Nostalgia is not just related to music, food or even traditions. Games also got a importance in the world of Nostalgia for sure. The word itself brings to mind a joyous familiarity felt when engaging in something in the present that we really enjoyed doing in the past. Gaming is no different.
Games keeps the Nostalgia Alive
Everyone has been playing or seen games that bring back memories from, what we think of now as, better times. The ability to understand an event or situation after it has happened is a like the snob that points out what you could have done. Our life situations tells us our childhood may not have been as bad as we thought. As adults we know how the world works. When we were growing up, we never really had a grip on the world.
Hindsight tells us often in many situations that those times were better, safer, less complicated. Games that bring on nostalgia puts us in the mindset of a kid again though. It makes us feel safe, secure, and protected I think. Humans have a natural tendency to want safety and protection. Especially the adults, because as adults we know just how quickly the world can go from OK one day, to horrible the next. As gamers we seek safety and security in games. We just leave the world behind us for some minutes. Simple.
Started Early playing Games
I started playing computer games when I was very young as most gamers my age did. I grew up playing Commodore 64, Amiga 500, Super Nintendo and Playstation with my mom and sister. Giana Sisters, Super Mario, Ridge Racer, Kirby, and Super Mario Cart were a few of the titles that we played.
Super Skidmarks on the Amiga was perhaps the biggest game we played. My mom has problems with FPS intensive games like Doom or Wolfenstein 3D and other highly graphic games. So we mostly played Amiga and Nintendo and what a time it was! Giana Sisters on the Amiga we beat many times. I say “we” but it was my mom playing not me or my sister. Even thinking about it while writing this I’m getting nostalgia too.
We kept getting close to the end and then the game wiping our save out so we started over like three times. It was good times. That was when I was around six or seven years old. Long time ago. Nostalgia as I see it now gives us hope for the future. It tells us that if good times happened in the past then more good times will happen in the future.
My gaming Experience Matured as I grew up
Later I started gaming on my own. It is hard to think about what game came next in chronological order but they all had a theme: single-player strategy. A broad gaming description that can fit a lot of games in it. Games like Cannon Fodder and Dune, Transport Tycoon Deluxe, and of course Sid Meier’s Civilization series. I was not allowed to play shooters as they had bad language in them, but when my parents werent at home I did. But mainly I was restricted to single player games. My parents were very protective and games were not as prevalent twenty years ago as they are now. Pharaoh is a city builder placing you in ancient Egypt. The goal of the game was the build great cities using the resources at your disposal and it was quite a challenge for an eleven year old.
Dune is one of the first real-time strategy games that is completely different from pharaoh. You have to balance resource collection and do sci-fi production to take down either AI or other players. Civilization for the Amiga especially was probably my favorite game growing up.
Think about what nostalgia is again for just a second. It is a feeling coming from a memory. A memory of “better times” that is very accurate. At those times game developers knew how to make games. They had worse graphics, but the gameplay was way more interesting and also harder. Games we played a long time ago, that brings back those memories, continues to be fun now and then. You can play them by using an Emulator or even buy yourself an old Nintendo console for the fun of it. Civilization series I’ve played for hundreds of hours when I was younger. Today I bring that game now and then, though it is not as fun now that I am older so I do not play it as much now. Transport Tycoon Deluxe I play still though, by using OpenTTD which is an open source version of that game. Fantastic!
Nostalgia is a Good thing even in Games too
In conclusion, nostalgia in games is a good thing. It allows us to relive parts of our childhood that we otherwise would not have a reason to bring back up from the depths of our minds. Many people say that video games lead to anti-social behavior, violence, and a drop in school grades.
My view is that Video games teach us how the world is. When you are playing multiplayer of any game you will usually find people who are just toxic. It prepares for dealing with the worst society has to throw at us. Human beings are prone to violence. The first murder happened when Cain killed Abel back in Genesis. I am pretty sure at they did not have video games back then. So this point is always going to be moot. The only point that actually makes sense is the drop in school grades. It takes a great deal of discipline to do school work over video games. It builds character this discipline.
So next time you feel nostalgia coming on, take some time to stop and smell the memories. Bask in the thoughts of better times and the hope that good times are still ahead, no matter what the world tells you in the present. This is what video game nostalgia teaches us.