It’s been interesting to see how two of 2016’s biggest gaming releases, Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run, were not only mobile titles, but also featured simple gameplay and characters that have been around for over twenty years.
This is an eternity in the gaming realm. So why did over 40 million people download Super Mario Run in its first day, and why did over 500 million downloads make Pokémon Go the surprise hit of summer 2016?
Perhaps it’s because the majority of big console gaming releases have become overly complicated that we’re looking back towards a simpler idea of entertainment.
Although the likes of Overwatch were a refreshing blast of high-octane action, console disappointments like No Man’s Sky and Destiny required the gamer to put in endless hours of practice before it became fun. This is unlike the instant gameplay of endless runners like Super Mario Run that can be understood within seconds of loading up.
It’s also worth noting that these retro games seem to revel in bright and colourful graphics that are a world away from the drab realism found in anything from Tom Clancy’s: The Division, to Batman: Arkham Knight.
Even some of the retro games that try and emulate real-life entertainment like CasinoEuro’s Super Jackpot Party manage to use vibrant colours, high-energy music, and extravagant payouts to create a party atmosphere and remind us that gaming is meant to be about fun, rather than being a slave to so-called ‘realism’.
And although it’s got an open-world environment, the Minecraft phenomenon has cleverly used retro-flavoured pixellated graphics to great effect.
Unlike the majority of next-gen console titles that only come alive when played as a multiplayer, many retro games can be played as a single-player.
It’s this solitary gaming entertainment that’s led to revamps of retro fighting games like Street Fighter V and Tekken 7. And although it did feature a multiplayer option, we all knew that the reimagining of retro hit Doom only really came alive through the brutal simplicity of its single-player adventures.
However, with mobile gaming growing by over 20% last year, perhaps it’s the factor of convenience that’s the biggest reason why we’re seeking some retro entertainment.
Rather than using complex controllers and being weighed down by overly complicated MOBA gameplay mechanics, it’s the all-important aspect of simplicity that’s keeping retro games in the ascendancy.
So whether it’s vibrant slots game, or the next instalment of Sonic the Hedgehog, we can look forward to plenty of retro hits to come.