The Future of Retro Gaming
With the pending release of Microsoft and Sony’s next-generation consoles, the retro classics of today get pushed further back in the ranks. With all the high-tech home visual awesomeness on the way and our mobile graphics horsepower and screen size of our smart phones and tablets increasing, you can’t help but wonder what the future might be for our favourite super old school classics.
Let’s take things to an extreme here and look at good ol’ Pong. Very few people still play this game on a regular basis, even for nostalgia value. This could be for one of two reasons
1. It’s far too simple compared to just about anything else made after it
2. It’s just not a very good game.
Many of us get nostalgic seeing Pong in some old video or other, but very few (if any) would be excited about getting home from work early so that they could enjoy an extended session. As the next-generation consoles continue their process of evolution, when will classics like Final Fantasy IV (which we all recently enjoyed the reincarnation of with our smartphones) become completely obsolescent in the same way Pong has?
Unfortunately, graphics cards don’t typically follow exponential horsepower increase cited by Moore’s Law. That’s not to say though that things aren’t beefing up and, scary as it seems now, it’s only a matter of time before we’re enjoying Skyrim or even Crysis 3 on our phones.
As we step boldly towards this future, the need for a proper controller will become more obvious but steps are being taken to bridge this gap even today. If we do get to the point where a simple D-pad A/B buttons (like the ones from the early Nintendo consoles) don’t quite cut it for future retro gaming, control pads will probably be pretty commonplace. So, if we can play any game on our phones, will we be playing Final Fantasy from the SNES or even running MegaDrive and PlayStation emulators on our phones?
While smartphones are one side of the model gaming coinn, handheld consoles are the other. Sony someday plans to have all titles from all versions of the PlayStation available in handheld format. Vast libraries of several generations’ worth of console will be available at the push of a few buttons in a mecha of retro gaming nostalgic goodness.
With the Nvidia Shield and WikiPad on the way, it’s clear there will be a few stepping stones the four seeing the games of PCs and consoles today moving to handheld devices and further down the retro gaming family tree.
A lot better, with any luck. As we move forward to an era where things like 3D projected environments becomes standard, it’s likely will enter the time where the NES, and even Dreamcast and N64 games of old will suffer the same fate as Pong.
When we become accustomed to having more senses stimulated simultaneously during gaming experiences (a technology which will also make its way onto the handheld platform eventually) retro gaming will probably take on the whole definition entirely and the retro console games are today will be relegated purely to history lessons.