For Shovelry!


How Old Games Are the Coolest Thing in Gaming Right Now

Article by Dan Curtis. Follow Dan on Twitter at @FrostedSloth

Do you spend your days endlessly trawling the web, tracking down dusty old cartridges that have lived for most of their lives in a box right at the back of someone’s basement?

Do you pine for the days of yesteryear, where games weren’t all about running down long corridors and shooting aliens/monsters/generic soldiers in the face and instead were bright, whimsical affairs filled with crazy mascots, vibrant worlds and practically impossible-to-finish gameplay?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, or just love retro games in general, you’ll love the experience that Shovel Knight brings to the table.

It’s a curious thing really – as games evolve, many developers (mostly from the indie scene) are looking to the past for inspiration. From the fantastic Axiom Verge that channels the spirit of Metroid through its veins to side-scrolling romps like Rogue Legacy, all these games have a lot to thank the early years of gaming for.

Shovel Knight is perhaps the best example of this trend so far. If you entered a room and saw someone playing it, you’d more than likely think they’d booted up their favourite ancient console and were playing a forgotten gem you’d never seen before. But wait! This isn’t some old game – the person you’ve seen playing it isn’t gripping a SNES controller or the contoured grips of the Mega Drive’s pad; no, they’re holding a newer gamepad and playing what appears to be an old game on a new-generation console.


This weird melding of the eras is a very interesting thing that’s happening in the gaming industry right now. These types of games are becoming increasingly more popular, with sales of games such as Shovel Knight rising steadily as new and more inventive games are released. What does this mean? Well, it’s a combination of two things: appreciation for games that push the envelope and try something different and the popularity of retro gaming amongst a constantly-expanding community.

Shovelknight Main

Personally I’ve always had an appreciation for retro gaming. I love the classics – Sonic, Mario, Donkey Kong, Flash Back, Ecco – they’re all somewhere in my collection. However, it wasn’t until recently, when I really got involved in the retro community online that I found just how many likeminded people there are around the net.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve met a load of people online who love retro games. I’ve been surprised by just how many there is – from simple appreciators to exceptionally dedicated collectors, all of whom have a great fondness for everything retro gaming.

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As I was sat playing Shovel Knight the other day for the first time, I had to stop and think about how amazing it was that I, amidst my collection of modern, bombastic blockbusters with ridiculous graphics and explosions every two seconds, was playing a game that looked like it was straight out of 1992. I then thought how many others out there would be just like me, appreciating this game, this amazing title that boldly sheds modernistic gaming trends, instead proudly wielding a ridiculous weapon (a shovel, naturally) and presenting itself as if it’s a game purely from the old glory days. If there’s something to be learned from that, it’s that old games are the coolest thing happening to gaming right now. For every Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy title, there’s talented indie devs turning old games on their heads somewhere and making something that’s both enjoyable and tickles your nostalgia itch at the same time.

Shovel Knight is just one mere example of this trend, but it’s something that really resonated with me and helped me to truly appreciate how retro games are still shaping the gaming landscape today. In gaming, what came before doesn’t die – it builds the foundation for the future of this industry.

May this trend long continue. Join me friends! For retro gaming! For innovation! For Shovelry!

Article by Dan Curtis. Follow Dan on Twitter at @FrostedSloth

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