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Meet the Gamers Keeping Retro Consoles Alive

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the disco-is-not-dead-disco-is-life dept.

Role Playing (Games) 79

An anonymous reader writes "You see those stories popping up every now and then — new Dreamcast game released, first SNES game in 15 years etc — but an in-depth feature published today takes a look at the teams behind the retro revival, and looks at why they do what they do. Surprisingly, there seems to be a viable audience for new releases — one developer says his games sell better on Dreamcast than they do on Nintendo Wii. Even if the buyers vanished, the retro games would still keep coming though: 'I wager I'd have to be dead, or suffering from a severe case of amnesia, to ever give this up completely,' says one developer." Update: 03/23 18:28 GMT by T : If you want to play original classic games on new hardware, instead of the other way around, check out Hyperkin's RetroN 3, which can play cartridges from 5 classic consoles.

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There will always be... (1)

sudden.zero (981475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257103)

a special place in my heart for Super Mario World so why wouldn't there be a special place for new SNES games if they come out?

Re:There will always be... (1)

oztiks (921504) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257725)

Mobile gaming has made classic games relevant again. Lets look at what's popular these days.

- Angry Birds
- Swampy Where's my water?
- That zombie in the veggie patch game
- Runner games
- Bubble shooters.

Look at classic games

- Tetris
- Mario/Sonic
- Space invaders
- Pac man

The new games, though based on different mathematical concepts are still very similar to what was out 15-20 years ago. The only resounding difference is anything running a 3D engine of some sort but then we can always go back to the evolution of Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and Half life then anything beyond that is just refinement of the old, yet again.

If anything, I'd say we're about to see the rebirth of the old labels come back, let's just hope they don't butcher the classics like they do with movies.

Control problems on current mobile phones (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258193)

Mobile gaming has made classic games relevant again.

How so? Apart from Sony's Xperia Play, mobile devices don't come with physical buttons for controlling gameplay. The few physical buttons on a phone or tablet, such as power, quit, and volume, are reserved for the system's use. An on-screen gamepad on a current mobile device doesn't provide any tactile feedback as to whether or not your thumb is over the button that you intend to press. Devices with Tactus technology are still at least several months off.

Re:Control problems on current mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43258441)

There's no more to classic gaming than tactile controls? That seems a little narrow... Played Pix'n'Love Rush?

Re:Control problems on current mobile phones (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43259499)

There's no more to classic gaming than tactile controls? That seems a little narrow

You try controlling something like Mega Man with touch controls as precisely as one can with a Nintendo controller. Other Slashdot users appear to be under the impression that most people aren't going to buy and carry a USB controller and OTG cable or buy a Dual Shock 3 controller and the Sixaxis app.

Played Pix'n'Love Rush?

No. Does it [google.com] have a demo? Or should I buy it and be ready to return it in 10 minutes?

Re:Control problems on current mobile phones (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258723)

Oddly, the only people interested in filling that niche seem to be the Asian knock-off companies like JXD. I picked up their latest version a few weeks ago. It's a ~7" Android tablet that looks like the WiiU tablet controller (the abominable Kindle/Game Gear crossbreed).

Sadly, it's disappointing. The power is impressive, I'll give it that, in that I was able to play the original Legacy of Kain in the PSX emu with nary a stutter.

The controls, however, are a mess. I've confirmed that the thumbsticks are legitimate analog sticks (unlike what happened with the old GP2X). Or rather, that the LEFT thumbstick is. The right is apparently completely unsupported in the driver or the "controller mapping" software.

The bundled emulators also don't bother to treat the analog sticks as analog, and also aren't compatible with the aforementioned mapping software, which means re-buying emulators and losing the nice "no stupid overlay on the screen" modifications that the "stock" seems to have.

It also runs hot. Really, really hot.

I knew it was a risk when I bought it, and I know there's some folks working on CFW. This is based on stock FW.

Re:Control problems on current mobile phones (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | about a year and a half ago | (#43262821)

While they are an Asian company, I don't think Samsung is what you're talking about when you say "knock-off companies like JXD"... and yet they are releasing a game pad with their Galaxy 4 series:

http://www.mobilefun.com/38583-genuine-samsung-galaxy-s4-game-pad---ei-gp10nnbeg.htm [mobilefun.com]

...and it isn't their first. So there are some top tier companies addressing hardware game controls, even if they are accessories.

