Through the years of collecting retro video games and consoles, I’ve often been asked why? Is there a reason I collect systems from yesteryear? Why bother hoarding physical copies of older titles when emulators exist? The truth is, I like the idea of owning little pieces of history, holding on to time capsules that project the times they were made in.
Retro video games aren’t just a ‘quirky’ pursuit. Their sounds, looks and gameplay are a perfect accumulation of the time they were crafted and released. From the greats to the god awful, each game is part of video game history, tracking the progression of the craft. It’s hard to resist the charms of Mega Man 2, it’s impossible not to be engaged with Centipedes gameplay. So old, yet still so good.
Music, cinema, literature and art do not become irrelevant as times passes. Video games are no different. We may live in a time of 1080p, 60fps (unless you’re using the Xbox One I suppose), but there should always be a time to reflect on how we reached this point. Sitting back and appreciating the creations of the past, having the physical evidence of progression in my hands it’s a strangely satisfying sensation.
The simple act of hearing the game cartridge click into place, or the tape deck work its magic is a charm that a lot of people won’t ever experience these days. In a age which requires install times and constant patches, there’s a certain sense of freedom in just popping in a game and playing. There are no overblown cut scenes, no flashing icons trying to selling you DLC, just a video game waiting to be played.
A part of me collects retro games and consoles in the hope of passing them down. From me, to a son and so on, it’s a rather sentimental idea, but sharing memories and experiences is always a rewarding process. Who knows where, or what, video games will be like in the future, but showing people where they came from will surely at least raise a curious grin.
I suspect I’m not alone collecting for these reasons. The modern industry is in a fair state but amidst the sea of broken/unfished games, DLC and pre-order bonuses, it’s easy to become jaded. Having the ability to sit down and relax with retro titles is a wonderful thing, often refreshing our outlook on videos games. Everyone has their own reasons for collecting, the key is to enjoy it.