This may sound morbid, but I love it when a console or an entire console generation comes to an end. It’s not important whether or not that console has been hugely successful. All that matters is, that the end is in sight. There’s a sense of instant nostalgia, that makes me go back and play a lot of games that can only be found on said console. But why?
The first time I’ve experienced this was around 2012: The Wii U was on its way and the original Wii received less and less support. While there are currently still games being released for the Wii, the real support that came in form of exclusive games has long since stopped. There were still a couple of games coming out during 2011 and 2012 that I hugely enjoyed: Project Zero 2, The Last Story, Xenoblade Chronicles, Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise and Pandora’s Tower. It was the moment I decided to collect Wii games and it made me look back on a system that I personally loved, even though many gamers completely ignored the Wii. I went back to play some games I had largely ignored myself and found some great niche titles. It was also quite easy to get a lot of games, since many people were selling their games in order to get a Wii U. Maybe it’s this gold-rush that I’m enjoying?
It could also the fact that in this industry, where everything moves so fast, a console that has arrived at the end of its life-span gives us a moment to pause and to really take notice, what that system was. I’m experiencing this with the Wii U right now, as it’s nearing its end, and I wonder how we’ll remember it? Will we look back at it fondly or will it leave a bad taste in our mouths? Will we go back to play games on it years later or are we going to forget the console altogether, since something new and shiny has caught our attention?
All this makes me also wonder when a console will become a retro console. When will people start really collecting for it? Is it even possible with all the digital distribution happening right now? In some circles, consoles newer than the Dreamcast cannot be regarded as retro, yet I personally think that the term already applies to the games that came out at the beginning of last generation. Especially since those games tried to tap into the potential of the new console. And maybe this is what it’s all about: You get to look back at the console and how the potential was fulfilled.