I just watched the documentary “Not For Resale” (trailer above), which highlights retro video game stores, the people who run them and how the switch from physical to digital media is affecting them.
The documentary has a strong focus on what the death pf physical media means for us as gamers. While digital distribution has many advantages for both publishers and developers, the fact remains that many people miss owning something they can both play, as well as look at on their shelves; A reminder and representation of the time they’ve spent with the game/movie/music they own.
While I did enjoy the documentary, I feel it’s important to stress that the focus was on physical game stores. While I understand stores that sell physical media are getting fewer, I think the retro gaming scene as a whole is constantly growing. Each year there are more expo’s and events and each one seems to draw more people than the last. Combine that with all the new accessories being released for old consoles, as well as new ways to play these classic games and you have a scene that’s absolutely here to stay.
Much like classic cars and antiques will always be a part of modern culture, so will video games…and like those other hobbies, the classic game scene will slowly evolve and change with the times. Maybe your collection of rare competition NES carts may someday go down in value, but the desire to experience and celebrate those games will always exist. While some of our obsessions with enhancing console hardware will surely someday migrate to simply keeping them alive at all, the desire to restore and experience them will always remain.
And the most important thing to remember is it doesn’t matter if you download a game on your phone, buy a disc for your fancy new console…or plug a cartridge into a classic console: A great game will always be a great game. Let’s keep celebrating them and keep supporting the people working to keep them available to us.