of yet published games as "retro" because they are for out of production systems also baffles me and adds to their retardedness.

      The definition of retro is "Imitative of a style, fashion, or design from the recent past". It's not things that are actually from the recent past, it's new things that are made in that style.

      If you go buy a recently released LP you wouldnt call it retro, even tho it plays on a record player.

      Yes, retro is exactly what you'd call it. Well you wouldn't, but the rest of the world would.

      Perhaps the reason you're baffled is that your word skills are retarded?

      • Yes im sure a Skrillex LP would be called retro by the majority of the world.
      • I see we are using some new, undocumented definition of "retro gaming". It's always meant Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, etc. Did we re-define it this year and forget to tell the rest of the world? Did we bother to issue a new term for what retro gaming was last year? Go look at the Google results for retro gaming, the links to new games are quite few.

        Hey, don't say I'm a hipster hater, either. In fact, I pity the poor bastards for not having any culture of their own and instead aping previous generations. T

        • Did it not occur to you that retro-gaming covers all this and more?
          Rebuilding old cabinets, with original boards.
          Making new cabinets with emulators in them.
          Emulating old games on other computers.
          Remaking old games for new platforms.
          Making new games for old platforms.

          Why is making new games for old platforms retro? Because the joy of creating them is working within the old constraints of memory, CPU speed, resolution, colours etc. And the joy of playing them is having a new experience within an old aesthetic

        • Generally speaking "retro gaming" covers any generation of hardware not currently sold by big-box retail. PS1 is pretty firmly retro and even the PS2 is starting to be so. You're getting old. It sucks.
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Seems to me that instead of making games for PC, XBLA, PSN, these people are doing it for the cool factor only."Yeah i only code games for SNES while i watch pirated TV shows on my iDevice as i dont believe in TV". The fact that they keep referring to new as of yet published games as "retro" because they are for out of production systems also baffles me and adds to their retardedness. If you go buy a recently released LP you wouldnt call it retro, even tho it plays on a record player.

      The people making these old games, are NOT hipsters. Not sure where you pulled your post (out of your butt?) but it's not true at all. Being as a person that hangs on Retro sites, no one does it to be cool. They make new games because they enjoy programming on the systems.

    • Seems to me that instead of making games for PC, XBLA, PSN, these people are doing it for the cool factor only.

      There's a limit to the level of graphical complexity that one person or a small team can create in a reasonable amount of time. It takes far fewer resources to create competitive graphics for a limited platform than for a PC or seventh-generation game console.

      • Except games like Minecraft and FTL have shown that you dont need to have crazy graphics for your game to be good, sell well, and recieve positive praise.
        • Indeed. I still play Nethack. One day I'll win... one day....

          And I play the terminal version (not the slash'em or other improved versions.) :) I just like the game a bunch... and forget Demon Souls and Dark Souls... you want crushing difficulty, play Nethack. ...and get off my lawn! :)

          • Indeed. I still play Nethack. One day I'll win... one day....

            And I play the terminal version (not the slash'em or other improved versions.) :) I just like the game a bunch... and forget Demon Souls and Dark Souls... you want crushing difficulty, play Nethack. ...and get off my lawn! :)

            Nethack ftfw! In 10+ years of playing Nethack I have ascended exactly once [alt.org] (a Wizard). I have this masochistic tradition where I spend every Friday the 13th playing Nethack. Nethack is hard enough without a -1 Luck handicap, lol.

            • Crap... that's one more than I have ascended. :) I have come close (? relatively speaking) once... but that's about it. I'm also a masochist who plays nethack on his google phone too... :)

              • by zoward (188110)

                I "escaped the dungeon" once in vanilla "hack", back in college, before nethack existed - does that count? Is ascending in nethack that much harder?

      • Depends on where your talents lie, I suppose. Dust: An Elysian Tail is basically by one guy, though he hired an outside studio to do the music and voiceovers. It's one of the prettiest games I've ever seen, entirely hand-drawn 2D sprites and background.

        Of course, it did take Dean a long time to finish it, but he didn't KNOW how to program an Xbox 360 when he started - he was teaching himself as he went along. That's not a recipe for speed; you wind up rewriting whole chunks of your game when you get better

  • I can empathize with these "retro" developers. There is nothing so satisfying or rewarding as working on something you love doing.

    I've often said I'd be programming for fun if I weren't programming for pay. Nowadays, living on disability, that has become true. I spend hours on my pet project without schedules, overhead, meetings, or hassles, and it's an absolute joy to do so.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @02:24PM (#43258217) Journal

    One thing these old systems have, that the next generation won't (well, at least MS's crap won't) is the ability to play anywhere, any time. None of this "always online" shit that MS is going to force, not sure if Sony is that stupid, but based on past experiences, they are more then that stupid.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Speaking of retro revival... believe it or not, but the old school game Prince of Persia (1989) is still very much alive.
    It is still being ported to (even) more platforms, like in November 2011 to C64 [csdb.dk].

    Also, the file formats of the DOS version have been completely reverse engineered.
    Which resulted in several level editors [popot.org] (including for GNU/Linux) and lots and lots of custom levels [popot.org].
    Some of the modificiations of the DOS version, like this one [youtube.com] released January 2013, are extreme.
    New mods on the community forum [princed.org]

  • I would pay a good price for the nostalgia.

Scientists will study your brain to learn more about your distant cousin, Man.

Working...