Pixels With Punch: Why Retro Gaming Still Rule

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Dive back in time with retro games!

Story Highlights
  • Despite a massive revolution in video games, gamers still play and cherish retro games. 
  • Retro games differ from modern ones because of the rush of nostalgia, offline gameplay, no additional updates, and vibrant visuals.
  • Retro games are here to stay and will not die out anytime soon because their fanbase is deeply connected with the emotions they evoke. 

Though modern gaming is way ahead of old-school ones, there is something special about retro games that attracts us to them. Even in the 21st century, letting go of retro games is difficult for those who grew up with them. I might still pay a few bucks extra to get my hands on one of the masterpieces of that era. What makes them addictive?

The Flag Bearers Of Retro Gaming

Retro games take you back in time, about 15 to 20 years. Some big retro names are Super Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, Pacman, and Contra. Unless they were living under a rock, millennials are rarely unfamiliar with these names. 

How Retro Games Differ From Modern Gaming?

Technology has only become more advanced since the era of retro games. Because of this, there is a vast difference between the two gaming eras. If you ask me, modern games lack nothing; still, they fail to capture the player’s emotions as retro games did. Why, though? 

The world of gaming has progressed immensely in terms of graphics. Today’s stunning visuals, such as those of GTA 6, mimic the real world very closely, making the experience more immersive. Retro games had pixelated graphics, but the passion and efforts of the game developers were evident. They never failed to capture the player’s attention with their simplicity, use of attractive colors, and cute characterization.

Furthermore, while modern games have an intricately written storyline, well-designed characters, and the most advanced graphics, retro games have none. Instead, you get a basic character design, easy-to-tackle enemies, exciting worlds, and a 2D environment. Yet, they were addictive and motivated us to complete the levels as each stage became more challenging.

Simple Character Design And 2D Environment In Sonic
Simple Character Design And 2D Environment In Sonic (Image By Internet Archive)

Why We Can’t Let Go Of Retro Games?

The first things that come to mind when hearing “Retro Gaming” are nostalgia, childhood memories, and old-school vibes. This is precisely why retro gaming still rules. Especially for millennials and early Gen Zs, they remind us of carefree childhood times that create a temporary escape from this fast-paced life, leading to feelings of satisfaction and content (Wulf et al., 2018).

According to the data shared by YouTube Culture And Trends, retro gaming has seen a spike in searches and interest in recent years. Unlike modern games, they were offline, did not require additional downloads or in-game purchases, and had no advertisements. 

As someone who grew up on retro games, I know they had a far superior visual appeal to today’s games. For instance, if we talk about the upcoming GTA 6, notice how it has a darker, greyish aura.

GTA 6 Graphics
GTA 6 Have Less Vibrant Graphics (Image By Rockstar Games)

Compared to this, Contra is brighter and more vibrant. Adding such aesthetics to games makes them more attractive and automatically lifts one’s mood, a concept of Color Psychology. A post by the University of Texas further confirms that “The colors surrounding us influence our moods and thoughts…..”

Contra Has A Vibrant Color Scheme
Contra Has A Vibrant Color Scheme (Image By Contra Nes)

Are Retro Games Here To Stay?

Personally, I believe that the hype around retro games is not going to die out anytime soon. A consumer survey by GamesIndustry.biz showed that 41% of European gamers want to return to the retro era. Those who are into old-school gaming only do it because of their genuine love for the game, which is something modern games cannot replace.

It is not wrong to say that retro games are here to stay, at least until the earlier Gen Zs are here. According to Google Trends, the search trend for “retro games” has only gone upwards in the past 5 years.


Most 90s kids still brag about their retro collection on online forums, like The All Spark, indicating that the emotions remain. Retro games have had a lasting effect on the minds of an entire generation, who consider them reminiscent of their beautiful childhood.

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