Retro Games: How Aussies Keep the Old-School Spirit Alive

Retro Games: How Aussies keep the old school spirit alive with their retro gaming hobby.



If you’re an Aussie who loves old retro video games, the chances are high you have nostalgia and a soft spot for retro gaming. Retro gaming, or as some call it classic gaming, is the hobby of playing and collecting games from the early years of gaming. Specifically, the 1970s to the early 2000s when video game consoles like Atari, Nintendo, SNK, Sega, PC Engine and PlayStation ruled the world. PlayStation still does.... good on them! Sorry Xbox. So, the question is, why do adults still play these old games when there are much newer and arguably better games to play? Stunning ray traced graphics and online multiplayer? Here's our thoughts on why retro gaming is still hugely popular.


Everyone has a story about playing games. For me, it was the day I walked over to my neighbour’s house and saw their Atari 2600. Wow, what was this I yelled and demanded a play. My parents dragged me out of their house a few hours later and I was hooked. I wanted a "home video game console" for myself! I needed one! Nostalgia can be a funny thing. How do I describe it? Well for me it's memories with something like gaming and the people I shared it with. Some of those close people may no longer be with us, but many are. What are you waiting for? Give your brother a call and challenge him to a game of Street Fighter II or a few tracks on Mario Kart. It will be awesome I promise. All of us have experiences and stories about enjoying video games with friends or family and that's very personal. We remember the excitement of blowing on cartridges, waiting for loading screens, inserting physical carts and sometimes floppy disks. Setting up two controllers so you could battle your sister and show her who was boss! We remember the thrill of walking around undiscovered worlds like in Zelda, being smashed by end of level bosses over and over and finding that secret exit in games like Super Mario World on SNES. I can still remember game cheat codes and passwords to unlock levels and secrets. Here's one that will never leave me.... The first Janken challenge in Alex Kidd - Rock, Scissors boom.

We remember special joys and intimate achievements that we shared with each other at school, tips, tricks, cheats, and stories with our friends. I know I sure did.

What's your best gaming memory?

Many retro games will forever be timeless classics and will never lose their charm and appeal. They still have awesome gameplay, level design and memorable parts, catchy chip tune music and new and exciting features like a Z button that make them super fun to play. Retro games can have a certain feel or personality that modern games can sometimes lack. They are often more challenging, difficult but creative and from a time when being original mattered. Modern games kind of feel the same after a while, like you're watching a movie and they let you press buttons occasionally. Of the modern years of gaming, I have really enjoyed the Uncharted series, Red Dead Redemption and PUBG.

Retro games from this era were everywhere and not too expensive. Nearly every house had a console, and you were either a Nintendo or SEGA fan boy/girl. They were also very easy to pick up and play which meant your younger siblings could also join in for an ass whooping. Today, there are plenty of online platforms that offer emulated retro games to play in your browser or download, so that's great and I do like this direction but at the same time there is nothing like physically handling an old game cart and plugging it into your Super Nintendo, SEGA Mega Drive or original NES. I think Steam on PC is a standout modern experience as it's so easy to consume good games. I like it, but I’ll always be an old school gamer at heart. Friends have tried to sell me on the idea of playing retro games on a MiSTer FPGA emulator, but I will always prefer the hands on feel and experience of real games and hardware.

Retro gaming enthusiasts from all over the world come together into a supportive community that shares their love for old video games. We communicate online, engage in websites like this, discuss and argue topics in forums, look up parts in wiki's, read amazing blogs, listen to podcasts, learn how to repair consoles on YouTube and of course follow our favourite brands on social media. Active members also meet in the real world through conventions, clubs, or organised arcade nights. They play games together and share stories, opinions, and experiences about their love of retro games. They also buy, sell, trade, or donate retro games and consoles to each other.

PAX Australia is a standout gaming convention that features a dedicated retro gaming area. I have a lot of positive things to say about PAX as hundreds of retro gamers can get together and play various consoles, vintage computers, and arcade machines. Attend panels, workshops, and competitions that all celebrate the retro gaming culture.

Retro gaming has become a very popular hobby in Australia... and kind of expensive with the value of certain games reaching crazy prices. The steady rise since 2010 has been consistent and during the COVID pandemic, I think many people stayed home and rediscovered and old game or two. I know I did. This all helped to keep this amazing hobby going and now we are blessed with a multitude of aftermarket options and functional upgrades coming to the market to help us enjoy these old consoles well into the future. Some noticeable mentions are the HDMI kits from, the modern IPS screens from BennVenn and the handheld parts from FunnyPlaying.


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