Asking why people still love retro games might seem like a silly question, but it’s more nuanced than the simple answer of nostalgia that many people will jump to. Nostalgia plays a part, of course, but it illustrates only one small portion of why retro games stay fresh. Here in the 2020s, these styles of games are more popular than ever, both drawing players to classic titles and filling the indie space with new entries that lean whole-heartedly on hits of the 80s and 90s. So how do they do this, and why do we expect the retro market to only grow more pronounced the older it gets?

Double-Edged Complexity
When looking at how retro games remain popular, the most relevant point of comparison is the contemporary gaming market. Evolving and expanding over the generations, the modern AAA market is one where complexity is almost always king. Graphics put huge strains on systems, and complicated gameplay systems are rarely understandable at a glance. This can make titles hugely engaging for long sessions, but it also creates problems.

For many gamers, the ideal game is one you can pick and play without first running a huge number of tutorials, and without breaking the bank for a cutting-edge system. These are both areas where retro games succeed far beyond their modern counterparts, and this level of streamlining is something we all enjoy.

The entire concept of casino gaming takes a similar tack. Here, the central tenants of casino games are exceedingly simple, but they’re engaging and easy enough to play that they remain perpetually popular. Again, like retro games and retro-inspired games, this has led to a broad modern market, to a size that players often use comparisons of the best online slot sites to find their way. This is similar to what we do here at Retromash, but instead of competing with articles and insight, casinos do so through special features like deposit matches and free spins.

An Important History
Since video games are a relatively modern form of entertainment, it’s much easier to track their history in terms of evolutionary steps and standout titles than with other forms of media. Titles like Pacman popularised the arcade, games like Super Mario Bros revolutionised the 2D platformer, and these retro entries are as playable today as they ever were. In this way, retro games are more than just abstract parts of history, they can be actively experienced, requiring far less in the way of temporal context than the likes of films, poetry, paintings, or novels.

As each year passes, the video game industry continues its long upward journey of acceptance and financial success. Already worth more than the movie and music industries combined, video games are expanding in every direction, so we shouldn’t be so surprised to see retro games come along for the ride. With each year, retro titles become more important cultural artefacts, and with each year, the timeframe of what is “retro” expands to include a wider library. From this perspective, it seems inevitable that the love of retro gaming will only continue to grow, and take more people along for the ride. Whether you’re a casual player or a more hardcore fan like we are, this is a development everyone can celebrate.