Throughout the years gaming as a whole has gone through huge changes, in terms of the genres and styles that have been most popular. But one thing has remained true. Familiarity has often been the key for the success of many titles. Gaming developers often use tried and tested gaming tropes to trigger nostalgia, familiarity or just to reduce the risk of us not wanting to try something new.

Trends in general have changed over the years in terms of how people play games and what kinds of games they like. The demographic has evolved too. At the top end gamers get older, as the older generation now consists of people who grew up gaming, something that hadn’t happened before. And at the bottom end, the younger generation are enjoying both the new style of games and also enjoy discovering games of yesteryear, often playing with their parents.

Two other obvious trends are those of online gaming and mobile gaming. The online and mobile trends can be seen in other forms of entertainment too. You need look no further than the recent boom in television and movie streaming subscriptions such as Netflix and Disney+ to see that people are streaming more, and also often watching on their mobile screens.

Further recent examples of these trends have been seen in other forms of the gaming market, which has led to the growth of online casinos across the world, particularly in emerging markets such as the ones that this South African site lists. It’s another example of how a sector normally based in bricks and mortar, has moved online. This can also be demonstrated with recent gaming streaming subscriptions such as Anstream, which lets you stream arcade games through your browser. Particularly useful when there aren’t many physical arcades around these days.

The online trend is undeniable. But one of the main gaming trends, as mentioned above, is that of retrogaming. Many podcasts that are focussed on retrogaming are discovering that they have an increasing demographic of younger gamers, who are not interested in the genre due to personal nostalgia, but rather just have an avid interest in gaming history and a love for well made games.

Furthermore, what we’re seeing is that many gaming developers are remaking old classics for mobile, or they are making new games that are heavily influenced by retrogaming trends of the past.

So, what are some of the most prominent modern takes on retro classics?

Capcom Arcade Stadium
First of all it’s worth mentioning the recently launched Capcom Arcade Stadium, which is just the latest version of re-released retrogaming classics for the modern family to play without the stress of emulators or old hardware. This particular package comes with access to loads of Capcom classics such as 1942, Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, Strider, Final Fight, Commando and Street Fighter II. Not new games based on old trends but it’s a new way of playing the classics because there is still a huge demand.

Stardew Valley
Replicating the success found in life simulators like Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley has become synonymous with modern indie games that pack in a huge amount of content for what they are. The stylised look certainly lends itself to a very retro theme and many of the gaming mechanics involved do too, but with many modern features, for many it has created an addictive 24-hour day cycle that keeps players addicted. With other games in the market that offer similar such as Animal Crossing being very similar, Stardew certainly provides the retro fans with a little bit of everything.

Initially conceived back in 2016 made during a four-day event, the PICO-8 platformer was officially released later in 2018 as a full game and made waves in a year with some of the biggest modern AAA titles. The retro graphics style draws many in any with beautiful vibrant colours it certainly looks the part, but the momentum-based platformer is much more than that as it lends itself to games of the past that were simple in concept, but had a lot of depth in practice, and it’s no wonder the game rings so well with the retro gaming audience.

Shovel Knight
One of the earlier retro-inspired indie games, Shovel Knight takes inspiration from many classics such Ghosts ‘N Goblins, Castlevania and even Super Mario. It has all your typical classic side-scrolling elements. Fast paced violence, jumping, treasure, level bosses etc. It’s won several awards and it’s 8-bit inspired graphics will be sure to press all your nostalgia buttons.

Whilst a little more modern looking than the other titles in this list and not really a direct match for retro gaming titles, it does take visual inspiration from the older cartoons, with a music style to boot. It is heavily praised by players and critics and contains slick gameplay that is certainly not easy by any means. It has an aesthetic that looks timeless mixing modern functionality and gameplay with a classic graphical style.

As gamers continue to get older, there will undoubtedly be a bigger calling for these modern classics, particularly as many looks to relive the passion in gaming they once had and with so many indie teams popping up and releasing huge hits that take the gaming audience by storm, there’s no doubt more names would be added to this list.