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Ready Scholar One

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Some old games are being reimagined as television shows, movies, and mobile apps; even their soundtracks are sometimes revived for orchestral performance. But these adaptations require looking at how these games fit into the present moment. For instance, in the 1980s, the popular title The Oregon Trail taught millions of American kids how hard it was to settle the west without dying of dysentery. But the game has since been criticized for celebrating the destruction of the environment and the defeat of indigenous peoples. The developers of a more recent version tried to address these concerns. Review the following examples, then discuss with your team: which of them would you suggest redesigning to address similar concerns before being rereleased today?

In the nearly 40 years since Tetris was invented, it has sold more than 520 million copies worldwide and been downloaded over 615 million times on mobile devices alone. It is so popular that in 1994, writer Jeffrey Goldsmith coined the term the Tetris Effect to explain the psychological phenomenon that occurs when people devote so much time and attention to something that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams. Tetris, a new Apple TV+ movie streaming March 31, 2023,  explores the true story behind the late 1980s legal battle that led to the classic video game becoming an international phenomenon. The Cold War-era thriller, directed by Jon S. Baird and written by Noah Pink, follows Henk Rogers (played by Taron Egerton), a Dutch game designer who, after learning about Tetris at a 1988 Las Vegas tradeshow, traveled to Moscow to secure the game’s licensing rights from behind the Iron Curtain. In Moscow Rogers met Alexey Pajitnov (played by Nikita Efremov), a software engineer at the Soviet Academy of Sciences who created the original Tetris on a rudimentary Electronika 60 computer. 

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The movie accurately portrays how Tetris was ported to the IBM PC in 1985 and began to spread throughout the Soviet Union. Enters Hungarian businessman Robert Stein (played by Toby Jones) who tries to secure the computer rights to the game for his company, Andromeda Software. Miscommunication over the Soviet licensing process led Stein to prematurely sell the PC version of Tetris to Spectrum HoloByte, the American arm of British video game publisher Mirrorsoft, without having a contract with the Russians. Of course, Tetris computer game was released to instant acclaim. Finally in 1988, Stein did get the rights to Tetris for the PC, but excluded the rights to handheld consoles and arcades. At the same time, Rogers landed a deal with Nintendo, and that year Nintendo launched its legendary Gameboy and Tetris was the first game on it!  

 

A tense three-way battle over the rights to the game ensued between Rogers, Stein, and Mirrorsoft owner Robert Maxwell. After a series of complicated negotiations made all the more fraught by Soviet-era tensions, Elorg ultimately granted the rights for Tetris console and handheld games to Rogers for distribution by Nintendo. Following Tetris‘s world premiere at South by Southwest earlier this month, both Rogers and Pajitnov said during a post-screening panel discussion that the movie accurately portrayed their lives during that time period.

Video games on smartphones need to capture the essence of the original video game and add unique features of smartphones to make it truly attractive as a convenient and compelling gaming experience. Simply putting it on the phone is not enough.

#10 Super Mario Run

The mustachioed plumber, who defined a generation of gamers, made his way to smartphones with Super Mario Run. This side-scrolling platformer combines the charm of the original Super Mario Bros. with a fresh twist designed specifically for mobile devices, including tap controls for one-handed game play.

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#9 Bully Anniversary Edition

In Bully: Anniversary Edition, players step into the shoes of mischievous teenager Jimmy Hopkins in this mobile adaptation of the cult classic game by Rockstar Games. Set in a boarding school, this open-world adventure allows players to navigate the social hierarchy, pull pranks, attend classes, and engage in epic battles with rival students. Mobile version features enhanced graphics, intuitive touch controls, and new multiplayer mini-games.

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#8 Pokemon Go

Fans of all ages can remember the excitement of catching and collecting Pokemon in their childhood, and Pokemon Go revolutionized mobile gaming, blending augmented reality with the beloved franchise. This game takes on a real-world adventure, allowing player to capture Pokemon creatures using their smartphone's GPS and camera.

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#7 The Sims

The Sims is famous for allowing you to construct distinctive simulated characters, tailor their looks, and navigate them through diverse stages of life. With the ability to design and embellish dream homes, foster relationships, pursue careers, and embark on thrilling escapades, the mobile adaptation preserves the enchantment and complexity of the venerated franchise.

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#6 Pac-Man

This iconic maze-chomping game took the world by storm in the 1980s. The mobile version faithfully captures the essence of the original, with engrossing gameplay, power pellets, and those pesky ghosts relentlessly chasing after you. Players can now challenge friends for high scores, reviving the competitive spirit that made Pac-Man a cultural phenomenon. 

