In weeks leading up to building Geekerific.com and recording the After The Fact podcast, I did a lot of research on the online community surrounding classic gaming. I looked at websites and forums, listened to a few other podcasts, got some information about classic gaming shows & conventions, and spent some time just checking up on what my fellow geeks were up to. In that time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the vast majority of the gaming community has no clue whatsoever about the difference between “retro” and “classic”.
Retro, by definition, refers to something that is new, but is created in an old style. The 2010 Dodge Challenger, for example, is a retro car. A 1969 Dodge Challenger, on the other hand, is a classic. A game is not retro if it’s an originally from a classic era, even if it’s being played on a new system. Playing A Link to the Past on a Wii doesn’t make it retro – it’s still a classic game. New games made in an old style (i.e., Mega Man 9 and Gradius ReBirth) can reasonably be called retro games.
Don’t call real classics “retro”. The ones we truly love are classics – the ones that got us into this silly hobby in the first place. It’s the true classics that inspire the retro games that come out now, and it’s the classics that built the foundation of the industry. Don’t confuse the two.