Curse of Monkey Island

In this week’s retro column, the Retro Bear goes on a rant about the fine line when deeming a game or games system to be truly retro, and shows he is quite happy playing new generation console games just as much as the old ones…

Originally Posted to on October 26th 2010

Scouring the internet recently it amazes me just how much of a debate classifying retro games actually provokes. Try telling someone that the PS1 is retro and you are likely to get a volley of abuse in return. Surely a console 15 years in existence deserves to be tagged as retro ? After all it was released before the N64, yet that is deemed to be retro. I can’t really work out what the difference is and can only presume it’s because the PS1 is CD based as opposed to the trusty old cartridge.

Banjo Kazooie 360

Better than the N64 games ? Retro gamers say not

So does that rule out the Sega Saturn ? Apparently not. The same applies to the Dreamcast as well, but strangely enough not the PS2, XBOX or Gamecube. Presumably as you can still play these on the current generation of consoles (if you are lucky PS3 wise to have backwards compatibility), they are not retro enough to be classed as true retro. You can argue these points until you are blue in the face and still there are those who will not be moved from their opinion.



For the majority of retro gamers it has to have the feel of a classic game. That’s why so many “updates” are generally badly received. Yes, there have been exceptions but on the whole these games are disappointing. But why so ? Is it because they have been jazzed up too much ? Is it because they don’t feel like the original ? Or as in the case of Sonic Adventure (reviewed a while back on these very pages) the game itself wasn’t all that good in the first place.

This doesn’t mean that all new games are crap and the older stuff was much better. Games that were dogs back then are dogs now, and some of those games we remember with fondness when revisited actually turn out to be pretty dire too. Any platform game not allowing multiple directions when jumping, football games with the ball stuck to the foot and really bad 3D shooters are just some of the genres where we are grateful for how games are now. How would current gen gamers get along with the likes of Manic Miner, Emlyn Hughes’ Football and Operation Wolf now ?

Anyway, rant over.


Old Mother Hubbard

The retro cupboard gets rather bare during the winter months

I thought this week I’d delve into just how frustrating it can be to be a retro collector. Now that the majority of the car boot season is over retro games are going to be pretty hard to find. So I am now limited to trawling through charity shops in search of that elusive bargain. I’ve also come to the conclusion it would be much better and less time consuming to concentrate on what I have got and actually play some of the games I already have.


Mrs Bear very sweetly purchased for my birthday a couple of weeks back an Amiga 1200 (thank you you know who you are Mrs Bear). Now given her track record with buying Amigas (the A500 she got from a car boot earlier this year doesn’t work properly) I must admit I was excited but also nervous. Would this actually read the discs this time or would it make that awful screeching noise which indicates that the actual floppy inside the disc is knackered.


Well it was a case of a mixed bag. Some worked fine, some didn’t. The addition of a separate floppy drive helped and I was able to fire up a few classics – Stunt Car Racer and Turrican amongst others. The rest though went from “disc error” to not working at all. It seems it needs a good clean and some TLC to get it back into life. It also doesn’t help that some of the

Stunt Car Racer (Amiga)

Geoff Crammond we salute you ! Stunt Car Racer on the Miggy and what a fine game it was - and still is.

games won’t work on the A1200 format anyway, so it’s going to be a real case of trial and error. I shall persevere anyway, as I always do. I am though slightly resigned to the fact that some of the games may never work no matter what I try. Being a collector and gamer there is nothing worse than throwing away broken pieces of software.


Finally on the current generation front I have been revisiting PES 2010 and Guitar Hero again for my sins. I have always preferred the PES games to FIFA although 2010 isn’t a patch on some of the earlier PS1 and later PS2 titles it still provides good entertainment. I have yet to play PES online but may well do in the future (if I can find anyone still playing that version). I have always loved Guitar Hero and Rock Band, having ploughed my way through GH 3, GH World Tour, Beatles Rock Band and Rock Band 1 on the PS3. I therefore decided to revisit GH Aerosmith, which is all good fun except it’s got Aerosmith in it. Well at least I got the guitar free with the game (thats how I look at it anyway)

Till the next time – keep on rockin’.