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Retro gaming can be the saviour of the whole video games industry – Reader’s Feature

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Retro gaming can be the saviour of the whole video games industry – Reader’s Feature

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Golden Axe – is it time to go back? (Picture: Sega)

A reader suggests that companies look to retro gaming as the model for making games more quickly, cheaply, and imaginatively.

Like everyone else, I’ve been following the news of the last few months in confusion and despair, as it feels like Microsoft and Sony are giving up everything we know about console gaming at the drop of a hat – and yet with no clear plan. Over the last few weeks, it’s become clear that this is for a multitude of reasons, including fallout form the pandemic and worry about a lack of growth in the market. But the number one, underlying problem is that games cost too much to make now.

The obvious solution to that problem is to lower budgets but that doesn’t even seem to be on the agenda. It seems to be all or nothing for these companies and many of them appear to be ready to give up traditional gaming in favour of nothing but live service games, rather than just scale down the budget a bit.

At the same time that all this is going on I’ve been reading about how people are getting more into retro gaming than ever, including younger gamers who have only known the current digital-only, touchscreen dominated world. This was a surprise to me at first but then I thought old school arcade games are probably a lot closer to the sort of experience you get on a mobile game than some 60+ hour epic.

I then started to think of Sega’s plans to revive its old arcade games with what looks like lower budget and smaller scale games. I don’t know how much they decided to do that based on the current problems but they’re now in the position where their games could hit at the perfect time.

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I know this is Sega we’re talking about, so they’ll probably mess it all up, but in my imagination the games would be at least half price, compared to triple-A games, and could be beaten in no more than 10 hours. Basically, like indie games but with higher production values and recognisable characters.

The problem for games companies now is not so much that they need to convince other people to play more modest games, because they already do that with indie and mobile games. The people that need convincing are the game makers themselves, who only seem to work at one speed now, with the giant-sized quadruple-A games, and they can’t seem to bring themselves back from the brink.

Buying one game that costs £70 is the same as buying three that cost £23 so why not do that? Each of the three games would take less time to make (so developers could make more than just one game a generation!) and because they’d be cheaper to developer they could take more risks and be more experimental.

They won’t do it though, I know. Maybe there’s an outside chance that Sega’s plan works out and others copy them, but I bet even then it’s only Japanese companies. Western companies have got themselves into an ‘all or nothing’ mentality that they just don’t seem to be able to escape from and it’s clearly making things worse.

Imagine if you got a new game from Insomniac or Naughty Dog or Bethesda or BioWare every year or two, instead of every six years, and that each time they released something it was different to the last game? That’s how things used to be back in the Xbox 360 era and before and that’s what I miss more than anything about the retro days.

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We wait so long for new games and when they finally arrive, they’re the same thing as always. If gaming as we know it is to survive that’s got to change.

By reader Grackle

he reader’s features do not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. Just contact us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk or use our Submit Stuff page and you won’t need to send an email.


MORE : Retro gaming is the only thing I enjoy about video games now – Reader’s Feature


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