The Feria de Madrid has just hosted one of the biggest events for gamers and video game enthusiasts in Spain: Madrid Games Week 2013. This first edition organized by IFEMA gathered together some of the biggest companies in the video games industry. Among them were Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft, Activision-Blizzard, Namco Bandai Games, Electronic Arts, Nintendo and GAME.
This highly anticipated fair featured several innovations that attracted gamers from all over Spain, such as the presentation of the PS4 and Xbox One in the stands of the giants Sony and Microsoft, and the chance to try their newest and most exclusive games, many of which are not yet on sale. Although the areas of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo were the most popular, Mountain obtained a permanent queue of gamers, formed by enthusiastic youngsters eagerly waiting to try the new Oculus Rift—a virtual reality device that will be released in 2014 and is expected to cause a revolution in the gaming industry.
The new value of retro gaming
Among the long queues at Mountain, Sony and Microsoft to try future consoles with the latest games and most advanced graphics, a small crowd of young gamers (and some not so young) gathered around a smaller stand; a stand in which neither the stunning graphics of the PS4 nor the Xbox’s intense Call Of Duty competitions dominated the attention of the visitors. It was the stand of RetroMadrid, the section of the show dedicated to the nostalgic, classic gamers—the lovers of the so-called and nearly forgotten eight and 16-bit.
Here, what matters is not the graphics, nor the size or the quality of the platform, but the game itself and the historical value of consoles which have played their part in an industry that, in very few years, has changed and revolutionized our concept of entertainment.
In this stand, RetroMadrid exhibited older consoles such as the popular Sega Mega Drive, the ZX Spectrum or the Super Nintendo. The exhibition offered visitors an exceptional opportunity to experience classic gaming and see how this industry has changed and evolved in a few years and how much it can still change. Legendary games like Tetris, Pac-Man or the first Sonic proudly showed off their pixelated graphics on a range of hardware not far off celebrating its 30th birthday.
Going back to the origins of the game
Although small and insignificant next to the PS4 and Xbox One launches, RetroMadrid’s booth attracted the attention of older visitors, who nostalgically recalled the enthusiasm with which they had played those same consoles during their childhood, as well as the attention of younger visitors, awed by the simplicity of the first games.
RetroMadrid also made hundreds of games and consoles available for sale at their booth, and prepared a full program of talks and lectures on the exposed material. These games have acquired, in recent years, a new popularity in the entertainment industry, a trend that has been demonstrated by the recent cinematic success Break It Ralph, a tribute to the retro game, or in the documentary The King of Kong : A Fistful of Quarters, released in 2007.
The RetroMadrid stand left me with a strong impression of the revolutionary concepts that the first consoles introduced, and how they have evolved since then. It is only obvious that the gaming industry has not yet reached its zenith and that in less time than one might think, new entertainment technologies will have transformed the industry into something that even the most dedicated of gamers wouldn’t be able to foresee.