Prompted after happening upon yet another fake "debate" about the shifting meaning of retro, plus a reader email on Jeff Gerstmann's show about how more time has passed from the original Gears of War's release than some milestone or another; I couldn't be bothered to care.
Retro obviously encompasses more than 8/16/32-bit at this point, as time moves forward in a linear fashion and whatnot. Of the relatively-new-not-really proposals, I like the "at least two console generations" definition better simply because it's cleaner and more intuitive; the "ten years old" thing is too finicky, requiring you to hit up GameFAQs or Wikipedia for release dates, and that's before you get the "which region?" question involved. (That said, someone in the first discussion mentioned how stuff from the PS3 era isn't that far removed from modern sensibilities, whereas titles in the traditional "retro" window are of a period where the fundamentals were still evolving and therefore set themselves apart more distinctly in terms of gameplay and presentation - which is the most substantive comment ever to come out of these unfortunate affairs.)
I've found, though, that the substance of the argument really isn't the point with these proposals. The point of casually ("casually") bringing up "games released [x] years ago are retro, right? I mean, no one would care about anything so old, ha ha!", as with all the "Landmark Title was released HOW MANY YEARS AGO!?!?!?!?" posts on social media and all the extremely, extremely tiresome "OMG, WE'RE SO OLD" kabuki that follows (like, fucker, what do you want us to do???? it's not like we can turn back time???? if the conquistadors couldn't find the Fountain of Youth with all the gold in the Spanish empire, you're not gonna do it so you can feel better about Chrono Cross), is for the OP to project their mid-life or quarter-life or whatever-life crisis and invite you to mirror their own grief at their impending mortality and alleviate their suffering through schadenfreude. Like Shiori from Utena or crabs in a bucket, if they cannot transcend, everyone else must suck, and so we're invited to lament and feel guilty that we have survived this long, to atone for our continued existence, to agree that, yes, we all deserve death for daring still to draw breath.
Well, not me, fuckers! I turned 44 last week! I'm happy that I lived this long, and I look forward to living many more years and enjoying many more video games, whether or not they subscribe to your particular definition of retro. The only thing I regret is that we can't commemorate some video game birthdays without some sorry self-absorbed fuckers weaponizing their own Artax-grade self-pity to try drag everyone else down into their misery mire. We've had over 50 years of commercial video game history at this point. Think about how many stone-cold classics are celebrating an anniversary on any given day. I don't have the time to fit that much futile atonement in my schedule, and neither do you. And - here's the kicker! - even if you did, it wouldn't make the games, or you, any younger.
Mad about it? Well, in the venerable words of the GameFAQs scribes of old: Cry. Cry that I've lasted this long without the blessing of your ageist video game god, modeled in the image of your own self-hatred. Cry for me. Let your tears fall directly into my mouth and down my gullet so I may gain strength from your suffering. But if you want me to die, you'll have to get off your whining pansy ass and come shoot me yourself. And you won't, because you're too mired in passive impotence to take any action beyond feeling sorry for yourself.
Have fun with video games! I look forward to yet another post about how you're the very first person to discover Phantasy Star IV.