Over the past few years, one of the most pronounced trends in the world of gaming has been the return of so-called “retro games”. While brand-new, blockbuster titles have been as popular as ever, re-releases of games from the earliest days of the medium, such as N64 classics, old-school arcade staples, and online versions of retro games, have been capturing increasing market share.

But why exactly are we all so obsessed with retro games in a way that we were not just four or five years earlier? Nostalgia is one factor, of course, but this does not explain the full thing. Here are the reasons driving the retro renaissance in gaming. 

The nostalgia factor

We absolutely cannot ignore the role of nostalgia in the entertainment industry. Nostalgia has always been a major driver of sales and productions, stretching back at least to the 1970s, when 1950s nostalgia was all the rage. Now, as video games are becoming more mature as a medium, it only makes sense that older players who remember the halcyon days of Pokemon and Pac-Man are now willing to fork out extra to re-live these experiences.


It helps that many retro gaming experiences today are much cheaper to produce, which results in cheaper sticker prices for consumers. You don’t have to look very hard to see these market dynamics in action. Just look at the most recent N64 expansion pack for Nintendo Switch users, who can access more than a dozen classic games on their Switch for as little as $25 a year. Compare this to the $80 sticker price for a brand new studio game and it is clear why retro is winning out. 

More straightforward

Sometimes, people just want a simpler kind of game. This is why retro versions of games that are popular today can often become top sellers. One good example of this logic in action can be found in the rapidly growing online casino industry. While players today have choices of thousands of high-tech online slots featuring 3D graphics and VR gameplay, many are choosing to play hugely popular titles like Cherry Fiesta, which is essentially a simulator of an old-school, 1980s fruit machine. In gaming, keeping it simple often pays off. However, unlike many console games, many of these slots titles are available across many sites and is platform agnostic.

New generations of fans

It is important not to forget the generational dynamics at play here. Some of the earliest video games were released to the mass market 40 years ago, meaning that some of the earliest game buyers are in their 60s and 70s today. For gamers in their 20s today that are looking for some truly novel gameplay, they can always turn to reboots and re-releases of the hottest games of the 1980s and 1990s, which they never had the chance to play. Plus, keeping it retro and vintage is always a popular option for clout-chasing youth.

Retro games are well and truly here to stay, and there is every chance that they will outpace newer releases in terms of popularity in the months and years to come. 

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