Re:Control problems on current mobile phones (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year and a half ago | (#43263983)

I was talking about built-in, like the device I'm talking about.

Gamepads are all well and good, but having to carry around a controller roughly the size of the phone seems a little ass-backwards to me.

Re:Control problems on current mobile phones (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year and a half ago | (#43263997)

And it's just worth mentioning: given my experiences with Samsung android-based hardware, yeah, they fit my original assertion anyway.

Not surprising (4, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257119)

Given the demand of emulators on PC, Wii, smart phones, etc, this article really isn't surprising. Old platforms do many things better than new generation consoles, including fostering creativity by limiting resources and force developers away from spending their time budgets on shallow eye candy.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257137)

And then, some of us still have those consoles hooked up and ready to use, like my Dreamcast.

Re:Not surprising (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257279)

I loved the controller for the dreamcast. I had the video screens on it so we could call plays on football game and the other player couldn't see what you were calling. That was the coolest feature.

Re:Not surprising (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257239)

Not only that, but interrupt based controllers (as opposed to polling the controller) that meant minimal lag between pressing a button and something happening on the screen. Games like Street Fighter can't really even be properly experienced on an emulator with a USB controller. I'm surprised that consoles haven't retained this over the years. Some PC gamers still use PS/2 keyboards because of the inherent limitations in USB keyboards.

Re:Not surprising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257359)

hahaha
GAMES LIKE STREETFIGHTER can't really even BE PROPERLY EXPERIENCED

lmao

Re:Not surprising (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257505)

You're full of shit. Both the NES and SNES, along with most other consoles, don't have "interrupt-based controllers", they poll the controller during vertical blanking, every 1/59.97th of a second in the NTSC region.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257657)

Not only that, but interrupt based controllers (as opposed to polling the controller) that meant minimal lag between pressing a button and something happening on the screen.

The only interrupt-based controller is the keyboard. For games, you want to convert that into a fixed state to ensure that the player doesn't do funny things when the input changes mid-frame. (Which you have to - keyboards trivially allow you to move up and down at the same time.)

Gamepads, joysticks, and the like, are all polling-based controllers - especially the analog ones which would otherwise fling incessant interrupts.

Games like Street Fighter can't really even be properly experienced on an emulator with a USB controller.

Sure they can. The late-game AIs are as impossible to defeat on an emulator as they are on an actual console.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43278023)

by "impossible" do you mean "really hard"?

Because otherwise the game would be, you know, unfinishable

Re:Not surprising (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258311)

I still use my clicky clack PS2 keyboard because I can tell the difference in my games, the USB keyboard has more of a "jerky" quality, its not fluid no matter how high you crank the polling.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43260207)

I'm sorry but this is just flat out wrong. With USB you have a sampling rate up to 1000Hz, PS/2 your lucky if you get anywhere near that range.

Test this on your keyboard:
1) open up notepad
2) run a finger from left shift to right shift
3) hit enter
4) repeat it a few times at various speeds.

You should wind up with strings of text that read: "zxcvbnm,./". If that's not what you see then your keyboard is either overpriced crap (even if it cost $5) or wearing out. That feature should work up to 80Hz minimum for USB or PS/2, above that it really depends on build quality.

As for Street Fighter and similar games in emulators, that's an emulation accuracy problem. BSNES handles it really well, for PSx there's a super accurate emulator I always for the name of (not ePSXe which is far from accurate), for PS2 it's a matter of having a fast enough PC and hoping the EE timing fix works for the game your playing.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Trogre (513942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260229)

Heh, and I wonder how many newbies put those very same PS/2 mice and keyboards through PS/2 to USB adaptors and think they're still getting the same benefits.

Interesting aside: It's not only gaming that benefits from interrupt control. I keep my computers on PS/2 keyboards so I can wake them up by hitting the space bar. I've yet to see a BIOS that lets you do that with USB and all its interrupt emulation.