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#5 Minecraft

Minecraft, now thrives on smartphones. With touch controls that seamlessly translate the game's mechanics, they can mine precious resources, build magnificent structures, and battle fearsome creatures of the night, all from the palm of their hand.

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#4 Tetris 

Prepare to fall in love with Tetris all over again as the classic puzzle game seamlessly transitions to smartphones. The familiar block-stacking gameplay remains as hypnotic as ever, now with touchscreen controls that are surprisingly intuitive.

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#3 RollarCoaster Tycoon Touch 

Players can fulfill their dream of building and managing their very own amusement park with RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch on their smartphone. The game allows players to construct hair-raising roller coasters, design scenic landscapes, and create a wide range of attractions to keep virtual visitors entertained. From managing finances to optimizing park layouts, this re-imagined classic offers a deep and immersive experience, making them strive to become the ultimate theme park tycoon. 

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#2 Street Fighter

This re-imagined classic brings the intense battles and iconic characters of the Street Fighter series to the app store. Players can execute powerful combos, perform special moves, and engage in epic one-on-one matches against opponents from around the world. With stunning visuals and surprisingly precise controls, this mobile adaptation delivers a console-like fighting experience. 

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#1 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

This Step into the shoes of Carl "CJ" Johnson and experience the criminal underworld of San Andreas once again in this mobile adaptation of the legendary GTA entry. With an expansive open world, immersive storytelling, and memorable missions, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas delivers this action-packed experience all on your smartphone.

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Ultima V is one of the early and popular RPG video games. Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny is the fifth entry in the role-playing video game series Ultima released in March 1988. It is the second in the "Age of Enlightenment" trilogy. The game's story takes a darker turn from its predecessor Ultima IV. Britannia's king Lord British is missing, replaced by a tyrant named Lord Blackthorn. The player must navigate a totalitarian world bent on enforcing its virtues through draconian means. The nostalgic fan reminisces about playing it non-stop. 

The original score by Kennith W. Arnold is an excellent example of a compelling soundtrack made with a limited sound palette. Here the original video game version.  Very retro!

The Oregon Trail is a series of educational computer games. The first game was originally developed by Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger in 1971 and produced by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) in 1974. The original game was designed to teach 8th grade schoolchildren about the realities of 19th-century pioneer life on the Oregon Trail. The player assumes the role of a wagon leader guiding a party of settlers from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon's Willamette Valley via a covered wagon in 1848. Along the way the player must purchase supplies, hunt for food, and make choices on how to proceed along the trail while encountering random events such as storms and wagon breakdowns. The original versions of the game contain no graphics, as they were developed for computers that used teleprinters instead of computer monitors.  Although the earliest version of The Oregon Trail was created in 1971, it was the 1985 Apple II version that first introduced most of the features that people now associate with the game.

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The classic game got an upgrade in 2021 with Gameloft and most critics are happy with the improvements. The Oregon Trail inspired a whole generation of gamers when it was first adopted into American public schools through Apple II back in the 1980s. Over the years, it has been negatively criticized as promoting imperialism, ignoring environment issues and most of all not painting the right historical picture in regard to Native American.  (Highly recommend everyone watch the BrainPop video about Trail of Tears).  The new version has significant upgrades that made it educational and fun. Available on Nintendo Switch it is edutainment for a new generation of gamers interested in the Wild West. 

First, the game improved on its character features, by including features and skills. Additionally, the roadmap is also more dynamic featuring historical landmarks, geographic terrain, and campsites. You have greater control

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over your destiny, so advancing in the game is not based on just luck. Additionally, Native Americans appear as NPCs and also you can play in their shoes. Although it is still a game, it does include educational content about historical events, figures, and natural elements that adds to gamers' understanding of the historical period in time. Overall, compared to other kill or rob games, it offers a more educated experience by giving players a glimpse into the American West during the 1800s, including gorgeous graphics, scenic background, and appropriate music.  

 

To ensure the game was sensitive to Native American issues, it hired three Indigenous studies scholars who advised the development team, aimed to “bring a new level of respectful representation to the game.” Do you feel more games should do that? And games that do not, are they promoting a false perspective of history?

Seven Cities of Gold

This game is set in the Age of Exploration! The player is put into the shoes of Christopher Columbus, organizing and managing his expedition to the Americas. Composed of managing your crew, sailing the seas and purchasing supplies, eventually reaching land, players encounter local settlers. This is where the game gets, “uncanny” or politically incorrect. The mini-game ensues in which the player is given a score based on how many settlers they can eliminate. Definitely, promoting imperialism, racial discrimination here. 

