Going Retro: The Return of Handheld Game Consoles

2021 is the year that technology goes backwards. But in a thoroughly modern way! Gaming has taken a retro turn and modern incarnations of old consoles are proving to be massively popular. With a variety of games, the older style consoles are just too good to let go even though they do seem somewhat dated in today’s society. Gamers have two options; they can try and get their hands-on working condition original kit or take advantage of some of the new retro games consoles that are making their way to the fore. These handheld offerings hark back to a more 2D gaming era, but we are assured that it still remains incredibly popular, and people cannot wait to get their hands on them. 


If you’re looking for a nostalgic experience with slightly more modern hardware and therefore more likely to last, then we have two stellar options for you to choose from. The first is the Pocket which comes from the company Analogue and looks somewhat like a Gameboy. In fact, it looks almost identical to a Gameboy, but it does have high-end modern technology rather than the old stuff. Although there were some delays in production, you can now get your hands on this nasty little piece of kit, and it has several functions.

You can play old games from most of the consoles available at the time as they were then. That’s right; you can switch on retro mode. When you activate the retro mode, you get glitches; you get screen freeze; you get all the problems that you had in the original games. But fear not, if you turn off retro mode, you can get a modern, bang on the money version of your favourite Mario brothers, DS, Gameboy classic that you loved. It’s time to dig out those old cartridges as most will fit. 

Game and Watch 

Nintendo has also released Game and Watch. This is modelled completely retro style after the original, which was around even before the Game Boy. Of course, it was a black and white screen at the time, and now you get the advantage of a colour screen, but you do get to play Super Mario Bros. This is a totally kitsch and retro piece of kit, and whether it will thrive, no one is entirely sure as there are certainly easier ways to get your Super Mario fixed. However, it does have an awesome novelty factor, and for that reason alone, we are sure that people are going to be rushing out to get themselves one.

It was almost a piece of irony on Nintendo’s part as it was released the same week as the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, both of which are expensive pieces of modern gaming technology. Obviously, the Nintendo piece of kit that is most popular currently is their handheld console, the Switch, yet there has been no upgrade announced for it, but Nintendo fans absolutely adore the Switch and the Switch Lite. The best-selling game for this piece of kit is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and it sold 26 million copies last year alone. 

The Genuine Article

Suppose you are looking for a retro experience by getting one of the original consoles. In that case, your best bet is the Super NES Classic, and this is deemed to be the best retro console you can buy today, providing, of course, you can find one that is still working. Be under no illusion though this is not a cheap way to go down the road of retro gaming. The second-hand genuine console market is rife and absolutely thriving. Occasionally you may get lucky and find someone who does not realise what they’ve got, but these pieces of kit are normally snapped up and refurbished pretty quickly by people in the know.

It does open up all your classic games, but whether you want to go backwards in terms of graphics, only you can decide. We can kind of understand the retro vibe of some of the Super Mario games, but who wants to spend hours playing Tetris or snake when there are plenty of other high-end LARP games on offer. Of course, one of the advantages of the newer consoles is that you have cross-platform playability and multiplayer via the Internet. Most of these devices were released before the Internet was thriving and therefore are not designed to connect on such a vast scale. 

PlayStation Classic

If you’re looking for a 3D experience and you want to remember why you fell in love with PlayStation, then the PlayStation Classic could be the retro console for you. If you purchase the PlayStation Classic today, you get Resident Evil and Final Fantasy VII as well as grand Turismo, and even these names send you right back in time to a much happier world!

Lockdown indeed came at a good time for gaming companies as people were forced to stay at home and decided to start playing games on a much bigger scale. Every console currently on sale enjoyed a bit of a resurgence, and it was good timing on the part of some companies who happened to be releasing their retro consoles just as the world shut down. For us, the money has to be on the pocket analogue, but there are plenty of ways to get your retro gaming fix, so why not take a trip back to your childhood. 

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