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EdgeOfPortal

When does a system become "Retro"?

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So, the PlayStation 2 hits 20 years old this year. I would say you could call it “retro” at this point, but what does everyone else think?

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Posted (edited)

The PS2 was released only a year after the SNES was discontinued... I consider it to be retro. Kinda odd to call a system I grew up with as being retro but it's time.

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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I've said it before, I'll say it again- the newest systems are 'current gen'. The ones that immediately preceded them are 'last gen'. Everything else is, arguably, 'retro'. It's just a matter of people being willing to admit they're getting old. (A lot of the 'X isn't retro' arguments I've read over the years tie into a person's personal experience, & not the console itself.)

 

And yes, PS2 is retro. It's long gone from retail stores. Video standards have changed. Save game standards have changed. Popular genres have changed. And Youtubers making 'hidden gems' videos can cause temporary price spikes. The only box we haven't checked is branded merch readily available at Target.

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Posted (edited)

My personnal definition goes along the lines of HoshiChiri as well : The latest system avaible (including "mid-life upgrades"*) is the current-gen, the previous gen, either still produced (that happens mostly at the beginning of a new gen, but can last longer, for example, the PS2 was produced in different parts of the world un until 2013) or discontinued is well, previous gen. And everything before is retro.

 

With a lil addendum : the latest available system must have been considered "current gen". Else, without that, it leave all systems that never had any successors (like the Dreamcast) in a sort of limbo where they aren't retro since they never had any successor :D

 

 

 

*that is, for example, even if the Nintendo 3DS is discontinued, I considered that the New 3DS and the associated software is still part of the 3DS line (as does Nintendo) so the DS, not the 3DS, is the previous gen and the GBA is retro)

 

 

I'm part of a retrogaming club and the rule is more simple :

It's it no longer sold and/or became unsignificant (like PS2 stuff being technically still available past 2010) then it's retro.

Mostly because some people would define their preferences on what was retro and wasn't (some people setting the line at 3D - but that mean SNES is not retro since it got Starwing!) some setting it at CD media... (But that mean the PC-Engine and Megadrive having CD aren't retro!).

So since the club isn't about personnal preference but general public information/entertainment, we consider that "Last gen is retro".

 

It have one advantage, in that most last gen stuff is dirt cheap :D

Edited by CatPix

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Nothing becomes retro. Retro items are new items that copy items of a past generation.

So plug n plays, flashbacks, merch etc are retro.

Old things become antique, classic or vintage.

For me i have a hard time seeing any digial media as classic...but thats just me. As i have a hard time seeing any cars post 1990 as classic probably no matter how old they get. To me there has not been exciting and unique things about them. Generally you consider things classic at 25 years though.

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2 minutes ago, stupus said:

Nothing becomes retro. Retro items are new items that copy items of a past generation.

So plug n plays, flashbacks, merch etc are retro.

Old things become antique, classic or vintage.

For me i have a hard time seeing any digial media as classic...but thats just me. As i have a hard time seeing any cars post 1990 as classic probably no matter how old they get. To me there has not been exciting and unique things about them. Generally you consider things classic at 25 years though.

Oh I can’t consider digital classic. To me it’s the point where people started to kill off physical media and just completely forgot about preservation for the most part. So I think once a console comes out that has no physical media, I won’t be able to consider anything classic.

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Sorry i meant optical as well by digital....

 

But yes non phisical media will never mean much to me at all.

I did get into some ps1 and gamecube and some later stuff with the kids but it was always different to me.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, stupus said:

Sorry i meant optical as well by digital....

 

But yes non phisical media will never mean much to me at all.

I did get into some ps1 and gamecube and some later stuff with the kids but it was always different to me.

I think PS3 is alright for the most part. Many games were complete on disc (well, functioning as a game without updates at least, unlike some current-gen games) and it used Blu-Ray which supposedly lasts a long time.

Edited by EdgeOfPortal

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I'd be surprised if someone said PS2 wasn't retro at this stage. I think there was definitely a stage where I considered it not retro when others did (for example, when I bought a sealed copy of a late era PS2 RPG for £5.99 at a supermarket many years afterwards).

