What is Retrogaming?

two people holding black gaming consoles

I’m retrogaming. I admit, I’m from Generation X whose gaming life is what you would say old-school. I’ve seen games evolved from the small hand-held Nintendo Game & Watch to today’s PlayStation 5. So I’ve played a few games from and in between.

Retrogaming or classic gaming is a term to describe playing old video games in these contemporary times.

Game & Watch

I was in Grade 6 then when I first encountered the Nintendo Game & Watch. It was a small, hand-held gaming console that doubles as an alarm clock. It required 2 small button-size batteries and had a small LCD screen at the center. There were one or two buttons on each side of the screen, depending on the game. It only contained one game per unit but you have choices of Game A and B. Game A is much easier than Game B. Or Game B is a little bit faster than Game A.

The first games I played on the Game & Watch were Fire, Helmet, Manhole, Popeye, Chef, and Octopus — all of them had one button on each side of the screen for left and right. Mickey Mouse and Egg were the same, but these were the first Game & Watch units I saw that used two buttons on each side of the screen for up and down, left and right.

I got my own Nintendo Game & Watch when an aunt gave me Snoopy Tennis as a gift. It was newly-released then. The lavander unit was so cool. It also had two buttons on the right side to move up and down, but one button on the left to hit the ball.

The games were pretty much easy, just go left or right, up or down to move. You have 3 lives until game is over. But what was cool back then was when you reach the score of 200 (some at 250 or 300), 500, and 750 (some at 800), you earn 1 life as a bonus or your score doubles whenever you hit for 60 seconds. When you reach the score of 999 it goes back to 0.

Then Donkey Kong came with two screens, a cross-shaped button — up, down, left, and right — on the left side, and one button on the right. This might have been the precursor of the Nintendo DS which came many years later.

Arcade Games

It was also during the ’80s when I saw Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Lode Runner, and Crazy Climber. These were classic arcade games that you could play in carnivals or malls. There was even a song called “Pac-Man Fever”.

However, during that time, miniature versions of these arcade games were also available. I had the chance to play a miniature version Crazy Climber at home because my cousin had his own unit. It was a table top unit that resembled an arcade gaming machine and it required four size C batteries.

Family Computer

However, when I went to college, I didn’t have the time to play computer games. I was focused on my studies that when the games evolved to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) a.k.a. Family Computer, I became ignorant of games like Super Mario, Battle City, Contra Wars, etc.

When I graduated from college, I visited my cousins one day and saw them playing on the NES. One of them, a six-year old boy, offered his joystick and asked me to play Super Mario. I told him that I don’t know the game because I haven’t played on NES. Guess what? A six-year old boy taught a then 21 year old college graduate how to play Super Mario on NES.

Game Boy

It was during the mid-’90s when the Nintendo Game Boy came out. I was already working then and I decided to buy myself a Game Boy. I bought a unit, the transparent one, together with a game cartridge pack that had 32 games in it. It included those classic games like Super Mario, Dr. Mario, Klax, Lode Runner, Battle City, etc. I was also able to play Donkey Kong Land, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, and Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 in this platform.

Man is a gaming animal. He must always be trying to get the better in something or other.

— Charles Lamb

Computer Games

It was also during the ’90s when computer games became popular. These games were either installed or required a disk to run. I remember playing Chessmaster 2000 using two 5.25-inch floppy disks — one for booting and one for playing and saving the game.

Then some games came in CD-ROM and I played SkyRoads, Terminal Velocity, Klotski, Bubble Bobble, Wolfenstein, and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? That was also the time when Microsoft have included games like Solitaire and Minesweeper in their Microsoft Office package.

Play Station

I admit, I haven’t played a game using Play Station. When I met Voltaire, I’ve learned that he also play video games like the Final Fantasy franchise. One day, on a date, we went to a mall and tried playing on a Play Station for me to experience it. So we played Angel Wings, a racing game. Out of 5 games, I won 3. Beginner’s luck? Don’t remind him of that, he’ll get pissed off.


It was also Voltaire who introduced me to emulators. With emulators, we could play video games that we weren’t able to play before. Games like Final Fantasy 4 to 6, Chrono Trigger, Secrets of Mana, Pokemon (Yellow, Red, and Blue), Bomberman, Duke Nukem, Galaga, Advance Wars, etc.

He also installed in our old computer War Craft 1 and 2, Age of Empires, and Diablo II for me to play.

Unfinished Games

Sadly, there are games that I haven’t finished playing because I got busy with work and motherhood. I haven’t finished War Craft 3 when DOTA became famous. And I’m not into MMORPG, I prefer playing alone on my own pace. Thus, I haven’t tried playing Ragnarok, Counter Strike, DOTA, DOTA 2, and League of Legends. Although I have Left for Dead 2 installed in my old computer, I only played it once or twice but never finished the whole game. Also, I tried playing Crystal Saga online, but I stopped at level 25. Still, I have other games I want to play like Final Fantasy 7 and 8 and will probably play them using emulators.

I used to have Plants vs. Zombies and Bookworm installed in my laptop aside from the games included in my Windows 7. These games provide downtime at the end of a busy day. Now, I only have Age of Empires 2 and Diablo II on my computer and I play it when I feel like it. Also, I play games that are featured in Y8.com, a game collection website.

A few years ago, someone asked me to write a game review. How fun is it to write something you love doing! How about you, what games have you played? Are you also into retrogaming? Let me know your feedback and tell me what you think. Also, subscribe and join the tribe.

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