I read somewhere, sometime ago from a log cabin heated purely by burning underwear that the developers of the recently released Indie game, Shovel Knight, asked themselves something along the lines of: What if games were still being made for the NES today? Or maybe a better way to phrase it is: What if no console was released after the NES and still today games were being developed for it?
When we finish a console generation, who says we are we finished with that console generation? Sure, hardware is the clear dictator of this. Time passes, new hardware is developed, beckoning the crowd to demand a new console and POOF! New consoles are here. Games like Shovel Knight show us just how wacky the gaming industry is though. Technically Shovel Knight (and many indie games which look old school) wouldn't be able to run on the NES, but it was certainly developed with the idea that it could of. More than just looking old-school, many indie games show us that we aren't finished with the old 8 bit and 16-bit era. Shovel Knight shows us that there are still game-design ideas to be expanded upon.
I think it's also understood that when new consoles hit the markets, developers need some time to get used to new development tools. Hence, slow software releases out of the gate. When developers have finally gotten their juicy bear claws around a particular console, for example Naughty Dog and their acclaimed game TLOU, what does this actually mean? It means better optimization, it means less slimy bugs, it means just an overall (pair of overalls), better feeling game. Does this actually mean though that developers have fully grasped a particular console? In terms of technology, sure. But Shovel Knight shows us that there is a bigger picture at work...
To be edited and continued. Work is a cluster ball right now.