Given the raw processing power at our fingertips these days, why is it that we hold dear those games with pixelated graphics, 8 bit sound, and only two buttons? Some would hold it to nostalgia, of the classic games of our youth. Super Mario Bros is something that most of us would know from our childhoods, and would happily play again given some free time. Some attribute it to sheer game design. They accuse modern games of overlooking gameplay in favour of graphics and marketing, preferring the simple and intuitive controls offered by having only a few buttons.
However, these factors are not enough by themselves. Nostalgia cannot be the answer, as gamers explore old games they have never tried before, and many newer games deliberately use 8 bit technology. Citing the recently released (Sept 08) Megaman 9 as an example, its cover is made to be purposely retro, and it even includes graphical glitches from older technologies, such as enemies flickering when too many of them are on screen.
Game design cannot be solely responsible either, as innovative new games are undoubtedly still in production, as video gaming is seeing unprecedented levels of support from all demographics. Most gamers have a mix of old and new games in their collection to suit their tastes.
For whatever reason, it just seems that simple, pixelated, retro-games hold a certain place in our hearts. The three major consoles have all adapted their own versions of support for old games; the Wii's Virtual Console, X-Box Live Arcade, and the Playstation Network. In addition, retro enthusiasts go the extra mile and own the original systems and their cartridges for their favorite games. It is safe to say that the classics are not disappearing anytime soon.