The Secret Behind Retro Gaming’s Popularity

Retrogaming has become popular over the last few years. While yearly many news games get released, people are fond of the old games. Newer games ends up having graphics that looks like it is taken from a retrogame. Why is this? That is what we will find out here, as nostalgia is not the only reason.

Retro games are games that were released between 1970 and 2005. Games from the 1st to 6th generation consoles are considered retro games. Among classics like Legend of Zelda: Orcanina of Time on the N64 and the first sonic games on the Sega Genesis, there are many hidden gems on the consoles: unknown games, waiting to be discovered. These games gain popularity on Twitch through “console challenges”, among other ways.


According to most who enjoy retro games, the nostalgia plays a big role in their decision to play the game – something I disagree with. I decided to talk with several people who play, and sell, retro games. While many play it for nostalgia and reliving their childhood memories, this does not apply to the younger generation of games. Gamers are now generally old enough that they have fond memories of certain games they enjoyed as a child. When these old-school gamers talk to the newer generation of gamers, they can inspire them to try out these classics. This is how the newer generation of gamers come in contact with retro games.

Another reason why retro gaming is increasing in popularity is the speedrunning community. With big events like Awesome Games Done Quick, people come in contact with retro games. The presentation of the game sparks interest and allows the reader to get a first-hand look at the game. Guests are encouraged to play the games casually or try to speedrun the games, or in other words, play through it as quickly as possible.

While speedrunning is a challenge, there is another trend in retro gaming going on as well. It is known as console challenges. There is an entire community for people who try to beat all games on a specific console. “Goati_” is my personal favorite of them all: trying to beat all Sega Mega Drive games. These challenges are not easy and take years. Since it can cost a lot of money to do so, several will be using emulators to play all the games ever released on a certain console.

Stacked Games

This brings us to the next point. Retro games, in general, are cheap. Where games nowadays cost over $40, retro games can be picked up for a few bucks. The affordable price makes collecting the games more cost-effective than the modern game, such as Call of Duty. While finding a good console for your games can be hard, you still won’t be spending over $200. Both the games and consoles are cheap, with few exceptions. For example, the original Castlevania: Symphony of the Night game is even more expensive than big titles released recently. I asked one collector why he has so many Atari games. His response? They look nice stacked on top of one another.

Retro games are also known for their higher degree of difficulty and their uniqueness. Compared to nowadays, where developers will release similar titles each year, retro games were all unique in one way or another. The Megaman series were known for being hard and punishing, which made people try to beat it. Mario was known for being a family-friendly game. The urge to want to learn what inspired the entire series is also a reason people come back to retro games. A look into Mario’s past is unique and can show how far gaming has come. With that being said, people discovered these games are harder than what is the standard today. This was because the earliest games were arcade games; the harder the game, the more credits people needed to pay. Beating the game became a challenge in itself. The first generation of home console games followed the trend of being hard to beat.

The last reason is that Virtual Consoles came into existence. Nintendo releasing the older games on different platforms once again has given a spike in the retro gaming community. With the release of the NES mini and SNES Classic Mini, retro gaming returned to its former glory. Both of them were sold out quickly.

Super Mario 64.jpg

If you have a different reason for playing retro games outside of what has been listed, you can let us know in the comments below. If you want to try out a game or two, you can google where you can find them. We won’t recommend using an unofficial emulator, but rather find an official one or buy the game itself. We hope you will find a hidden gem among all the retro games.

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