Several of you brought up games that have had long shelf lives or active development that never really stopped. Is Team Fortress 2 “retro”?
I know that this forum is mostly video-game based, but there’s an interesting paralell in the tabletop and board game spaces with this too. In 2012, the Dune board game from the early 80s was updated with new mechanics and re-skinned into Fantasy Flight Games’ Twilight Imperium universe and as much as I love the concept of a Dune board game, Twilight Imperium: Rex is much more playable and fun. It now comes full circle: in early 2020, Dune was re-published by Gale Force Nine with very few changes from the 80s design.
This kind of re-publishing of “classic” games is happening within tabletop RPGs too. Some of it are value-empty nostalgia-based reprints, and some are great updates and remasters like we would see from Digital Eclipse in the video games market.
I’ve also been thinking about this within the context of Roguelikes. For example, Nethack is still in active development, but people would very likely consider it “Retro”.
In many ways, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has a very “modern” design. The development team has a design philosophy to guide decisions - what the team wants to have players do and don’t do - and is being actively developed. It was first released in 2006 and 14 years later, still is being worked on and changed in what the player base considers a healthy and sustainable way. I genuinely don’t know if I’d consider it “retro”, especially since so many of the design decisions are so player-centric and implemented specifically to increase usability and accessibility - very modern considerations!
In summary, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup completely rules and I should probably go make a thread about it. And the classification of whether things are “retro” is one of taxonomy - which is valuable shorthand - but often loses a lot of subtlety in the description.