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March 2015 Retro Gaming Article


March 13, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Can the Retro VGS inspire a new wave of retro gaming via modern, retro-style, cartridge-based games?

When you stop to realize that retro games, consoles, accessories, and everything that makes retro gaming amazing are in short supply, you have to wonder if there's a remedy. Nintendo and Atari are still in the gaming industry, but they aren't making NES or 5200 games, nor the console on which to play them. Wouldn't it be great if someone would begin making retro games and bring about a cartridge revolution.

You may have seen Analogue's remake of the NES which put the electronic innards into an aluminum shell, with 4 controller ports and upgraded the output for modern TVs. It's expensive, but such a beautiful alternative to the myriad of flimsy clone consoles with dubious reliability and compatibility.

Retro VGS logo Retro VGS (Video Game System) is an upcoming gaming console that plays modern games with retro inspiration. Have you subscribed to Retro Magazine? If so, you may be familiar with he man behind the Retro video Game System (VGS) - Mike Kennedy. I've read about this project over the last few weeks and I love the idea. Essentially, the Retro VGS will be a new cartridge-based gaming console that will release retro inspired games. If you feel as though the last sentence involved some time travel/shifting, you're not alone.

When the PlayStation was released on the "NOS" (Ninth of September marketing campaign) the storage capacity of it's new shiny discs made me smile in eager anticipation. Today's games are shoehorned onto discs, but the technology is no longer able to keep pace with game play, thus the scenario in which game elements are copied to your console's hard drive.

In order for games to play properly, they need a much faster device. This reminds me of how awesome cartridges were and how fast they were compared with most subsequent console technology. Sure, next gen consoles have massive processing power, but those disc mechs are too slow to deliver the game play we are accustomed to.

Retro video Game System (VGS) As I understand it, the Retro VGS is being positioned as a platform for new games that are retro inspired. If you've played games like Shovel Knight, Xeodrifter, or Woah Dave on a modern platform, these are the kind of games that would be offered on cartridges with game boxes and illustrated manuals.

There has been praise and protest to this approach. Many wonder why not invest in releasing homebrew games on existing vintage consoles like the 7800 or SNES? But Mike Kennedy brings up a point close to my heart regarding cartridges, CIB, manuals, and collecting. These were such wonderful facets of gaming in the 80's and 90's. Today, gamers are content to download a game without any physical presence at all. To me that cheapens the experience and leaves a void in the overall gaming experience.

Certainly, as times change we can't completely cling to the past, but consoles like Analogue's and the upcoming Retro VGS are more than conduits for continued retro gaming.

From their Facebook page:
We believe the best way to play this new wave of RETRO games is on a RETRO console with a proper classic controller, in front of a high-definition TV, with your friends and family.

The Jaguar Connection

If the Retro VGS pic above looks like an Atari Jaguar... it is - sort of. Mike Kennedy bought the original molds for the console and it's game cartridges. His plan is to use it as the basis for his upcoming console. Keep in mind that these molds are simply a shape - they create the housing which has no bearing on any Atari compatibility of any sort. The console will simply visually resemble the Jaguar but have it's own internal electronics.

We're excited to see how this concept evolves. The intend to launch a Kickstarter campaign this Spring. Follow along on their Facebook page!

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