It happened with classic movies, classic rock and virtually every other entertainment form and it is no different than with the gaming industry. Classic games or retro games from the early years of Nintendo, Atari, Sega and more are leaking into modern consoles and electronics at ever faster rates. Old companies still thrive on intellectual properties from decades ago and re-branding/releasing them again for new OS environments like iOS and Android.
Should it be no surprise then that some new Android Gaming consoles hoping to compete with Microsoft Xbox (720?), PlayStation 3 and 4 and Nintendo Wii U are including retro game support or emulation in their products?
Image credit: slashdot
Take the Hyperkin Retron5 recently announced on slashdot for example this is a console within a console within a console, albeit a retro console. It has physical slots to support SNES, NES, Genesis, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Color and original Gameboy as well as Famicom games. It also has an HDMI interface and upconverts all gaming streams to your HDTV and supposedly does a really good job of upconverting, plus supports an SD card to save all your progress no matter what cartridge and game.
This is a retro game lovers dream console albeit you still need to own physical cartridges from all your favorite old media as this isn’t an emulator system but plays the original physical cartridges.
Ouya with SNES/N64 Emulation
The Ouya coming to the masses in June (or Kickstarter Backers at the end of this month) now will support classic NES, SNES and Nintendo 64 emulation. SuperGNES and Mupen64Plus are specifically the main emulators approved for inclusion on OUYA and this brings the classic generation of games to the television screen without the old consoles. The question will be if you can download emulator ROMS on an SD card for free and plug in them into OUYA for it to play them or how many emulator ROM’s will be available for free from the online systems you can access on the OUYA.
The question is how much of a difference will the retro/classic gaming make in a buyers decision to choose these consoles. Whereas the Retron3 and Retron5 only play classic console games and have no separate environment on it’s own, it seems like it’s purpose would be limited compared to an emulator supported console with the ROM’s downloadable and supporting it’s own ecosystem unless you had cheap and easy access to lots of old and rare cartridges for former game consoles that is.
Indie Games and Retro Factor
Many indie games lack the development team to do high scale production value graphics and cinematics, this leaves them to focus on gameplay and engagement with players, in my eyes many indie games, especially on Android, iOS come off as reminding me like the 16bit console games though with more polished graphics and more inventive touch screen styles of play. With the Ouya controller though this may make Android games play even more like classic console games and we can see the resurrection of platformers, side scrolling shooters all over again.
My personal preference is to play what’s new and I rarely go back and play games from yesteryear myself as there are so many new games, so many great games released that I barely can keep up on the ones I want to play, if I put time in to replay stuff of the past I would never satisfy my desire to play some of the newer games I want to try.
How do you feel about retro game support in consoles and playing classic games either by yourself, with your family, show your kids games from your past…etc.