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Sid Meier's Pirates!

The game follows a dashing captain whose family was humiliated by the Marquis – the main antagonist of the game. Years later the player finds themselves in control of a ship, with ample opportunity for swashbuckling, wooing maidens, and finding buried treasure. While it perfectly captures popular perception of the gentleman-pirate, it ignores all the miseries of sailing the seas – an excellent, but repetitive euphemism (putting a pleasant spin on things). It ignores the barbarity of pirates, the sanitary conditions onboard, the food - basically everything unpleasant. This is once again a case of video games glorifying certain roles for the purpose of romanticism and money of course. 

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Doom

Doom, a first-person shooter game by id Software, was released in December 1993 and it has been termed the "father" of first-person shooters The player assumes the role of a space marine, later unofficially referred to as Doomguy, fighting through hordes of undead humans and invading demons. The game begins on the moons of Mars and finishes in hell, with the player traversing each level to find its exit or defeat its final boss. It is an early example of 3D graphics in video games.  

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Doom was notorious for its high levels of graphic violence and satanic imagery, which generated controversy from a broad range of groups. Doom again sparked controversy in the United States when it was found that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, were avid players. (OMG! This is the 'so called' video game that leads to loner criminals!) While planning for the massacre, Harris said in his journal that the killing would be "like playing Doom". Harris actually designed several custom Doom levels known as the "Harris levels", which were not based on the school. So before redesigning the game, Doom developers should rethink its positioning, given today's advocates for anti-violence and fear for school shootings.

The Ghost of Tsushima

The incredulous feats that the players character overcomes are wildly inaccurate, but for the sake of game-narrative I would refrain from criticizing it – the game features many infuriating boss fights that may seem almost impossible to win after all. Just like in ‘Call of Duty’, the game gets the terrain design and general history (dates, major historical events) 

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correct. However, it also features mythical beasts from Japanese folklore, like gigantic snakes and unsightly humanoids. Conclusion: an effective springboard for those wanting to immerse themselves in the history of Tsushima Island, however, contains supernatural narratives that give no insights into the Bushido code or the society of Japan.  On March 25, 2021, Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions announced the development of a film adaptation of the game.

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Rampage

Rampage is a 1986 arcade game by Bally Midway. Players take control of a trio of gigantic monsters trying to survive against onslaughts of military forces. In the game, players control a trio of monsters: George, Lizzie, and Ralph, humans turned into creatures due to various experimental mishaps.Each round is completed when a particular city is completely reduced to rubble. Warner Bros. currently owns all rights to the property via their purchase of Midway Games. Inspired by monster films, Rampage spawned five sequels and a film adaptation in 2018. Then, a 2018 arcade reboot was made by Adrenaline Amusements for Warner Bros., based on the

2018 Rampage film. Initially released exclusively for Dave & Buster's, it includes redemption game mechanics. Film magazine Empire described the movie as quintessential Johnson project: "it sounds like a dreadful basis for a movie. And it sort of is, but it’s also sort of a lot of fun". Empire notes that the film is not as tongue-in-cheek as viewers might expect, concluding that "Rampage is big dumb fun, but not as big, dumb and fun as it could have been". It just goes to show not all video games translate well into movies. 

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Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed is a popular video game series that features real-life historical events, locations, and figures. While some details, such as architecture and clothing, are accurate, other aspects, such as the behavior of characters and portrayal of historical events, are not. This suggests that the game's developers prioritize gameplay and story over historical accuracy, which can result in the inclusion of inaccuracies in the game. Additionally, the game features fictional characters and organizations, such as the Assassins and Templars, that are not based on historical fact. The game takes creative liberties with historical

events and figures to fit the game's narrative, making it a work of historical fiction rather than a historical documentary. However, the game's inaccuracies can be seen as intentional, as the game's storyline portrays the Templars, who are often depicted as the victors, as having the power to change history to their advantage. This idea has been mentioned in the game since the first Assassin's Creed title, where the lore portrays the books as being made with Templars' supervision to brainwash the public. Therefore, the inaccuracies in the game's historical setting can be interpreted as a representation of how history can be manipulated by those in power. Despite its historical inaccuracies, Assassin's Creed provides an immersive and engaging experience set in real historical settings, making it a popular and enjoyable game for many players.  

The film based on the video game with some additional backstory about the plot underperformed at the box office, and went straight to DVD. A sequel was planned, but due to the film's negative reception and disappointing box office result, it was cancelled. It just goes to show again a super popular video game does not equal the guarantee of a successful movie.

Freedom!

