In Defense of Retro Gaming: A Discussion of Abstraction

To those who roll their eyes at retro gamers, I say, “What is really so great about the games you are playing?” Is there really that much difference between Soul Calibur II and International Karate? We are still mashing buttons and kicking people in the groin. Why did your game take years to produce?

I can tell you what we have lost. We have lost the slapstick animation of Sam & Max Hit the Road. We have lost the hand painted sunsets of It Came from the Desert. We have lost the lush greenery in the King’s Quest series. We have lost the clever cartoon architecture in the Monkey Island series. We have lost the eerie landscapes in Out of this World.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then high abstraction was a call to all artists to do what they do best. Big budgets and big teams don’t make a good game. They don’t produce good art either. —Buck FerisIn Defense of Retro Gaming: A Discussion of Abstraction (Armchair Arcade)

If you can get past the wounded, tribalist tone of the first few paragraphs (which will prompt the “Go Back Click of Death” something many eye-rolling young whippersnappers), this article makes some excellent points about the function of graphics as abstractions rather than realistic simulations.