“Retro games why?”

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By: Paul Blachford; Guest Blogger.

This is a question I have had asked me many times, usually followed up by “the graphics are crap”.

So why do I love retro games. Partly it is because I grew up playing them. I can remember the awe when we got our first actual computer, thank your Sir Clive, the ZX81. The hours playing around on it before the arrival of the Spectrum 48K gave us colour (badly done but it was colour for gods sake!”. After school and during the holidays me and my cousin spent far too many hours to be healthy playing Manic Minor, Jet Set Willy, Saberwulf, Chuckie Egg and no need to travel to the arcades to be told “sorry mate you look to young to play in here”. Even now, just those names take me back to a good time in my life.

Yes, the graphics were awful when compared to Battlefield 5 etc and the sound was rudimentary at best. But what those programmers could squeeze out of an 8 bit computer running at 3.5MHz with only 48K memory was truly amazing. If only some of the more modern programmers could follow those lessons. Just putting a shiny surface on a game doesn’t make it good. If it doesn’t have the playability its still going to be a bad game. These were the days before DLC or updates. No launch day update at 60GB just to actually play the damn thing. If it had a bug that was it, you dealt with it.

Time moved on and then there was the Atari ST, it had arcade quality graphics man!!!!! Well to us at the time it was the same. The rise of more advanced graphics and sound that didn’t make your ears bleed. Golden axe, Gauntlet and Dungeon Master ruled my life.

Then came the Japanese with my purchase of the Sega Mega drive. Mortal combat, Monaco GP, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mutant league football. Easy to pick up and, for me impossible to master games that just kept you playing until your fingers and/or eyes bleed from exhaustion.

Multiplayer was social as you had to be in the same room as the other people. Many a Friday night and Saturday involved as a game/pizza/bad video from Blockbusters night. No idiots from across the world calling you a “noob” or shouting profanities about your mum. It was Dave your best mate, so you clocked him one and stole his slice of Pizza as a forfeit!

With university came the era of the PC. The trials and tribulations of the auto.exe and config.bat just to get games to run but there were classics the Ultima series, C&C, Panzer General and Doom. The games got bigger and bigger and unfortunately more expensive. Gone were the days of the £1.99 game we were entering the £24.99 then £29.99 and the bane of modern games micro payments!

Yes its easy to look back with rose tinted spectacles at the days gone past but for me they were the best of days and promised so much and often delivered it. When I play them again, I can remember the days when they were totally new and fresh, they bring back good memories (and some bad) but they were my youth and god damn it I’m still young, mentally not physically.

Dave Smith - PRG

Dave Smith - PRG

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