Retro: What is the Criteria?

Retro: The Origin of My Interest

I have been around gaming since I can remember, whether it was an intense battle on Blood Gulch in Halo: Combat Evolved, or shooting random civilians in GTA: San Andreas. It’s safe to say as a nineteen year old, looking back on the founding fathers of gaming can be quite daunting. So many wires, fat cartridges, cardboard game boxes… all of which had nearly died out by the time I got to grips with gaming. However this didn’t stop my interest from growing. I fondly remember hours of fun watching my dad playing through some of his favourites, Secret of Mana, being the most notable. The one question that I have always found quite interesting about the genre of Retro gaming is at which point in a system or games life does it join the elite club and gain the title of being ‘Retro’.


Interpretation or Formulated?

Now I totally understand that this question is open to interpretation, I wont argue that. But there has to be some formula to it. For most of my childhood and early teen years I was that classic Call of Duty kid, screaming and raging at the smallest of disruptions within my ‘noob’ killing sprees, with nothing more than the eye watering 700 hours game time on Modern Warfare 2 to show for it.

Modern Warfare 2 Box Art

Now for me that was my greatest time in gaming. No obligation to do anything. No worries. Zero regrets. Now that was nearly ten years ago, does that make MW2 a ‘Retro’ game? In my opinion no, but to others it probably is. Since the release of the game, the Call of Duty franchise has expanded its horizons with ten new mainline titles including one remake, Call of Duty Modern Warfare (2007). Like I said, MW2 does not feel like a Retro title to me, but due to it being nearly ten years old, does that automatically make it ‘Retro’?

Is being Retro all about Timing?

Much like many others who grew up during the noughties, my first console was a PlayStation 2. I received it for my fifth birthday, to which I would say is a pretty defining moment in my life. With GTA: San Andreas in one hand and a controller in the other, I fully discovered the reason for gaming. True freedom in a universe that in reality did not matter to anyone but myself.

The PlayStation 2 arguably has had one of the longest lifespans of any console ever. Thirteen years! Thirteen WHOLE years the PlayStation 2 stood strong. It held its ground long after its Microsoft counterpart threw in the towel. Does this mean that the original Xbox joined the ‘Retro’ All Stars before the PlayStation 2 just because it wasn’t in production for as long? Does a lack of new content and updates get you a one way ticket to being Retro? Possibly.

PS2 vs Xbox

Do Specifics Matter?

My fathers favourite console of all time is the NES.  I have never played the NES, but to me that is a retro console. It was around long before I even existed, so to me I will never experience the thrill of that console in its prime. Do our personal experiences have a bearing on our perception of something being ‘Retro’?

My Verdict

It might be easier to claim that consoles of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are retro due to their age. But where is the cut off point? 10? 15? 20 Years!? In my opinion it’s all down to perspective and the persons own interpretation of the meaning and timing of ‘Retro’.

If you enjoyed this post, consider reading my other blog post about E-Sports!

Thanks for reading!


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