Playing with the past

By Li Lin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/20 16:58:39

Old and vintage video games are making a comeback with Chinese young people

A Chinese player plays Stardom 2, a computer game produced by Taiwan-based company Softstar in 2000. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Li Xin, a 29-year-old sales manager based in Beijing, has long been a computer game addict. He started playing video games in the 1990s, and has played over 100 games. Over the years, he has purchased many advanced game-related equipment like a high-performance computer, Sony Play Station and VR equipment, and the games are in high definition and played on the most advanced computer you can play with.

However, he has been thinking about how to make his computer run slower. That is because the games he has been playing recently are very old, with 2D pictures and low-resolution production, and they cannot even run with the current high-performance computers.

The Stardom series, a simulation game in which gamers operate a character in order to make a superstar, was first produced in 1995. With current computers, the advanced video cards may cause blank screens and gamers must ban the 3D function on the computer to run the game.

"I am over high-definition, 3D games that are available nowadays, and I am obsessed with old ones again, like the ones produced in the 1990s and 2000s," he said. "Like the first episode of The Legend of Sword and Fairy, and the Monopoly series."

Li is not the only gamer in China who picks up the vintage games. The "old game" section on Baidu Tieba, an online community, has over 86,000 posts and more than 6,000 followers. They share old game resources and tips on how to play old games on advanced computers.

Liu Xi, a 32-year-old IT worker, has posted many times in the section, sharing old game resources and helping gamers resolve technical problems.

"I like to review the old games, which makes me relive my childhood and pick up the enthusiasm towards the games again," he said. "When I first played computer games, I was quite excited, and I can still remember the excitement I felt during the days I spent in computer game bars. Even though now I have time and money to buy many advanced games, the mass-produced games do not thrill me anymore."

Liu said when he shares game resources he considers the copyright issues. "Many people paid for the legal copy years ago, and they were in the form of floppy disk or CD, but they can not be installed on current computers," he said. "So I ask them to show me the photo of the disk or CD they bought, which is the proof of their support of a legal copy, then I can help them install the games with other methods."

The technology Liu commonly uses is virtual machine technology, which is to set up to an independent virtual operating system like DOS or Windows 95 in a current advanced operating system-oriented computer like Windows 10.

"To create a vintage environment for the vintage games, we have to make a lot of changes to the computer," he said.

Liu shares the information and helps people for free. However, since the trend of playing older games is becoming more popular, some people and game producers begin to find business opportunities from it. On, China's largest online retailer, there are more than 2,000 results for "old games," and most of them sell online versions for gamers to download. However, although many of the sellers sell legal copy of the games, some of the sellers do not. They do not ask for the proof of paid loyal copies from buyers and sell the online version at quite a low price. As a result, Liu said he worries about copyright issues when the taobao business rises.

Li said he would not buy illegal copies from taobao, but he is planning to buy a Family Computer online, a game machine produced by the Japanese producer Nintendo in 1983. He said that in the past, his parents banned him from playing and his machine was lost during a move.

"I still dream about several of the games where I had not passed all the stages, and for gamers it is a great pity," he said. "No matter on computer or on a gaming machine, the old games are always charming, and I am glad to see the vintage trend in gaming come to China."


blog comments powered by Disqus