Why is Retro Gaming so appealing?

Why is Retro Gaming so appealing?

It has long been known that gaming is strongly linked to the brain’s reward pathways, but what is it about retro gaming that is so appealing?

Psychiatrist Michael Feldmeier believes the answer is simply nostalgia. “Nostalgia is thought to be important in emotional resilience,” says Feldmeier. “By looking at the past, one can sometimes look to the future even when getting bogged down by the pain of the present.”

Nostalgia can promote mental health and well-being, reduce loneliness, and some clinical studies have suggested that nostalgia might help protect against dementia. But there is more to retro gaming than childhood nostalgia.

Old school console games were not built around online play the way contemporary ones are, giving retro games a more satisfying social element. Unlike the toxic culture of competitive multiplayer gaming the couch co-op games of the ’80s and ’90s were about having fun together.

As adults we don’t have the free time we once enjoyed. Retro gaming allows us a high-quality gaming experience in a shorter period of time, as they don’t require the loading screens, software downloads and DLC of more modern games. According to The Independent, 90% of gamers will not finish modern games, partly because games now feature longer campaigns.

Early games were limited in what technology was available and graphics were simple meaning the wow factor had to come from the game play. As a result, we often find retro games to be harder and more satisfying to complete whilst believable simulation has narrowed the focus of modern console gaming.

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