The world of retro and vintage gaming has been getting larger and larger over the last decade or so. With huge groups of adults using older consoles and systems to enjoy the titles they remember from childhood, a new market has developed for used devices, emulation tools, and even new hardware which is compatible with toys from days gone by. Taking a slice of this action has never been easier. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring a range of old school gaming options available today, giving you loads of choice when it comes to getting started on your own collection.
Before diving into the hardware and software, though, it’s time for a little bit of history. As with a lot of early computing achievements, there is a certain amount of debate around the web when it comes to determining which video game came first. The most popular opinion is that the first true video game was built by MIT, had to be ran on a machine as large as a car, and was born in 1962. This game was called Spacewar. Other ideas suggest that a game similar to Pong came first, in 1958. As one of the oldest arguments, some people believe that an automated chess machine which was created in 1912 is close enough to a video game to be considered the first.
Back in the 70’s, there weren’t very many home or personal computers on the market, and those that were available cost a small fortune. The Apple II, for example, was one of the earliest PCs on the market, in 1977. Accounting for inflation, the device cost well over $5000, and this was simply too much for most homes, especially with very few people understanding what a machine like this could do. Along with this, the consoles of the time, like the Magnavox Odyssey, were also very pricey. To make games accessible, arcades started to open during the 70’s.
Playing games from this era at home has never been easier. There are a couple of routes which can be taken, with some people preferring a more natural approach. The first, and by far the cheapest, is using the computer you already have. All of the world’s earliest games can be found around the web for free, and you can invest in an arcade controller for very little. With these tools, you can have a very realistic experience, despite being on a modern machine. If you’d prefer a more authentic approach, there are loads of fully-built cabinets available online, along with companies who sell the parts to build one yourself.
For a lot of people, the earliest home video games they will remember will have been on a computer, rather than a console. Being a very chaotic time for tech, though, it can be hard to make sure that you’re choosing the right device for your gaming. As a solid all-round option, you can find a great example of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum for nearly nothing on a site like eBay. This small British machine has over 1700 titles available, and a lot of them can be written onto tapes or floppy disks from free ROMs online. The Spectrum was first released in 1982, and came in at an affordable price for most people.
When you decide to go with a very old machine, you will often limit yourself to a very select pool of games and software applications. This is because of the lack of unification between operating systems during this period, as loads of companies fought to make their own systems the standard everyone would use. Entering the late 80’s and early 90’s, though, and this started to change. With games for DOS-based operating systems being fairly universal, along with the introduction of the incredibly popular Windows 3.1, this can be one of the best eras to aim for if you want to have access to as many games as possible. These computers can still be useful for other jobs, too.
There are hundreds of retro computers which have been great for gaming. This makes it very important to do your research when you’re choosing something like this, as examples ranging from the 70’s to the early 2000’s fall into this category, making the system you choose impact the experience you have by a huge margin. Along with this, you have to make sure you’re not being ripped off when you’re buying parts and machines. There are loads of videos around the web which can help you with this, ranging from support when it comes to restoring a computer to using ancient software.
Of course, when thinking about retro gaming, it’s important to consider the consoles on the market. Thankfully, this part of technology is much less diverse than the world of computing, with a handful of options every decade. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t a broad field, though. The Playstation 3 and XBox 360 are considered retro to a lot of people, but others won’t consider consoles past the Gamecube to be anything but modern. It’s best to decide this for yourself, based on the consoles you remember from childhood, along with the prices on the market when you start your hunt. You have a couple of options when it comes to playing games like this.
Over the last few years, a lot of emulation tools have matured into very reliable tools. Acting as a virtual version of a console, these applications can run on smartphones or computers, and enable you to play retro games as if it’s the year they came out. Examples exist for practically every console out there, making the process of building your collection much faster and cheaper. The best emulators are those that have been around for years. For the Gamecube, for example, Dolphin is well-known for providing quality results, while also having been built for over a decade.
For some people, playing their retro games on anything but the original console will feel wrong. To overcome this, you might need to do some shopping, but it should be easy to find the consoles you remember most fondly. Auction sites are the best on the web for this job. In reality, though, this is one kind of shopping which can benefit from going out into the world. Thrift and charity stores always undervalue their games and hardware, making it incredibly easy to get a good deal. This sort of approach doesn’t have to stop here, though.
In recent times, loads of small companies have found their niche recreating the consoles and games which people remember from the childhoods. Some have been crowdfunded, and others have found their own footing, but they are all awesome. This sort of product gives the chance to experience something which people haven’t enjoyed for generations. Often making everything cheaper, while also providing you with a warranty, this is a smart move to make if you’re anxious about buying something which is a couple of decades old. Of course, though, it’s always worth making sure that these goods are properly licensed.
The world of old school gaming isn’t reserved for the video games you love and remember. A lot of people have fond memories of family card and board games, and there will be certain titles which can capture your imagination even as an adult. You can get a lot from online slot sites these days. With convincing replicas of old casino games, along with loads of examples based on cards, these sorts of websites can provide you with all of the fun you remember. Along with this, though, you may already have one of the most powerful gaming tools in the world at your disposal.
There are loads of smartphone apps including interactive experiences which as based on existing games. Go Fish, for example, can be played with people all over the world, and you don’t have to leave your sofa to do it. This sort of gaming is taking over the space for a wide portion of the public. As it gets more convenient to get on with some gaming, more and more people are following the scene. Of course, this will only be worth it for games which you have played in the past. If you can’t find an example you remember, online forums can often come to the rescue in this situation, with users being happy to help you to find the tools you need.
As the world of gaming grows, so does people’s need to play titles which have come and gone from the limelight. Whether this is because you’re uninspired by modern games or you simply want to have some fun, it’s a good idea to do your research before getting started, as this field can get very complex. The internet can help you with this, giving you the power to find answers and get support. Along with this, though, you can always refer to the manuals you get with your old school devices.