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E3 2017 reboots your childhood

Retro games, retro consoles and more: Nostalgia ruled this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

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Sean Hollister
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1 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia at E3 2017

The 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo may have been the coming-out party for 4K video games, but the show wasn't all about photorealistic graphics. A surprising number of the week's announcements played off our emotions instead... relying on our nostalgia for the games, products and places of yesteryear.

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2 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1977

For instance, did you grow up with an Atari 2600? Good luck plugging that into an HDTV -- but Hyperkin's new Retron77 will take all your old cartridges, and has the HDMI output you need. More photos here.

3 of 28 GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1930's cartoons

I'm not sure if anyone clapped more for any announcement during Microsoft's E3 2017 press conference than Cuphead, an old-school 2D platforming game with an even older art style that mimics 1930s cartoons. Want more? Here's the trailer.

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4 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1997

Personally, Final Fantasy VII was the game that defined my teenage years. And while that game's remake (whose first trailer literally made some gamers weep) wasn't at E3 this year, developer Square Enix let attendees try Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, a fighting game for PS4 that features protagonist Cloud Strife. Here's the trailer.

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5 of 28 Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1982

Imagine if the world of "Blade Runner" was turned into a video game back in 1982, the same year the film came out. The Last Night looks just like that, only far more beautiful (and three-dimensional) than 1982's game artists could create. It's coming to the Xbox (and maybe other platforms) in 2018. Trailer here.

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6 of 28 Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 2001

Yes, Crimson Skies: Road to Revenge came out in 2003, but the bigger news was this: Microsoft will let you pop (some) discs from the original 2001 Xbox into an Xbox One and play them thanks to a new backward compatibility initiative. That's on top of the 385 Xbox 360 games that also work on the Xbox One. 

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7 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia for... 2001 (continued)

Speaking of Microsoft's original Xbox... remember the Duke? The original, ridiculously huge Xbox game controller is back, with a new OLED screen whose only function is to display the Xbox logo.

We're not quite sure why this bulbous monstrosity is back, but if you're interested, you can read more about the controller's limited re-release right here.

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8 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia for 2001 (continued)

Here's a look at the back of the Duke, where Hyperkin has added a detachable 9-foot USB cable and shoulder buttons -- so it can be compatible with Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles.

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9 of 28 Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for 1963... or 1991, perhaps?

In 1991, Wolfenstein 3D kick-started the first-person shooter genre of video games. In 2014, Wolfenstein: The New Order played off our nostalgia for both the original game, and the 1960s, by creating an alternate history Europe where the Nazis won WWII. 

Now, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus brings it all home to the Nazi-occupied USA. Full trailer: viewer discretion is advised.

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10 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1963 (con't)

Nifty booth alert: Bethesda recreated the same Papa Joe's Diner from the game trailer on the E3 2017 show floor. That's where attendees got to try the game for the very first time.

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11 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1963 (continued)

Here's a peek inside.

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12 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1990

Sure, you could play Nintendo Switch with a new-fangled controller. Or, you could pick up the 8Bitdo SNES30 Pro for $50 this holiday. 

The Bluetooth controller also works with Android phones and both Windows and Mac computers, charges over a USB-C cable and has built-in joysticks, motion sensors and rumble motors so you don't miss out on a few modern comforts.

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13 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1990 (continued)

And yes, it has additional trigger buttons around back for full functionality.

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14 of 28 Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 2005

Kingdom Hearts, the epic Final Fantasy and Disney mash-up videogame, came out in 2002. The sequel, Kingdom Hearts II, arrived in 2005. At E3 2017, we only got a lousy trailer for the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III

You can watch it here. Or not, if you've already given up -- like my wife.

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15 of 28 Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... the early '90s (or 2000s, depending)

Did you grow up watching Dragon Ball Z, the ridiculous Japanese animated brawler? Dragon Ball FighterZ looks like it could be the fighting game fans have always been waiting for. It's by the creators of Guilty Gear. 

Trailer here. And another video here.

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16 of 28 Josh Miller

Nostalgia for... the early '90s (or 2000s, depending)

Here are some folks playing Dragon Ball FighterZ for the first time on the E3 show floor.