Freedom! is a 1993 educational computer game developed and published by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC). Based on similar gameplay from MECC's earlier The Oregon Trail, the player assumes the role of a runaway slave in the antebellum period of American history who is trying to reach the North through the Underground Railroad. The game was developed with help of an African-American consultant who guided MECC on appropriate graphics and dialect that represented the era. It is recognized as one of the first video games dealing with the topic of slavery.

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The game was meant to be used in a school curriculum when it was released in late 1992, but most schools simply released the game to students to play without prior lessons. This led to numerous parents complaining to MECC and their schools about the racially offensive nature of the game, and threatening to sue MECC. At these meetings with parents, MECC was criticized for having "Nintendoized" slavery, in addition to the offensive imagery and slang they used in the game. While the parents did acknowledge that the Merrillville schools lacked the curriculum to support the game, they were still concerned about the subject matter of Freedom!, as "slavery was not a game in our history". Though MECC offered to make changes to alleviate these concerns, the company ultimately pulled the game from sale.

To experience the OG Oregon Trail, you won’t need to track down a floppy disk and an Apple II; you can easily find an emulation online. Explore the surprisingly active world of retrogaming. Some gamemakers are even finding success in creating games that feel like vintage ones. Discuss with your team: should people play vintage games before they play modern ones?

There’s a psychology behind our affection for retro gaming, and it’s only partly to do with nostalgia for the past. Playing older games—or games made to look retro—transport the gamer. “Playing retro games,” says Chris Schranck, aka FutureManGaming on Twitch, “you’re happy to be feeling like a kid again. As an adult, you have all these responsibilities and anxieties, and if you can just find a way to forget about that, even just for 15 minutes, it can help...It’s the nostalgia, and remembering being young again.” That’s evidenced in the games hitting the market today—“old-looking” games are finding fans in 2021. In the same way that cell phone apps are designed to be addictive and resemble the psychological mechanisms that draw people to slot machines, new games designed to look like 8-bit or 16-bit games are created to sate your appetite for nostalgia.

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Retro games have a dual appeal: Intrinsic and extrinsic properties that explain their popularity. The intrinsic aspects have to do with classic gameplay that makes it a timeless experience and extrinsic is where it’s associated with positive past experiences, in terms of people and places, making it a trigger for positive emotions. Games are also designed to trigger the pleasure response and personal identity. Many people play because they long for the experience of being a happy successful gamer as a kid.

During a global pandemic, and the subsequent three-fold increase in depression symptoms, it’s no wonder that many are finding comfort in older games and retrolooking ones. Older games instill perseverance, too, to help get through tough times. Ocean's Heart and Bit Trip Runner are two of these retro games hitting the market that feature 2-D graphics and nostalgic music that bring players back to the good old days.

When Nintendo released its Classic Mini NES in 2016, the gaming community went berserk. The Mini Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) sold out instantly due to ‘feverish demand’ and within days, scalpers were selling the console for up to nearly four times its retail price on eBay, at an average price of $230. In comparison, the Switch’s launch price was $299 in 2017. It contains 30 games made for the original NES, most of which are at least 30 years old. It was one of the first attempts of retro gaming. Such games succeed not only because of the pull of nostalgia, but also because they recreate the look and feel of older games while introducing innovative gameplay mechanics. 

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Today, titles released during the 8-bit to 16-bit period are fondly remembered as classics by older gamers, who played these games as children and are more likely to be attracted to them due to fond memories.  The average gamer is around 35-37 years old, and they are a significant part of the gaming audience. They have more disposable income and are more likely to spend frequently on gaming. The games from this 80-90s era are true classics, likely to remain relevant even when nostalgia ceases

to be a factor. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) saved the industry after the video game crash of 1983 and introduced instant classics such as Super Mario Bros (1985) and The Legend of Zelda (1986), both of which would spawn long-running game franchises. The shift from 2D to 3D, during the fifth generation, marked the when video games became mainstream.

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A modern retro game tries not only to recreate the appearance of a much older game, but also the experience of playing such a game, with innovations that can appeal even to younger gamers not necessarily looking to relieve their childhoods. Most games are designed with 2D graphics although a few notable ones are in 3D including Project Warlock (2018) and Ion Fury (2019), but try to keep the 2D aesthetics.  It began when the indie developers tried to create a niche for themselves because of the big developers’ ‘single-minded’ pursuit of high-res, photo-realistic graphics.  One example was the 2D platform adventure Cave Story by game developer, Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya, who made the game over the course of five years, mainly during his free time. The game has received widespread critical acclaim for its polished look and gameplay design, and retro inspiration. Overall, gaming is more immersive than movies, so it is easier to create that nostalgic feeling. But that is not all!

