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15 Best Things About Retro Gaming

GoldenEye 007

3. Local Multiplayer Masterpieces

This is another double-edged sword topic. After all, it’s easier than ever to simply play games with others whenever you want. Furthermore, we usually have access to a wider array of multiplayer experiences than ever before. Honestly, you can still also find quite a few worthwhile local multiplayer games with relative ease. 

However, those who long for the often-cited golden age of local multiplayer experiences aren’t simply succumbing to nostalgia. The age of local and split-screen multiplayer was sometimes less about quality and quantity than it was about the culture of the concept. It was generally expected that you were going to play particular games with someone sharing a room with you. As such, titles like GoldenEye 007, WWF No Mercy, and more were designed to appeal to local multiplayer gamers instead of being treating the ability to play with people in the same room as an add-on feature. 

That’s the thing about old-school local multiplayer. Yes, there were exceptional local multiplayer games back in the day, but there are exceptional local multiplayer games now. The difference was that local multiplayer experiences back then were treated as a draw rather than this weird niche that is constantly struggling to stay alive.

Donkey Kong Country

2. Undeniable and Exciting Advancements In Generational Hardware

In my head, I know that every recent modern console generation has been technically superior to the last generation. PS5 games look and perform better than PS4 games, and PS4 games look and perform better than PS3 games. I know that’s true, and if I ever doubt it, I can find a series of charts and breakdowns that prove beyond any doubt that is the case. 

However, the difference between modern generations of hardware certainly feels smaller than, say, the gap between the NES and SNES or the PS1 and PS2. Though I can attribute elements of that feeling to pure nostalgia and selective memory, there is some hard truth to it. Photorealism is increasingly becoming the measuring stick of modern gaming graphics, and the fact of the matter is that games can only look so photorealistic. 

Mostly, though, I find myself missing that undeniable “wow factor” that seemed a little more common during the retro era. Leaps between the capabilities of consoles felt undeniable, and I’d even argue that modern gaming lacks titles like Donkey Kong Country or Ocarina of Time that come along in the middle of a generation and make everyone wonder “How did they do that?” Modern gaming technology is constantly improving, but the magic of those improvements feels less substantial when we need a GPU CEO to properly explain them rather than just our eyes.

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