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What years would you say generally cover retro gaming for home consoles??

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My original estimate was 1977-1994. Then after some thought I figured that the original Sony PlayStation should also be included so I extended my estimate to 1977-1999 since the PS2 was released in 2000. I don't think there is any official date on the time frame for retro gaming. What would your estimate be?

 

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I tend to shy away from calling the PS1 retro, but that's mostly just because I don't like to be reminded how old the console that was current when I first started collecting retro video games is now. Joking aside, I typically use 1994 as a cutoff for retro gaming because that's the dividing line between consoles being mainly cartridge based and mainly CD based and sort of the beginning of the transformation from game consoles to multimedia devices.

 

What is retro is always going to be a sliding scale as new consoles are released, at least until video games have been around long enough to adopt something like the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age used for comic books.

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I think the "retro gaming era" is described by

Popular TV consoles that used cartridges: 1977 - 1996. 

 

Stop it around 1994 if you like, that's fine considering that Atari Jaguar and Sega Saturn aren't easy to emulate. 

Take it to 1996 because Playstation (One) emulation is quite nice, as is Nintendo 64 when it works. 

Take it all the way up to 1999 if you want to include Dreamcast

But stop short of 2000 (Playstation 2), again for the emulation reasons. 

 

No, there's no "official" range, because it's like "classic rock-n-roll" or "oldies." The older you get, the newer some young kid's "oldies" or "classics" will be!

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I actually recently had this discussion on Discord a couple of days ago and in my opinion the best way to class something as "retro" is to use the same rule that car people use for "classic cars" which is 20 years old. Right now that would mean that the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox era is not quite "retro" yet but will be in the next year or two. To me this is the most fair way to doing it because if you set it at a specific year being the cut off such as 2000 then does that mean the PS2 won't be considered retro in the year 2040 even though clearly it would be.

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Until about 2000

 

The PS1, Saturn, and N64 are neither retro nor modern, but the consoles that came after are very similar to what we have right now.  Just look at the re-release of Katamari Damacy for proof of that.

 

If pushed, I would just say the year 2000 is as good a line as any.  I'm also satisfied with the N64 as the last retro console because of its use of cartridges.

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Well this is a topic that has come up every now and then since I joined this site in like 1999. But that's fine; it's been long enough now since the last thread.

 

Back then, of course you'd never have just gone back 5 years to the "retro gaming" era. The line was pretty clear - it was pre-crash ("classic") and post-crash ("modern"). That was it.

 

But I agree with Flojomojo that it's kind of like "classic rock"; it's a moving target, and I hear stuff on classic rock stations these days that I feel like just came out! Freakin' Foo Fighters and Nirvana are on classic rock stations now - christ! But that's because I'm getting older and 15 years ago to me at this point feels like no time at all. But of course it would be for someone younger.

 

Anyway, old man yells at cloud and yadda yadda yadda, I still think there's gotta be a distinction between stuff that's *really* retro, stuff that's sort of modern and stuff that's really modern. Because clearly there is a difference between the Intellivision and the original Playstation. So I always suggest just breaking it up into at least three distinct eras. Call them whatever you want, but to me there's the real classic era, the early 3D era and the modern era. It's still somewhat nebulous and at some point you have to just make a decision as to where to draw lines. But if you don't make those decisions, then you end up with stuff like Gran Turismo being considered as part of the same era as Night Driver or Intelllivision Auto Racing, which to me is just ridiculous. So you can argue over the exact point of where to draw the lines, but for me I think there have to be at least three distinct eras so far, and maybe more than that depending on how good of an argument you can make.

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Personally, I think anything generation 6 and earlier would be considered retro. With the cap at Dreamcast, Gamecube, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. Also, I think anything Generation 7 and newer would be considered modern. Such as the DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Xbox 360 and onward. :)

 

Edit:

 

I should also mention that Generation 6 was the last generation where consoles where just game consoles. Where all you had to do is insert the disc (or cartridge on the Game Boy Advance. The DS is a good exception too.) in order to play the game. Once generation 7 rolled around. You had things like game installations, online updates, DLC, micro transactions, digital rights management, that sort of thing. Console lost their convenience in generation 7, and I think that's a really good way to differentiate a retro system and a modern system. :)

Edited by Tekmon_Xonic
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1977 - 2001      Even if you don't care for retro 3D games of the PS1 - PS2 era you still owe it to yourself to own a GBA which was basically a pocketable SNES.