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According to The Independent, 90% of gamers will not finish modern games, partly because games now feature longer campaigns – a modern game’s campaign can take between 30-100 hours to complete. Given the complexity and length of modern video games, older gamers tend to prefer the simplicity and familiarity of a retro game that will not eat into their time. As a critic observes, contemporary multiplayer focuses on ‘destroying’ opponents, but the couch co-op games of the ’80s and ’90s were about having fun together. Retro games that allow multiplayer gaming of the older kind let people relax instead of obsessing over being the best and racking up the most kills. 

Below are some popular and the best retro games.

1) Celeste (2018) is a retro platformer with unusual mechanics – it lacks a skill progression system even as the levels get tougher. You will have to restart each level, or screen, afresh if you make a single mistake. But the game uses its difficulty to tell a compelling and emotional story about a young woman who must climb a mountain while coping with her depression and anxiety.

2) Unlike most retro-inspired games, which are usually made by indie studios, Sonic Mania (2017) was produced by Sega itself. The game allows you to control Sonic, Tails, Might, Ray, and Knuckles, each of whom have unique skills. Sonic’s new drop-dash move enables faster movement through the air, enabling new platforming strategies. The soundtrack, with its combination of remixed classics and modern tracks suited the game’s own mix of old and new. The graphics were true to the aesthetics of the Sega

Genesis, but still looked great on modern displays.

3) The Messenger (2018) is an intense 2D side scroller that lets you play as a deadly Ninja who initially goes through various linear levels to combat a boss. But that is when the game throws a twist at you: the Ninja gains special powers that enable him to explore the past and present, presented in 8-bit and 16-bit styles. The Messenger is not a linear game at all, but a game inspired by the Metroidvania gaming genre, which uses guided non-linearity to encourage exploration. 

4) Emulating the top-down shooters of the third and fourth console generations, Enter the Gungeon (2016) is a rogue-like title with a high difficulty level filled with creative gun designs. The procedurally generated levels follow an internal logic (going deeper into the game) that results in true novelty, rather than slight variations of the same thing, increasing replay value.

5) Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (2018) is perhaps a game that is too close to its inspirations. Heavily influenced by the Castlevania series, the game painstakingly recreates the 8-bit aesthetic and the slow-paced action of the NES classic Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989).  While some people like the gradual scaling in difficulty, this is a case where retro might be straight copying. 

6) Shovel Knight comes closest to perfectly recreating an 8-bit game and its art style counts almost as a faithful forgery. The game’s developers – Yacht Club Games – recreated many elements of a classic 2D side-scroller, including ‘parallax’ scrolling – the backgrounds of side-scrolling games can suggest a 3D space by shifting different layers at different speeds.

7) The 2D RPG Undertale (2015), was also lauded as game of the year by many publications.  Many of the games feature widely-acclaimed music, Undertale is the most streamed video game soundtrack on Spotify as of May 2022.  Undertale leaves it up to the player to decide whether they want to kill or spare enemies, creating three distinct playstyles pacifist (with no kills), neutral (with some kills) and genocide (all kills). Your play style even determines what content you will see – an iconic battle with one of the game’s toughest enemies (accompanied by one of gaming’s most popular tunes) (hear it! It's funny!) is unlocked only if you choose the genocide playthrough.

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Explore kusoge—old video games that are sought out by gamers because they are broken, incoherent, or poor in quality. Other lower-quality technologies, from Polaroids and obsolete digital cameras to audio cassettes and low-fi beats, are also finding success with modern consumers. A few directors are even downscaling their shows to look more retro. Discuss with your team: what factors explain why some old products become popular again while others don’t?

In Japanese video gaming, a kusoge, literally 'crappy game', is an unenjoyable or poorly made video game. Though the label is usually applied disparagingly, there is a subculture of celebrating kusoge. The term kusogē is a portmanteau of kuso  'poop') and gēmu, a loanword from English. Though it is commonly attributed to illustrator Jun Miura. "Kusoge" is in essence a mocking term, and is typically used to recommend against a video game. Nonetheless, a subculture that 

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celebrates kusoge and seeks them out has established itself. They like how it is broken, odd, or absurd. It was originally published in Japanese gaming magazine Used Game, in a column called 'Gourmet Club Stupid Games Course'. In the fighting game community, kusoge typically refers to fighting games that are severely unbalanced for competitive play through design mistakes or bugs, which can lead to ridiculous strategies, and thus these games are considered funny and not just bad.

