Central New York, Technology, Things to do

RetroGameCon 2016: Enjoying Games from the Past

Broadcast & Digital Journalism major, Class of 2017. NCC Newscast from 11/7/2016. This is an original story written, shot and edited for the NCC News 4:45PM broadcast done in BDJ 465 at Syracuse University. All video was originally shot.

Video Games Have Come A Long Way Since Atari's Pong in 1974

By Aaron Scheinblum – Syracuse, NY

Video games have come a long way since Atari’s Pong in 1974.

But believe it or not, the older games are still popular in the gaming community.

These days, some video games look so realistic it’s like being right in the driver’s seat or thrown in the middle of a battle. But at this gaming convention, it’s all about remembering and appreciating the games from the past.

A look inside the main convention hall at RetroGameCon 2016 at the OnCenter in Syracuse, NY on Sunday, November 6, 2016. The event provided an opportunity for gamers of all ages a chance to reminisce and learn about the foundations of video gaming.

The OnCenter in Syracuse hosted RetroGameCon 2016, the fourth time the annual event has been held. It provides a chance to remember guys like Mario, and for video gamers young and not-so-young to come together with their shared passion.

“Syracuse didn’t have anything like this,” says John Franz, the Director of RetroGameCon 2016 and an avid video-gamer since Atari 2600 was released (he’ll let you do the math). “Our general idea is we kind of want to do something like that, but we want to make ours better,” Franz says.

Some gamers like Franz have been playing as long as they can remember. “Pretty much most of my life,” Franz says.

And some are just beginning.

RetroGameCon 2016 is clearly an opportunity for all to remember the older games that some of us grew up with. But it’s also an opportunity for the younger generation to learn about these games they may have missed.

“People my age will have kids that they want to bring out and say: ‘Hey, this is what your dad was playing when I was a little kid, and it’s fun, give it a try,'” says Franz.

Many of these gamers firmly remember the first games they remember playing when they were growing up, but considering how realistic some of these newer games look, Franz reminded that how a game looks does not determine how great a game actually is.

“Graphics and modernity is not the thing that makes a game great,” Franz says. “A lot of these old video games are designed and the gameplay is literally the best that exists. Just because something’s old doesn’t mean it isn’t fun: it’s great.”

An estimated 155 million Americans play video games more than three hours a week. And some schools like the University of California – Irvine offer full athletic scholarships for competitive video gaming. Syracuse University, so far, does not have a gaming team.

The video game industry today is worth nearly one-hundred billion dollars worldwide.

Call of Duty, anyone?