Retro Gaming is back!
To me, two things are fascinating about my gaming habits for 2021. First, I spent more time playing Xbox than I did with PlayStation games, which is a testament to Game Pass’s great past year. Second, I have almost always had the most fun with older games. Retro games, if necessary – and we will. Releasing games from the 1980s, 1990s, and some from the 21st century have been given new leases on life in the present.
Let’s begin at the beginning: January 2021. As a child, Turrican 1990 and its 1991 sequel, Turrican II The Final Fight, were some of my favourite games on the Commodore Amiga. Although these challenging run-and gunners could be ported to other computers, handhelds, and home consoles, it is the Amiga that they are most often associated with. It was an exciting experience to revisit them in January’s Turrican collection for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and other platforms. This includes the Mega Drive’s Mega Turrican and the Super Nintendo’s Super Turrican. Although it is not the complete Turrican, anyone who enjoys the Super Metroid and Gunstar Heroes will be delighted.
In January, I also bought SEGA’s incredible Astro City Mini console. It was imported from Japan. Then it went and got some official UK distribution. Standard. It’s an excellent way to revisit old SEGA arcade games like Virtua Fighter or Space Harrier. You might even get to play some for the first time. You can purchase control pads and sticks separately to connect the mini-cab to your TV. There are 37 games total. They’re working on a second one, Mini V…RIP my wallet.
Two well-known names released two very different compilations in gaming in February. The Blizzard Collection gathered three games from pre-Warcraft times of Blizzard. None of them was direct from arcades. Rock and Roll Racing and Lost Vikings still have a lot of charm. Blackthorne has never had that much.
We ddidn’tcover FFebruary’sbest retro release. This is shameful. Capcom Arcade Stadium was released for Switch three days after VValentine’sDay (it was available on other platforms in May). It was the perfect gift for the Japanese giant’s arcade lovers (to be precise, the 1980s and early ”0s) that they could have asked for. The price of the unlockable title was up to the player, with 32 titles available. There were also save states, quality of life updates, and display options. Some great shooters here like Progear, 1944, and essential beat m-ups Battle Circuit or Final Fight. There are many classics everywhere you look Strider and GGhouls’ Ghosts. Street Fighter II is also available, although the AI is still an abominable, just inexcusable, cheat. Staying true to Capcom, Goblins was resurrected in February with new visuals and the same difficulty.
Although the Neo Geo Pocket and its coloured version wweren’tthe most popular handhelds at the time, Switch owners received a compact but impressive collection of Pocket titles in March. The Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Volume 1 is a wonderful piece of portable gaming history. It contains eight games that cover the expected fighters (this being Neo Geo), as well as the excellent Neo Turf Masters (not necessarily the VMS/AES version but iit’sjust as good), and a pair of Metal Slugs. We are hopeful for a second volume. This could include the Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure and Puzzle Bobble mini. March saw a reissue of the cult Xbox brains em up Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse – a classic game that ran on the Halo engines but never reached the same level of success as Master Chief.