How Old-School Video Games are Making a Comeback
“Everything old is new again,” as the saying goes, and it certainly applies to the current trend in video games. Recent years have seen a huge rise in old-school video games thanks to the successful reboot of 80s and 90s favorites, most notoriously Pokémon Go, along with quite possibly the most important ingredient, a Millennial love of nostalgia. The 80s and 90s were a great time for most Millennial kids, who could be found wide awake on a Saturday morning watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, running around the neighborhood with a Super Soaker, and playing video games all summer. As Millennials age and take on more adult responsibilities, many are looking for a little escapism and reliving of their youth (while others haven’t grown up). As such, it seems the time is ripe for old-school video games to make a comeback, and they are with a force!
According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials (those who were born between 1981 and 1997) are currently the largest living generation in the United States. With such large numbers, it’s no wonder old-school video games have found a market for a comeback. As more Millennials become parents, many want to share their favorite childhood video games with their children, while others may have more disposable income to spend on video games as they’ve become established in their careers. Add both of these elements with the fact that many Millennials never gave up playing video games when they reached adulthood and it’s easy to see how #throwbackgaming is trending.
The two heavy hitters of the 80s and 90s, Nintendo and SEGA, are giving nostalgic gamers just want they want by releasing classic games on old-school inspired consoles. Set to release in November of this year, Nintendo is launching a miniature version of the NES, called the NES Classic Edition. This pint sized console comes with 30 classic Nintendo games in all their 8-bit glory, including Super Mario Bros. 1 through 3, Metroid, Kirby’s Adventures, The Legend of Zelda, and Mega Man 2.
SEGA has already released their throwback console, the SEGA Genesis Classic Game Console. The Classic Game Console features over 80 SEGA classics, two wireless controllers, and even has a cartridge slot to play original SEGA Genesis games. Players can take a spin down memory lane with Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic and Knuckles, Vectorman, Chakan: The Forever Man, and Mortal Combat.
In addition to the release of original old-school games on throwback consoles, many beloved classics are being totally re-imagined for modern devices and consoles. The most popular of this current crop of throwback games would have to be Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go’s revolutionary use of bringing game play into the real world through catching Pokémon throughout the city and across the globe has been wildly popular since it’s early summer release, proving that throwback gaming is a viable market. Thanks to the huge success of Pokémon Go, we can probably expect many more reboots to follow.
One of these upcoming reboots many gamers are anticipating is Nintendo’s latest addition to the Legend of Zelda saga. Planned for a 2017 release for WiiU, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is set to give Zelda fans a whole new take on the beloved classic, giving players the freedom to explore the kingdom of Hyrule, including the wilderness, mountain peaks, and over 100 shrines, in any order they want.
Also getting ready to capitalize on the current old-school gaming trend, SEGA announced at this year’s San Diego Comic Con that they would be releasing two new Sonic the Hedgehog games in 2017. The first set to be released in Spring of 2017 is Sonic Mania, celebrating the 25th anniversary of everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. Sonic Mania is a reimagining of the classic that stays true to the original’s 2D graphics with the addition of new zones. The second Sonic game is planned for an end of the year release and will feature classic and modern versions of Sonic but not much else is known about it.
New takes on classic video games and rereleases of childhood favorites are helping to breed a new generation of Mario and Sonic fans. Love it or hate it, throwback gaming is going to be here for the foreseeable future and thanks to new technology, game play has been transformed into an immersive experience, allowing players to explore their favorite video game worlds like never before. So what old-school games do you want to see make a comeback?
– By Jordan Davis, Contributor @JordanKDavis_