The rise of retro in mainstream culture has grown so much that PlayStation is no longer able to ignore it. Calls for the revamping of many of the games from the console’s back catalog have been getting louder, and now senior build engineer Garrett Fredley has confirmed that there is a new Preservation Division at the company. This will help Sony align its flagship console with the rest of the entertainment industry, where retro is one of the most popular game categories.
Preservation Team Comes About as Areas of Gaming Industry Push for More Retro Launches
PlayStation’s big wigs will have eyed the rise of retro in other industries and seen how it can be a major draw for players. For instance, the online casino industry has been a trailblazer for these themes, with slots often paying tribute to their roots with fruit symbols on the reels. There are options like Jackpot Bells that bring back memories of the casino slots of old, and offerings such as Ted Pub Fruit Series that remind players of the games commonly found in pubs and bars back in the day.
These games have proven to be hugely popular for many reasons, but one factor is that they evoke recollections of a simpler time. They can stir up feelings that players associate fondly with the past. There is so much evidence backing the popularity of the retro genre, with the sheer wealth of these old-school games available. Many other offshoots of gaming look to online casinos for inspiration and know that what’s enjoyed there will be well-received elsewhere. The fact that the industry is projected to be worth $90 billion in 2023 underlines how it is doing things right and should be replicated wherever possible.
The PlayStation Preservation division is expected to go through some of the most loved games from the original console and bring them back for modern audiences. There are likely to be many long-lost classics to get the revamp treatment, with rumors about Final Fantasy Tactics and G-Police already surfacing. It would also be great to see games like Core Design’s Fighting Force and Codemasters’ TOCA Touring Car Championship being revitalized for today’s state-of-the-art gaming machines.
Caption: Some of the best PlayStation 1 games.
TV and Film are Setting the Tone for Retro Options
The gaming industry is often influenced by television and films, and the rise of retro in these forms of entertainment has been hard to ignore. Indeed, nostalgic themes are now so prominent that creators have had to get inventive with the ways they bring them to the screen. There are new offshoots of retro emerging too, such as modern reboots that borrow elements and actors from the original offering.
One of the top retro series of recent years is Netflix’s Stranger Things, which has been one of the streaming platform’s greatest ever hits. The series from the Duffer Brothers first aired in 2016 and the fourth season is set to drop in 2022. It transported viewers back to the 1980s and included merchandise, cultural trends, outfits, hairstyles, and music from the decade. Not only was this the perfect form of escapism, but it also brought back pleasant memories for people old enough to have lived at the time.
In Hollywood, there has been a tendency to remake some of the most popular retro films or introduce a new entry to a series that ended decades ago. Columbia Pictures has attempted to do this in two ways with its Ghostbusters franchise. It first tried the all-female reboot from Paul Feig in 2016. When this wasn’t a major success, it opted for a continuation of the original series with Ghostbusters: Afterlife in 2021.
There have been a few other films that have borrowed elements from their retro ancestors but combined these with original features to appease fresh audiences. Jurassic World is a prime example of this, and the way it cleverly achieved this feat helped it rake in more than $1.6 billion at the box office. It used aspects of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 offering such as the velociraptors and the T-Rex, but also raised the game with the addition of the Indominus Rex. The new entry, Jurassic World: Dominion, will up the nostalgia stakes even more as it is set to welcome back Sam Neill and Laura Dern from the original.
Halloween is another film series that recently achieved this combination of retro with modern elements. David Gordon Green resurrected the franchise for contemporary audiences with Halloween in 2018 and followed this up with Halloween Kills in 2021. The trilogy will culminate with Halloween Ends this year. Gordon’s movies found more success than other sequels in the past, as he focused on the key elements that made John Carpenter’s 1978 offering such a classic. Bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle in the starring roles helped, as these two had a strong connection to the groundbreaking slasher of yesteryear.
What is the Future of Retro?
Retro is a genre that has unlimited potential, and it’s unlikely to be going away any time soon. Gamers, of course, want to see the reinvigoration of classic games, and this will be helped massively by PlayStation’s new department. But the scope of nostalgic offerings goes way beyond this.
If you want to get an idea of how retro games could look in the future, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One provides some great theories. The novel imagines a futuristic world in which everyone spends most of their time living in a metaverse known as the Oasis. While the virtual reality world includes loads of state-of-the-art features, it also has retro elements embedded within it. Players can choose retro outfits, for instance. There are also old-school arcade offerings that act as games within games.
Caption: Trailer for the film adaptation of Ready Player One.
Retro games are going nowhere, and it’s great that PlayStation has finally woken up to that fact. Now that the massive console company is taking the genre seriously, there’s a lot of potential about where it could go in the future.