Nostalgia never dies, and that urge to relive your childhood or your cherished early memories is something we all have in common. From buying classic cars from your youth to blasting the Top 50 chart from forty years ago we all find ways to revisit the best times of our lives, and gaming is no exception.
But what is retro gaming? If you asked an everyman on the street twenty years ago the answer would have been clear cut, retro gaming was visiting an arcade and pumping the remains of the week’s pocket money into a slot until the dreaded ‘GAME OVER’ flashed across the screen. However as the industry has progressed what this means to gamers has changed.
In 2017 vintage gaming has widened in definition massively, guys in their 30’s likely never played Pac Man on an original cabinet, paying as the went for the pleasure of chasing around mazes that are simple by today’s standards of gaming. Instead memories of their first home consoles in the 80s and 90s are much more intrinsic to their love of games.
So despite it being considered sacrilege by some, our guide to getting retro games back into your home won’t just be covering classic arcade cabinets and 8 bit, but also the likes of Nintendo and Sony machines and the iconic games that kicked gaming into the next generation! Regardless of your budget and the games you’re passionate about this guide will cover something for everyone! Since you can buy used video games at so many places (even finding them at Goodwill) you may end up with some seriously retro finds.
Buying Arcade Cabinets & Multigame Arcade Machines For Your Games Room
For the most authentic experience an arcade cabinet is second to none. These large units were only capable of playing whatever 8-bit wonder was installed, and as such they aren’t as versatile considering the space they take up, and the energy the original systems use would be inconvenient for all but the richest of geeks.
However, for the best of both worlds you can purchase an authentic arcade game cabinet with a retro fitted emulator, drawing a fraction of the power of the original electronics and considerably more reliable. If you have the space in your games room or man cave at home these are the ideal compromise for the original look with modern performance.
While these machines certainly hit the top end of the budget for this article, at £1000+ regardless of fully original or retro fit, there are options available if this is a must to impress your friends! Many companies offer finance deals for these kind of machines, no doubt they understand that for many people the opportunity to relive the past is just to great to miss! Shop around see what companies have on offer, unlike many other vintage gaming items it’s generally best to avoid auction sites as price is quickly an afterthought when two passionate fans start a bidding war!
If you want to emulate the feeling of punishing the joystick with a bit more versatility then a modern multi game arcade machine is ideal, featuring 60 classic titles it provides the sentimental style of play with the flexibility of modern machines! As bonus if you lack the space to put a full size cabinet in your house then this cocktail table design makes a great replacement for your living room coffee table!
The Wave Of Retro Rerelease Home Consoles
Last years must have Christmas present was impossible to find, leaving many disappointed big kids on the big day! Even Nintendo couldn’t predict the mania that followed when they announced the updated NES mini console, a reimagining of the 80’s home console that features 30 classic titles, including Super Mario Bros. and The Legend Of Zelda.
This sparked a massive reaction from the games industry, after missing out on millions of sales companies are now determined to produce similar machines as quickly as possible to capitalise on the hunger for retro games. Other companies entering this new division of home games consoles are Sega, with their Mega Drive, as well as the recently announced Atari machine that we currently know little about.
What users love about these machines is their simplicity, the idea of having stacks of their favourite games ready to go at the push a button is extremely alluring, and considering the level of technology in current generations of consoles these ‘new’ retro consoles are considerably easier to maintain and less likely to break under punishment, unlike their more advanced descendants.
If you want to introduce your children to a straightforward style of video games then you’ll want to move fast, this Christmas promises the upcoming SNES Mini as this years must have and there is certainly no guarantee that Nintendo will produce anywhere near enough to meet demand.
Buying Second Hand Consoles
If you’ve got children who want their first games console it may be tempting to catapult them straight to the likes of the a PS4 or a Nintendo Switch. While these are fine if their game time is constrained to the living room they may not be the best for bedroom play, especially considering how fragile modern consoles are and how online play can be dangerous without proper supervision.
A low cost alternative for younger children is to buy a second hand console from the previous generations, that can still provide the entertainment factor with none of the drawbacks of modern machines. Plus if you’re a fan of these vintage systems then you can get plenty of enjoyment from these too! It’s an ideal way to relive your classics while keeping your kids happy.
Depending on your preference you can track down great bundle deals from people clearing out space in their home. You can buy a PS2 including controllers and games for as little as £40, and additional games can be picked up for next to nothing, making this the cheapest and easiest way to get retro gaming back into your home.
Browse eBay and your local high street games shops for the best deals, you can turn a spare Saturday into a lot of fun by rummaging through the second hand bins for classics! Ensure you buy from a trusted seller, or to get your console turned on in the store before buying, however the general rule is the older the console the tougher it is!
Those where our top three ways to get retro video games back into you home, while this article is packed with information there was plenty that didn’t make the cut, for example if you’re looking for more of a handheld option to have on the sofa you can find the all in one video games systems for next to nothing! These include Sega Genesis ports that are great for casual gamers who want the simplest way to play their old favourites, or maybe you’ve got an old Gameboy Colour stashed in your junk drawer ready to boot up the original Pokémon games!
If you’re considering getting an arcade machine but don’t know where to start we would recommend checking out a few retro gaming bars to test the waters. These bars have all the classic machines you love and it gives you a chance to size up the cabinet and see if those games you spent hours playing are just as good as you remember!
What video games do you cherish the most? What’s your dream set up, maybe you crave a full vintage arcade set up with pinball machine? Or perhaps you want to beat your high score for your favourite game? Let us know in the comments!