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Why Retro Gaming is Stronger Than Ever

INTRODUCTION

         It should come as no surprise that the gaming medium has seen a significant following over the past decade. This is thanks to gaming appealing more towards the casual gamer rather than simply being an obscure hobby that only nerds indulge in.

         This revolution has allowed gaming to grow into a very large entertainment source that has even become a viable career option for some. When it comes to Retro Gaming though, who would want to buy old and outdated games that have lost their flavor? Well, fortunately, Retro Gaming hasn’t lost its cool. In fact, the contrary is often true. Many older gamer enthusiasts still remember the fond days of playing Super Mario 64, or Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis.

          The nostalgia factor is often the selling point of Retro Gaming since most old-school gamers have unforgettable memories of these classics that have impacted their lives greatly. Retro Gaming has also become a great hobby for collectors; as many older games have gone up in value significantly over the last decade. This is the result of Retro Gaming's exploding in popularity and the overall gaming scene seeing massive growth over the last years. Retro Gaming has become so sought after by some. In fact, certain investors are getting into the industry as well, to see if they can profit from this success. This investing scene isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, however, as companies like Wata Games have been accused of fraudulent behavior in the gaming industry, and this controversy has led many gamers to not trust grading companies or large corporations that try to sell in the Retro Gaming industry.

        These casualties aside, the retro gaming world is usually a balanced and fun place to buy and sell older games. Sites like eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Mercari, JJgames, and many more are a few examples of sites that are often used for buying and selling retro games. The Retro Gaming scene has seen such huge success on secondary market sites so much so that GameStop has even entered the Retro Gaming Scene. Literally, everyone is trying to get in the retro gaming scene, from investors to secondary markets, to individual sellers, and even mainstream stores like GameStop.   

         Of course, Retro Gaming’s dominance is usually online-based, but many brick-and-mortar gaming stores have also seen their prevalence in the retro gaming industry as well. Sadly, most modern retro gaming stores simply have gone out of business or are struggling to make sales. Still though, if you encounter one definitely check them out as they can sometimes offer good deals on certain items.

 

What made retro gaming popular?

There are many factors that contributed to the now successful retro gaming industry, but first, we need to analyze what started this trend in the first place. The answer to this question is simple (THE INTERNET). Thanks in part to the internet and online e-commerce, the retro gaming industry has evolved significantly; and thanks to the presence of social media influencers and gamers showcasing their collections and reviewing and playing older games, suddenly the retro gaming industry skyrocketed in success.

The modern-day pricing for some of these games should tell you just how much people love old-school gaming. Some of these prices can even reach insane levels of value depending on the supply and demand of a said game. So not only do you have old-school gamers who want to collect games, but you also have businesses and individuals who buy and sell games for a living. There is money to be made in this industry, and as a result, sellers benefit from this trend as well.

Some fear that emulation could kill the viability of the retro gaming industry, but surprisingly that is not the case. You would think that with the appeal that emulation has gained over the years that this would be a threat to the retro gaming industry, but ironically the retro gaming scene has actually become more popular over the years. Emulation may be cool for some, but nothing beats the feeling of owning a vintage game from years past. The library for retro games is also impressive. There are some really good classics from the past that are still popular to this day thanks to their significance. Sure, the graphics may be dated, but the gameplay for some of these gems are very addicting and memorable.

Most of the classic games have evolved into franchises or mainline series because of how popular they are. Examples include Pokémon, Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty, Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, and many more! These games that I just mentioned have a strong fanbase and a loyal following that have allowed these series to continue their long lifespan without becoming obsolete. Even with obscure titles that were not very popular at the time, they are still benefiting from the online gaming community.

 I think what makes retro gaming really appealing though is the sheer number of consoles and games that have been released throughout the years that are underappreciated/underrated. Collecting retro games can become a super fun and highly addictive hobby thanks to the abundance of consoles there are to collect for. Do you want to collect solely for Nintendo? Are you more of an Atari collector? Or do you want a little bit of everything? This diversity of choice allows for a great collecting experience as you are able to collect for a console or platform that you show interest in.

There are also gamers that show interest in foreign/region exclusive games. These games in particular are highly unique and rare pieces of history that often get neglected due to their obscurity. A lot of older games at the time were exclusive to Japan because they feared that Western audiences would not understand or care for certain games that show cultural differences. It’s a shame the West didn’t get some of these hidden gems as some of the Japanese-exclusive games were pretty interesting. Games like Super Mario Bros. 2 for example, never made it to the West, and as a result, gamers missed out on it. In our modern generation, however, we are able to bypass some of these region exclusive games thanks to the use of emulators and imports.

