From the Histories of Videogames series
Day 2 of Festivaletteratura’s Histories of Videogames saw Andrea Babich and Fabio Bortolotti, also known as Kenobisboch Productions, bring something unusual to the table, retrogaming. When Festivaletteratura started to create a digital archive of the previous editions, there was a process of memorization and conservation of materials in order for them to be always accessible in the future. A concept that is remarkably similar to the ideas behind retrogaming.
The speakers reminded the audience us that Proust himself considered memory to be something vitally important to every human being (let’s not forget his madeleines), a hint that the direction that retrogaming is taking. Now more than ever, when many members of the audience being of the generation that is old enough to have grown up playing videogames and maybe even to get tired of them, the art of keeping those memories alive isn’t something that can be ignored.
Retrogaming – defined here as playing games that may be 30 or 40 years old - is the testimony to a medium that is capable of communicating with its own past, creating fertile ground for the generation of something that is constantly updated and refreshed. This could begin, for example, with the cultural and social legacy of the penny arcade, as well as the narrative patterns that hide between the script lines of every videogame.
When the authors explain that, as a matter of fact, nothing much has changed regarding the strategies behind coding and creating a game since the dawn of this craft, but that the technology has improved so much that, looking back at the accomplishments of videogame history, it becomes easy to see how the bar has always been rising and that it is likely to keep on doing so.But this can only be confirmed in a hands on experiment, so the ball is passed to the audience, in the celebratory atmosphere of Festivaletteratura, played classics such as Circus Charlie, Donkey Kong, Gyruss or Bubble Bobble. Now, as has become evident to game designers, videogames addicts and curious laypeople alike, retrogaming didn’t just fall from the sky, on some tech enthusiast’s whim, but it is rather an important and emerging form of understanding the past, and consequently the future, of a medium that has finally found its feet.