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17 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1989-ish

The Sega Genesis / Mega Drive was released in 1988, 1989 or 1990, depending where you lived. Now, Sega has given AtGames permission to sell a Mega Drive clone that finally looks much like the original. 

It outputs at 720p resolution to an HDTV, takes most original cartridges and also comes with 85 games built-in, including fan favorites like Sonic and Phantasy Star IV.

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18 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1989-ish (continued)

For $80, it'll come with two wireless controllers, though you can also plug in the original 3- and 6-button Genesis pads if you want. The wireless controllers have dedicated "rewind" buttons that'll rewind a game 7 seconds if you get into trouble. You also get 10 save slots per title.

No 32x or SegaCD support, of course, and you can't plug Sonic 3 into Sonic and Knuckles like you could on the original.

19 of 28 GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1993

Go to hell? Why not. 1993's Doom wasn't the original first-person shooting game, but it might as well have been for all the attention it got. 

Now, publisher Bethesda is taking us back to hell in virtual reality with Doom VFR, coming to the HTC Vive and Sony's PlayStation VR later this year. It'll cost $30 US.

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20 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia for... World War II

Call of Duty has built its modern reputation on modern warfare, but Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare didn't arrive until 2007. The previous three games in the series were all about World War II... and now, the franchise is going back there

Clearly, gamers were fascinated with WWII a decade ago, and perhaps it's been long enough (Call of Duty: World at War, 2008) to sell a few million more copies on the backs of those 1940's struggles. Trailer here.

21 of 28 GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... Lego spaceships

Starlink: Battle for Atlas is everything my 10-year-old self wanted: Lego-like modular spaceships that come to life in a video game.

If you, like me, grew up building spaceship out of Lego, you're already excited. For your kids, if nothing else.

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22 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Nostalgia for... Lego spaceships (continued)

Here's a closer look at one of the Starlink ships -- and its pop-in pilot.

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23 of 28 Nintendo

Nostalgia for... 1991 (or maybe 2004)

It's been 13 years since bounty hunter Samus Aran had a proper side-scrolling portable adventure, and it was on the Game Boy Advance (Metroid: Zero Mission, 2004). 

But at E3, Nintendo announced Metroid: Samus Returns. It's a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, which became the first portable Metroid on the original Game Boy back in 1991. 

So whether you grew up with Metroid in the early 90s or early 2000s, this one should have some nostalgia value. Trailer here

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24 of 28 Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 2005

Shadow of the Colossus was a revelation back in 2005. A mute protagonist in a beautiful, mysterious world where huge towering beasts served as both puzzle and foe, its influence can be felt in games as recent as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 

Now, Bluepoint Games (which has developed a stellar reputation for video game remasters) is at work on a full remake of the title. Trailer here.

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25 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1989

Hyperkin had teased a device that could turn your iPhone into a faithful recreation of the original 1989 Nintendo Game Boy, complete with cartridge support. Then, it released a development kit. At E3 2017, Hyperkin says the Smart Boy is nearly ready for market -- only it works with Samsung phones instead. 

It takes Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges, and may possibly work with Game Boy Advance.

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26 of 28 Sean Hollister/CNET

Nostalgia for... 1985

We also spotted this Blaster at the booth -- a clear homage to the NES Zapper that came with the original Duck Hunt. Though you won't be spending a lot of time looking at this toy gun -- it's designed to used in virtual reality with the HTC Vive. (That's a Vive tracker on top.)

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27 of 28 Atari

Nostalgia for... ?

We know next to nothing about the Atari Box, and it's almost unfair to call it an E3 announcement when the company didn't have so much as a booth on the E3 2017 show floor. Still, Atari nostalgia is strong, and we can't wait to find out what this particular piece of hardware is all about.

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28 of 28 Ubisoft

Nostalgia for... 2003

Last but not least, a game that's been nearly 15 years in the making, a game that makes fans tune into Ubisoft's E3 press conference time and again... Beyond Good & Evil 2, the long-awaited sequel to the cult classic game from 2003, was finally announced at E3 this year.

Only it's a prequel, it's still not anywhere near completion, and it doesn't even seem to be the same sort of game. Ubisoft's banking hard on nostalgia to sell this one. Trailer here.

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