Hey Harvey!

Posted on Jan 14th 2021 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Collecting, Gaming

Happy New Year!  As we head into 2021, we all know it is a different world than even a year ago.  Most brick-and-mortar retail, including for video games, has taken a very rough beating.  Somewhat surprisingly, even online stores often had a short supply of many new games.  If ever there were a catalyst to speed up our medium's transition to primarily digital download, it was 2020.  Conversely...

The retro game market spiked in prices, as would be expected.  Even PS4s and XBox One systems became hot commodities in some areas, not to mention the Switch.  The massive increase in at-home workers using programs like Zoom meant less bandwidth for online play and slow download speeds.  If anything, for me the last year was another reminder of why I enjoy collecting physical copies of video games.

Speaking of collecting, of course our normal conventions were shut down and the Autism and Gaming Convention (renamed Spec Con, as in Spectrum, credit to my son for the name) is delayed for now.  I missed the tangible aspect of going to conventions even more than I thought I would.  It wasn't just about finding rare games, great deals, and nifty collectables.  We have been going for so many years, there are many folks we genuinely missed seeing.  We had just started running our repair table (to great success) with help from fellow RFGener Zophar53 and looked forward to following it up.  We had a venue for Spec Con and it seemed to be set to happen.  I probably don't need to explain any further as to what happened between then and now.

However this article is not about lamenting, but about the future unfolding.  Paradoxically one of my favorite aspects of our industry is how it is constantly reconnecting to the past.  I know the arguments against rehashes, ports, remakes, and more retro collections, but these are often what I look forward to more than "new" games.  Don't get me wrong, Horizon: Forbidden West and Biomutant are day-ones for us, but I'm just as interested in R-Type Final 2 and Starbase Startopia.  I enjoy the indy scene, but I've really gotten into the Arcade Archives series of old arcade games.  I can play In The Hunt without as much slowdown!  A rerelease of Herzog Zwei!  The Star Wars: Jedi Knight games on my Switch and PS4!  A remaster of Panzer Dragoon!  My speedwall times are falling in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered

I find myself playing stuff like this much more than "new" games recently, although I enjoy both.  Maybe it's nostalgia that helps during tough times.  Maybe I just enjoy some older game designs, flawed as they are.  Maybe it's the $70 for the new Demon's Souls keeping me at bay.  Probably all of the above.

Something new I am definitely on board with is literally bringing the arcade home, to an extent.  I know Arcade1Up has understandable critics, but it cannot be denied that the company struck a chord with many folks and they've been cranking out new machines with slowly improved build quality at a steady pace.  (I'm personally very happy with my Asteroids cab for Tempest after I replaced the spinner.)  There are so many machines they produce that I'd love to have (and mod) if space and finances allowed.  Better still, it is now a competitive market with some other companies getting in on the action; I'd love an Arcade Legends like this:

And not just arcade games, but virtual pinball:

And I know it isn't for everyone's style, but c'mon, 4-player Warlords on this baby?

Yeah, maybe you have to be close to my age for that to be remotely appealing, but if you are, there's a good chance you have to convince yourself that thing wouldn't be a blast with friends.

I'm the first to admit these aren't always as cheap as they probably should be and many argue against the value you get versus just building one yourself.  Also at some point you have to wonder if you should just buy the "real thing."  But for folks like me who have limited time, money, and skills, these can be a perfect middle ground.  As I get older this kind of accessibility appeals to me more and more.

Another reflection time has taught me is that the PS3 and 360 will likely be the last "retro" consoles (besides Nintendo's systems like the Switch.)  That really came to light when a buddy bought Cyberpunk 2077 at launch for his PS4.  He doesn't have internet at home.  He practically had to give up on the game due to how unplayable it was in the default state from the disc install.  I realized that while the bulk of the PS4 and XBox One library is playable without internet, most games get major patches and one day those servers will be gone.  Sure, you'll be able to play lots of them, but I think in another decade the 360/PS3 will be seen as the last sweet spot for playability without needing as many patches or online servers.

I love having our Genesis, NES, SNES, Atari 7800, and any number of older consoles set up and ready to play.  Those wanting to revisit the modern crop of games on current systems simply won't have that kind of option after awhile.  Sure there will be different forms of emulation and remakes/remasters, but we all know how much will be lost in the process.  Our own kids won't likely be able to sit around the PS5 and XBox Series S and play like we can on our Nintendo. 

That makes wonderful sites like ours that much more important!  We keep the retro candle burning alongside the new and fresh gaming developments.  We post lists of our favorites and form clubs to play games together.  We introduce classics to a new audience, remind others of old favorites, and catalogue the vast library of everything video games.

Sadly a very busy schedule has kept me from being more active of a member here on RFGeneration, but like so many I keep up reading the front page and other articles and occasionally chime in the conversation.  Our family caught a nasty non-COVID bug for a few weeks that kept me from writing in December, and afterwards life is not slowing down.  (BTW, Bickman is an awesome Secret Santa!)  That being said, RFGeneration has always held a special place in my heart and I intend to remain as much a part of the community as life allows.

I truly think that as time marches on, sites like ours will become even more needed and perhaps even more appreciated.  We have a valuable service offered for free, a great community, useful tools, a friendly atmosphere, and a shared love for gaming.  Thanks for making RFGeneration all it is and all it will grow into.

Who knows what 2021 will bring?  One thing I am assured of, I'll be keeping it on channel 3.


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Oh man...... As an arcade cab and pinball collector and purist, I have always thumbed my nose at the Arcade 1Up machines.  I have to admit that I'm going to have to dive on one of those Pong setups.... Better than spending close to 5K to get a 4-player Warlords and Tempest alone.

Also, I have to echo Slakur's sentiments about this site. What a great community of collectors and gamers alike.  I always feel fortunate to have found this site and can't imagine what my life would be like without the friends that I have made here. This place is definitely more than a website to me.
@singlebanana: I was once a purist, but several factors over the years have softened me to other options.  Tempest cabs are notoriously difficult to maintain (as are any vector monitors from the era).  That led me to breaking down and picking up the Arcade1Up model, and for what it is I'm happy.

The shear size, price, and upkeep of original machines mean for me (and some other folks) these smaller, cheaper, easier to maintain setups are the only real options (as in these or nothing.)  Pinball is another matter, as digital games are nifty but too far removed from the real thing to count for me. Don't get me wrong though, I'd enjoy the digital table since I don't have anything at the moment.

And yeah, that Pong setup with Warlords... I just hope the spinners are improved from their earlier cabs, as replacing four of those would still be pricey...
Gosh, i haven't written an article since November.
I have like 3 drafts for articles.
Well now i have to do it to keep up with dad.

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