Old Vs New Video Games


The debate between old school and new school gaming continues to rage on. The things going for the retro gamers have more to do with the style of gameplay, fighting through levels, defeating a boss and nostalgia. The modern gamers are enamored by the amazing graphics, increased UI and multiplayer online availability.

We’ll break down a couple of different genres and take a look at the pros and cons so you can see for yourself why retro gaming is the way to go.

Online Games

The internet is probably the greatest thing to happen for retro gamers. It has brought back so many games from the dead, and given many gamers the chance to play. No need to go out and buy a Sega Genesis or Nintendo, you can get your Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog on a web browser.

Even online casino has found a way with some online blackjack games to combine new school games, with an old-school feel. This allows player who like the nostalgic feel of the retro blackjack games, but at the same time, don’t want to give up on the amazing bonus rounds and chances to win extra money.

That’s not to say that there is nothing cool about modern day online gaming. The best thing that they have going for them is the ability to hook up with gamers all over the word and play online role playing games (MMORPG).

Console Games

If you try and match up retro console games and modern day console games on specs alone, there is no match. An Atari, Nintendo, Sega Genesis and Game Boy don’t hold a candle to the XBOX 360 or PlayStation 4 or even an iPhone 7. However, that doesn’t mean that the games are better. Sure, the graphics and AI are a vast improvement over what we had back in the day, but these new games lack heart.

There is just something about Mario and Luigi going up against Bowser to save the princess that Halo 4 doesn’t have. If you strip away the fancy upgrades that modern tech allows developers these days, you’ll quickly see that modern console games just don’t hold a candle to their ancient predecessors.

First Person Shooters

Much like the console games and online PC games, modern first person shooter games definitely include extras that are nice, but since when does nice equal better?

Duke Nuke ’em, Wolfenstein and Doom required players to think ahead, figure out what to do and solve the problem. Modern games Like the Halo’s and Call of Duty may have better graphics, gun and bad guys, but the game itself is dumbed down.  You can just hold down the shooting button and make your way to the end of the round.

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About NintendoLegend

Eric Bailey is Top Frog of SkirmishFrogs.com. He also blogs at NintendoLegend.com. You can follow him on Twitter, @Nintendo_Legend.


  1. Retro gaming is so much more immediate. Plug in the cartridge, switch on and start playing.
    Modern gaming requires fighting through user interfaces, waiting for patches then more often than not wading through online lobbies to find the people you want to play with. All taking time and effort that you would rather spend on playing.

  2. I don’t see why they have to fight at all.

  3. The thing people miss is that its realistically impossible to progress without losing something. One of the difficulties in comparing modern FPS’ to oldschool FPS’ is they aren’t really comparable experiences. Halo campaigns have always been about the linear ‘cinematic’ experience, something like Hexen was always about exploration over everything else. Modern games genres are just as much a product of fashion as they are intrinsic quality of ‘modern’ gaming.

    With that said, I think a lot of it comes back to money. It’s easy to develop a weird and unusual idea if you can do it all, yourself. on your Spectrum/C64. It’s much harder to justify a potential commercial failure if its going to take a small army of people and millions of dollars to bring it to the market.

    Mind you, with that said, its exciting to see that the combination of a universal platform (Steam) and free/cheap development tools has seen a huge surge in exciting independent titles. In many ways it sort of feels like I’m back to where we were when i first got my Spectrum…

  4. I think the main difference between older game design (70s-90s), versus “new” game design (00s-now), is philosophy and approach. In MOST old games (not all), the primary focus when designing/developing a game, was gameplay. The gameplay experience. What is the player going to be able to do? What is that going to be like? How can they interact with the game world?

    With a lot of newer games, mainly 3D ones, or “AAA” budget titles, it seems to me that the design focus is more on trying to present this “cinematic” experience. Trying to craft, in essence, a “playable movie”. And in that, often enough (though again, not ALWAYS), important things like actual gameplay, in-world game mechanics, physics, controls, etc., are secondary to graphics, sound, “big ideas”, presentation.

    Now mind you, that isn’t exclusive to new games. Just as one example, in old early 90s Virgin developed games, such as Global Gladiators, Cool Spot, and their beloved Disney games, their focus when developing those games was obviously aesthetics, graphical and audio quality, over actual controls, mechanics and gameplay. Even as beloved and fondly remembered as the Genesis Aladdin is, the truth is, it doesn’t PLAY all that well. Whereas the Capcom SNES Aladdin, plays much better, because Capcom was much better at focusing on game mechanics and controls.

    Now, I think a lot of INDIE games these days, obviously take a more “old school” design approach. Their is, in general, a higher focus on actual gameplay. But it is depressing to me, that if you look back at what are generally considered the “best” games, like Super Mario Bros., Mega Man, Street Fighter II, Zelda, etc., more often than not are games that also just so happen to have really good controls and mechanics. Whereas these days, many of the “top rated” games, year in and year out, often have very lax controls, mechanics, etc., but people look beyond it because “oh but it’s a compelling experience” or whatever. And part of the problem there, is that at least to me, it seems like with a lot of these “cinematic” games, you play them once for the “experience”, to see the story, etc., and then once (if) you beat them, then you really don’t play them again. They aren’t often games you come back to and play over and over again, IE having high replay value. That is, of course, unless they have some sort of online battle mode.

    I’m obviously biased, I write a blog called “Retro Revelations”. But I also don’t think that my proclivity for older games is purely nostalgia. I think there really is something to be said, for the fact that there was a higher degree of BETTER made games, at least when it comes to the creme of the crop, in bygone eras, versus this modern era.

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