Re:Not surprising (1)

raodin (708903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260961)

Really? When was the last time you even TRIED waking a computer with a USB keyboard up?

My Asus P5Q SE Plus, a 5 year old board, wakes from usb (keyboard or mouse) just fine.

Re:Not surprising (1)

bedouin (248624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43274827)

I do it with Bluetooth every day, so I'm imagining someone's got USB figured out . . .

Re:Not surprising (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257389)

And they cater to the same needs that the now so successful "casual games" do: They are simple, easy to learn, ok to pick up for a few minutes whenever you have time and generally very "family friendly" (ok, aside of brawling games where you spend those hours simply learning those friggin' combos).

There is a market for "simple" games and it's far from small. And such games don't need fancy graphics or flashy gimmicks, they don't need realistic physics or an involving storyline. They mastered the art where you could learn the controls and "rules" of the game in 5 minutes but could still play for months to master it.

Re:Not surprising (4, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257689)

What you just described is known as arcade gameplay.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260545)

Yup. That's pretty much what those "casual games" are about. The same kind of game could have been found in coin-ops a few decades ago.

Odd that we have to "rediscover" it today with our casual, indie games. Guess some studios thought that we all want more shiny and don't give a shit about gameplay.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257613)

Agreed. Today, there are only 3 or 4 different games, all the rest are variations. Back in time when I was a kid, games were a lot more creative, given the limited developers' resources. That's why I have my beloved Sega Genesis emulator instead of any of these new & fancy & similar games.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258249)

Vintage/classic era:

Fighters
Turned based RPGs
Side scroller action games
Shooters w or w/o light gun
Racing/Sports
Did I miss some?

Current Generation:

Fighters
Turned based RPGs
Real time combat RPGs
Side scroller action games
3D Action Games
First Person Shooters
Shooters using bluetooth /Eye senors
Racing/Sports

Now that I destroyed your statement are you ready to conced your point as nostalgia?

Re:Not surprising (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258431)

First Person Shooters should be in classic as well, shooters go all the way back to Wolfenstein and Doom which is 20 years ago so I'd say that is pretty vintage. I still remember the "fun" of setting IRQ channels and fiddling with game settings to get sound in various shooters like Redneck Rampage and Blood so its not like the FPS is a modern thing here, sure the graphics get better but its still "See bad guy? Shoot bad guy" gameplay that goes back to the days of shooting gallery games.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43259701)

I know, technically Doom did make a port to the SNES but one game does not make a genre. We didn't see FPSes as a Genre until really Goldeneye on N64 and then a slew of poorly made ones on the PS1.

Your shooting gallery games are covered in "Shooters W/ or W/O Light Gun" much like Duck Hunt, Hogan's Alley, and a ton of other games. They're distinctly different and if you move they tend to be called "Rail Shooters."

Re:Not surprising (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43261731)

Dude, shooters were a BIG hit looooong before goldeneye, hell the first X86 PC I ever owned was given to me by a guy who owed me $150 bucks and gave me a $1000 computer because it wouldn't play Hexen and he wasn't gonna have no computer that won't play Hexen. Look at the games that came out around Doom, the two I mentioned, Blake Stone, all those great Doom and BUILD engine games...hell it was so big a genre then they even had the cheap cash grabs like PO'ed where you fought farting butts by a company just whipping out a quick one to cash in on the craze, just like how when fighting games hit it big there were a million street Fighter and Mortal Kombat knockoffs. And the Sega Genesis had a couple of FPS on it even with that weak tech, zero tolerance and one with these big bouncing smiley faces, can't remember the name.

I was selling PCs based on how good it would play shoooters back in 94-96, and of course 1998 gave us Half Life and Deus Ex which just changed everything, you had a billion shooters by then. 1994 was 19 years ago man,a kid born in 94 will be college age now so I'd say it passes the nostalgic test.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43262489)

Obviously PC gaming isn't real gaming. If it isn't on a console, it's not really gaming, so Doom, Half Life, Wolfenstein, etc. don't count. Real FPS gaming didn't come around until they appeared on a console system.

