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8 Reasons Why Classic Video Game Consoles Remain Timeless Favorites

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8 Reasons Why Classic Video Game Consoles Remain Timeless Favorites

Key Points

  • The nostalgia factor of classic video game consoles is arguably the strongest reason why they remain timeless.
  • Building on the above reason, ageless gameplay is another strong argument for why people keep coming back to these consoles.
  • Cheat codes also played a big role in helping you get through the toughest levels, *hint hint* The Lion King on SNES. 
  • Being able to pick up and play a game is such a huge reason to love retro gaming. 

In a video game world dominated by microtransactions, high prices, and subscriptions, retro gaming continues to enjoy increasing popularity. Whether it’s nostalgia or a desire to avoid loading screens, classic video game consoles are fondly remembered. There was just something special about running home from school to play the latest Mario title.

Across Nintendo, Sony, Sega, and other developers, classic video game consoles and retro gaming are so great and remind you of days long before $60 games were the norm. Another likely reason beyond just simple nostalgia is that classic video game design has transcended technology advances. Retro gaming is all about showing you don’t need AAA graphics to have fun. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the 8 reasons why classic video game consoles remain timeless favorites. 

What Is a Classic Video Game Console? 

While there is no single agreed-upon definition of what constitutes a classic video game console, the broad idea is one that is considered timeless. Perhaps the biggest question is whether retro gaming and classic video game consoles are the same thing. In the case of classic video game consoles, the word “classic” frequently references consoles from earlier time periods. On the other hand, retro gaming generally speaks to the overall design of a game. 

The bottom line is that a classic video game console can be anything you want it to be. At least until the release of the first Xbox console, which is part of the sixth console generation. Once you hit this moment in console history, you move away from the era of classic video game consoles. 

Regardless of how you define the classic console world, let’s take a look at reasons that everyone can agree on why classic video game consoles remain timeless. 

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Reasons Why Classic Video Game Consoles Are Timeless

#1: The Nostalgia Factor

This is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most important reasons why classic video game consoles remain timeless favorites. Every time you look at games played on these consoles, they bring you back to a time when your world seemed easier. A time before you had to worry about bills and real-world responsibilities. Ultimately, what these consoles do is bring back happy memories of your life as a kid, which is actually considered a real psychological response and not just one you are imagining. 

The reality is that these games help you remember positive parts of your life, which allows for positive emotions to flow through your brain. According to Michael Feldmeier, a psychiatrist at Level Up Mental Health, “Retro gaming may trigger nostalgic feelings, emotions, and thoughts.” 

Ultimately, nostalgia has played a huge role in why retro gaming has seen a massive resurgence over the last few years. 

#2: Ageless Gameplay

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When it comes to classic consoles, one of the best reasons to play is because of their ageless gameplay. This is easily viewed through the lens of titles like Super Mario World on the Nintendo Entertainment System or Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. Playing both of these games today feels as joyous today as it did 30 years ago. 

The bottom line is that you don’t feel any less engaged playing classic video game console titles today than you did when they were first released. Firing up Tetris on the original Game Boy arguably still feels just like it did when it was first released in 1989. 

Better yet, you can feel the past as you play titles on these classic consoles. This can create real moments of joy for parents to pass on to their children. The release of numerous retro games represents some of the most important moments in gaming. This is especially true when you learn the NES basically saved the video game world after 1983. 

#3: Cheat Codes

Sure, not everyone loves the idea of using cheat codes, but you haven’t really lived until you play as Bill Clinton in NBA Jam. There is something magical about entering a cheat code on a startup or a settings screen. Just remember how helpful it was to gain extra lives in Contra so you could finally beat challenging levels.

Having the ability to enter cheat codes through the likes of Game Genie or even just looking them up on websites like cheatcc.com was just a magical part of owning classic video game console consoles.  

Best of all, these cheat codes could often be the difference maker in being able to beat challenging portions of a game you otherwise would be stuck on forever. Even though someone could absolutely argue that cheat codes took away some of the fun by making things too easy. Who can say no to playing as an ex-president with NBA Jam?

#4: No Software Updates

There is no question that software updates play a big role in today’s video game console era. These updates can often introduce new and exciting features. Alternatively, these updates can also be used to fix bugs that are accidentally introduced into a game upon its release, or after a software update. 

However, the lack of frustrating software updates from games you just picked up at Toys-R-Us is one reason why classic consoles remain timeless. It’s very annoying to rush home to open up the latest AAA titles only to be stuck with hours’ worth of software updates. When all you want to do is play, software updates can be the worst thing ever.

The good news with classic consoles is you don’t ever have to worry about software updates. You never have to stop and worry about updates before dropping a cartridge into the Nintendo 64. All you had to do was add the game to the console and start playing within seconds. 

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The Super Nintendo is one of the most loved classic video game consoles with a strong library of beloved titles.

