While we’re usually preoccupied with what’s right around the corner, there’s a huge world of retro games out there just begging to be dug into. There are thousands upon thousands of older games, from stone-cold classics to landfill-filling turds. For anyone with even a passing interest in the theory of games though, and how we got to where we are now, it can be fascinating to crawl through these classic games and witness the birth of entire genres, mechanics, and gameplay refinements.
One of the strongest points about PC gaming is that actually playing these games has never been easier. While the consoles move on from generation to generation, abandoning support for older games, some folks are doing God's work in building emulators and archiving ROM dumps. Without them, a lot of these games would disappear without a trace or only exist on the shelf of some fusty old collector, wrapped in cellophane and never to actually be played.
When it comes to playing these games, we have a huge range of options at our fingertips. Anyone with a smartphone can potentially play just about every retro game in existence. Others like to load up their low-powered laptops with a Sega Genesis library. Even better though, we can now use our high-powered PCs to play 3D games at higher resolutions and frame rates than were ever possible before, playing classic games that actually look better than the original.
For me, playing old PC games is obviously pretty easy. Chances are that if it was good, it’s been re-released in some form or other, whether it’s a proper remake, a remaster, or made compatible with modern systems thanks to GOG.com. There’s the occasional crime against humanity, such as No One Lives Forever being lost in the ether, but 99% of what I want to play is out there and playable through legitimate sources.
In terms of everything outside of PC, I’ve got a lot of it covered with my NES and SNES Minis. They’ve both got, ahem, quite a large library of games, so if I ever want to play something from my childhood I can just plug it in and play without any hassle.
For everything else though, I’m pretty much reliant on PC emulation. A lot of older games from consoles are incredibly difficult to find and/or run, and even things like Wii games look so bad these days without Dolphin that it’s basically a necessity. I’ve got Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii, for example, but I started playing on the Wii U and the image quality was incredibly blurring. The same game on Dolphin looks incredibly crisp. If Nintendo re-released an HD version of SMG2 on Switch I’d been up for it, but they’re not offering a good alternative right now to prevent PC emulation.
Are you big into retro gaming or do you prefer to look forward? For the retro gamers out there, what sort of setup do you have going on? Have you got a PC loaded with ROMs, or do you prefer the authentic hardware? Let us know below!