/sarcasm

Street Fighter Knockoffs (1)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | about a year and a half ago | (#43278415)

Hey, don't knock the Street Fighter knockoffs.. I loved World Heroes [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not surprising (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about a year and a half ago | (#43277323)

Now that I destroyed your statement are you ready to conced your point as nostalgia?

What are the analogous games to *arcade* games⦠i.e. you keep playing until you die, and there's not a plot (at least not one you care about) inherent in the game? For the PS3..

I say this as someone who *does* like these "feel like you're playing a movie" games, like Uncharted & God of War.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257659)

This should be modded insightful.

"including fostering creativity by limiting resources and force developers away from spending their time budgets on shallow eye candy"

This is very good stuff. How much time, effort and money are spent on visuals to gloss up a dog shit story or gameplay experience? I don't care about shitty graphics if the story/gameplay is great. As long as I can see what the hell is going on, I don't need the game world perfectly reflected in the puddle of water on the ground in front of me.

Is that cool? Yeah but it's gimmicky to me.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258197)

Not at all. Fostering creativity? Utter fallacy, what they did was promote a simple puzzle concept. Modern consoles do it and PC indies do it exceptionally well. More is more. This view is totally driven by nostalgia.

Re:Not surprising (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43259609)

what they did was promote a simple puzzle concept. Modern consoles do it and PC indies do it exceptionally well. More is more.

And a lot of developers lack the resources to make such more. Players tend to expect far higher-budget graphics and sound from a game that runs on a modern console or PC than from a game that runs on an obsolete platform.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43259691)

I don't know, back in the NES/Genesis era and then the Dreamcast the 3-man team in your basement was pretty much gone. It was a smaller budget than today's AAA games but the good stuff wasn't programmed on a tiny budget by comparison. I grant the simplicity benefited a limited resource group but it doesn't mean you can't be as innovative on a modern PC or console. I would point to Xbox Arcade, Steam's indie section, and the PS3 store as a perfect example of small innovative games made by a smaller budget team.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260365)

fostering creativity by limiting resources and force developers away from spending their time budgets on shallow eye candy.

Shallow eye candy sells better than creativity. It's nice to say that everything sucks and diamonds in the rough don't get the credit they deserve, but for the most part, the products actually on the market reflect what the market wants.

There's market demand for the old way of doing things, but it's still a small market. Much the same way that there's people who still want XP, unlocked $600 smartphones, and diesel-powered cars, but they are so few that they officially qualify as "nobody." I hate it when marketeers say that "nobody" wants a particular thing, when that market share might be, say, 5-10% of the population. I reel at the thought that 5% out of hundreds of millions is "nobody."

Re:Not surprising (1)

benhattman (1258918) | about a year and a half ago | (#43274935)

I'm sure to get modded down for this, but limiting resources is not a thing that old consoles do better. That's absurd! All that does is reduce the problem space that a developer can utilize. Perhaps less skilled game makers use the additional resources to churn out garbage games, but it certainly doesn't mean we were better off for not making that problem space available.

Put differently, you'd surely find some creative ways to feed yourself if I came over to your house and removed your refrigerator and oven. Would you be better off? Of course not.

For my money, it's much better to design a game in the artistic style of say the SNES, but run it on a PC. You can give yourself the same limitations, making it easy to design the game for a small team. But you can also benefit from all the hardware and library advances, making yourself more efficient at development.

Vintage Gear (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257285)

If people still appreciate analog drum machines or the sound of a vinyl why wouldn't one appreciate Snes or dreamcast games in 2013?

I used to work in the games industry and left once game programming became more of a 'design your game and script your interactive movies with Unreal etc.' sort of thing.

Re:Vintage Gear (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257401)

Yeah, nothing squeaks like good ol' SID. :)

Re:Vintage Gear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43258667)

Reference to vintage gear: I just put my mother's old 24 inch Sony Trinitron TV on Craigslist, one of the nice ones with a flat front on the picture tube. A young guy gave me $25 for it -- said he was going to use it with old game consoles, much faster than any flat screen that would do NTSC resolution, and no digital TV ghosting/tearing or other artifacts.

Felt nice to have it reused, instead of scrapped. Also, it was heavy--he got to do the heavy lifting!

