It’s scary and exciting to think that the futuristic and highly advanced technology we have today will one day be considered clunky and limited. The games that take our breath away now will seem basic, and the ways we consume entertainment will look outdated to future generations.
In a couple of decades, people will look back on today’s games and consoles and view them as retro. But when does that transpire exactly? And what happens to all the titles that currently evoke nostalgia in today’s audiences?
What Makes a Game Retro?
The literal meaning of retro is something that is representative of a trend from the recent past. When we think about today’s things that represent the genre, we usually reminisce on stuff from the 1980s and 1990s, but it can sometimes go further than that. There’s no real timestamp on these themes, and they tend to encompass anything that evokes nostalgia in a vast number of people.
So far with the video game industry, it’s easy to look back and classify all the old favorites as retro. This is because the tech hasn’t existed that long, with the industry mainly blowing up in the 1980s. Older players can imagine any title from the arcade or early console era and experience feelings of nostalgia, and this was highlighted by the recent success of the rebooted Nintendo Entertainment System. The Japanese company managed to beat PS4 and Xbox One sales when it rereleased its classic machine.
In certain offshoots of the gaming industry, the scope for a game to be considered retro can be dated further in the past. For example, slot machines have existed for more than 100 years, however, elements from the early games can still be found in the digitalized versions online today. Some players go in search of games that reflect the early days of the industry, for example, titles that feature classic fruit symbols on the reels.
Review sites understand that a lot of players seek this nostalgia and aim to cater to these people. Sometimes they’ll seek out the best offers for these games, like the website CasinoSmash did on retro slot machines. It found all the sites that hosted classic retro reels and then listed them based on their bonuses, presented in an easy-to-use guide for players. This niche directory ranked the offerings available online, thus enabling players to find specifically what they’re looking for with relative ease.
What Needs to Happen for Today’s Technology to Seem Archaic?
Slots are a prime example of how the retro video games invented in the 1980s can survive as classics regardless of how far technology progresses. But it’s hard to envisage when today’s rich and detailed titles at the forefront of the industry will be considered in the same category as these beloved games of old. Games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy are currently pushing possibilities of modern graphics, but when new tech emerges developers will undoubtedly outdo them.
Games that were released on the original PlayStation are now considered retro, but it’s hard to pigeonhole PS2 offerings in the same category. Therefore, it will most likely take three or four future generations of console to make today’s games look archaic. The gaming industry is moving much more rapidly now, though, so in terms of years it could take less time than the gap between the PlayStation and the PS5. It’s also worth considering that gaming could go down a virtual reality-focused path. This would make titles outside of the VR medium immediately feel much less immersive.
Thanks to the increased competition between developers, new innovations in hardware, and the rapid spreading of ideas online, the gaming industry is advancing faster than ever. Although it’s typically taken around 25-30 years for games to be considered retro to this point, that timeframe could shrink as new technology like VR becomes mainstream. Today’s games that now seem so advanced could look like Pong to the next generation of gamers.