As may be obvious to you readers, I've been playing a lot of indie games this month. As a general rule, indie games tend to be smaller, less cutting-edge affairs than the big developers and publishers put out, for the simple reason that independent developers simply don't have the time and budget to develop a game like Skyrim or Call of Duty. A lot of these games use a style that calls to mind older games from the 80's and 90's: simplistic or pixelated graphics along with a two-dimensional world.
This often begs the question: is an old-school style a tribute to classic games, or exploitation of nostalgia?
As an example, let's look at Bit.Trip Runner (which I've reviewed here). This is a game whose aesthetic and difficulty (and sound design in particular) owe a great deal to classic 8-bit games, but whose mechanics are more modern: it's essentially a rhythm game, a genre which practically didn't even exist in the eyes of the masses until Guitar Hero in 2005.
What do you think? Is an 8-bit style business or tribute -- or both? I'd love to hear some examples to support your arguments.
EDIT: turns out I didn't give enough consideration to the idea that it's just easier for a small group to do simpler graphics. I did mention it, sort of, in the first paragraph, but it really deserves more weight than that.