Best Gaming Blogs | RETRONUKE – A Celebration of Pixelated Nostalgia!

RETRONUKE's Ralph Durso shares with us his love for pixel-art gaming, blogging, and everything Nintendo.

Best Gaming Blogs RETRONUKE

Best Gaming Blogs is our brand-new series committed to supporting the best gaming blogs across the Internet (especially indie ones!). For each post, we interview blog owners who inspire us with their original content and passion for all things gaming. Keen to be featured? Drop us a line here and tell us more about your gaming blog! Indie game developers with blogs are also welcomed!

For our debut episode, we reached out to Ralph Durso, esteemed owner of RETRONUKE. We first came across his team of gaming bloggers while searching for fresh reviews on retro-style . In all our Google journeys, we found RETRONUKE to be by far one of the best gaming blogs that pays true homage to this much beloved aesthetic (and also, gameplay) niche. But enough from us. We’ll let Ralph himself do the talking!

Best Gaming Blogs RETRONUKE Ralph

Best Gaming Blogs | Ralph, RETRONUKE’s very own Nintendo-fanatic and supporter of all things pixel!


GLZ: Tell us about a little about yourself and the people behind RETRONUKE!

Ralph: The RETRONUKE team comes from all over the world. Whether it’s California, New York , Alaska, or the UK. We also all have a common love of retro gaming nostalgia and want to share that love with other gamers out there.

I myself have been a huge fan of video games for as long as I can remember. Like many gamers my age (30), the first system I had was the Nintendo Entertainment System. Something about that grey and black box really struck a chord with me.


What’s your fondest memory growing up as a Gen X Nintendo gamer?

Ralph: As a kid, I used to do extra chores around the house to get enough money to go to the Funcoland nearby. They used to have a giant paper list of all the Nintendo games they had and I’d highlight the ones I thought were cool throughout the week. I’d then eagerly wait for that next chance to pick up a new game.

Whether it was the bloops and bleeps of the chiptune soundtracks, the intense challenges (without saving), or the pixel-art graphics, I was absolutely glued to my Nintendo. For me, there’s something about pixel-art and chiptunes that leave a lot of space for your imagination to explore. As a kid, that inspired so much creativity in me. I started drawing and playing guitar because I basically wanted to learn how to play all the songs from Street Fighter 2010 and Mega Man 2. I owe a lot of who I am today because of the NES.

Best Gaming Blogs Nintendo

Best Gaming Blogs | Ah, still a thing of beauty!


“For me, there’s something about pixel-art and chiptunes that leave a lot of space for your imagination to explore.” – Ralph


Why’d you decide to start RETRONUKE, and when? 

Ralph: I started RETRONUKE in 2013 as a personal blog where I could write about new games released using pixel-art graphics. I wanted to share my love for this style with others and was happy to see that developers were creating games that looked like the titles I used to play as a kid. RETRONUKE was my way of connecting with more people out there like me who still wanted and loved this stuff.

The focus of our site hasn’t changed from the start. Our goal is to create a community of gamers that appreciate retro nostalgia and to help keep the memory of those experiences alive. RETRONUKE is my way of giving back to an industry that gave me so much as a kid.

Best Gaming Blogs RETRONUKE Screenshot

Best Gaming Blogs | Screenshot from one of RETRONUKE’s sexy reviews.


“Our goal is to create a community of gamers that appreciate retro nostalgia and to help keep the memory of those experiences alive.” – Ralph


What’s the most satisfying thing about running a gaming blog such as yours? 

Ralph: It’s definitely the positive engagement we get from the indie gaming community and feeling like you’re helping support something you love and believe in. There’s been ton of games like Oniken, Read Only Memories, Axiom Verge & Dropsy to name a few. These games not only pay homage to the retro games that inspired their developers, but also introduce modern mechanics that help keep the style alive and relevant. It’s a great time to be a “retro gamer”!


How is RETRONUKE different from other mainstream gaming blogs?

