Playing video games is a wonderful way to unwind and de-stress after a long day at work. Whether you are coming back after a day of manual labor or crunching numbers at the office, you may want to lay back on your couch, hold a controller in your hand, and start playing games.
A lot of people ask about the future of games, as they are not sure whether vintage or retro gaming still has a place within the community. Even though a lot of gamers focus on the latest and greatest games available on consoles and computers, a significant crowd prefers to play older games.
Below are five tips on creating the best classic gaming setup to enjoy your favorite retro games at home.
Find the Best Gaming Hardware
There are a few different ways that you can enjoy classic games. One option is to stick with games that are still compatible with modern Windows computers, which would allow you to download and install the games onto your existing laptop or desktop computer.
Such an option is ideal if you want to play fairly high-end games that came out anywhere from 2005 to the present. Those games should work with a computer that runs Microsoft Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7. You may have to tweak some compatibility settings within Windows, but that is a straightforward process.
Another option is to invest in the classic gaming console that was the platform for some of your favorite retro games. Examples of older consoles include the Nintendo NES Classic, Dreamcast, original Xbox, original PlayStation, and more.
Invest in an Older Television
One of the problems that gamers can experience when trying retro games on a new television is black bars around the side. That is because the older game may have been created with a 4:3 resolution in mind, while modern televisions are 16:9.
Another problem with modern TVs, especially 4K models, is latency. Most televisions have a great deal of latency, which can throw off the gaming experience, as you are expecting your inputs to happen instantly in the game.
Investing in a CRT television with a 4:3 ratio is an excellent way to experience classic games. Not only do you avoid black bars and latency, but you also recreate the experience you had as a child when you first discovered those classic games.
If space is an issue, you can look for CRT models that were thinner and lighter, compared to massive televisions that were the norm 15 to 20 years ago.
Obtain a Great Video Signal
When you invest in an older television to play video games, or you want to hook up very old gaming consoles to newer TVs, you must get the connections right.
Modern gaming is a lot easier where wires are concerned. You buy a PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch, use the HDMI cable that comes in the package, and connect that to your television or gaming monitor. Since those cables include audio and video, you have no other cable worries unless you wish to connect external speakers.
Older consoles are a lot more challenging. Component and VGA are among the cable types that you may find for consoles that were made for a North American audience in the 1990s, 2000s, and early 2010s. Keep in mind that some newer TVs do not even offer support for such cables, which means you should follow the above step and invest in a CRT television or buy an adaptor that converts the component or VGA cables to an HDMI connection.
Choose the Appropriate Controllers
If you compare modern gaming controllers with older versions, you will find a lot of differences. Not only are modern controllers sleeker and more aesthetically appealing, but they also have different buttons and triggers.
Make a list of the retro games you plan to play, and research the systems where they were the most popular in their heyday. Then you can find the appropriate controllers online, either through retailers like Amazon or websites like Craigslist or eBay.
Picking the perfect controller for your setup is more important than people realize, as an improper controller can make playing older games very difficult. The button mapping must work correctly, while a single button not matching with the game’s intended controller could throw off your gaming experience.
Examples of older controllers are the 8bitdo controllers, Wii Classic Controller, GameCube controller, and more. The Microsoft Xbox 360 controller is a bit newer but is also venturing into classic territory.
Emulate on Your Smartphone
Smartphones are incredible pieces of technology, as they pack so much power into a tiny package. Considering the quality of processors and graphics cards on the latest Apple and Android phones, you can easily emulate older games on your device.
Emulation is easier on Android, as you can root your phone, download the relevant programs, and then install retro games. Since these games do not offer touch support, you can either set up a wireless controller with your phone or use the on-screen controller buttons to play the game.
Retro gaming on a smartphone is a lot of fun because you can play on the go. Say you are visiting a friend’s house and want to show them an older game. Rather than bringing your computer or console, you can show them your favorite vintage games on your phone.
Older games that are graphically intensive may not play as well on a smartphone, while the small screen of phones can be a hindrance to gaming. But if you are on the go and wish to enjoy retro games, smartphone emulation is a game-changer.
Older Games Still Have Merit
There is a tendency for people to dismiss older games because they do not offer the same graphical performance and character maneuverability compared to newer games.
While the latest AAA titles do have an advantage in terms of presentation, retro and vintage games are still very enjoyable to play. If you have a few favorite games from your childhood, or you recently discovered an older game you love to play, having a classic gaming setup can be very useful.
By following the tips laid out above, you can recreate the gaming experiences you had as a child, playing games that are now considered classics.