Umm.. 16 bit is not classic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257309)

I guess I'm a crotchety old fart now at 41, having grown up with Galaga, C64, etc..

Re:Umm.. 16 bit is not classic (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257381)

Classic is relative, but yeah, I'd say Sega Master, Atari 2600 and NES as the newest to really deserve that title.

Re:Umm.. 16 bit is not classic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257507)

The point is that SNES and the Genesis were the pinnacle of 2D games, after that (almost) everything was 3D.

Not true (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258117)

that title goes to the Sega Saturn.

Hipsters gonna hip (1, Insightful)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43257757)

Seems to me that instead of making games for PC, XBLA, PSN, these people are doing it for the cool factor only."Yeah i only code games for SNES while i watch pirated TV shows on my iDevice as i dont believe in TV". The fact that they keep referring to new as of yet published games as "retro" because they are for out of production systems also baffles me and adds to their retardedness. If you go buy a recently released LP you wouldnt call it retro, even tho it plays on a record player.

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257867)

You keep using that word, "retro". I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257935)

Or maybe they just enjoy the older consoles. What's hipster about fucking super nintendo? They're too busy wearing those douchey jeans that appear to cut off all circulation.

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (1, Funny)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258065)

The fact that they keep referring to new as of yet published games as "retro" because they are for out of production systems also baffles me and adds to their retardedness.

The definition of retro is "Imitative of a style, fashion, or design from the recent past". It's not things that are actually from the recent past, it's new things that are made in that style.

If you go buy a recently released LP you wouldnt call it retro, even tho it plays on a record player.

Yes, retro is exactly what you'd call it. Well you wouldn't, but the rest of the world would.

Perhaps the reason you're baffled is that your word skills are retarded?

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258101)

Yes im sure a Skrillex LP would be called retro by the majority of the world.

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43258763)

He's making music like the second summer of love which was 25 years ago now, he's as retro as it gets

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260801)

I see we are using some new, undocumented definition of "retro gaming". It's always meant Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, etc. Did we re-define it this year and forget to tell the rest of the world? Did we bother to issue a new term for what retro gaming was last year? Go look at the Google results for retro gaming, the links to new games are quite few.

Hey, don't say I'm a hipster hater, either. In fact, I pity the poor bastards for not having any culture of their own and instead aping previous generations. That must be humiliating.

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#43262443)

Did it not occur to you that retro-gaming covers all this and more?
Rebuilding old cabinets, with original boards.
Making new cabinets with emulators in them.
Emulating old games on other computers.
Remaking old games for new platforms.
Making new games for old platforms.

Why is making new games for old platforms retro? Because the joy of creating them is working within the old constraints of memory, CPU speed, resolution, colours etc. And the joy of playing them is having a new experience within an old aesthetic.

Hey, don't say I'm a hipster hater, either. In fact, I pity the poor bastards for not having any culture of their own and instead aping previous generations. That must be humiliating.

Quite a lot of us that enjoy the retro gaming scene are of the previous generations, you insensitive clot.

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (1)

bbcisdabomb (863966) | about a year and a half ago | (#43273249)

Generally speaking "retro gaming" covers any generation of hardware not currently sold by big-box retail. PS1 is pretty firmly retro and even the PS2 is starting to be so. You're getting old. It sucks.

Re:Hipsters gonna hip (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258229)

Seems to me that instead of making games for PC, XBLA, PSN, these people are doing it for the cool factor only."Yeah i only code games for SNES while i watch pirated TV shows on my iDevice as i dont believe in TV". The fact that they keep referring to new as of yet published games as "retro" because they are for out of production systems also baffles me and adds to their retardedness. If you go buy a recently released LP you wouldnt call it retro, even tho it plays on a record player.

The people making these old games, are NOT hipsters. Not sure where you pulled your post (out of your butt?) but it's not true at all. Being as a person that hangs on Retro sites, no one does it to be cool. They make new games because they enjoy programming on the systems.

Expected graphical complexity (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258241)

Seems to me that instead of making games for PC, XBLA, PSN, these people are doing it for the cool factor only.

