There was a time that retro gaming took the form of running to the yard, or garage, sales. Dropping by the local pawn shop or flea market. Even the local mom & pop media type stores carried the game carts. We were after that game we missed and if we found it complete with box and manual, we were elated. Gradually people were dumping their childhood by cleaning out their closets, attics, basements only to find a desire to return years later trying to catch a glimpse of those memories. There were NES games everywhere. There is that generation of gamers that understand. Those places have since dried up and no longer exist. Online auction sites are the last resort for many of us from that era.
But there have been other generations, since then, that have entered the world of gaming which did not experience that era. They have found bits and pieces only in the virtual console services. Over the years many have found satisfaction in emulation, either home PC, phone, or some hacked portable. In those early years you had to find the original cart to experience the fun on the original hardware, the way it was meant to be. But we have entered a period that it has become harder and harder to find those gems of the past. Many have found the value of those games in the market place. As a result they have priced many games out of the reach of the average gamer. It has become a collectors market. And anyone wanting to get back to those older games would find it very difficult to acquire a collection.
China, who doesn’t mind the business of pirating, has found that market profitable. It started as a trickle and has become a flood. Clone systems of the real thing like the NES console was just the beginning. The NES clones, at the beginning, were very limited in their compatibility with the real games. But over the years that has changed, with only a hand full you would find unplayable. Graphics and audio quality is still problematic. Not only will you find clone systems plentiful, but you will now see reproduction game carts, boxes, and pamphlets, or included manual. Much looking like the genuine article.
There are the multi carts which may include anywhere from 4 to over 600 games. They can include original NES games and also hacked games. They may be, for example, all of the Mega man games on one cart. A very tempting option for anyone wanting to sample those days of the NES era.
The recent release of the Nintendo Mini in a limited run left many gamers angered. But China saw the opportunity and responded to fill the gap to Nintendo’s bumbling and dropping the ball. The China market released their own Minis with not just 30, but, we’re talking, 500 to over 800 games in the same size package, or foot print. And you can pick up one of the China clone minis for as little as $16.95 free shipping.
Many of the consoles, or systems, have their nuances, but they still sell to a niche market hungry for those retro delights. With the advent of built in games or multi carts, it has become very easy for someone with an appetite for the old NES magic to acquire possibly the complete library of games requiring almost no space for storage. In the newer generation of gamers there is no desire to own those older consoles of the past. There is no nostalgia in it for them. They were not there at that point of gaming history. It is easier to just walk in a modern day game store and purchase the clone. And in many of those stores, that cater to retro gaming, they push the clone systems. For others that remember, and was there, they may find the convenience of the China stuff welcomed. They are wanting their kids to experience what they did at that age. (Or the clone is one of those things that your Grandparents purchase for you, not knowing it is not the genuine article.) Whatever the case may be, it sells. And it has effected, and changed, the whole retro gaming scene. It has clouded and made it a field of deception and confusion in the collectors market when looking for the “real thing.” One now has to collect with much caution when purchasing. There are those positive and negative aspects of the flood. And it keeps pouring, refining, and defining itself adjusting to the market needs.
There is only that one group of gamers that understands and knows what it was like in the NES era. To have and hold the original cart in your hand, push it down into the original console, turn it on, and playing it on that old CRT TV. Those days are gone.