The original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) retailed from $89.99, but today a refurbished unit can go for as much as $165.
Aging gamers and video game nostalgia are driving up the price of older systems. More of them are interested in exploring the old classics they grew up with like Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, or Space Invaders.
Retro games are bigger than ever and sales are increasing due to the COVID-19 quarantine. Keep reading below to learn what’s behind this trend, the key differences between modern and old-school games, and what consoles to consider for your home.
What’s Behind the Retro Games Comeback?
It’s fair to say that video game sales exploded in 2020. The COVID-19 quarantine had everyone trapped in their homes all year and most shoppers purchased new games to help pass the time.
“Call of Duty: Warzone” for example, gained 30 million players in only 10 days once it was launched on March 10. And Nintendo’s latest “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” sold more than 1.8 million copies in its first three days in Japan.
Retro games are also making a big comeback. The average gamer is 35, meaning they grew up playing Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis. They love new high-res games but they’re also hungry for some throwback experiences. Nostalgia is driving the market for these retro games.
But here’s what’s really interesting. New psychological research shows that playing retro versions actually makes gamers feel closer to their friends, families, and pasts.
Everyone craved connectivity during the quarantine and psychologists found that retro games allowed them to reconnect to happier times.
Young gamers are jumping on the bandwagon too, reviving throwback Mario Kart tournaments or playing Tetris. These games are cheaper and accessible to all types of players.
Modern Video Games vs. Old Classics
The obvious difference between video games released today and decades ago is resolution. Games released now are so sharp and realistic you feel like you’re watching a movie or an event unfolding in real life.
New games offer entire worlds for users to explore and heart-pounding soundtracks. They also have complex stories. Gamers can truly immerse themselves in the experience.
One of the biggest benefits of modern games is the ability to play with multiple people. Retro games only allowed for two or four players at a time. Today, dozens of players can join one game through the web.
Retro gamers, on the other hand, enjoy many genres beyond the first-person shooter. They also enjoy the specific challenges that old-school games present (like performing a particular maneuver or beating a difficult level).
What are the reasons people turn away from modern games? Long introductions, bugs or glitches, and new games are really expensive.
Don’t think retro games are without their cons too. Gamers get frustrated with passwords, screen clarity, and the fact that these games were designed to be nearly impossible to beat.
Keep Your Eyes Open for These Retro Consoles
Do you want to start playing retro games? You’re in luck because with this comeback there are tons of options to choose from.
You can find a retrofitted console from the 1980s or 1990s. New mini-systems are also available carrying dozens of 8-bit or 16-bit games from back in the day. Here are the best retro consoles to consider buying:
- NES Classic Edition
- Super NES Classic Edition
- Sega Genesis Mini
- TurboGrafx-16 Mini
- Neo Geo Mini
Don’t forget some of the earliest popular video games were on computers like the Apple II. Millions of students across the country played “The Oregon Trail” thanks to Apple IIs in the classroom.
The Apple II had over 500 games like Burger Time, Choplifter, Battle Chess, Ultima, and more. It may be hard to get your hands on an old Apple II but emulators can recreate the old experience on your computer today. Check it out!
A ton of emulators are on the market to deliver favorites like Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, or later retro classics like Wii games. Shop around and you’ll be able to find the right console or emulator for your needs.
Remember Vintage Arcade Games? They’re Back Too
Millennials and older members of Generation X probably remember going to the arcade when they were kids. Arcades still exist but aren’t as numerous as they used to be. This is because more young kids are playing high-resolution games inside of their homes with friends.
Video game enthusiasts and collectors are seeking out these big-boxed arcade machines for their living rooms or offices. Retrofitted arcade games are going for as much as $2,000 per unit.
And here’s something interesting about this trend. While half of all gamers are women, most of the buyers of vintage arcade games are men. If they aren’t the ones buying, then it may be their wife or girlfriend trying to pick them up a special gift.
Kids who are into vintage games are also interested in arcade editions because they’re easy to learn. Modern games often require hours of practice. Arcade games, on the other hand, typically have a joystick and two buttons.
You can also walk away whenever you want and start over later. There isn’t the same level of commitment to arcade games. Machines can be preprogrammed with hundreds of different games like Frogger or Pac Man.
Relive Your Past With Retro Game Consoles
After reading this article you should have a better understanding of why the old classics are so popular today. Gamers of all ages can enjoy the simplicity of these games, but those over the age of 30 are especially interested in them. They want to experience the nostalgia of playing the games they grew up on.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on some retro games, look for the new mini-systems or log into an emulator to bring the games to your PC.
Want to read more about gaming? Check out the rest of our site for articles on everything from multi-player games like Halo to online casinos. We even offer tips on playing IRL games like rugby or basketball.