It's becoming increasingly difficult to review retro games. As recently as a year ago, you knew who you were writing for - the hardcore die-hard gamer who'd been playing since the 80s. But now, with the games of yesteryear available on mobile phones, on Live Arcade and Virtual Console, and on compilations such as this, what was once an underground scene of nostalgic aficionados has crept into the mainstream.
On one hand, it's a wonderful vindication. Those of us who stayed true to the mantra of "it's the gameplay that counts" have been proven right, as tried and trusted titles from two decades ago entice a whole new audience. It also bodes well for videogaming as a medium, showing that ordinary people will enjoy an old game just as they'll watch a movie from the 70s or 80s and not think it's some kind of cultural aberration.
But on the other hand, it puts us in the tricky position of sorting the wheat from the chaff in an atmosphere torn between people who couldn't give a stuff about frame rates or ROM states and just want a few minutes mindless fun, and devoted enthusiasts who have spent so long on the outskirts of modern gaming that they've developed a knee-jerk defence against any criticism of any old game. For these folk, if it's old then it's a classic, and automatically better than whatever modern rubbish the kids are into. End of debate.