Games today have not abandoned people like me. People whose last game console was bought in 1991. Quite the opposite. A lot of games are made for casual, retro gamers.
Most of Nintendo's major franchises are done in a retro style these days. The New Super Mario Bros. games play like 8-bit. So did the '09 Wii Punch-Out. There's a new Donkey Kong Country game that's the same as 16-bit, the Kirby Wii games are usually just like the 8-bit and 64 games, Smash Bros hasn't changed since N64 and Mario Kart hasn't changed since SNES, and so on and so on.
Oh yes, and the new Sonic game remakes Sonic 1 and Sonic X-Treme, chiefly. Yeah.
And all the virtual console rereleases. Darkstalkers 2&3 just came out for XBOX.
People have mentioned how female-friendly Nintendo's new lineup is. I hadn't even thought about that, but I was excited to see Peach playable again, and it's nice to see Dixie Kong as well. And the Wii Fitness Trainer seems like less of a crazy idea when you take that into account. The Villager also makes more sense, assuming that a female Villager is included as a costume. My little niece enjoys playing Nintendo games which have female characters in them, when possible. Smash Bros. gives her a lot of options.
I hear that Peach was a last-minute addition as well - New Super Mario Bros for example just had two Toads, which is much less interesting, but was designed so that all characters have the same gameplay, which is never true with Peach.
Considering how well she came across in Super Mario Bros 2/USA, Peach ought to be playable more often. I believe this is the first time we've really seen her in normal "Mario" mode, getting fireflowers and so on.
I never gave a fuck about games like Super Mario Sunshine and Luigi's Mansion. Give me a straightforward Mario game like this any day.
But let's talk retro gaming. Emulators for your home PC that run games from the classic NES, the arcade and so on have been available since the mid-90s, and programmers continue to work on them all the time.
On my Mac, I've run tests for fun and can run MAME [including NEO GEO] and other multi-arcade systems, NES, SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, 32X, Atari 2600, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 64 [with graphical glitches in some games], Gamecube [with either graphical glitches in some games or slowdown depending on the emulator version], Wii [with major slowdown except in a handful of games], DOSBOX, PS1, Game Gear, the Sega Master System, and so on. I assume TurboGrafx16 would work as well.
If I were on PC, I'd have an easier time of it. Although emulators are available, I haven't really gotten later Sega systems to work - their arcade systems, and the Saturn and Dreamcast.
Apparently video game systems sort of fall out of contract after awhile, so that other developers can legally sell them. In three years, this will apparently happen to the N64 and PS1.
In the meantime, Hyperkin's Retron consoles let you play NES, Genesis and SNES cartridges on your TV. You may have seen these. They're not terribly expensive.
The upcoming Android-based Retron 5 supports NES, SNES, Genesis, Famicom, Super Famicom, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy color cartridges for $100.
http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/06/11 ... uy-it-yet/
That's a great lineup. I wish it had N64 and Neo Geo, but I'll deal.
Here are some various plug and play systems, including the Retron 3 and portable systems which play NES and SNES cartridges.
http://www.gametronex.com/Nintendo-NES- ... s-s/27.htm
The Android-based Ouya supposedly comes out this month. It's $99 and can run emulators for various systems including N64. The controller has been criticized as laggy. It's open-source and runs various indie games.
The 8GB Gamestick, supposedly releasing in July, is the size of a flash drive and plugs into your television set. It's Android-based and wireless. For $79 it will run all sorts of games.
There are lots of cheap systems now which plug into your TV. Here's a Sega Genesis for $60 which can take cartridges, and comes with Sonic 1, 2 and Knuckles, Virtua Fighter 2 [arcade game!], Streets of Rage, and other games. They cheaped out on the games a little bit- it's the core Sega games rather than anything expensive to license. They never have Sonic 3 on these things either, possibly a music rights issue, who knows. (I say that because even Sonic & Knuckles changed some of Sonic 3's music, anything from their collaborations with Michael Jackson which fizzled out.) But there's still lots of great games.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sega-Genesis- ... gMethod=rr
Here's the lineup:
Altered Beast, Fatal Labyrinth, Golden Axe I, II, and III, Streets of Rage 1, 2, and 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball, Sonic the Hedgehog, Vectorman, Virtua Fighter II, Jewel Magic, Snake, Mr. Balls, Whack-a-Wolf, Panic Lift, Brain Switch, Match Eleven, Kid Chameleon, Columns, Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, The Ooze, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Crack Down, Decap Attack, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Ecco, Ecco Jr., Ristar, Bomber, Space Hunter, Fire Fly Glow, Black Sheep, Mirror Mirror, Chess
The same company makes a handheld Genesis system with most of the same games. If they really wanted to impress me they'd get Sonic 3, Sonic CD, and Knuckles Chaotix, and maybe Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, Earthworm Jim ...
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sega-Arcade-U ... gMethod=rr
This Genesis has no cartridge slot, but has a joystick ... actually it is a joystick. It has 26 games and an SD card slot, which hopefully you can add ROMs to. That'd be nice. Otherwise you're limited to Virtua Fighter 2, Streets of Rage 1 & 2, Sonic Spinball, Shinobi 3, and some others.
http://www.gametronex.com/AtGames-Arcad ... -a1051.htm
This older Genesis recreation had Flicky on it. Yay for Flicky.
http://www.gametronex.com/Sega-Genesis- ... -a1003.htm
The Atari Flashback systems recreate the Atari 2600 ... this one has 75 games.
http://www.gametronex.com/Atari-Flashba ... -a1048.htm
For about 15 bucks you can get an Intellivision Plug and Play as well. The problem with these is that they cheap out on licensing so it may not have your favorite games on it [which is why I've never seen an NES/SNES one of these, legally]. The play value of this old stuff is also somewhat limited.
http://www.amazon.com/Intellivision-Vid ... B004761WEG
Let's say you're running MAME and wanting a true arcade game experience on your PC.
You can get an arcade-style joystick, or better yet this big, heavy, two-player arcade joystick ...
http://www.xgaming.com/store/arcade-joy ... bntf_b72ko
For a real arcade experience, you can put your PC, your arcade joystick and monitor inside this handsome arcade-style cabinet.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Xtension-Arcade ... vi-content
That gets a bit expensive though.
What if you want to run retro emulators on a portable system?
Sony's PSP, with a little hacking, supports various emulators, although I hear that the SNES doesn't work as well as you'd think - a common problem with the SNES for some reason. Since PSPs are common enough to be cheap, this may be your best handheld retro gaming option.
There's also the matter of the Android-based handheld JXD S7300, which is all about gaming.
http://lightake.com/detail.do/sku.JXD_S ... 4AodUx8AHQ
Then there's the GCW Zero, a handheld, open-source console designed to run various retro game emulators. It's not clear yet if they're going to deliver or just be a scam, but they should be releasing pretty soon.
A Chinese company, Dingoo, makes a cheap 4GB handheld running various emulators. But I hear the 16-bit emulation in particular is wonky and Neo Geo's bad too. If it had better software it could compete better with the PSP. So of course various programmers on the net have worked on that, using a Linux-based system to run better emulators. For the price you could certainly do a lot worse.
http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Dingoo-A320-Bla ... /101801991
The Neo Geo X is a similar handheld, running an emulation of the NEO GEO system for $200. The emulation is not perfect and the price is higher than other handhelds, so it's not really worth it, although I hear good things about the handheld joystick, and the arcade-style joystick, which are included. Reviewers recommended sticking with the PSP or other systems. It does come with various NEO GEO games and can be hacked to run other games, since it uses modified SD cards for storage.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/22356594?wmls ... la&veh=sem