Is it time we hit replay on gaming history?

For nine years, console company Analogue has been helping people rediscover gaming’s past, and highlighting its hugely creative heritage along the way. We met its founder to discuss what makes the history of game play so fascinating, and why it goes far beyond nostalgia

“I’m somebody who hates nostalgia,” says Analogue founder Christopher Taber. It’s an unexpected statement for someone who’s spent the last decade building a business around ‘vintage’ games consoles. Analogue designs and produces new versions of historic systems, such as the Sega Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo, that both look and play like the original thing.

Not only do owners get a similarly tactile experience, they have the chance to reconnect with a whole catalogue of historic games. In the past, if games enthusiasts wanted to play these older titles – and didn’t have the console and cartridge – they had to download emulator software that would allow their computer to mimic the original system. Not only was this legally dubious, it meant the game experience was less than optimal.

“Emulating old electronics in any respect, whether video games or not, is really difficult,” explains Taber. “When it comes to video games it’s more problematic because of how many games there are, and the many different ways they were developed to interface with the original hardware. When you play games on an emulator, you run into all sorts of issues – sound quality, glitches, things not represented the right way, things crashing.”

Top image: Sega game cartridges; above: Analogue’s Mega Sg