Devices such as the iPhone, iPad, or any of the multitude of Android and Windows phones out there have rapidly turned into decent gaming machines. Steve Jobs may have once said that Apple didn’t set out to compete in the gaming market with the iPhone or iPad, but these devices suit the medium particularly well. Cranking up a racing game on my iPhone and air playing it through the Apple TV to a big screen is so simple in its setup that you would be hard pressed to find a need for traditional console gaming. You might even be surprised to know how much retro gaming seems to influence the mobile games we play today.
Developers have thankfully turned to the classics, bringing back those fantastic arcade games of the ’80s like “Space Invaders,” “Donkey Kong” and “Galaga,” the last of which brings back some great memories. I can remember a decade ago joining my work colleagues at the time during lunch breaks to shoot up Galaga’s spaceships and trying to hit those high scores through an emulator run on Pentium PCs running Windows 98. It’s all very quaint by today’s standards! Each player was subdued to a running commentary of cheers and jeering by their colleagues, while striving for high score bragging rights. The only thing we were missing was the actually arcade machine itself!
I was perusing the App Store recently and noticed a bundled app of retro gaming classics that included Galaga. As soon as I saw it, I downloaded it and within minutes I was back in my arcade heyday again, trying to shoot up all those spaceships and aliens while avoiding their tractor beams and bombs. It’s so simple and addictive and a testament to how great these games were in the first place. And now thanks to my iPhone, I can carry it around everywhere and not have to bother with those pesky PC emulators that don’t always work.
It’s hard to say, but game developers who have been the most successful in developing for touch-based interfaces, whether intentionally or not, must have taken cues from these retro gaming classics. When you look at games like Angry Birds, Cut The Rope or Temple Run, these are the arcade games of the 21st Century. Like their earlier brethren, these games are simple, fun and extremely addictive. You don’t always have to have full, realistic 3D graphics and a powerful machine to enjoy good gaming. Sometimes simple is best!
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Insanely detailed retro gaming Nintendo Anthology ~ See supersized version and get character deets on deviantART