Ralph: RETRONUKE is different because we’re a bit more niche. We pretty much solely focus on PC indie games that use pixel-art or which have old school gameplay mechanics. We’re also completely self-run by a talented group of writers and would love more gamers that support this idea to come on board and write for us! (contact us).


Likewise, what makes the whole retro / indie gaming community unique?

Ralph: The community is one of the most supportive groups I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Communication is really open with everyone and each person, whether they are a developer or a fan of gaming in general. Twitter has especially been a great place to connect with others to share ideas and promote each other’s games.

“The [retro / indie] gaming community is one of the most supportive groups I’ve had the pleasure of working with.” – Ralph


We love your logo! What inspired it?

Ralph: The site’s logo is inspired by Contra Hard Corps. I wanted a brand logo that captured the gritty textures of post-apocalyptic retro games and love the way it came out.

Best Gaming Blogs RETRONUKE Logo

Best Gaming Blogs | Logo inspired by Contra Hard Corps, post-apocalyptic style!


What’s the environment like for retro-style pixel-art game developers at the moment?

Ralph: In my opinion, STEAM Greenlight and Kickstarter have been super helpful in getting really good games off the ground. Crowdsourcing has been great for understanding the demand for certain types of video games and I’m really happy that we live in a time where this type of diversity in the marketplace is possible. Because of these channels and the prevalence of the internet, we have been able to see pixel-art inspired games that might not have actually gotten made come to the forefront of the industry and become modern classics.

Best Gaming Blogs Axiom Verge

Best Gaming Blogs | Axiom Verge, one of Ralph’s modern retro favorites.


Any potential for pixel-art games to be integrated with emerging VR tech?

Ralph: I don’t see why not. I’m not really sure how well 2D platformers would translate into VR, but I’m sure they’ll find a way. We’ve also seen things like the 3D NES emulator which would probably be really cool to experience in VR. I think we’ll start to see first-person pixel-art games in VR come out initially, followed by other kinds.


Quick blast questions! Your top three favorite indie / retro games? 

Ralph: Tough one – Super Metroid, Castlevania Symphony of the night, Hotline Miami 2!

Best gaming platform, ever?

Ralph: NES. Hands down.

Greatest gaming character, ever?!

Ralph: Shovel Knight! Instantly iconic.

Why the extra love for pixels?

Ralph: Less is more.


For more, head on over to RETRONUKE! Keen to write for them? You can reach Ralph here. Be sure to also follow RETRONUKE on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Stay tuned for more episodes of Best Gaming Blogs! Want to be interviewed? Contact us!

Love indie games? You might want to check out .

Alfie is Editor-in-Chief of Games Like Zone and has been an avid gamer since the age of 6. His also enjoys reading comics, B-grade horror movies, and travelling to obscure places in the world.



    Hello! My name is Jordon McClain and I am the founder of a small independent game company called Steel Cyclone Studios LLC that I run from home in my spare time. I post updates on my blog showcasing progress made to my in-house game engine known as the Cyclone Game Engine. It is built upon the XNA and MonoGame Frameworks and lately I’ve been able to get projects working inside Unity. In my blog, I highlight some of the problems and hurdles I encounter during my game development efforts. I also cover solutions to many of the bugs and issues and hope that my efforts and accomplishments thus far will help aid others using similar technology as well. My blog contains an incredible amount of useful information on the Resources page which can be found at the top. Its a great place to help people who feel unsure about how to get started in game development and to help struggling indies out there. Majority of the resources provided are free and can help people by getting their game created up to speed.

    While creating my own engine may seem like an unpopular route, it was the best path for me. It was primarily because of my background in XNA which helps me with my MonoGame projects and due to the fact that the physics engines and animation processors that my particular game project utilizes are built in these frameworks. Fortunately, it hasn’t cost me any money thus far financing this project on my own. I’ve made everything from the ground up with the help of online blogs and tutorials I’ve come across. It has been challenging, however with each accomplishment I’ve made thus far, it has taken this project to new heights.


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