Streaming films and TV series has not fully replaced traditional television yet, but it is definitely here to stay. Naturally, the game industry eyes at similar concepts, be it temporary digital downloads or gaming that is entirely cloud-based. New to the party is Antstream, whose streaming service aims to bring retro games to the cloud.
Neither digital downloads nor games temporarily accessible via the Internet are brand new ideas — Sega, Nintendo and others all toyed with the idea early on, which gave us classics such as Sonic Eraser or BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets.
Antstream does away with downloading the entire game or even parts of it, with the company deciding to base their service model entirely on the cloud. This means that an Internet connection is required at all times. However, it also means that your device does not need to provide the hardware to run whatever you are playing.
The idea is that all your devices will be able to play all the games, from beefy gaming rig to laptop to mobile phone. What games will that be? At the moment, Antstream features about a thousand games, primarily arcade classics and other games from the pre-3D era, all of them officially licensed.
I had the chance to try the service out at PLAY Expo London 2018 and fought my way through Sly Spy: Secret Agent, Double Dragon and a couple of other titles. All games have pre-configured control schemes, with no configuration being required, and are easily accessible via a clean interface.
The controls are responsive and input lack is minimal. The emulation runs smoothly. Right now, mobile play is still in its testing stage and is not quite as frictionless, but that is supposed to change once the service is fully launched.
What is going to make or break Antstream is the library of games. In the foreseeable future, new independent games and titles from the 32-bit era are planned to be added to the selection. The latter is especially interesting. Somewhat tricky to emulate and not sold as frequently as earlier games, 32-bit titles could give Antstream what it needs to surpass the competition.
If Antstream can translate the quality of their stream to mobile, expand its library and offer pair pricing plans, they will be a service worth checking out. Even now, fans and lovers of retro classics should give it a try and see what their list of games has to offer.
You can find out more about Antsteam on its official website.