I retro game because I'm awesome, good looking, and really dig getting sucked down green warp tunnels. Maybe the first two aren't true but you better believe I have a serious addiction to retro gaming--specifically the NES. I'm constantly checking the Twitter app on my phone looking for retro games other Tweeters recommend. I wait all week for Thursday to see if the Wii Virtual Console has returned from the dead. I read anything I can about NES games on Wikipedia and read reviews at GameFaqs, and blogs from other retro gamers. I check eBay for game lots, old Nintendo Power issues, the Power Glove, NES Advantage, the 1987 Official Nintendo Player's Guide for good deals. I brag to my wife about beating Super Star Wars for the billionth time. I take pictures of my daughter holding an NES controller. I've taken a vacation day from work just to play NES games I picked up at a flea market. I am a full-time Nintendo geek and I love every minute of it.
I'm one in about a million people who blog about video games and I understand that maybe what you read here you've probably already read elsewhere in some form or another. So why do I do it? Very simple: I love talking/writing about retro games as much as I enjoy playing them. I don't have many friends any more at my age who will play anything other then current-gen consoles, if they play video games at all. Which is fine--today's games are great--but today's games lack the simple-to-the-eye-yet-challenging pattern recognition that addicted so many gamers in the late 70's and 80's. I feel like when I play a game like Goldeneye on the Wii I become mindless, not really clear on why I bother playing the game other than to register more kills than the next player to get a fancier weapon.
I play retro NES games because of the discovery and wonder each game brings, of memorizing pattern recognition and timing it perfectly, of mastering new power-ups or jumps developers innovated with only two buttons to work with(one of my favorite's is Batman's wall jump), for having limited lives and not regenerative health, for needing to practice a level over and over through trial and error instead of just bulldozing through with muscle-flexing guns to reach the end point. It seems like every time I play Super Mario Bros. I discover a new hidden block of coins or a 1-up. I enjoy wandering Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda just to explore, listen to sweet tunes, and shoot swords at my enemies for rupees so I can gamble them away. I will only play Mike Tyson's Punch-Out--Mr. Dream is a pussy. Give me a sidescrolling platformer no matter how bad (i.e. Simpsons: Bart vs the Space Mutants or Karate Kid) and I'll be set for the night. I can always find at least one good reason to play any NES game.
As you get older it gets harder to find time to play video games. There's work, family, children (who will hopefully one day share your passion), and other chores, errands you never had to worry about as a ten-year-old gamer feverishly mashing buttons while playing Contra and guzzling Mountain Dew. I have to sneak in little gaming sessions. A quick run of Gradius while my wife gets our daughter ready for bed or a few levels of Double Dragon during her bath time. Pick up and play, no loading, no updates, maybe a few blows into the cartridge to ensure no glitches. Then it's a time warp to a more simple time in life--childhood.