 

I wouldn't regard PS3 retro just yet for the following reasons:

 

  1. It uses a medium that is still emerging as the main (Blu Ray, DVD is only really just starting to be taken over in terms of shelf space)
  2. Its streaming services is only just starting to officially turn off (TV channels generally is starting to discontinue, but twitch just about works and Netflix/amazon still work fine).
  3. It wasn't that long ago that it had a commercially licensed game released.
  4. PSN still technically works on it, but features get periodically dropped, I can still download my purchased games! I just can't buy more (at least, in a user friendly way).

As the 360 isn't blu ray, and most streaming stuff is starting to just break or not be updated, it is probably closer to being retro. However, I think there is still reasonable support in the way of free games via the subscription service, though this is slowing down I think. It technically had a game more recently than PS3, and both have good aftermarket second hand sales in high street resellers still, while PS2 (actually still quite strong in the UK in terms of retro) is a novelty and not generally a console people have around (most PS3's cant run it either). Wii is retro at this point, and while Wii U is definitely dead, I just don't know if its retro.

 

There probably will never be a universal definition of what becomes retro, but I think most people eventually reach a similar conclusion whatever logic they use to get there.

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16 minutes ago, Mikebloke said:

I'd be surprised if someone said PS2 wasn't retro at this stage. I think there was definitely a stage where I considered it not retro when others did (for example, when I bought a sealed copy of a late era PS2 RPG for £5.99 at a supermarket many years afterwards).

 

I wouldn't regard PS3 retro just yet for the following reasons:

 

  1. It uses a medium that is still emerging as the main (Blu Ray, DVD is only really just starting to be taken over in terms of shelf space)
  2. Its streaming services is only just starting to officially turn off (TV channels generally is starting to discontinue, but twitch just about works and Netflix/amazon still work fine).
  3. It wasn't that long ago that it had a commercially licensed game released.
  4. PSN still technically works on it, but features get periodically dropped, I can still download my purchased games! I just can't buy more (at least, in a user friendly way).

As the 360 isn't blu ray, and most streaming stuff is starting to just break or not be updated, it is probably closer to being retro. However, I think there is still reasonable support in the way of free games via the subscription service, though this is slowing down I think. It technically had a game more recently than PS3, and both have good aftermarket second hand sales in high street resellers still, while PS2 (actually still quite strong in the UK in terms of retro) is a novelty and not generally a console people have around (most PS3's cant run it either). Wii is retro at this point, and while Wii U is definitely dead, I just don't know if its retro.

 

There probably will never be a universal definition of what becomes retro, but I think most people eventually reach a similar conclusion whatever logic they use to get there.

Oh, I wasn't saying it was retro, I was just saying its likely the last system to be 90% protected from the digital age (games are on a supposedly long lasting form of media, most games are playable without patches/updates, and in a lot of cases are the full game on the disc.)

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11 minutes ago, EdgeOfPortal said:

Oh, I wasn't saying it was retro, I was just saying its likely the last system to be 90% protected from the digital age (games are on a supposedly long lasting form of media, most games are playable without patches/updates, and in a lot of cases are the full game on the disc.)

No worries, I didn't actually think you were, sorry if it came out in my reply that I thought you did, I merely got caught on my own tangent then tried to bring it back :P Having said that, I find it fascinating as the PS3 is still technically my "main console" even though I have a Wii U.

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Some cars are classics. Some (most) are just old cars, boring, worthless, or just bad. Same for games. 
 

I like how we value old stuff, but not everything is deserving of being called "retro." Some of it is just old pap. Most of it, probably. 
 

I'm not sure that everything should automatically graduate to "retro" just because an arbitrary length of time has elapsed.
 

But I'm also not super into the name game, which also obsesses over the best way to categorize "generations" and genres. 
 

You can call PS2 "retro" if you want. I think it's mostly the same types of stuff we saw on PS3 and PS4, but with worse graphics and controls. I could get a "vintage" license plate for a generic year 2000 Honda Civic just cos it's old, but we all know it's not the same as a 1965 Corvette. 