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Whether it be because of nostalgia, a new market or just self-expression, the infamous grainy images have made a huge comeback — letting us know that maybe things don't always have to be picture perfect.

Polaroid first declared bankruptcy in 2001. By 2008, the company stopped producing instant film, the product that had once carried their massive profits throughout the 1980s and ‘90s. The age of digital photography had arrived, and Polaroid was doomed. Or is it so?

Nostalgia is  powerful business The numbers of the instant film and analog media revival are staggering. Fujifilm, the new undisputed king of instant film, sold 3.5 million units of their Instax cameras in 2019, up from a measly 100,000 units in 2004. It’s no coincidence that vinyl shares this trajectory, with overall units sold going from approximately 1 million in 2005 to 27.5 million in 2020. But why?

Polaroids are grainy and but is also part of the allure. It forces photographers to step back and think about their composition. (like drawing with crayon?) Analogue photography (non-digital) is still popular and sought after because it is tangible and people enjoy nostalgia. In fact, there are dozens of apps that “Polaroid” your pictures are used to take high definition, digital photos and turn them into something reminiscent of that ever-nostalgic instant film aesthetic. It's a new way for Gen Z to express their individuality. 

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Digital cameras from the early 2000s are becoming must-have gadgets for many young people because of a burgeoning trend online. Search traffic for old kit on online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy is on the rise. And in the past 12 months, videos with the hashtag #digitalcamera have amassed more than 220 million views on TikTok. EBay UK told the BBC the last three months of 2022 saw increases in people seeking the devices. This included a 13% rise in search traffic for "vintage digital camera", and a 52% rise for "refurbished camera".

Katie Glasgow, 25, lives in Brooklyn, New York and calls herself "the oldest possible Gen Z". She has also been using her parents' old kit to make images and video. "It looks like memories, because it's blurry and imperfect. It looks more like how we remember things," she said. Paul Greenwood, head of research and insight at the creative agency We Are Social, said it was a "natural cycle" where when people hit their 20s "they become nostalgic for the cultural touchstones of their youth". Bottom line, people just want to feel more authentic.

Sales of cassettes in the UK have reached their highest level since 2003, following vinyl records in a small, nostalgia-fuelled resurgence. Five readers told the Guardian why they prefer to listen to supposedly obsolete tapes. In short, people are buying retro gadgets and consuming nostalgic for different reasons: scarcity, connection with children, quality and habit, remembrance, and creative outlet.

1) Dan White 40:  "Buying a cassette direct from an independent artist on platforms such as Bandcamp is such a fun way to consume music. Often produced in very small runs, it is nice to receive something though the post that is relatively scarce. In these days of Spotify funnelling payments only to the superstars, it feels good to support small artists and labels. The magic of a cassette is that you have no way to skip tracks; you press ‘play’ and listen from start to finish with only the satisfying thud of one side ending to interrupt the experience."

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2) Elisabeth Stagg 38: “There seems to be a huge 90s revival in fashion and classic TV from when I was a kid. My daughter, 12, has had a cassette player bought for her birthday, and is now listening to all the music I did growing up, including Bon Jovi and Aerosmith tapes."

3) Tim 50: "Cassettes, though – and I know this is technically wrong – sound as though they have much more depth than the CDs. I’ve tried one after the other and believe I can hear a better sound from the cassette. "

4) Carol 55: ““My big brother died a few years ago and I have some of the tapes of his that I nicked from him when we were teenagers...The machine I’m currently using was supplied by my partner and has extra big buttons designed for sight-impaired folk, or elderly folk such as myself."

5) Charles Daniels: "I like to create my own music and collaborate with others. After rediscovering the atmosphere and sound of cassettes, I abandoned recording on to my laptop or PC and began using straight-to-audio cassette. I found this focused jam sessions. No longer would me and my friends just endlessly twiddle about for hours thinking."

Characteristics of low-fi music: 

1) “Lo-fi” itself can apply across genres, as the term speaks to how music is recorded. This includes environmental sounds that make it onto the track, like kids playing outside or the rustling of papers. These can be combined with other intentional sounds that feel “like [you're] hearing music come through the walls.”

2) Familiarity is comforting, as is nostalgia — another feeling that hip hop lo-fi might stir up in a listener. Most of these songs rely on a base and snare combination called boom bap, a hip hop sound invented in the 80s that is still associated with the era.

3) Lo-fi music can be therapeutic as it helps patients deal with stress. That sense of control in lo-fi listening might explain why some music therapists tap into this genre. 

Overall, lo-fi is related to a growing hip hop culture that was particularly strong during the pandemic. 

