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For a young medium, video games sure do soak in the nostalgia. 

Retro games, pixel art, 8-bit sound. These are badges of honour for the long time gamer. We were there when it was all new man. Games were better then. Fresh. Exciting. Everything now is just a rehash of a rehash. No one has any new ideas. 

What I have just described is a path to hipsterville, paved with the incomplete remembrances. No one wants a carbon copy remake of that old game. No one. You might think you do. The name of your favorite game might be in transit from your brain to your tongue right this second. Just hold on to that.I like a lot of older games, especially arcade games, but they are not how you remember them. Sure a lot of them are still fun. They are fun in exactly the same way as they used to be. Games do not improve with age, but neither do they degrade. You change, they don't.

I used to think that somehow decoupling the art from the game so that it can be continually refreshed as new technology allowed, could make certain games evergreen. No need to design a new game, just make that old one look better. I could not have been more wrong. It's like thinking that printing a book on glossy paper will improve the prose. 

Pixel art and 8bit sound are valid expressive choices, just as black and white or bleach bypass is a valid choice for the cinematographer. But it is that, a choice, and it needs to be made with some consideration. Games were not better then. Nothing was. That's not to say that everything is better now. It's not. Everything is a product of its time. The only advantage we have now is that our options expand every time someone builds something new. That new thing, it didn't come out of nowhere. It is built on the legacy of every new thing that anyone ever came up with. Each thing, and each person a product of their time. 

So go ahead and make a retro game, make a game in a genre that isn't currently in vogue, even remake an old game, but do try to put something new in there. Something different that you came up with. That will give everyone who comes after you something to build on.
This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
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