Throwback: Retro Games
An epidemic has hit with full force across the world; hatched from eggs sitting on every street corner, it's infectious and at times even a bit dangerous. A rare few have avoided it thus far, predominantly due to a lack of storage on their phones or a childhood deprived of Pikachu. But Pokémon Go has landed and is sweeping the nation at an alarming pace. At Rokit, we are looking back at the retro games that still hold a firm grip on a generation of Pacman players and Mario Kart crashers, adding of course our vintage twist...
Words by Sophie Soar
A couple of weeks ago, I received a text from my boyfriend. The content of it made little sense besides a barely detectable 'Pokémon Go' scattered amongst the exclamations of excitement. My reply 'Haha. Ok.' was met with 'Babe you just don't get it. I'm sorry but no, you don't understand'. And apparently, I'm firmly in the minority. In the last two weeks, I witnessed a woman nearly run over attempting to hatch an egg whilst crossing the road, fully grown men wandering around a park yelling at their phones and Pikachu whispered amongst work colleagues as if the holy grail of 2016.
In an attempt to participate in current trends and bluff past my ignorance, I turned to my own holy grail: the internet. After googling 'retro games', I was confronted with a large list of games I only vaguely recognised; it mostly meant very little to me aside from 'Tamagotchi' which to this day still clouds me with shame after killing my neighbour's "pet" when she was on holiday for a week. We were ten.
Considering the obsession with games such as Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft and the Sims today, I was amazed to find out how far back the history of these games go: Pacman was initially released in 1980, Tetris in '84, Sonic the Hedgehog in '91 and Mario Kart in '92.
Whilst I remain forever five steps behind any trending technology, the likes of Nintendo, Pokémon and Maxis seem twenty marathons ahead, but how else would they manage to continuously appeal to us without the newest version of this software and the latest model of that programme to download? After all, since its first release date in 1995, Pokémon's facelift transformed trading cards to coveted, animated, app-alicious glory. And free to download, in case you didn't know...
In my technologically challenged bubble that enables me to work an Instagram account or update the occasional Facebook status, Pokémon perhaps resonates the greatest with me. By this I don't mean I enjoy wandering around late at night catching strange, alien-like creatures hatched from eggs, which more often than not turn into psychotic rats (sorry, I mean rattatas).
Instead I am referring to its presence during my childhood; the trading cards were given to me aged six for being brave in the emergency room (apparently a minor head-on collision with a swimming pool wall entitles you to a present! Still not advised) and from there I took them to school and flashed them about for all to see.
Fifteen years later, the game has aged with me but with a far greater capability of remodelling. We also both prefer the company of a more mature crowd; the predominant age group downloading Pokémon Go is 25 to 34-year-olds. But still, that's its selling point: it appeals to the big kids in all of us.
Aside from my brief indulgence in Pokémon trading cards, which no doubt led the way to my tween years' obsession with Top Trumps, I seemed to divide the rest of my youth throwing mud at my sister, cutting her Barbie's hair and fighting her for control over The Sims. Another firm favourite today is Sims 4, although my guess is the money cheats have changed somewhat since I was battling over the mouse to design the same house over and over.
Nowadays, you can take your sims on holiday, own a business and even go into real estate. Unhappy with your own career path? At least your sims can fulfil any childhood goals! Be it a journalist, fashion designer or rock star, virtual fantasy takes on a new meaning.
My relationship with video games ends there really, aside from a later love for Bubble Trouble on Miniclip and, I'll shamefully admit, Club Penguin. The absence of a PlayStation or Wii slightly hindered broadening my gaming horizons; visiting friends' houses often resulted in watching confusedly as they fell off waterfalls in Mario Kart or chased gold coins as a glowing blue creature I'd normally find in my garden. I was most excited when my best friend made me a Wii character for when I came over however I didn't really see the appeal past fashioning my face with endless settings.
I attempted to explain this to my boyfriend after I relayed to him my article idea but as I listed some of his favourite childhood games (I was genuinely told to pause for effect in appreciation of Age of Empires), he was still bewildered by my lack of knowledge regarding so many of the games. This is however the same boyfriend who witnessed me throw an Xbox controller across the room whilst trying to play Call of Duty. In my defence, he didn't mention the controller vibrated when you were under attack from flesh eating zombies.
So as the nation indulges in some good natured childishness, we decided to take it one step further and style a few vintage looks on the favourite retro games of the eighties and nineties. Which one epitomises your childhood?