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The fuzz and crackle over Lo-Fi music's familiar beats evokes emotions some of us are looking for right now. “Lo-fi” means “low-fidelity,” a term for music where you can hear imperfections that would typically be considered errors in the recording process. Hi-fi is short for high-fidelity audio, where a piece of recorded audio is meant to sound identical to the original sound, without distortions. Lo-fi is the opposite, meaning low fidelity. Some lo-fi tracks are the result of lower quality equipment, but there is also intentionally lo-fi music.

​​Lo-Fi’s awesome convenience and accessibility

  • Distortion, noise, and the use of unconventional mixing techniques.

  • Lack of refinement, producing music that is simplistic in structure and composition.

  • Deliberate use of imperfections, misplayed notes, or incomplete range of music notes.

  • Simpler and more direct rhythm than normal music.

  • The use of one or a few instruments rather than a full orchestration or a complex soundstage.

  • Low-fidelity music is free and available on several platforms, delivered in MP3 format and usually compressed at 192 Kbps.

  • Lo-Fi music comes in numerous sub-genres: in the form of Hip-Hop, Chill, Post-Rock, Jazz, Downtempo, and many more. Its modern definition is the mix of Hip Hop and Electronic beats featuring an easy-listening mood and instrumentals.

​​Hi-Fi music is more thorough and requires more digital storage

  • Natural, faithful, and clean recording of the sounds without deviating from the original musical performance.

  • High-quality recording equipment used with the help of a professional sound engineer.

  • High sampling rate and high bitrate audio quality. A high sampling rate is the number of samples per second recorded, and a higher sample rate offers a more accurate representation of the original sound.

  • Increased complexity, coherence, and maturity of the audio.

  • Complex rhythms and fine sampling of instruments, offering a clear and balanced sound.

  • Balanced instrumentation, as well as well-developed arrangements.

  • Use of multiple layers that are edited together to produce a rounded sound and full instrumentation.

  • Full array of music notes (bass, mid, treble), with no clipping and minimal popping, artifacts, distortion, or background noise.

  • Standard mixing techniques, high attention to detail, and quality control throughout the production cycle.

  • In some cases, downloading Hi-Fi music is unnecessary as the high-res files are restricted by the small and low quality of the audio source or may hinder the limited memory of an Apple device.

Ashita no Joe: Fighting for Tomorrow is a Japanese boxing manga series written by Asao Takamori and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba. The story follows a young man named Joe Yabuki and his boxing career as a Bantamweight. It has been adapted into various media, including the Megalo Box anime, a futuristic reimagining of the original that was made as a part of the 50th anniversary of Tomorrow's Joe.

Megalo Box: Ashita no Joe‘s 50th anniversary commemoration project has been catching lots of attention due to its impactful

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old-sc​hool vibe, but it’s also been a source of misunderstandings due to its unique aesthetic. The most impressive aspect of this first episode, besides its confidence to let its world do half the talking, comes down to series director Yoh Moriyama. 

 

Set in late 21st century Japan where boxers wear exoskeletons to fight, the narrative focuses on an underground fighter only known by his ring name Junk Dog, who decides to enter into a boxing competition called Megalonia, in order to defeat the champion, Yūri. Ever since the early stages of the project, director Moriyama simply couldn’t envision a series like this with the crisp visuals you’d get in a new anime nowadays. And as he admits, the answer they arrived to was intentionally roughening up the visuals, not really to go along with the gritty art direction as has been speculated, but explicitly to make it feel like an old production. Since Moriyama thought that simply overlaying a bunch of grain effects on it would be harsh on the eye, they also intentionally downscaled the footage and then upscaled it back – hence why many people have gotten the feeling that it feels like SD material, which it technically is despite the assets originally being produced as if it were a regular high-definition title.

Procrastinate for a few minutes by watching “old-timey” YouTube, in which creators demonstrate pre-historic fire-making, 18th century breakfast recipes, and 19th century blacksmithing. Discuss with your team: what things that we take for granted as modern today will be the subject of old-timey YouTube in 20 years—or in 100?

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One of the best sites on YouTube are the ones that teach you how people survived centuries ago. For example John Plant, the YouTuber behind channel Primitive Technology demonstrate to the audience how to start a fire and his video with no special editing has over 43 million views. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and many people are searching up how folks do things in ancient times, from brushing teeth to extract starch to weaving a basket from willow. The best ones live the experience with you, such as Bernadette Banner, a super popular YouTuber who studies clothes made during the medieval times. Another super cool one BBC miniseries is Secrets of the Castle by Ruth, Peter and Tom.

