Retro video games thriv­ing on new plat­forms

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By ADAM TURNER

While the PlayS­ta­tion 4 and Xbox One com­pete to en­thral us with a new gen­er­a­tion of games, there’s still plenty of life left in the clas­sics.

With the av­er­age gamer in their 30s, many of us be­gan play­ing video games long be­fore Sony and Mi­crosoft ar­rived on the scene. A gen­er­a­tion of gamers started out pump­ing coins into ar­cade clas­sics such as As­ter­oids, Space In­vaders and Galaga. Oth­ers cut their teeth play­ing Pit­fall on the Atari 2600 and Su­per Mario Bros on the Nin­tendo En­ter­tain­ment Sys­tem.

Even if your old game ma­chines are long gone, you can still play many of your favourites on new de­vices. Most games are only a web search away, and playable in your browser, al­though some online ver­sions are less than of­fi­cial.

Clas­sic games are of­ten re­vived by fans, even if they don’t have the bless­ing of the game’s owner.

You’ll find of­fi­cial Flash re­makes of clas­sics such as Pong and Mis­sile Com­mand at atari.com/ar­cade, but you’ll be hard­pressed to find other games houses of­fer­ing their clas­sics online for free. Search fur­ther afield and you’ll find a trea­sure trove of ar­cade clas­sics at sites such as

Gamers are fill­ing up lounge rooms to play clas­sic games such as Pac-Man. com­modore.ca, thes­im­plearcade.com and clas­sicgame­sar­cade.com.

If you’re pas­sion­ate about a par­tic­u­lar old con­sole or com­puter, then you might look for emu­la­tor soft­ware to recre­ate it on Win­dows, Mac, Linux or a hand­held gad­get. Pop­u­lar down­load­able em­u­la­tors in­clude Stella for the Atari 2600 and Snes9x for the Su­per Nin­tendo and MAME for emu­lat­ing ar­cade ma­chines. You’ll also find browser-based em­u­la­tors at sites such as nes­box.com and the Con­sole Liv­ing Room at ar­chive.org.

Em­u­la­tors are pow­er­ful, but it can take some tin­ker­ing to get ev­ery­thing run­ning smoothly. With emu­la­tor soft­ware mim­ick­ing the con­sole hard­ware, you then need a copy of the game file, known as a ROM. You’ll find vast ROM li­braries at sites such as emu­par­adise.me and cool­rom.com, but with some games you’re in­fring­ing on copy­right, even if you own the orig­i­nal car­tridge.

Pro­ceed with cau­tion, as the prom­ise of clas­sic games is some­times used to trick peo­ple into in­stalling ma­li­cious soft­ware.

Smart­phone and con­sole app stores sell old ti­tles for only a few dol­lars and you’ll of­ten find clas­sic game bun­dles from fa­mous names such as Atari, Ac­tivi­sion, Mid­way, Namco and Cap­com.

Sony’s PlayS­ta­tion Store is full of old PlayS­ta­tion games such as Tomb Raider, Crash Bandi­coot and Spyro the Dragon. You’ll also find re­vamped ar­cade clas­sics such as Street Fighter II and Pac­Man.

Xbox Live Ar­cade of­fers a few orig­i­nal Xbox games such as Max Payne and Fa­ble, plus clas­sics such as Banjo-Ka­zooie.

Ar­cade gamers will en­joy clas­sics such as Street Fighter II and Pac-Man.

Wii U own­ers won’t find orig­i­nal Wii games in the Nin­tendo eShop, but they can down­load old NES and Su­per NES games such as Street Fighter II and Galaga.

You’ll find plenty of clas­sic games for Ap­ple, An­droid and Win­dows Phone 8 de­vices.

You’ll also find con­sole em­u­la­tors for all three mo­bile plat­forms, but again re­sults can be hit and miss.

From shoot-’em-ups and rac­ing games to puz­zle-solvers and sprawl­ing adventures, it’s not hard to re­visit the clas­sics and get back in the game. SMH

RETRO FEVER:

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