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Jon C-B

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24th April, 2010 at 03:07:48 -

I was wondering what you guys think makes a game feel retro? Graphics wise, sound wise, that sort of stuff. Thanks

 
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UrbanMonk

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24th April, 2010 at 05:08:50 -

Pixels double sized, and beep-y sounds.

Less colors too.

 
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24th April, 2010 at 05:15:01 -

Just take a look at the old 80/90s games, and make the game design/mechanics/rules similar. The important thing is to not include any of the mechanics that may have appeared later in that genre (even if they improved the genre), for instance look at the differences between Wolfenstein and Modern Warefare 2 or Gradius and Dodonpachi Dai-Fukkatsu.
And if you want the game to also be retro in aesthetics then you just make the graphics/sounds in a similar style to the old 80/90s games.

 
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24th April, 2010 at 05:18:30 -

They also generally have a highly responsive feel to them I think. Retro games generally are very snappy to respond. This is contributed a lot by fewer animation frames.

 
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AndyUK

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24th April, 2010 at 05:41:56 -

The vast majority of games in the 70's 80's and early 90's were either arcade games, arcade conversions or styled on an existing arcade game.

So aiming for gameplay over graphics is the way to go I guess. Fast action is a factor all the good ones had too because arcade games should not bore people.

There did seem to be the idea that every game should give the player 3 lives and have some sort of score to display the player's progress in a game.

Also the better games always had the kind of mechanics that would give up their secrets over time so more experienced players could get further. Say for instance a person playing pacman for a long time will start to notice how the ghosts move and be able to move accordingly whereas a newer player will just charge about and die more often in the process. Something like Bubble Bobble had tons of secrets like the ending digits of the players score determining what powerup will appear in the next screen. Not randomness but something experienced players can take advantage of.

Sound wise? well, I'm sure we all know what arcades sound like.

But really there aren't any particularly consistent styles that made games retro, there have been plenty of different systems made all with their own quirks that changed what the games looked and sounded like. Not to mention the programmers, artists, musicians own styles.

 
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Jon C-B

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24th April, 2010 at 22:02:59 -

Ok thanks guys. I'm going to restrict the color palette, hoe many colors do you think is a good amount?

 
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Hayo

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24th April, 2010 at 22:08:13 -

Stick to a set 256 colour palette and don't use more than 6 colours in a single object. Also keep things small-ish and tiled.

 
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Jon C-B

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24th April, 2010 at 22:19:26 -

K thanks but when I switched it to 256 nothing happened. But does the color palette change in the graphics editor?

 
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26th April, 2010 at 04:46:37 -

If you really want to go retro, use just 16 colors

 
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26th April, 2010 at 16:23:23 -

The sound should match the graphics. If you use Atari graphics, you should be using Atari sounds.

The graphics should still be detailed, but within the constraints of a palette.

The human eye can tell when thousands of colors are being used. By keeping to the palette you force the brain into "that mode".

There tended to be more of a sense of humor back then -- and great attention to detail. As always; game play counts, so consider good use of a simple control scheme.

Music back then tended to be more melodic. It should use similar sounds to those used to make game sound effects.

 
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