Overall, Retro Gaming has become popular not only by nostalgia but by the amount of activity and communities that show interest in the retro gaming world. There are many e-commerce sites that have a plethora of gamers waiting to sell and buy their favorite games, and there is a huge industry as a result of this. As you can tell, this industry is quite huge, and its popularity has allowed it to grow into something more than just an obscure hobby.

 

Multiple retro and vintage video games on one screen.
Nintendo NES Controller bursting out

SHOULD you get into retro gaming?

This question often depends on the type of gamer you are. Newer gamers might not know about or care for these older games, but veteran gamers and nostalgists might be interested in reliving their childhood and reminiscing the glorious days of the past. Truthfully retro gaming can be for anyone, but the common type of individual that would indulge in this hobby would more likely than not be an old-school gamer. Still, though, it is never too late to get into retro gaming, and regardless of what generation you were born in, there are plenty of things that make retro gaming awesome for anyone.

            When it comes to retro gaming, there are many different consoles to choose from. Along with these consoles you also have an abundance of many different games, accessories, and knick knacks that complement the console. The accessories in particular are a collectible in of itself. Things like the infamous Power Glove, Gameboy Printer, Super Gameboy, Sega CD, and many others are examples of some of the accessories you can buy for retro consoles. These accessories, in my opinion, are really cool little devices that can enhance your gameplay or give you unlockable content in-game. Another cool thing that enhances collectability for retro consoles is limited editions. Limited editions can be almost anything from controllers to consoles, to games. If you are a collector then you will definitely want to look out for limited editions, as they are highly collectible and sought after. This notion even applies to modern consoles as well; so, although you may think limited editions in the modern era aren’t worth investing in, you should still do so anyway since limited editions have been known to go up in value over time.

            Collecting retro games never becomes dry or boring as there is an enormous amount of things that you can collect in the vintage gaming world. If consoles and games aren’t enough for you, then you can go a step further and buy limited editions, and region exclusive games. Indeed! There are many different things you can collect in the retro gaming world; so, you are never out of options. Of course, this begs the question, should you invest your time and money into retro gaming? Well yes, because there are a plethora of quality games and consoles that may go up in value over time.

            So, if you’re looking to get into retro gaming then you should be aware that it might get pricey if you decide to get deep into it. Of course, retro gaming can be fairly inexpensive and you can get certain consoles for pretty cheap. That being said some consoles may be more expensive than others so definitely be sure that you know what you’re getting into before purchasing. Pricing in general can vary between certain games and consoles. Games that didn’t sell well like Earthbound, for example, usually cost a lot more than your average retro game. There are many factors that can greatly affect the market value of a particular game. As a retro game enthusiast, you should know about stuff like this so that way you can understand why a certain price is justified.  The market tends to fluctuate a lot so these prices aren’t very reliable and many times the price can vary from platform to platform. Generally used games are the way to go if you’re looking for an inexpensive and affordable option. Or if you want, you can go all-in and buy a new/sealed retro game for a good sum of money. Just keep in mind that if you choose to go this route you will most likely be spending thousands of dollars.

            Unfortunately, A lot of retro consoles have been discontinued or are no longer in production. The value for retro gaming is probably going to go up over time as circulation decreases. With that in mind, if you are a gamer enthusiast that would like to try out older games, then you should definitely get into the gaming industry as there is a lot of collectability and fun to be had. On the other hand, if you don’t really care for older games, then perhaps retro gaming isn’t for you.

 

 NES Classic & Retron retro game player

CONCLUSION And final thoughts

        Retro Gaming, although believed to be something of the past, has actually grown to be a fan-favorite hobby for many. Though production for retro consoles has seized to exist for many years, many gamers are still buying and reselling their older games. Businesses and even communities have been created from the overwhelming popularity of retro gaming. A lot of YouTubers also cover retro gaming and the industry as a whole only contributes to its appeal.

       Just like baseball cards, Retro Gaming also has a market to it. Unfortunately, this market does pose a threat to greedy investors, fraudulent companies, scalpers, scammers, and many other individuals that are looking to unethically profit from the gaming community. The retro gaming world isn’t perfect, and sometimes it can have its down moments. The popularity of the retro gaming world is a great thing, but it also leaves this industry wide open to unwanted people. Arguably too much popularity for the industry could ultimately ruin it, but likewise, also make it more recognizable and appealing. 

       All of this aside, the retro gaming world is a really cool industry to get into if you’re looking to try out older games and collect older hardware. As long as you use common sense and check for red flags when buying retro games online, you shouldn’t have to worry about the risk of being scammed. Despite its problems, retro gaming is a very fun hobby to get into and as long as people continue to support it, retro gaming will never lose its cool.

 

Mini NES and SNES Nintendo retro gaming consoles.

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