I haven’t always been a retro collector and/or player. When I started gaming I was playing the newest games and consoles. This was what gaming was like back in the days. If you mentioned 80s consoles or games you would be talking about how bad they looked compared to the latest released games. It was later when players came back to these older games that brought nostalgia and memories to their minds.
I remember getting my new original Xbox in 2006. Back then it was usual to have a “tube television” or CRT TV if you want to use that term. I played for some years with this setup and I only had one gaming console that was this Xbox. It was 2011 when I started getting into PS3. This was the point when I switched from tube to nowadays so common “table television”. So I played lots of PS3. Later I purchased a PS4.
I started getting into retro consoles maybe in 2016. I was given a PS2. I wanted to get into it also. I haven’t been playing lots of PS2s games. I kind of missed that gaming device for some reason. I started to develop an idea of this living room space that would have several retro consoles in it. So I started gathering older game consoles. I bought another Xbox, PSOne and Xbox 360. I also brought Mega Drive from my parents house to my own living room. Later I also purchased a console that was called Retro Trio. It had the capability to be able to play original games of Mega Drve, SNES and NES. I also got an adapter so I could play also Master System games. I also bought PS Classic since it was finally so cheap to buy.
I had a large collection of different kinds of devices and games. I played them on table television that had a 32 inch screen. I never went back to CRT. I gave my old television to my parents and they decided to get rid of all these old televisions. My old TV had a screen that was 27 inches. I got rid of it. Now when I think about I’m not sure if it was the right decision. I have had these feelings of regret also earlier when I realized what my PlayStation and all of its games included would have been worth today. My regret of selling my PlayStation is actually another story.
Why would someone still want to use tube TV? The first thing that comes to mind is playing games like Duck Hunt in which you can use a light gun to play. There were these kinds of games released to multiple game devices like Mega Drive, NES and PS1 just to name a few. There are although many other reasons also. You can think about how games were developed to function on these kinds of televisions. Some retro gamers say that retro games look better on tube TVs. One thing of course is that the price of CRT televison is much lower than a price of a newer and technically more advanced television. Old TVs are also good for watching old video tapes. You don’t need an SCART-to-HDMI adapter because your console can be hooked up directly to a TV that has RCA and/or SCART connectivity. I actually remember that I had to hook up my Mega Drive with a cable that was connected to the TV from its antennas connection. And, oh yeah, you had to tune the channel to be correct one. This is a thing of the past since today you only need to set the right HDMI channel for your console to co-operate with your display device.
There are many reasons for and against getting your hands on older television. I am not so excited about this. I am actually really wondering why would someone invest time and money in getting an older television and this is the reason why I wrote this article. I hope it gives you some ideas if you are thinking about buying a CRT TV or if you are wondering this same question that has been in my mind lately. I don’t judge anyone for making retro purchases. I actually think it’s cool that there are different kinds of views to retro gaming. And I actually newer played so much these games where shoot different objects with a light gun back when I was a kid. I can imagine someone getting a good load of nostalgia if that would be the case.
I remember how I got started with gaming. It was 1980s. Playing video games was already popular. There had already been some consoles like Atari 2600 and Commodore 64. PC was also popular. First gaming system that I got to play must have been PC. And it was somebody elses. Our family got our first computer and I think it was 1987 if I remember correctly. So I was three or four years old and I had already begun drawing with pencils. I could recognise some letters but I was too young to start writing or reading. I got to learn those skills later in school.
Games that we had on this PC were interesting to me. We had some Sierras classics like Police Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Kings Quest. I was fiddling around with some QBasic games. I even wrote a small game with QBasic later as I was a bit older. I didn’t clearly understand the full potential this machine had. So I didn’t get into coding so much. I was also drawing something with early Paint this PC had.
I learned to write my first words playing Larry. I didn’t understand this games sexism. My parents allowed me to play it. Sexy parts of the game weren’t so clear and we understood them later when we grew more. It is a soft game on this matter. At least I think so. I once asked my father what was a “prophylactic” and he answered to me “Gee. I really don’t know. Can you figure it out from the picture? It looks like a gem or something.” So I was allowed to play this Larry and it was only seventh game in this series that got my parents a little bit worried because I was young. I played seventh Larry maybe in 1996 or something like that.
There were so many interesting games. Some of them were Sopwith, Space Commanders (Space Invanders Clone), Bubble Bobble, Test Drive and so on. Too many to list here. I don’t remember so much of the techical side of our computer. Our dad upgraded its processor to 286 so before that the processor was much slower than that. One day we tried to play Wolfenstein 3D on the computer but we failed to run the game. We also installed newer diskette drive. So it had drives for 8-inch and 3½-inch diskettes. It’s funny to think how bad the first mouse was so we got a new mouse also. The standars then was the classic mouse with a ball in it. Monitor of this device was heavy and our computer was able to run EGA graphics. There weren’t any VGA or Super VGA available.
I would have liked to add a picture about this machine but I could only find this picture of floppy disk and its disk drive. I took this picture some years ago as my parents were getting this old computers all parts to recycling center. I’m not so into retro computers. This old computer we had was replaced by Mega Drive and later by PlayStation as number one gaming console. This PC was not functioning so nicely. It used to get stuck and I would have to press “reset”. Back then all computers had this function. The personal comnputer we had served properly and because of that I can still remembert it and it really launched my gaming activitites and layed the foundation for it.
Besides newest games you can play also retro games with PC. There is lots of DOS and also retro console games available. For this purpose I would prefer Windows but Linux has also some potential. In this article the focus is on games you can play with Windows.
Let’s start our journey into PC gaming of today by introducing some DOS classics. I’m talking games like Bubble Bobble, Blues Brothers, Doom, Command And Conquer, Dune, Golden Axe, Lemmings, Mortal Kombat, NHL 97, Populous, Theme Park. This list isn’t in any way complete but I can recommend all these games. With DOSBox you can also run old apps such as Impulse Tracker, which is a music production app. Instructions on installing DOSBox can be found by Googling. I recommend GUI and I use D-Fend Reloaded for this purpose.
There is also a possibility to play old retro games with many different kinds of emulators. Almost every system has it’s own emulator and PC is good platform to experiment these. You can also choose to mod a device like original Xbox or use system like Raspberry Pi. In any case be sure to use a good USB connected controller that suits retro gaming. I myself have lots of different gamepads. My favourite for PC is Xbox One Elite Pad.
Of course you can play modern games also. There is a large collection of games found on Steam and online game stores like GOG. So when it’s possible, buy the game, because gaming industry really needs your support. You will support production of some quality games. Be sure also to check your local flea market as I have found many great older games from there and the price definitely is as low as can be.