The Rift Between Retro Gamers & Everyone Else is Growing

I really wanted to like this video by the “Top Hat Gaming Man (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAKFycb8S48&list=WL&index=5) but it just made me want to write this article instead. In case you didn’t watch the video, and it’s ok if you didn’t, the main person for the channel & one of his friends just complained about Street Fighter 6 the entire time. It was hard to watch, especially since I usually like the content from this channel.

But that’s not why I’m writing this, I could’ve just stopped watching the video; It brought to me questions about GenXers & older millennials not liking new video games.

This is going to be the first article after a long hiatus, so please bear with me. In late February of this year, Capcom unveiled a teaser for Street Fighter 6, it was largely panned as something almost foreign to most gamers. The fighting game community was very enthusiastic about the reveal, even with it having been leaked much earlier. The logo was largely criticized, but for the FGC it’s not an issue. I don’t even remember the logo to most of the games I play if I’m honest, but retro gamers are quickly becoming the boomers of their respective spheres. And this group of people of course found more to gripe about.

That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy retro games, they have a short of charm to them that is unmatched; Nostalgia at its finest. But the amount of complaining retro gamers do, it’s beginning to be a bit much for me. It shows that the labels we use for the different generations are a bit arbitrary at best and toxic at worst.

Nintendo would have to be the worst offender though, Top Hat Gaming Man pales in comparison to that conservative company.

A lot of this boils down to intellectual property; something I believe the USA has pioneered in the world of international legal matters. The entertainment business, social media, and of course inventors have all contributed to this field in one way or another. Inventors of course also encompass academics & non-academic writers; because in the world that is IP law, these people would fair the most in learning even the basics of copyright and trademark law.

Of course, the United States isn’t the only country that has had successes in intellectual property; Japan has seen its fair share of success both domestically and in the Western World. I say the Western World and not North America because South America arguably has consumed more Japanese media than their North American counterparts many times. In a bid to protect the creators of their properties Japan has developed a very strict IP law system; One where the creators have to give consent to their IPs being used in any given context.

Legal talk aside, this has created a lot of frustration amongst retro gamers who reside in North America; Without knowing the full context & only thinking of their needs first, they’ve inadvertently caught themselves in a loop of frustration. Either the art isn’t done right, it looks too realistic, or it doesn’t look like the sprite work of the games they personally love.

The community around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be the WORST offenders; The TMNT were, after all, prominent figures in the games of the past. Current announcements of a re-released package of old TMNT games, and the anticipation of a new TMNT beat-em-up arcade-style game have many in the retro gaming community in a buzz. They even do well to have the original 90s TMNT cartoon art style & characters as the prominent figures instead of newer TMNT adaptations. The video game market is no longer just catering to children and teenagers; like the medium of comic books before them, they now encompass so much more than that.

And yet the Retro Gaming Community, alongside a lot of the Fighting Game Community, will refuse to see this.

If the Retro Gaming Community continues to stay in the past, they will remain there while the fields of copyright/trademark & IP law leave them far behind. If you’re a political conservative reading this, I want to make it clear I am not attacking the philosophy that guides you in life; But the fact remains, you will be stuck in the past if you don’t at least acknowledge the changing landscape around you.

Retro Gaming today encompasses more than just the arcades of yesteryear, or even the 90s consoles many consider to be retro today. Today that market includes things like; the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Gamecube, the original Nintendo DS, the Playstation 2, and someone even the Playstation 3. Console generations are much quicker in time than their sociological counterparts; and someone complaining about a new Street Fighter logo (who plays primarily games from the Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis era) not only looks and sounds like a boomer, they might as well be the equivalent of the WW2 generation. They do look at these games like they were the greatest made after all.

Technology is changing, and the way we see and interact with it naturally progresses alongside it. What your children play & watch is better told by a smartphone than a TV or a gaming console; PC gaming is making a comeback. And complaining about the new Street Fighter logo for SF6 is insignificant; because I guarantee you the trademark has already been filed, the copyrights have already been secured. And by the time you read this article, it will have already been too late to complain anyway.

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E. I. D. Esqueda

E. I. D. Esqueda

Writer/poet for hire and fighting game enthusiast. I’m a neurodivergent queer who is also a military veteran. I write about politics & culture sometimes.