Mission Statement

What Do You Do Here?

The Retrogame Deconstruction Zone is devoted to understanding early video games, often in great detail.  I hope that by picking them apart, I can begin to understand their long-term value to us.

Why Do You Do It?

I love playing video games, but I think they're often misunderstood.  Great games are more than just disposable thrills, they're creative achievements that can enrich our lives in countless ways.  As with any art form, they are a reflection of ourselves, and studying them can reveal a great deal more than what's in the game's code.

Why Early Video Games?

The Retrogame Deconstruction Zone started as my own personal exploration of the history of video games.  I wanted to try out the best games from every era and experience things I'd never experienced before.  The more I played, however, the more I wanted to know, and the more my blog turned towards analysis and dissection.  At that point, it made sense to start at the beginning.  Not only are early games easier to study, but stepping forward in time allows me to see how the medium evolved over the years.

What Kind of Games Do You Write About?

All video games are technically within the scope of the blog.  I tend to focus on games that required a lot of creativity, so some genres will get more coverage than others.  For example, video games that simply try to simulate other types of games aren't of much interest to me; this includes video game versions of board games, card games, pinball machines, and sports.  I still enjoy playing games like that, but their mechanics and aesthetics are more closely tied to the things they're simulating than to the historical development of video games.  I don't follow any strict guidelines, however, so I'm sure there will be exceptions.

Do You Have a List?

Yes, but it wouldn't be meaningful to post because I usually just use it to generate ideas for things to write about.  Some games on my list may end up expanding into a study of an entire genre, while others may get passed over entirely.

Do You Use Emulators to Play?

Sometimes.  I try to experience games in their original form whenever it's possible, but this is often impractical.  I will almost always use an emulator to capture the gameplay and sprites, however.

In What Way Do You Study the Games?

It varies greatly from one type of game to another.  For action games, I might make use of on-screen measurements of sizes, distances, speeds, and timing to infer details about the game design; for example, "Asteroids: By the Numbers" and "Missile Command Deep Dive".  On the other hand, I tend to treat adventure games like fiction, detailing my own imagining of the in-game events; for example, a The Prisoner and Mystery HouseIn other cases, I may discuss topics as they apply to gaming at large; for example, "Impossible Motion in Video Games" and "You Beat Your High Score, But Are You Getting Better".


Please feel free to leave comments about anything related to what I write. I don't mind other bloggers linking to what they're writing about, so long as it's relevant to the post in question and includes some thoughtful comments.

Enjoy!

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