Retro video games are having a moment. New versions of old consoles specifically designed for old games are selling like hot cakes. A big reason is simply nostalgia, especially in these troubled times. Certain retro games never went out of style, but continue to be reimagined for systems like the Playstation 4. What are the most iconic retro video games? Here are four:
One of the very first arcade video games, Pong came out in 1972. It’s ping-pong with very simple 2D graphics. Atari created it and it quickly became huge in arcades. It earned about four times more money than other games. In 1975, Atari released a home version through Sears and became even more popular. It’s consistently been recreated for multiple platforms and systems. Because of its status, it’s part of the permanent collection in the Smithsonian.
If you want to play Pong now, it isn’t hard. There are variations available on your smartphone. In 2012, Atari released an official game for iOS called “Pong World.” It doesn’t appear to be in the App store anymore, but there is “Infinite Pong,” courtesy of developer Corey Smith. It has an almost perfect 5-star rating from hundreds of users.
This long-running series changed the industry in a lot of ways. The first Resident Evil, released in 1996, was the first game in the “survival horror” genre that’s very popular. The central antagonists in the series are zombies, so many credit Resident Evil as part of the reason why zombies became so popular again in the late 1990’s and through today. Resident Evil 4 used an “over the shoulder” third person view, which was relatively new at the time, and many games followed suit. RE4 is considered one of the best video games of all time.
The most resident Resident Evil, Resident Evil 7, came out in 2017. However, a full remake of 1998’s Resident Evil 2 was released in 2019, showing just how beloved retro video games are. It was very important to fans that the game smooth out some of the clunkier pieces with new technology, but retain the spirit and overall feel of the original. According to reviews, it seems to have succeeded.
Known for its gorgeous visuals and music, Final Fantasy began way back in 1987. It’s the figurehead of the company Square Enix, and led the way for many features in role-playing games. Despite all the numbered sequels, each game has a stand-alone plot and characters, though there’s always a group of heroes fighting evil.
Like Resident Evil, there’s a big remake in the works. It looks like the game, a remake of Final Fantasy 7, will be a two-parter. The first should come out in 2020, but it won’t be a straightforward rehash of the plot and characters. The producer explained why, saying simply remaking it shot-for-shot with better graphics wasn’t interesting enough, especially for the team members who worked on the original. We’ll see how fans respond to this interpretation of retro video games.
Super Mario series
Mario was first introduced by Nintendo as “Jumpman,” but got the name Mario in 1983. His brother Luigi appeared in the same game, and a franchise was born. The original Super Mario Bros came out in 1986 on the first Nintendo system released in the United States. By 2011, the Super Mario games had made $12 billion. Fans don’t get sick of Mario, and with games like Super Mario Maker 1 and 2, they get to actually create their own levels. The classic jumping, power-ups, and side-scrolling have remained pretty consistent, proving that retro video games and their dynamics are here to stay.
While remaking a video game isn’t super common, remaking movies are. Here’s a list of recent remakes and ones that are still in the works.