Between the popularity of Nintendo Switch (a powerful portable that is easy to adapt old console games to), Xbox’s backward compatibility initiative striving to turn console generations into a thing of the past, and publishers’ enthusiasm for remastering hits of yore to tap into the nostalgia market – especially after the enormous success of last year’s Crash Bandicoot release – it feels like we’re spending more time than ever playing and thinking about old games. Or games that aren’t brand new, anyway.
To some extent this is about padding the widening gaps in the release schedule as blockbuster games get fewer and further between. But there also seems to be a genuine and very welcome enthusiasm, among players, developers and the industry, to end the cycle of obsolescence that sees so many great games fade into obscurity with their host hardware. There’s a huge curation opportunity here as well as a business one, and a chance to make old games feel new again by giving them a lick of paint or putting them in a fresh context.
That’s why we’ve decided to recognise this increasingly important strand of gaming by giving it its own end-of-the-year best-of list – unranked, just like our list of the best games of 2018. Any form of reissue is eligible, and indeed there are as many different approaches here as there are games on the list. Here’s to the shock of the old.