This issue is not exactly about retro games. Despite the name, “Groovy Games,” we aren’t going to wax poetic about all of our childhood favorites. Sure, there will be a little of that, but mostly we’re looking at retro themes and designs, and the games that demonstrate those.
It sounds a little esoteric, but it’s there and games aren’t the only media or art to do it. Take fashion: Every 20 to 30 years, some variants of the same style are in fashion – haven’t you noticed the pant legs inside women’s boots of late? And this a few short years after everyone was wearing boot cut pants, flared at the bottom specifically to fit outside boots. That’s right, we’re heading back to the 80s. Pull out your teal and hot pink.
This recycling of old material and ideas accomplishes two things. The first thing, revisiting old ideas with fresh eyes. They were good ideas once, they’re probably still good ideas, especially when new tech is applied. Take computer mahjongg. It’s based on an old game, a good game, but there are just so many tiles … Put it on a computer, and click they’re reshuffled and rebuilt.
The second thing is a bit more complex. Art, media and entertainment are often produced in reaction to the times. Wars, economies and politics are reflected in the art and entertainment of a people. Part of this is “painting what we know,” literally reflecting the world around us. But part of this is attempting to make sense of the world around us, and to make a connection with others trying to make sense of the world around us. A theme or idea re-emerging in media suggests that there’s still a need to dissect and understand, whether because time has allowed a new perspective or because the issue has crept up again.
Games are no different than any other art medium in returning to old ideas. And this is not a bad thing. Hence, the subject of this week’s issue, “Groovy Games.” Russ Pitts debuts this week and discusses his need to deal with “preteen thanatos” from growing up during the Cold War in America and how games helped. Also new this week is Richard Aihoshi, sharing one of his favorite pastimes and how it got a new lease on life in the past few years, due in part, to the internet. And, as you can guess from our cover, Joe Blancato speaks to Matt Soell, the creator of Stubbs the Zombie: Rebel without a Pulse, a great game smacking heavily of ’60s zombie movies, but with something to say. Find these articles and more in this week’s issue of The Escapist.