Retrogaming Credibility – For Dummies
Has this ever happened to you?
@Nintendo_Legend wait… Is it not?
— Eric M Hunter (@erichunter) November 14, 2014
While no one likes to admit these moments of weakness, it happens more often than you’d think. The retro-gaming community is a fun crowd, full of good times and touching stories. However, if you don’t know your stuff, you WILL get called out. They seem like nice people, but one typo in a Super Famicom exclusive jRPG quote and they will run you out of town. It’s a long journey to earning that crowd’s respect.
This is where I come in. The truth is: I’ve been watching out for you. With ten articles behind my belt, I consider myself an expert on the matter. 1 More Castle can be a pretty intimidating place. All this retro-gaming knowledge, thrown at you without warning, expecting you to laugh at every subtle reference they sock-piano in their articles, videos and podcasts. Hopefully, with my help, you will never feel as awkward as that time Mario drank too much at the Mushroom Kingdom banquet and told Toad: “Look, I don’t want to sound racist, but to me you all pretty much look the same.”
Not cool Mario… not cool.
So you want to build your credibility as a retro-gamer? It’s not an easy task. With all these games, systems, limits not to mention the vocabulary. This “overrated”, “underrated” and “overlooked” business can get confusing. (I’ll have a guide later on that very subject) Where do we start? Some people might tell you playing old video games is the way to go. They’re wrong. Let’s face it, between reading my column and posting pictures of your cat on Facebook, you probably have barely enough time left for your Zumba classes. You could play every game people deem to be “worth playing”, but it’s a bit overkill. You’d have to be DESPERATE for attention.
You need something efficient, something quick, something half-assed. You. Need. Me. And, like I said, I’m here for you. Let’s see how we can build your retrogaming credibility the easy way: by using the incredible technology known as social media.
Step One: The Re-Birth
Let’s start with the basics. You want retrogaming credibility, the first step would be telling the world you want that credibility, right? Unfortunately, telling people won’t be enough. Forget all your other social media account, you won’t need them anymore. In fact, your current friends will be of no help to you. They’ll only hold you back. You need to start fresh.
Go to Twitter, create a new account. Keep your bio simple by telling people about yourself. No need to go overboard here as long as you put “retrogamer” somewhere in there. Here comes the hard decision: What image do you pick? Oh, choose whatever handle. It doesn’t make a difference compared to the image. That little thumbnail will decide whether or not people follow you back for your retrogaming interest. Don’t worry, you have options. A selfie? HA! You’re not ready. Here are some valid suggestions:
A pixelated version of your face:
While harder to obtain, if you have some talent with pixel art… well… if you did you probably wouldn’t need my guide. Moving on.
Hum… Not that kind of pixelated, you’re not a criminal.
Mega Man inspired:
Jon Man, Guy Man, etc. The important thing is the background. Some basic photoshop skills and a picture of a robot and “voilà”. If you don’t like Mega Man… well… You can’t afford it for now. Until further notice, you love Mega Man. I’ve been faking it for years now, you’ll do fine.
That’s MY thing. Move along.
Gaming characters or something:
Just use a Mario or Zelda character really…
As for Facebook…. eeeeeeeeeeeh. I don’t care for Facebook.
Step Two : The Building Blocks
This defining step isn’t as easy as it seems. You’re officially a retrogamer, but, to be a good one, you have to “know your stuff”. Knowing everything about retrogaming can’t really be done, luckily for you. This means you can narrow your “field of expertise” and avoid getting lost in a sea of games. But don’t make it too small, you still want to impress people.
Building your retrogaming credibility is actually a lot like building your fantasy sports roster. You just need a few key picks from the right positions. Just make sure you “choose” the following points:
Your favorite console
Though PC gamers are welcome in the retrogaming realm, consoles are the easiest way to acceptance. The general consensus seems to include the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Some purists may give you a bad name if you do. So that leaves you anything from the Odyssey to the Dreamcast.
Now would be a good time for a parenthesis about the Dreamcast. For some reason, the retrogaming community fondly remembers the Dreamcast, even though it is a failed console. Don’t go against the flow for now, you also love the Dreamcast. Consider it the Mega Man of consoles.
Your choice of a favorite console, it’s a double-edged sword. Choose something obscure and you’ll have some problems defending it. Choose something common and you won’t stand out. I’d personally shy away from stuff like Vectrex, Commodore and 3DO.
