Opinion: Are Retro games better than modern games?

With Indie games becoming more and more popular it got me wondering: Just why are Indie games so popular?

It’s an odd question, yes, but when you consider that we are completely spoilt for choice – we have big titles, massive blockbuster games and huge online gaming communities that we can join and be part of – but we still like a good Indie game.

Many conclude that their popularity is because Indie games are more affordable that have a ‘pick up and play’ aspect about them. Surely this makes them more like the games we all grew up with rather than modern movie-like games, so why don’t we all play the games we grew up with? They’re cheaper (generally) and just as enjoyable, plus you get to relive your childhood!

So to prove our theory, this writer is going to look at some classic games that people should be replaying or checking out for the first time instead of trawling the Indie games hubs for the next “great” game. Don’t get me wrong, there are some outstanding Indie games that are well worth downloading and giving a go like Super Meat Boy, Limbo or the super popular Minecraft but just take a walk down memory lane and remember the classics.

We will start off with: Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exoddus on the original PlayStation, both absolutely amazing games. Put either up against any modern equivalent and it is just so much better – the cut scenes, although graphically flawed by today’s standard, are brilliant. The whole game is amusing but also engaging and relevant. I still play it today, even though I am still rubbish at it – it just never gets old. For those that do not know the Abe’s series, you take on the role of a character called Abe and play through levels where you have to negotiate enemies, obstacles and puzzles. I won’t give you the story line because either you know it already and love it or you’re completely missing out and need to find out right now.

You can pick up an original PlayStation, a DualShock controller and Abe’s Oddysee/Exoddus for less than £30 including postage and packaging these days. That’s a console and a game for the same price some of some Indie games available now.

Next up is everyone’s favourite monkey: Donkey Kong 64 on the N64. I was so excited about this game when I was a kid and I put this down to the fact that you could play as other characters other than just DK and Diddy. Plus, Peanut guns! Come on, who doesn’t love the peanut guns!

The game takes place in a decent-sized immersive environment, a desert island filled with an array of enemies and weird and wonderful tasks and puzzle-like stages to complete. Not really widely regarded as a classic but it still could give any modern equivalent a run for its money. There are of course other games on the N64 that are classics – like GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, Conkers Bad Fur Day and Perfect Dark but I felt like mentioning something different for the N64.

You can pick up a N64, controller and an array of games for less than £60… just a bit more than a single new Xbox One or PS4 game.

Then we start getting more old school with: Terminator on the Commodore; a real classic of a game and the first video game I ever played. The game was completely two-dimensional and took forever to load but is just great to play, again, just because it has a real ‘pick up and go’ factor to it. Much more arcade-like than today’s blockbusters (although a blockbuster in its own time), and still a social experience – just take turns and play together in your own house rather than sitting online shout ‘noob’ at every given opportunity. Better still, you can get a Commodore for anything from £25 on eBay… whether it works or not is a different matter, but then again when they were new they didn’t work half the time either!

Another old school classic is: Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge on the Amiga. The racing game to rule all racing games (in my opinion). When the first PlayStation came out I was still playing this for years, forget Wipeout or Destruction Derby it was all about Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge.

I shunned other games, not because I didn’t have a PlayStation but just because I wanted to get past the level where you’re in a desert. This proved to be an absolute nightmare! Every time you played this game you had to start from the beginning, a feature which completely did not bother me even if it meant I knew the first 8 levels like the back of my hand. The AI was rubbish but who cares – it was fun and it was on a floppy disk so you’d get the satisfying mechanical reading noise when it was loading or just before it froze.

Amigas, although harder to find, can be purchased from around £90 which isn’t at all bad if you think about how much people are paying for current generation consoles just to play Indie games.

I think what I’m trying to say is that Indie games are not a new thing and can be enjoyed on a budget by just taking a step back in time. As I said, don’t get me wrong there are some great new Indie games but the game library is much bigger than we imagine. After all, we have a decade of great games to browse through and a multitude of consoles to choose from. If you want something you can pick up and play on a budget, look in the attic or on eBay.

What do you think: Have you recently taken a look in the history books of gaming or do you still have your old consoles in the living room? Are you a retro gamer or is there an Indie game that has got you hooked at the moment?