 

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We're definitely getting to the point in gaming where "retro" as just "anything that's more than a couple of generations old" is too vague and we're better off dividing console games into multiple eras. Something like:

 

1972-1976: Pre-Classic (Odyssey, dedicated consoles)

1977-1994: Classic (games on cartridge, 2-D graphics)

1995-1999: Transitional (move to discs and 3-D graphics)

2000-Now: Modern (multimedia consoles, online play)

 

In another few years what's considered "modern" will change and games from 2000-2XXX will be looked back at as "Pre-Immersive" or something by all the kids with their VR goggles.

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Yes ... though it kinda depends on who is doing the classifications. I've seen ∞ arguments over Wikipedia's "generations" of game consoles, which are largely useless anyway. To most people, there are modern games and there are old games. I doubt most folks would put Intellivision Auto Racing in with Gran Turismo, because the former doesn't even exist in their world. 

 

We sure like sticking labels and categories on everything, don't we? Video games aren't a straight line, we have 3D pixel games and 2D cartoony games made now. Perhaps we need a more complex taxonomy that takes into account the type of game, the medium (disc, arcade, cartridge), the control method, the genre, the format (endless, high-score, story) the style of graphics ...

 

someone with a more ordered brain than I can get to work on that straight away

 

natural-classification_med.thumb.jpeg.58680b08a53cef1c95412ccce9f66625.jpeg

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I would say PSX and N64 fell into the classic/retro category in the past 10-15 years. Prior to that they were more in the modern age of gaming. Nowadays CD based aside, when it comes to the PSX the system has that old school feel, even though it was the stepping stone to the modern era of gaming. Had it's fair share of 2d sidescroller/platformers, remakes, ports and most Arcade ports were flawless.

 

The PS2 and Xbox onward i would say have their own place in history but more as the early 3d era of the modern gaming industry of today. Every system has it's place but i personally think the PSX and N64 earned their spot in the old school golden era of gaming.

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Sure, there will always be debate over the exact years and reasons to place the divisions. That happens for everything. Look up Generation X in 5 different places and you'll see five different year ranges. And most people don't care about the specifics. That doesn't stop the people who do care from debating about it for hours.

 

 

 

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I've seen a lot of great replies here...

 

What's been in my head (since before I read anyone else saying the exact same thing haha) is The PS2 and up = Modern.  

 

That said Retro can be a bit of a moving target...I see PS1, Saturn and even Dreamcast as a grey area...On one hand Dreamcast can be seen as  a precursor to PS2 (It's Pseudo Modern or Post Retro...Kidding,..now I'm just being stupid)...And I agree with calling the N64 Retro sometimes (if you must) simply because it used cartridges...Many franchises on N64 were modern, though, like putting Donkey Kong or Castlevania into 3D and making all of us realize it was better in 2D...

 

So for me Retro is anything up to (and possibly including) N64...

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For me personally, my retrogaming era is 1978-1995.  Started with Atari, ended with Sega.  I never really got on the nintendo bandwagon.

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4 hours ago, KaeruYojimbo said:

1972-1976: Pre-Classic (Odyssey, dedicated consoles)

1977-1994: Classic (games on cartridge, 2-D graphics)

1995-1999: Transitional (move to discs and 3-D graphics)

2000-Now: Modern (multimedia consoles, online play)

 

 

Yeah, I'll go along with that for the most part. The transitional era feels really short in that breakdown (basically a single generation) but I've already said why I don't think it makes sense to lump the PlayStation in with the Atari 2600, and on the other hand if you move the end date later, then you get into a weird situation where the original Xbox is in a different era than the Xbox One, and it doesn't feel that way to me.

