What developers consider "retro" is all wrong.

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by theloon, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. theloon
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    theloon Member

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    As I’m winding up to start my own indie game development studio I’ve come to realize just how warped the “retro” genre is. Many “me too” mobile developers seem to think oversimplification equals retro. Many retro gamers never get beyond the brands and games of their youth.

    Did David Crane seek to create the lowest common denominator when creating Pitfall? Did late 70’s gamers refuse to explore games beyond that which they already own? Of course not. Why do we as consumers or creators settle for this today?

    In part I blame the middling generation of video games. Without the constraints imposed by earlier systems companies focused on branding rather than play. Would Microsurgeon for the Intellivision have been made in the Mario and Sonic filled marketplace? Could you see Warlords for the Atari 2600 given an equal chance beside Super Smash Brothers? No. We became excited by content and characters over games for their own experience. We consumed and defeated rather than enjoyed and mastered as in earlier forms of entertainment such as chess.

    When developers deign to mock the good ‘ole days they both oversimplify play yet over-compensate visually. Despite (or rather because of) hardware constraints games became highly distilled visions of creativity and enjoyment. Atari Adventure did not have “retro” graphics. Warren Robinett took the essence of earlier text based role playing games and delivered a visual experience that engaged ones imagination. Today with the expectation of lens flare, rag doll physics and 4k displays we are given reality instead of interpreting it.

    As consumers, digital downloads and inexpensive homebrew carts have allowed us to take a risk on unique titles. In turn developers can afford to spend time focusing on the game rather than existing properties and glamor. Maybe nostalgia is less about regaining a moment in time and more about what made us feel excited in the first place. Triple-A titles cannot afford to be unique. Indie developers cannot afford to be niche. It all begins with us as gamers saying YES to old school values in games.

    I’d be lying if I said that the computer industries’ downturn hasn’t hastened my plans to go full time Indie developer. Realizing that we’ve lost what made the pre-NES generation brilliant has been my true impetus though. I’ll stake my livelihood on creating new games with old school values. In return my hopes are you’ll enjoy the fruits of my labor. Classic gaming is not a memory but sheer joy and creativity distilled. Let’s bring that back together.


    Tl;dr: , the retro games I see miss the point. Atari Adventure gaming sessions could get pretty complex trying to juggle items around and fight off dragons. Pseudo retro graphics seem to still cater to glamour and gloss. I think devs can do better. *shrugs*
     
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  2. Issac

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    "Retro" is such a cheap title to give everything with pixel art nowadays. I do like when retro inspired games are a bit simplistic though, since many games of the time were very simple in it's idea... It's difficult to explain what I mean.

    Kinda like this: Then, games could be complex but with simplistic mechanics. Now, some games are complex with complex mechanics (or sometimes, simple with complex mechanics). Or some games are just simple.
    What I like is the "complex with simplistic mechanics" games, how creative the developers were and are, using what little they've got.
     
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  3. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I see the same thing when people try to tell me why a DOTA/MOBA game is wrong, or if prefer miss the forest for the trees. That said I am not sure if the concept is as pervasive as some think.
     
  4. grossaffe

    grossaffe GBAtemp Addict

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    The ones that I've noticed garnering the most attention are the ones that really do have that retro feel to them, though. Shovel Knight, for example.
     
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  5. RevPokemon

    RevPokemon GBATemp's 3rd Favorite Transgirl

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    Retro is just being used as little more than a marketing slogan to invoke nostalgia from the consumer.
     
  6. zoogie

    zoogie simple pimp tool

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    Every game is marketed in some fashion. Whether it's successful in living up to its marketing claims is up to the public.
    Calling something 'retro' and giving it big pixels doesn't alone make it successful nostalgia.
    Shovel knight did it perfectly btw.
     
  7. RevPokemon

    RevPokemon GBATemp's 3rd Favorite Transgirl

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    True but Retro I feel has been taken over as a marketing term. Although it also hurts that their really isn't a defined term for "retro" when it comes to gaming.
     
  8. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    I had to read the article twice or even three times to get what he was talking about. Then I realised it was because the title in this thread is completely off.

    The original title is "We're All doing Classic gaming wrong". The title here (what developers consider retro is all wrong) misses two important parts:

    -the "we" part. Yes, he starts of sneering at game companies using pixel art and sounds more for getting a cheap feel than that it adds to the experience, but the meat of the article is about gamers (and gaming developers) not stepping outside the boundaries of what they already know.
    -the accent of the article is on the classic gaming. The visuals are barely mentioned. Here, the OP makes it sound as if it's what the article is about.


    Rather than pitting out pixel art vs new art, he points out that in the beginning era of video games, there was a much larger variety both in styles and visuals. He points out that even though today we have more tools than ever to create truly NEW types of games, the developers of today seem stuck in this very narrow idea that is layed out to them, either by visuals (which is more apparent in games pretending to be retro) or by oversimplifying (but sometimes dead-hard) gameplay. In a way, "retro shooter" or "retro platformer" are oxymorons, as the terms shooter and platforms were barely if at all coined in those days.


    And to be honest, I'm not so sure if I can agree to that. Yes, I prefer to play games that don't really fit into one "type" of classification (or have a classification to begin with), but I don't see an abundance of, say, platformers or shooters as a bad thing.

    Because face it: classic games were a lot hit and miss. There were some terrible games back then, and the fact that they were original didn't exactly saved them (look at all those FMV-games, for example). And the so-called classics? Erm...not always. I tried playing the original double dragon yesterday. I nearly gnawed my keyboard off in frustration.
     
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  9. Jack_Sparrow

    Jack_Sparrow Ruthless Pirate

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    I totally agree with this! Just because that stupid flappy bird game was all pixelated DOES NOT make it retro!
     
  10. roo1234

    roo1234 Member

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    Cuz they are now NEO Retro
     
  11. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    What about nu retro?
     
  12. sarkwalvein

    sarkwalvein Professional asshole at GBATemp

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    Retro should be making a new Metroid Prime for the Wii U.
     
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  13. Yil

    Yil GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Does retro not represent high-quality, depth and innovation?
    Only if I had the money to make a risky 3a title.
     
  14. Shulking

    Shulking Member

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    Retro is just a marketing term just like classic.