RetrowareTV.com is one of the finest sources on the web for video content relating to videogames. There is a massive amount of YouTube creators that have shows on the site to include 16 Bit Gems, From Pixels to Plastic, Rerez, Living in 8 Bits, and Cannot Be Tamed – while having hosted some amazing shows in the past like The Gaming Historian and The Game Chasers. They also have some great original content like retrospectives of game franchises like the Punch-Out series or Final Fight franchise and even taught me some hacks for the Mortal Kombat arcade games. There’s a plethora of great content on this site and you can spend hours, days, and weeks navigating everything they have there.
The crowning jewel of Retroware? It is a series titled The Video Game Years. The series breaks down, by year, the achievements in video games whether it be home console, personal computer, arcade games, or all of the amazing software that come out since gaming’s inception. 1977 was the first year the series covered and by the the time we reach the episodes dealing with the eighties each episode was just jam-packed with the finest achievements in gaming.
From Pong to the Commodore 64, from the Turbo-Grafx 16 to the ColecoVision, from the failures of Atari to rise of Nintendo, to all of the games. OH THE GAMES. They cover everything from arcade to console ranging anywhere from Dragon’s Lair to Jumpman. And the talent they had explaining all of these achievements in video game history ranged from the different shows I listed above (Gaming Historian, Rerez, Game Chasers, 16 Bit Gems, From Pixels to Plastic) but also featured the guys from Game Sack, Pat the NES Punk, and too many more contributors to name.
The production value on the show was top notch and each and every episode had me enthralled. I caught onto the show pretty late (right before the launch of the year 1988) and had a great time discovering the content I had missed. 1989 was finally released and then…the show stopped. No 1990. No 1991. No Super Nintendo. No SNES Vs. The Genesis. No Playstation 1. No Sega Saturn. No Mortal Kombat. Nada. Zip. Zero.
Why did they stop? I talked very briefly to someone from Retroware at Too Many Games last year who said that they did want to bring the show back but that putting the show together was a bit costly. Look – I can fully appreciate that. The show doesn’t look cheap, there is a large amount of work that is put into each episode. You want to make the show look good and keep all the fans (like me) happy.
So what do you do? Kickstarter is always an option and, from watching past videos, it looks like it is a resource that Retroware has done before. I don’t know what the outcome of those Kickstarter campaigns were but …if they weren’t successful I would be utterly shocked. If they launched a Kickstarter would I give? Absolutely. Would I post every single day about the Kickstarter and tell every video game fan to give, give, give. ABSOLUTELY.
The Video Game Years is such a great show with some amazing content – it is basically the history of video games. Learning history can be not fun at all. But this docu-series made history fun. Granted I enjoy the subject matter immensely but just because I like video games doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to enjoy a documentary about them.
I titled this article A Plea to Retroware and here is that plea: PLEASE BRING BACK THE VIDEO GAME YEARS. I think the show is important. I think the work does here matters. I think that even though the series is usually quite humorous thanks to who you have in front of the camera talking about the games it also shows off games that many might not have ever heard of. Not everyone is old as dirt like I am. Move some money around. Launch another Kickstarter. Do whatever it takes to continue this series. Retroware has some amazing content and continues to find great shows to put onto the site.
The Video Game Years is Retroware’s crown jewel. It is your The Wire. It is your Sopranos. It’s your Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Seinfeld, and I Love Lucy. It is one of the finest shows every produced in the YouTube era.
PLEASE BRING IT BACK. Do it for your country. Do it for Jerome. Do it so Tiger’s Game.com can finally have “its day”. The same with Pokemon, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, or Final Fantasy VII. Lord knows do it for Super Mario 64 and how it revolutionized gaming forever. There is so much more to the video game world after 1989…and Retroware are the only ones I want to continue to show me that rich history.
Ryan “Irish Rican” McLelland, Sr., Esquire, the III