#5: Pick Up and Play

Another big benefit of classic consoles is the idea that you can just pick up and play. In today’s video game era, gift guides for parents have to recommend updating consoles before giving them as a gift. There isn’t a parent alive who wants to be stuck on Christmas morning dealing with a lengthy console setup process.

Why this matters is that this was never an issue with classic consoles. Up until the original Xbox, you just opened a game, put it into a console, and got right to playing. There were no worries about adding your name, email, credit card number, and the name of your firstborn. You just played the game without EA or UBISOFT forcing you to create an account.

If, for no other reason, retro gaming remains popular because of this reason. There is just something magical about turning on a console and playing within a few seconds. In today’s day and age, turning on the PlayStation 5 alone can take 10 seconds. Add to that another minute or two to load the game you want and frustration can easily set in.

#6: Easier Controls

It’s hard to argue the official controllers for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 don’t offer some great ergonomics. Unfortunately, their great ergonomics are paired with almost too many buttons and control schemes. The good news is that you can think back to an earlier era when console controllers were easier to use. There was always just something special about the SNES controller with its 4 buttons and two paddles.

With these classic consoles, you never have to worry about silly button combinations. There was never a concern about hitting L3, R1, and B at the same time to execute a perfect jump. Classic console controllers begged for a more pickup and play experience. This is exactly why these controllers still feel as great today as they did 30 or 40 years ago. 

#7: Games Felt Riskier

Today’s gaming world is focused so much on what developers think fans will like instead of putting out what they think the industry should try. Video game releases these days feel like they are the result of a focus group that offers different thoughts on the character’s appearance or set design, instead of taking a risk and trying something new. 

The Super Nintendo is a perfect example of this as that console saw the release of dozens of movie tie-ins. Movie games like Terminator, Die Hard, Demolition Man, and Back to the Future were big console hits. Developers of these games felt that promoting these movies also helped drive more popularity to their games. 

Sadly, this just isn’t how developers think anymore. Instead, developers spend more time trying to predict the market intentions instead of trying to create the market. Thankfully, indie developers are still carrying the risk torch for consoles like the Nintendo Switch. Still, it’s sad to see the days of real risks that arrived with these classic video game consoles disappear. 

Nowhere is this more true than in the “Genesis does what Nintedon’t!” commercials from the 1990s. You just can’t imagine Sony and Xbox competing this way as the gaming landscape has changed too much.

#8: Complete Satisfaction 

In the world of gaming today, the likes of YouTube have made it super easy to go through and see exactly how to beat portions of a level that you might be stuck on. Similarly, you can use YouTube to see the ending of a game. This makes it enticing to skip playing the last few levels and see how a game ends online. There is just something about this that feels like it’s missing the joy of actually finishing a game. 

If you have ever played Aladdin or The Lion King on the Super Nintendo, you know all about gaming frustration. These two titles are often regarded as two of the hardest games to beat in the 1990s. It was their difficulty that made beating the most challenging levels give you a sense of complete satisfaction. This is even more true when you remember bragging to your friends about how great of a gamer you were. 

Unfortunately, this feeling has seemingly gone by the wayside. YouTube has made it possible to look up and see exactly how you get past even the most difficult bosses.

8 Reasons Why Classic Video Game Consoles Remain Timeless Summary

Summary
#1: The nostalgia factor of classic video game consoles is arguably the strongest reason why they remain timeless. 
#2: Building on the first reason, ageless gameplay is one of the reasons why people keep coming back to these consoles. 
#3: Cheat codes played a big role in helping you get through the toughest levels. 
#4: The lack of software updates is a big reason to love classic consoles. 
#5: Being able to pick up and play a game is such a huge reason to love retro gaming. 
#6: Sorry Xbox controller, but the NES and SNES had vastly easier controls. 
#7: Developers took more risks with games back when classic consoles were available. 
#8: There is just something so satisfying about being a big boss or beating a tough level with these consoles. 

Wrapping Up

Regardless of whether you were born when classic video game consoles were first released or are just enjoying them anew, retro gaming is a ton of fun. Between the lack of software updates, the ease with which you can pick up and play, and cheat codes, classic video game consoles deserve to be preserved and enjoyed for decades to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one reason to pick up a classic video game console?

The number one reason to pick up classic video game consoles is their ability to evoke incredible feelings of nostalgia. 

Which consoles are considered part of the classic video game console era?

There are dozens of consoles included here but some of the most popular are the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1, Dreamcast, and many Atari consoles. 

Can you find and purchase classic video game consoles these days?

Absolutely! Classic game consoles are available on Amazon, GameStop, or at your local game store. 

Can you use an emulator instead of a classic game console?

You can absolutely use emulators instead of consoles but there is something awesome about playing on the original console. 

Will prices keep rising as retro gaming popularity continues to grow?

Unfortunately, the small supply of good-condition classic consoles against heavy demand will make sure prices stay high. 

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