The Definition of Retro Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

One of my favorite parts of EGLX, the game expo Rachel and I visited in Canada in 2018, was the aisles of arcade cabinets that were set up in the middle of the main room for guests to enjoy. Those retro games were some of the most popular attractions throughout the weekend.

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What do you consider to be a retro game? Is there a universal threshold that games have to pass until they are considered retro? Do you consider games from certain consoles as retro, or is any game older than ten, fifteen, or twenty years retro?

Retro games are held up as a pinnacle of gaming, games that were classics or are ripe with nostalgia for gamers of today’s day and age. While mechanics and graphics are outdated, retro games still find enthusiastic players. Emulators, virtual consoles, mini classic consoles, and even the original consoles and games are played to keep those retro games alive.

There are even games that emulate the retro style. Despite how far graphics have come in the past several years, the success of games mimicking the 16-bit art style have been a hit. Take a look at Cuphead and its old-school art style resembling cartoons from decades ago.

To me — if we’re talking in Nintendo terms — retro games are probably games from the Nintendo 64 era and before, maybe even the GameCube games. There are definitely some favorites from the SNES console that I bought several times over on various virtual consoles so I can continue to experience them again. Over on our Twitch channel, Rachel and I had played the SNES version of Disney’s The Lion King from Steam as one of the first games we were attempting, and I’m currently in the middle of playing Donkey Kong Country on the SNES Classic. Those to me are retro games just as arcade cabinets are nowadays.

I wonder how long it will take before Nintendo Switch games are considered retro?

What do you consider retro games? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Flashback Friday: Dogz II

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

If there’s anything else I’m passionate about beside video games, it’s animals. One of my earliest video game memories involves a certain computer game about virtual dogs.

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Dogz II was one of the very few — if there were any others — game programs on the solitary computer in my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. When I wasn’t trying my hand at the SNES (or bothering my uncle to play said console), I was probably playing with the virtual dogs on the desktop.

Dogz II was one of the many installments of the Petz franchise developed and published by P.F. Magic back in the mid-nineties. Since then, sequels have been published, up until Dogz 5 and Catz 5. The games were virtual pets that you take care of from puppies and kittens to adults and, in the later installments of the series, you could breed and raise their offspring from newborns.

This particular installment was one of the simplest. You were able to adopt one of a handful of breeds, name them, and then care for them. Toys and food were available to let you interact with the pet, and your mouse icon turns into a hand to pet, snap to call over, and pick up your pet. Aside from the playpen mode, where your dogs are in the windowed mode of the game, you can also let them run around on your desktop.

Supposedly, you were supposed to let them loose on the desktop while you’re working, but I’d be hard-pressed to get any work done while watching my virtual dog chase my cursor, dig holes into my background, or carry around the icons. Of course, I’d never get mad at the dog — it was too cute!

Despite the Petz games being for Windows 95 or so, rather than Windows 7 or 10, I still have my CDs of Dogz II and Petz 5. For kicks, I tried to install Dogz II on my Windows 7 laptop, and guess what?

It works:

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Now I’m trying to decide if I want to dive down this rabbit hole and adopt a virtual pup or two to have running amok while I work…

Have you played any of the Petz games? What did you think of them?

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