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PS2's not quite "retro" at this point, but it's getting there. IMO a system can be called "retro" when it's been released for twenty years and has been discontinued for ten years. It still has 3 years left.

Edited by Magmavision2000

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PS2 definitely seems retro to me. I mean, I'm old raised on the 2600, so I've long gotten past the idea that things I had as a kid can't be retro.

 

I mean, I started collecting in the late 90s and the 2600 was definitely retro and that was just 20 years old at the time.

 

I actually have my PS3 and space for a Wii U that I haven't procured yet in my 'retro' collection - which I technically call my 'video game museum' so I don't actually have to resolve such taxonomy issue.

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The whole notion of "videogames" is retro. Videogames were a 1980's fad, and that's 40 years ago. If that ain't retro enough I don't know what is!

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On 1/1/2020 at 7:33 AM, HoshiChiri said:

And yes, PS2 is retro. It's long gone from retail stores. 

If everything has to either be categorized as classic or modern, I suspect the PS2 is now safely in the former category. That said, the PS2 isn't really long gone from mainstream brick & mortar retailers. Within the past two or three years you could still find a few PS2 games like the GTA Trilogy in most any Walmart, with the statistics at Brickseek showing high store availability. Heck, semi recently like 2016 or so, they even had a PS2 game in their Black Friday ad [Edit: Was in 2015].

 

And even in late 2019 the last I checked a month or so ago while looking for Wii U deals at area Walmarts, a location near the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York still had some PS2 games on their budget rack like some generic looking skiing game. Pretty abnormal at this point I'm sure as the decade comes to a close and they've been there for years and are starting to look beat up, but still a sign that not very long ago limited PS2 stock was widely available at Walmart locations. 

Edited by Atariboy

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I feel like there's no real scientific definition which makes something retro. It's more a feeling: a system is retro when folks get a nostalgic for it. Lots of 25-35 year old people certainly are nostalgic for it, since very often it was their first console. 

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20 years past it's peak popularity, since 20 years is basically a "generation" in terms of human reproduction and 10 years after it stops being manufactured  - I mean, the PS2 was still being made in 2012, only 8 years ago. I'm not sure you could call the 2600 retro in 1997 when they just stopped making them 5 years earlier.

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I use the 3 console method. If a console is atleast 3 console generations back from the current consoles being sold in the store then they are retro to me. I don’t think you can say to each his own nostalgia. There has to be some measurement of time that has passed. That’s like saying the PS3 will be retro soon because some kid grew up with it. That’s just nostalgia, and doesn’t make something retro. I have kids that grew up playing PS4 games, once the PS5 comes out this year then the PS4 will be retro for them? No, the PS4 will definitely not be retro this year!

 

 

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3 hours ago, derFunkenstein said:

I feel like there's no real scientific definition which makes something retro. It's more a feeling: a system is retro when folks get a nostalgic for it. Lots of 25-35 year old people certainly are nostalgic for it, since very often it was their first console. 

This is pretty much it. Aside from the fairly clear Current & Last gen, everything else is just when the public consensus gears largely toward a console being retro. It's almost like wine aficionados arguing over when a wine has aged properly- there's a spread of opinions & you have to wait to hit the top of the bell curve for the debate to taper off. (Does that made sense? I don't drink, so...)

 

I do think every system does have a time, after being last gen, where it's just 'old'. After the clearer delineations have ended, but before enough people really care to hunt it down. It also seems that the debate over when something has ceased to be old & started to be retro gets messed up when it's very popular, or very niche. Even though the PS2's age says retro, there's no consensus becuase it was so popular, it remained a relevant option so for long it's had an effect on people's perception. Similarly, I think the Wii U will have an incredibly short window of 'old' due to its limited time on the market.

 

The real oddball is the Vita. It's got a short release window, coupled with an almost rabid fanbase. I feel like the Vita might be the first system to go from 'current' straight to retro... or that it's completely bypassed our usual definitions and become something new.

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