Just Another Video Game Blog: What is Retro?

Earlier this week, RetroBlastUS posted the below on Twitter:

Retro Blast is an excellent Twitter follow, by the way. Go do so now.


This caused me to really start thinking about what does constitute retro-gaming. As a blog that proclaims to mostly post about retro-games, I was surprised to realize that I didn’t have a firm definition of this, but was not surprised that I actually didn’t consider the above to be “retro.”

The question is, why not? The reasoning above is sound. Why do I, personally, consider one generation of consoles to be retro, but not another generation once they are of similar age? My ultimate conclusion was that, even though there probably is a firm definition of retro-gaming or retro-games out there somewhere, it’s also a very subjective term. All of us that play games, both current and past, will have a different interpretation of what constitutes retro-gaming.

For me, I think it comes down to the dramatic shift in presentation that took place from the generation of the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation to the Gamecube, PS2, and Xbox (apologies for omitting Sega here, but I have a hard time placing the Dreamcast into one of the above two generations). I’ve always felt that 3-D gaming started one generation too early, even if I understand that it was the inevitable next step. And regardless of how they look, games like Super Mario 64, Resident Evil, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, etc… are still quite fun to play today, if less fun to look at than they used to be.

The Gamecube/PS2/Xbox generation was almost revolutionary in how much better 3-D games suddenly looked. In case you’ve forgotten the jump in graphical power:

It’s kind of stunning how far games came in one generation.

So, for me, this marks where retro-gaming ends and current gaming begins. For me, the latter titles still hold up perfectly well. But, that’s just me. There are many, many gamers out there that came of age on the PS2 or the Xbox or the Gamecube. As games have advanced, they are more in tune to the advancements from the PS2 to the PS3 or the PS3 to the PS4. For those gamers, the PS2 is absolutely a retro-console. And you know what? That’s one hundred percent fine.

I’m going to guess that we all agree this is retro.


See, my definition of retro-gaming doesn’t have to be the same as someone else’s. It’s just my perception. And whether or not I still consider Ratchet & Clank a “current” title and another game that plays it calls it retro does not affect the joy either of us will get from the game. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. The discussion is fun, and I have a viewpoint, but I’ll never be a gatekeeper. Those people are no fun whatsoever, and who wants to be no fun? So just enjoy your game, however you perceive it. That’s what it’s all about.