It’s harder to be an expert on this… “thingamajig”
Key words: “obvious winner”, “holy grail of my collection”, “always go back to the”
The nostalgic bomb
This is the go-to game for you. It’s the game you talk about too much, the game you love too much, but it’s okay since you loved it ever since you could hold a controller. If you don’t have a game you remember playing as a child, try to pick something other people consider overrated. (Hint: Search “top 10 overrated games” on Google.) Keep in mind, you want nostalgia to be the main excuse for you liking this game. You want to warm people’s heart with the illusion that your youth was a better time for you. Bonus points if you have a booklet with old passwords in it.
Channel this image, carpet optional.
Key words: “Play it all the time”, “big brother/sister”, “Christmas/birthday gift”, “renting”, “I’m probably biased but”
If you’re not particularly the “actually playing games” type, this one is gonna be hard. Considering everybody has different tastes you’ll have to really think things through. Or, you could use the “me too” technique. What’s the “me too” technique? As you start gaining credibility, try to mimic people’s tastes, especially for games from your “favorite console.” If not, just visit reviewagreatgameday.com for a few ideas from the people that matter.
Basically, you can have any favorites. Some people even like this piece of crap.
Key words: “me too”, “Oh I love that one!”, “classic”, “example of”, “gem”, “overlooked”, “underrated”
The deserved hatred
Have you ever heard of bad games? If not, now would be the time to start looking. Bad games are easy to find and you have to know your stuff. Keep in mind the basic three and you should be fine: Sonic ‘06, Superman 64 and E.T. Anything else is a bonus. Speaking of bonus, questioning the hate of a renowned bad game is a good way to start a discussion and/or reach out to other retro gamers who can’t keep their opinions to themselves. You can also check out reviewabadgameday.com!
Don’t worry, they’re just characters, they can’t feel your hate.
Key words: “Not as bad as [bad game]”, “painful”, “unplayable”, “ugh”, “worse than Hitler”
The questionable hatred
Don’t go calling every good game “crap”. The key here is moderation. Pick a game that is generally loved, but not worshipped, unless it’s a Zelda game. Once your game is chosen, keep in mind that you don’t really like it. Don’t be too hard on it. Try to bash it while praising it so you don’t get actual hate for your comments. Remember, you don’t hate the game, you just passionately “don’t love it as much as everyone else”.
Don’t hate classics, that’s just signing your own death wish.
Key words: “It’s not necessarily a bad game”, “never connected”, “don’t get it”, “aged badly”, “don’t care for it”, “personally”.
There, write all of these down. They act as a key component in the next step.
Step Three : The Propaganda
Great! Now you have a retrogaming friendly image and your basic tastes are covered. It’s time to unleash your persona onto the world! You need to promote your newfound love for retrogaming! What do you need to promote? Retrogaming itself.
Don’t be scared! I’m not trying to turn you into an activist, but your best asset to gain followers and popularity certainly isn’t a winner personality and charisma. Start off by following a bunch of your peers and when you reach a good following it’s time to throw the bait. You need gently spam Twitter with pictures of all things retrogaming. Try to post a lot of stock photos of boxarts with short descriptions mostly throwing around words like hidden gem, underrated, etc. You can also use retrogaming images other people created; there’s no direct harm in that. To add some credibility, look for pictures of collections or random games and proudly display them as a trophy of your “recent pickup”.
Super easy to find a fake picture of a gaming haul… Wait that one is mine. Don’t use that one.
And remember, always give your “opinion” on everything. A lot of people in your entourage will ask questions about your retrogaming passion. If your basics don’t cover the questions being asked, remember that hesitation and ambivalence are your best friends. They make you look like you’re actually thinking about the question and usually buy enough time for someone else to chip in.
Phew! Gaining retrogaming credibility sure is hard work, even with this half-assed method. But rest assured, with my tips, you will have tons of followers and #FF and all that stuff close to a kind of fame you wanted. You won’t even need to be typing complete sentences or words! However, if you have a true passion for retrogaming or consider yourself to be an enthusiast, want to share that love with people, it’s super easy. Just be a decent human being, respect your peers, don’t go apeshit over opinions that differ from your own and remember to have a sense of humor. Why is it so easy? Because retrogaming probably isn’t the only thing that defines you. You’re surely an individual first and a gaming enthusiast second. You’ve probably earned your credibility already. Good for you, you reasonable and balanced human beings.
See you in two weeks anyway.