There's a limit to the level of graphical complexity that one person or a small team can create in a reasonable amount of time. It takes far fewer resources to create competitive graphics for a limited platform than for a PC or seventh-generation game console.

Re:Expected graphical complexity (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258411)

Except games like Minecraft and FTL have shown that you dont need to have crazy graphics for your game to be good, sell well, and recieve positive praise.

Re:Expected graphical complexity (2)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258713)

Indeed. I still play Nethack. One day I'll win... one day....

And I play the terminal version (not the slash'em or other improved versions.) :) I just like the game a bunch... and forget Demon Souls and Dark Souls... you want crushing difficulty, play Nethack. ...and get off my lawn! :)

Re:Expected graphical complexity (1)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260299)

Indeed. I still play Nethack. One day I'll win... one day....

And I play the terminal version (not the slash'em or other improved versions.) :) I just like the game a bunch... and forget Demon Souls and Dark Souls... you want crushing difficulty, play Nethack. ...and get off my lawn! :)

Nethack ftfw! In 10+ years of playing Nethack I have ascended exactly once [alt.org] (a Wizard). I have this masochistic tradition where I spend every Friday the 13th playing Nethack. Nethack is hard enough without a -1 Luck handicap, lol.

Re:Expected graphical complexity (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260449)

Crap... that's one more than I have ascended. :) I have come close (? relatively speaking) once... but that's about it. I'm also a masochist who plays nethack on his google phone too... :)

Re:Expected graphical complexity (1)

zoward (188110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43260595)

I "escaped the dungeon" once in vanilla "hack", back in college, before nethack existed - does that count? Is ascending in nethack that much harder?

Re:Expected graphical complexity (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43261033)

Depends on where your talents lie, I suppose. Dust: An Elysian Tail is basically by one guy, though he hired an outside studio to do the music and voiceovers. It's one of the prettiest games I've ever seen, entirely hand-drawn 2D sprites and background.

Of course, it did take Dean a long time to finish it, but he didn't KNOW how to program an Xbox 360 when he started - he was teaching himself as he went along. That's not a recipe for speed; you wind up rewriting whole chunks of your game when you get better at coding.

n00bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43257881)

I know people who are still demo coding for the C=64.
 
This is amateur in comparison.

There is nothing like work you love doing (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258199)

I can empathize with these "retro" developers. There is nothing so satisfying or rewarding as working on something you love doing.

I've often said I'd be programming for fun if I weren't programming for pay. Nowadays, living on disability, that has become true. I spend hours on my pet project without schedules, overhead, meetings, or hassles, and it's an absolute joy to do so.

Re:There is nothing like work you love doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43261129)

Trolling here. Let me get this straight. Your fellow countrymen are working and paying taxes so that you can live off of disability while you admit you are perfectly capable of earning a living?

Offline play, ftw (2)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43258217)

One thing these old systems have, that the next generation won't (well, at least MS's crap won't) is the ability to play anywhere, any time. None of this "always online" shit that MS is going to force, not sure if Sony is that stupid, but based on past experiences, they are more then that stupid.

Prince of Persia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43258233)

Speaking of retro revival... believe it or not, but the old school game Prince of Persia (1989) is still very much alive.
It is still being ported to (even) more platforms, like in November 2011 to C64 [csdb.dk] .

Also, the file formats of the DOS version have been completely reverse engineered.
Which resulted in several level editors [popot.org] (including for GNU/Linux) and lots and lots of custom levels [popot.org] .
Some of the modificiations of the DOS version, like this one [youtube.com] released January 2013, are extreme.
New mods on the community forum [princed.org] (disclaimer: I'm a member there) every month. :)

Not only are retro games great, old school games are still alive!

Re:Prince of Persia (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about a year and a half ago | (#43277837)

Pshaw! DOS version?

What about hacks for the original Apple II version?

Don't buy a Retron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43259487)

Its a shitty clone. Buy the real hardware.

Warranty, video hardware support, etc. (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43259631)

So where can one "buy the real hardware" with a warranty that it'll even work when one receives it in the mail? And where can one "buy the real hardware" that is compatible with modern video standards such as HDMI? Perhaps the solution is to decap and delayer the original console's chips, use FPGAs and Verilog to develop a gate-for-gate clone, and then license that clone to a manufacturer. It's expensive, but that's how it is sometimes for preservation.

