How retro games continue to inspire the modern games industry

Computer gaming has been popular for over 40 years at this point, since extremely realistic table tennis simulator Pong first got people excited in arcades. Just like other mediums such as cinema and books, gaming is constantly looking backwards for inspiration. Retro games from 15, 20 and even 30 years ago still have the power and influence to inspire game developers and publishers to this day.
Remakes and remasters.

Every month it seems that another classic game is being remade. Just this year we’ve had remakes, re-releases and remasters of various games, including Age of Empires, Shadow of the Colossus, Pokémon Crystal and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Edition. The modern games industry understands the appeal of these old classics and it has learned from video game remake disasters such as Super Mario 64 DS which managed to be harder to control than the original that came out eight years earlier.

Inthe world of online browser games, old games are constantly being redone and tweaked to make them even better. The traditional casino games, like those available at Stakers, of poker, blackjack and roulette are being perfected and constantly enhanced on such online casinos.

Retro-inspired indie games

In the same way that the fashions of 15-20 years come back, retro games return in waves. In the 2000s, it was NES and SNES-inspired graphics that reigned in indie gaming. Think of games like Braid and Fez – these 2D platformers were directly inspired by the game developers’ memories playing Castlevania and Super Mario.

We are presently beginning to see games that take their inspiration from the blocky, simple graphics of early 3D games from the mid-1990s, like Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64 and Quake. Games like OK/NORMAL and Paratropic see the inherent unease exuded by murky 3D graphics and use that to create a frightening atmosphere. SUPERHOT uses the simplicity of the graphics to create a time-bending shooter which derives its design clarity from the simple visuals.


Esports has grown to be an absolutely enormous part of gaming today. The global esports economy is projected to reach almost $1 billion in 2018 as sponsorships and prize pools grow. That is a 38% increase on 2017, demonstrating the speed of growth currently happening. Games like Street Fighter II and Starcraft are some of the biggest draws when it comes to esports – these are games that are over 20 years old and they are still drawing the crowds.

Additionally, modern competitive gaming has its roots in the arcades of the late 80s and early 90s. Fighting game matches on a single arcade cabinet between teenagers being egged on by their friends is not a far cry from people tuning into a stream to watch seasoned pros playing Street Fighter V.


As new generations of gamers reach adulthood and developers of that generation begin making games we will see games from the 2000s and 2010s being used for inspiration.

About Simon Plumbe 214 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian. Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee:

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