There’s something more than just retro going on here. It’s not just an empty nostalgia, I think, that makes 8-bit games really interesting. If you put them in the context of all human creative expression, there was a really short amount of time in the 1980s and early 90s where we tried to tell a story in this crazy way, with buttons and vacuum tubes where electron cannons drew dots on a screen one line at a time. There was this really special moment where forgotten great men used the newest tools they had to tell a story. A lot of times, it was the same men coming up with the story as writing the code, and if you look at that code, it’s incredible. So far afield of the end result, you might as well be looking at hieroglyphics or ancient scrawls on pieces of bone. But they toiled in solitude, creating what most dismissed as a children’s toy, and some railed against as the downfall of their children’s future, “rotting their brains”. These nerds struggled, not just to create a story, but to create worlds with just colored squares burned into phosphorous screens sixty times every second.
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