Mar 21,2012 As the video gaming juggernaut rumbles tirelessly onwards, one might assume that the past is in danger of being forgotten. Games like Gears of War 3, Rage and Uncharted 3 are pushing the graphical standard into hitherto unknown realms, while titles like Skyrim boast gameplay so engrossing that previous efforts seem almost simplistic in comparison. Surely then, no one could possibly be interested in dusty old retro titles when such aesthetic splendour is available right here, right now?
Mercifully, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite the massive strides being made in terms of both visuals and depth, more and more people are casting their gaze into the past, looking to reacquaint themselves with classic titles or discover vintage experiences with a fresh pair of eyes.
While services such as the Wii Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network are allowing us to enjoy drip-fed classics from yesteryear, the rapid expansion of the smart Android phone arena has also played a huge part in keeping retro gaming alive. The average handset is comfortably capable of replicating the performance of 8 and 16-bit machines, with some even tentatively dipping a toe into 32 and 64-bit waters. Astonishingly, consoles that were once considered cutting edge only a decade and a half ago can now be carried around in your pocket.
Google’s Android operating system is arguably at the forefront of this retro revival. This is largely thanks to the platform’s open nature; while Apple’s iPhone is locked down and its App Store diligently policed, the Android Market is slightly more lax – which is both a blessing a curse, if you look at the sheer volume of dodgy downloads available.
Emulators do occasionally get taken down due to copyright infringements, but for every one Google removes, five more seem to sprout up in its place. Such moves are futile anyway; Android supports multiple marketplaces, and also allows users to to ‘side-load’ applications…