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June 2017 Retro Gaming Article


June 14, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Playing 8-bit games on a modern hi-def TV isn't about improving picture quality

Some people play video games while others love video games. Yes, there is a difference.
When I get excited about repairing a ColecoVision Roller Controller so I can play Slither and someone tells me I could play thousands of games on a Raspberry Pi... that's the difference between playing games and loving games. It may sound trite, but there is a lot more to video games than sitting in front of a TV with a joystick in hand.

Better still, the crowd that believes retro games must be played on a CRT television without acknowledging they are no longer being produced and retro gaming must eventually be compatible with modern TVs. The Retron 77 seems to be the next solution for retaining the vibe of retro gaming (useing original carts and controllers) via HDMI on an HD TV. I think that's a grand achievement and needs to happen to preserve the amazing games in a manner close to their origin.

I love playing games, but I also love rubbing a Q-tip dipped in alcohol across the contacts of an old cartridge and seeing a dark smudge appear. It's a bit gross on one hand, but it means the game that previously displayed a strafed screen and loud monotone sound will now let me select 2-player co-op with moving shields and invisible Invaders! Oh yeah!

Let me tell you about the happy-dance I did when I found Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii or The Sega Classic Collection for PS2 so I could play Out Run. Lets not forget the broken Tempest arcade cabinet in the back room of my local arcade. Will it be fixed and on the floor this Summer? What about the Donkey Kong cab at my favorite arcade from when I was a kid. I still go there and I'm convinced that DK cab is the one I played as a teen.

So when Hyyperkin reveals the Retron 77 - a console that plays Atari 2600 cartridges on HD TVs - it's not about seeking a better picture. For me it's about options. This lets me play my favorite games on any modern TV. As my CRT TVs fail, it's not always easy to find another and it will get progressively harder. Such devices are finite.

Sure I could play any game imaginable on my computer with an emulator, but I'd much rather find a dingy 8-bit cart in a thrift store and see it I can clean it up enough to play. It's a game I've never heard of and I'll risk $2 to see what it is. When the screen illuminates and I dive into it headfirst surrounded by dirty Q-tips and paper towels, I'm going to play the Hell out of this game! Playing it on a wall-mounted flatscreen is of little consequence because I love playing video games. It looks the same, but feels great!

Vintage games on modern TVs isn't about picture quality

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