Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
Why do we single out gamers for their love of the classics?
Chances are your music collection is full of classic albums and your video library is full of great old movies. But does anyone call you a retro listener because you like The Rolling Stones or The Smashing Pumpkins? Do they call you a retro watcher because you're a fan of Clint Eastwood or Sylvester Stallone?
Are you a retro gamer if you're playing 20-year old games on the PlayStation 3 or an iPad?
For some reason we seem to reserve the term "retro" for people who like to play old computer games. Retro games don't even have to be that old – in some people's eyes any game which was designed before the present generation of consoles/computers is considered a retro game. Other people like to draw the line at the transition from 16-bit to 32-bit graphics, which makes the cut-off the early 1990s.
My recent trip to Tokyo Game Show – to look at the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – has rekindled my interest in the games I played as a kid. While in Tokyo I spent some time wandering around Akihabara, where stores like Super Potato and Retro Game Camp still sell the consoles and games of the 1980s and 90s.
I'm in my late thirties, so my earliest gaming memories are of playing Pong on what I think was an Atari 2600 which belonged to my older cousins. There was also a sit-down Enduro driving game out the front of my local toy store which my younger brother and I would play when we could convince our mother to give us a few coins.
I wouldn't really describe myself as a gamer but, the more I think back, the more games I remember playing over the years. It's a bit like thinking back over those favourite bands which made up the sound track of your life.
There was Galaga and Pacman at the local fish and chip shop, but more personal gaming devices also came along. My friend owned the original dual-screen LCD Game & Watch versions of Oil Panic and Donkey Kong, which would probably be collectors items these days. I had a single screen LCD game, I think it was called Space Fight. Of course these days the idea of buying a handheld console which only plays one game seems ludicrous, but back in the 1980s they were very popular.
Home consoles also improved significantly and I clocked up plenty of hours playing Mario Bros and Duck Hunt on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I was a teenager by the time the Super NES came along and I recall pulling a few all-nighters playing Street Fighter II with my mates, then later Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64.
Meanwhile at the arcades I was pumping coins into games like Final Fight, Outrun and Battlezone. I also owned a Commodore 64, which offered plenty of great games such as Ikari Warriors, Wonder Boy, Barbarian and Impossible Mission. Later I dabbled in PC gaming, with the likes of Command & Conquer as well as Kill Krush 'n Destroy.
The PlayStation 1 was the last games machine that I spent any serious time playing, with a love of Colin McRae Rally, but after that life kind of got in the way. Recently I've been trawling through the PlayStation 3's online game store and I've found old games like Street Fighter II which I've been playing with my kids. These old 16-bit games are still fun to play and, even though the graphics have been remastered for the PS3, you can avoid the excessive blood and gore found in many of today's games. I've also got an iCade controller for my iPad, which lets me go back through the old Atari, Namco and Activision archives.
Are you a retro gamer if you're playing 20-year old games on the PlayStation 3 or an iPad? Serious gamers would argue that you need to be playing on the original hardware. I think it's a bit like a music lover's passion for vinyl or a cinema fan's love of 70mm film. Sure there are modern digital replicas, but they don't offer quite the same experience. I think part of the appeal of retro gaming is that it helps take you back to an era when you actually had the freedom to stay up all night playing Street Fighter II with your friends.
Which computer games did you grow up with? Do you ever go back to replay the classics?