This type of learning is called Experimental learning - the academic method of learning about daily life in the past. While there are more historical documentation about legislation, military commanders and feasts eaten by king, the lives of common people are rarely recorded in great detail.  Many aspects are learned in living history museums such as Colonial Williamsburg or now a days through info-taining videos by historical experts.

 

Johnathan Townsend has been in the business of selling things to historical reenactments since 1973. He began making videos to explain antique things to a modern audience and gradually it shifted to a old-timey 18th century cooking show.  One funny coincidence was him making a desert called Orange Fool and it happened to be the same day that Donald Trump tweeted himself attacking CNN. These historical channel YouTubers discovered that YouTube with is videos and comments section was the most appropriate channel to educate the public compared to Instagram with only photos and text. Even though a lot of has to do with nostalgia, most of all they believe there is something about the past to teach the present in terms techniques, especially about repurposing waste. One interesting example Plant says, "wood ash used as cement, can also be applied to modern problems, like slag from aluminium factory used in ceramic." 

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Speaking of old-timey: long before digital computers, there were analogue ones such as the antikythera mechanism—which the Greeks used to predict astronomical phenomena—and Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Explore with your team: did such early devices have impacts on their societies in any way like that computers have had on our own?

Divers exploring a Roman shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901 found the remains of a baffling device. Fifty years later scholars slowly began to unlock its ancient mystery. The Antikythera mechanism is the oldest known scientific calculator. A complex arrangement of over 30 gears could determine with remarkable precision the position of the sun, moon and planets, predict eclipses and track the dates of Olympic Games. This remarkable 2,000-year-old device has revolutionized our understanding of the ancient Greeks’ abilities—both their scientific acumen and their craftsmanship. 

In 2005, a team from Cardiff University used computer x-ray tomography and high resolution scanning to image inside fragments of the crust-encased mechanism and read the faintest inscriptions that once covered the outer casing. This suggests it had 37 meshing bronze gears enabling it to follow the movements of the Moon and the Sun through the zodiac, to predict eclipses and to model the irregular orbit of the Moon, where the Moon's velocity is higher in its perigee than in its apogee. This motion was studied in the 2nd century BC by astronomer Hipparchus of Rhodes, and he may have been consulted in the machine's construction. There is speculation that a portion of the mechanism is missing and it calculated the positions of the five classical planets. The inscriptions were further deciphered in 2016, revealing numbers connected with the synodic cycles of Venus and Saturn. Machines with similar complexity did not appear again until the astronomical clocks of Richard of Wallingford in the 14th century. 

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Although the movie "Indian Jones and the Dial of Destiny" (sci-fi history plot about ancient Greeks inventing time travel) credits the mechanism to Archimedes as the site was close to Syracuse the home of Archimedes's school, but there is no firm evidence and historians are still figuring it out. Since its discovery, several exhibitions have been staged worldwide, leading to the main "Antikythera shipwreck" exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

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Charles Babbage (1791–1871) was an English mathematician and inventor. He is credited with designing the first digital automatic computer, which contained all the essential concepts found in the ones we use today.

Born in London, Charles Babbage studied at Trinity College Cambridge. There, he first had the idea of mechanically calculating mathematical tables. In 1823, the government support him to design a projected machine, the Difference Engine, with a 20-decimal capacity. Like modern computers, it could store data for later processing. Charles began developing the mechanical engineering techniques but the full room-sized engine was never built as the metalworking techniques of the era were not precise enough and too costly.

By the mid-1830s, Charles had plans for an improved and more complex design: the Analytical Engine, the precursor of the modern digital computer, which was capable of arithmetical operation based on instructions from punched cards, a memory unit to store numbers, sequential control, and many other basics found in present-day computers. The project was far more advanced than anything that had ever been built before — with a memory unit large enough to hold 1,000 50-digit numbers. It was intended to be steam-driven and run by one attendant. In 1843, Charles Babbage’s friend mathematician Ada Lovelace published a paper explaining how the engine could perform a sequence of calculations and it became the world's first computer program.

The Analytical Engine, however, was never completed. The ambitious design was, once again, difficult to implement. In 1991, British scientists built the Difference Engine No. 2 — accurate to 31 digits — to Charles’ specifications. Their success indicates that his idea would have worked. In 2000, the printer for the Difference Engine was also built.

The knowledge of each generations rests of the shoulders of the past. While these early computers were drastically different from our modern ones, the concepts and ingenuity inspired modern scientists to find new solutions. The end products achieved the vision of the past, but also led to new unexpected implications. Broadening our vision and potential, history is a prologue to the present and what happens is yet to be known.

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