What Are the Benefits of Playing Old School and Retro Video Games?

It’s easy to think that playing video games is an expensive hobby and, in some ways, it is if you’re always going AAA. However, the odds are good you could be saving a whole lot and still having a blast by looking back a bit at the retro video games scene.

The video game industry has been around a while and making fun video games pretty much the whole time. Today we’ll discuss the many benefits of going old school and checking out the classics.

Cost Tends to Be Lower

We’ll start by noting that retro video games tend to be cheaper than modern AAA titles. This doesn’t only apply to middling titles either; classic titles like those in the Mario and Donkey Kong series can be found at a good price if you know where to look.

It’s rare that a game would approach the 60 dollar price tag of a modern AAA title unless there is a serious demand for it or it’s otherwise collectible. The classic example is Earthbound for the NES, which did not sell well at the time and only now has gained a huge amount of popularity.

Generally speaking, an older game that was beloved at the time tends not to be very expensive now. If the publisher knew what it was doing, many cartridges (or discs, depending on the system) were printed to meet consumer demand.

More cartridges usually mean a game is less collectible, even if it’s a very fun one. This is why early Mario titles rarely cost very much despite being absolutely worth checking out.

Newer Does Not Mean Better

People tend to assume that when a product is newer it is also better. However, that’s the wrong way to look at video games. What was enjoyable twenty years ago tends to remain enjoyable.

A quick visit to Theoldschoolgamevault.com will allow one to quickly find a number of classics people still enjoy. Donkey Kong and the Castlevania series both have some fan favorites as far back as the NES and are very affordable.

For even less, one can land a Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt World / Class Track Meet cartridge, which means you’d be getting three games for 1/6th the cost of a modern game.

Both the NES and SNES have a number of beloved JRPGs, most notably the early entries in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series, which can take thirty or more hours to beat and still get a huge amount of attention even as newer entries are released.

Newer games mean better graphics and fewer hardware limitations. However, older games were developed with their own limitations in mind. You don’t need top-of-the-line tech to deliver a fun, worthwhile experience or an exciting story.

Retro Video Games Are Literally Gaming History

Retro video games are, in a very real way, gaming history. They can offer fascinating context to newer experiences, as you get a better insight into the path that led to modern gaming.

What’s great is that this “history lesson” is one that was designed to be fun. So long as you aren’t choosing at random and instead are finding games that people actually enjoyed, the odds are good you’ll enjoy them too.

Some series will even reference back to the events of older games, whether with subtle nods or sometimes even critical plot points. If there is a series you love, it can be both fun and informative to check out the older games and see if there are references you’ve been missing.

Do all games age equally well? Of course not; what was new and exciting in the past is sometimes, at best, an interesting diversion in the present. That said, enough classics are still worth your time that you can’t dismiss old games just for being old.

The Most Beloved Games Tend to Be Older

If you ask video game nerds what the best game of all time is, you’ll get a wide variety of responses. Two of the most common are going to be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64. The kicker is, nearly all the responses will be for older games.

Now, of course, we can’t ignore the role nostalgia plays. We tend to connect with games in our youth in a way that’s harder as we get older. However, that’s not the whole equation.

As time passes, the mediocre and downright bad games get filtered out and forgotten. What’s left are the games that innovated and amazed. If you haven’t played them yet, it’s worth taking a step back and checking out what wowed people ten-twenty years ago.

Even if similar games have now come out and used many of those now old tricks, it’s rare where an old game that innovated and was beloved suddenly feels bad with age. 

The classics people go back to are often thoroughly fun experiences, whether you played them back in the day or are a newcomer. The Mario and Zelda series didn’t only get fun these past five years, after all.

Give Retro Video Games a Try

(Most) video game geeks aren’t going back to retro video games because they’re hipsters or historians. They’re going back to those games because they’re fun and often affordable. If you have an interest in gaming, don’t miss out on fun experiences simply because they’re not in production. If you found this article helpful, try looking at more of our content in the art and luxury sections for similar content. For something different, you can also explore our other sections! There’s sure to be more you’ll love.

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