Retro Gaming is Social Gaming
I’m often asked “What distinguishes gaming in the good ol’ days from the next generation of gaming?” Sure, we can discuss the obvious graphical and hardware developments, the influence of gaming going online or the manufacturing techniques now employed, but for me, it’s all about the social experience.
Throughout my childhood, from my earliest memories playing on the commodore 64 through to the purchase of my first console (the rather ill-fated Dreamcast), I was rarely a lonely player. Whether it was 2-player Golden Axe with my father or half the neighbourhood crowded around my lounge, taking turns on 4-player Goldeneye (proximity mines on the Egyptian temple if you must know, and yes Oddjob was cheating), retro gaming has always been a social experience.
Nothing is quite as offensive as the abuse thrown around the room when taking a blue shell in the last second on Mario Kart, or having your star willfully pinched in Mario Party! Yet it was the best recreational gaming I’ve experienced. In fact my fondest memories were across the N64 and Gamecube series. Now, I understand that online gaming allows for some social interaction but it rarely compares to the physical and emotional connection of having your friends and family alongside you during your game journey.
Admittedly I couldn’t write this fairly without giving a little mention to the Wii. A console which is predominantly founded on bringing the social element back into gaming and once again physically uniting families together around one console. If I host gaming nights you won’t see my XBOX 360 and you certainly won’t see my PS3, but I can guarantee it will be enjoyable, hilarious and fun!