I grew up with 1980s home-computer gaming: Atari, Commodore, Spectrum, Amstrad. In the UK, we had, comparatively speaking, no money (yuppies aside), and, rather than being lucky enough to follow our disk-happy American chums, had to make do with cassettes. Inevitably, with tapes being cheap, publishers soon realised that affordable games were very saleable games, regardless of quality. Eventually, the number of £1.99 and £2.99 games being churned out was astonishing, as was the ever-diminishing amount of time it would take full-price releases to show up on budget labels.
Towards the end of the 1980s, it got to the point where almost no-one bought full-price games in the UK, because everyone would just wait for a price-drop. Watching apps on the App Store brings back these memories, and so perhaps it was inevitable that the other bastion of 1980s software—the compilation—would at some point make its way to the App Store.
On March 9, the 5 Fingers Games Bundle appeared, mashing together BurnBall, Chopper, Up There, Sneezies and Blackbeard’s Assault. Time will tell if this process works in the present day. It certainly has the potential to give exposure to poor-selling but quality games. However, compilations were the other thing that broke 1980s gaming in the UK, since almost every half-decent game ended up on a compilation eventually. I’m hoping people will continue to buy and support indie devs, rather than wait for a now seemingly inevitable price-drop or compilation entry that will ultimately lead to cheaper entry points and fewer development resources.