How many of you miss the video games from "back in the day"? A good number, I would imagine. That's why you're here, right? On Retrojunk. We're all here because we love our pasts to death and our video games are no exception. With that said I believe I am in the right environment to say that today's games simply aren't up to snuff with what we played growing up.

What is it about these older games that is so alluring anyway? Do we simply build them up to be more than they really are through the fond, rosy-tinted eyes of nostalgia?

I'd argue that there's more to it than that. The look and feel of the games we played in the 80's and 90's - specifically the 8-bit and 16-bit eras - had a certain je ne sais quoi that has long since faded. They possessed a simplicity which made them more accessible, quicker to pick up. But more importantly they stood out visually.

Take a look and answer the question below:

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Which one looks better to you? If one were to impose such a pressing question upon me, I would say the image below looks far superior.

No one can deny that modern games are in fact taking spectacular leaps toward a more realistic look and feel. We're getting to a point where the line between simulation and real life is almost indiscernible. And that is not necessarily a good thing.

While you can certainly have an appreciation of the level of detail in modern game development, why would you prefer to look at an imitation of reality when reality is right at your doorstep, filling every corner of your vision every day, week, month, and year? Isn't there something magical, something charming about that old 8-bit and 16-bit aesthetic? Something unique?

I suppose it's all a matter of taste. Comparing the look of one to the other is like comparing the work of Vermeer to that of Matisse.

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With one you admire the technical prowess of the artist. What craftsmanship! What skill!

With the other you dazzle at the artist's vision of the world. The creativity! The wonder of this person's imagination!

Now what does this have to do with video games? The same thing applies really, in terms of aesthetic. Earlier generations of video games gave us a colorful world that was far from the one we live in. We were taken on a journey where our imaginations were given free-reign to engage the image on screen. Realism stunts our imagination. It limits us to what we already know. Sure, it may be technically impressive, but regardless of how much effort and detail goes into the verisimilitude of any kind of art, your creativity is limited by the question of "How real can I make this appear?"

It's true that older systems were held back by graphical limitations, but working with constraints of any kind will often unleash the mind's creativity, challenging it to birth something that could never have been thought up had there been a complete lack of restriction. And more times than not, the result is quite wonderful.

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It probably wasn't the game-programmer-of-old's intention to make an interpretive art form with the set of limitations they were given. But hey, if that style didn't appeal to the eye in some way, we wouldn't have indie-developers attempting to recapture the look of retro gaming with such titles as 1001 Spikes, Shovel Knight, Binding of Isaac, and so on.

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As stated before, what it really comes down to is taste. Are you the type of person who enjoys a painting that imitates life, or are you one for the more abstract? There are many different walks of life when it comes to art, and the same goes for video games.

For those of you who identify older games as inferior, ugly, or lesser in any way, try to view them in a different light. What you see is a creative interpretation, an artist's rendering of this world - or any world - using the technological limitations of the day. There is a distinct beauty in that which the mind alone is responsible, and such beauty can be found from within a cartridge.