 

I can buy that systems of 95-99 were kind of their own thing as the industry switched over to 3D, optical disk and more "bits".

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4 hours ago, GoldLeader said:

What's been in my head (since before I read anyone else saying the exact same thing haha) is The PS2 and up = Modern.  

It just occurred to me that PS2 could be a tipping point for another reason -- hard drives (or similar large onboard storage device). PS2 was the inflection point for that technology. You could buy an add-on for the PS2 for Final Fantasy XI (and pretty much nothing else). 

 

No other games console before that had a large capacity storage device. Just about every games console that came afterwards had one. 

 

Let's say "large" = 500MB or more

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This is a great question, agree it's probably different for everyone but the OP did seem to only ask for personal opinions.
I would be willing to call anything that you can't just go and buy at a store today to be retro, but if that's way too inclusive then I'd say that in this particular case, bits would make the most sense to go by, as in essence, at it's lowest level, the number of bits available determine how much can be done at any given time. That being said, it's still super fun to mess around with limited older consoles because the limitations are what force creativity.

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13 minutes ago, Sknarp said:

the limitations are what force creativity.

You sound like my mother justifying why I couldn't have a better game system than our secondhand Odyssey 2

 

TRIGGERED

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First, Wikipedia's "generations" are a bad idea, and whoever came up with it should feel bad about themselves.  

 

Second, I've never found a useful definition of "classic" or "retro" games that did not put a dividing line between pre-NES and post-NES systems.  I don't know where the line needs to be drawn in the mid-90s, but the two eras of retro games are themselves very distinctive.

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16 hours ago, atarifan88 said:

For me personally, my retrogaming era is 1978-1995.  Started with Atari, ended with Sega.  I never really got on the nintendo bandwagon.

Thats really interesting.  I'm obviously a huge Sega fan, but I couldn't imagine life without my NES/SNES, so many amazing games.  

So did you own a Saturn?  It wasn't until much later did I find out how many great Saturn games there were exclusive to Japan.

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4 hours ago, SegaSnatcher said:

Thats really interesting.  I'm obviously a huge Sega fan, but I couldn't imagine life without my NES/SNES, so many amazing games.  

So did you own a Saturn?  It wasn't until much later did I find out how many great Saturn games there were exclusive to Japan.

No I didn't. I had a PS1 & 2. I stopped buying consoles after that. I hope the Amico will change that if I like what I see.

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Ah yes, the eternal 'what counts as retro' debate, aka 'that can't be retro, then I'd be OLD!'

 

I say anything that isn't current or last-gen is, arguably, retro- basically, can you walk into any GameStop & find titles? If 'no', then it could be retro. The rest is largely just semantics.

 

We can argue about tech, but there's always outliers- there's early CD machines (TurboCD, Sega CD), there's late cartridge machines (N64, Jaguar). We can try to pair around other consoles, but that causes issues- is the Wii retro becuase of the Wii U, or does the Wii U's early death mean it doesn't count? This is why I tend to shy away from media choice & focus on other factors, like developer & retail support, or standard-use equipment (like what kind of controller or video cable the system came bundled with.) There's a lot of little things that go into a gaming era's 'aesthetic', if you will, and I find those to be more useful for era-defining.

 

22 hours ago, KaeruYojimbo said:

1972-1976: Pre-Classic (Odyssey, dedicated consoles)

1977-1994: Classic (games on cartridge, 2-D graphics)

1995-1999: Transitional (move to discs and 3-D graphics)

2000-Now: Modern (multimedia consoles, online play)

Mostly agreed here- multiple eras break things up better. Although I personally add an extra era in from 1977-1983/1985 (depending on how American you wanna break it down). The arrival of the NES had a notable effect on the gaming landscape, plus it's also the beginning of composite input & D-pad controllers being standard on basically everything. I guess you'd call it the neo-classic era? I typically call the 70's stuff vintage, and the 83/85 on is classic/neo-classic/modern. I usually start Modern closer to 2005 too- it lines up better with the online storefront, which is when online play really took off.

Edited by HoshiChiri
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