The defining age of gaming?

Upon creating this site I encountered a quandary, something that has puzzled me for a while now; where to draw the line between retro and modern when it comes to gaming. It seems obvious that this generation and the last should be considered modern but then the lines faze slightly when we harp back to the age of the PS2, GameCube and Original Xbox. I've asked friends for their opinions but it seems no-one can agree.

So what exactly defines a console as being retro? Opinions I've found include:

  • Any console that hasn't had an official title release for a decade.
    • This would mean 2023 for the PS2, 2018 for the Xbox,  2017 for the GameCube. The Dreamcast being open for debate having been discontinued by Sega in 2001, yet many games releasing far later.
  • Consoles with wired controllers.
    • We had wireless controllers in the 90's on the SMD (Sega Mega Drive) and I still use wired controllers with this generations hardware sometimes.
  • The switch from Cartridge to disk.
    • This would make the Mega-CD modern and the N64 is the same generation as the Playstation.
  • Anything from the last millennia.
    • But for how long can this hold? In twenty years time when we're all playing VR with our 32K headsets, surely at least the sixth and seventh generation of machine will be seen as retro, or at least not modern.
  • Stuff you can't buy new anymore.
    • There's stuff from the last generation that you'd struggle to find a new copy of at a regular retail outlet.

The defining age of gaming?

So, what conclusions can we draw?

Well, basically that the term 'retro' is subjective. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what constitutes the cut off between the two. 

As for me - and the concerns of this site - retro will be used for everything pre-sixth generation. To me these are the systems and games that are less readily available. This will no doubt change in the future as everything ages, but for the time being, from my point of view; PS2, Xbox, GameCube and Dreamcast are the oldest of the modern era of gaming.

I know you could argue PS1 isn't particularly retro when compared to the likes of the NES or SMS, but there's going to be as many others out there to argue that the PS2 is.

With the line cast, I will lose no sleep over this problem, at least not until the next generation bows it's head into the ring.

What's your thought? Have your say below.

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