Keeping Turbo Grafx-16 and MSX alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43260017)

It's really fun to develop for these old consoles. It's also extremely educational and causes you to develop very important skills that you miss out on developing if you only focus on newer hardware.

You get to pretend it's the late 80s/early 90s all over again, and get a bit of an idea of how much effort and care had to go into making games on such limited hardware. We're even working on making real cards for the Turbo Grafx-16 again to keep it alive even longer.

We mostly do it because it's fun. I chose the Turbo Grafx-16 in particular because I grew up playing that console more than my other ones, and I really like the way it looks and sounds when compared to the SNES and Genesis.

It's not for profit, or bill paying, that's for sure. We barely break even after sales (both online and at conventions)!

It's also not for cool factor. Us geeks still get picked on for being so quirky and mathematical/computer oriented. It takes a special breed of geek to up and decide they're going to figure out the inner workings of a video game console they grew up with, and then go on

However, it's still completely worth it to see the look on people's faces when you tell them you've made a new game for a 25 year old console or computer. These old consoles always have tight knit communities that really appreciate the effort the few of us put into keeping their favorite machines alive.

You can check out some games we make for the Turbo Grafx-16 and MSX at www.aetherbyte.com. One was ported to XBLA.

Long live the old stuff. It will keep working when all the new stuff kicks the bucket.

--Arkhan

legit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43260043)

how is the retron legit? are the patents on said systems expired and it's all good? what's the deal?

Re:legit? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year and a half ago | (#43261687)

With the exception of the GBA, the patents on the other systems would be expired by now, yes. And since none of the systems the Retron supports require a BIOS image to emulate, there's no copyright dickery to hit it with, either.

Knowing Nintendo, if there *were* GBA patents in play, they would already be firing up the lawyer cannon. We'll have to see.

GBA is ARM CPU + cleaned-up SNES PPU (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43286351)

Most of the GBA's register-level API is just a reorganization of what was already present in the Super NES, combined with a seek-and-read cartridge bus that's been around since before the N64. The big patented part is the ARM7TDMI CPU, and as far as I can tell, ARM appears to license its CPU cores under FRAND terms anyway.

Don't leave out the Turbo Grafx-16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43260399)

I posted before, but I lost it and it didn't get up here. In the event it does show up, sorry for the double post.

We do this stuff because it's fun. There is a great feeling you get from developing games on old hardware. You get to pretend its the late 80s/early 90s again, and see how much effort and care had to go into making games on limited hardware. It really makes you that much more impressed with some of the classics.

It's not for cool factor. That's for sure. Us geeks have always been picked on for the mathematical/computer oriented stuff. It takes a special kind of geek to want to get involved with the inner workings of an old machine.

Also, there are a lot of great skills you can pick up with regards to programming. A lot of what I learned applied to my college classes, and to my current job. So, it's a hobby that can have a great benefit in life. It's a lot more fun than your typical homework... :)

I chose to keep the Turbo Grafx-16 alive. I grew up playing it alongside my SNES/Genesis/Etc, and always preferred it for various reasons. Mostly, the music.

I've even branched out to a few old computers as well, and even put one of the games on Xbox live.

We've even gone so far as to start making real cards for the Turbo Grafx-16 so that the system can continue to live on!

It's great to be in the tight knit communities that surround these old consoles/computers as well. They're often very loyal and appreciative of the efforts of those who keep the dream alive. It's worth it to see the looks on their faces, and others when you present new games for old, supposedly "dead" machines.

it's definitely not for profit though! We barely break even with this stuff when we sell it online or at conventions. The extra money just goes right back in to keep it going. :)

You can check out all of the stuff we do at www.aetherbyte.com .

Long live the old stuff. It'll still be going when this new stuff kicks the bucket.

--Arkhan

I grew up on Atari 2600... (1)

switched4OSX (668686) | about a year and a half ago | (#43261417)

I would pay a good price for the nostalgia.

Not retro enough. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43268671)

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