From the Introduction of the book:
Not long ago, I wrote a game called Elegia. The purpose of this game was to marry together two very different kinds of role-playing game: the old-school tabletop RPG and the eight-bit video game console RPG. Console (and computer) RPGs were, of course, based on these earlier tabletop games. Nevertheless, the console games that we played in our youth have a certain ineffable quality not easily described or recreated. Hence Elegia, a tabletop RPG designed to feel like the first fantasy RPG you might have experienced on your Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, or Commodore Amiga… rose-colored nostalgia and all.
Retro Phaze is a revision of Elegia, a new edition of the game with more than just the title getting a facelift. Excessive play-testing of the original game revealed its weakness, its imbalances, and its warts—those clunky little bits of inelegance which could use some smoothing over to make the game play better at the table. The upshot: Retro Phaze is not a thought experiment or an exercise in armchair RPG design. It is meant to be played. In the hands of a group that knows well and wants to embrace the tropes, modes, and clichés so lovingly reproduced here, it’s fun. You’ll find no false modesty here: when done right, this game is really fun!