Nostalgia. The word brings to mind a joyous intimacy felt when participating in something at the present that we really enjoyed doing in the past. Gaming is no different. Everybody has Merritt Island Opossum Removal games that bring back memories from, what we think of today as, better times. Hindsight is a like the snob that points out what you could have done, hindsight tells us our childhood may not have been as bad as we thought. As adults we know how the world operates. When we were growing up, we never really had a grasp on the world. Games that bring on nostalgia sets us in the mindset of a kid again. Humans have a natural tendency to want safety and security. Notably the adults, because as adults we know precisely how fast the world can go from OK one day, to horrible the next. As players we seek security and security in games.
I started gaming when I was really young as most players my age did. I grew up playing Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 with my mother and sister. Super Mario, Kirby, and Mario Cart were a few of those titles that we played. Zelda was possibly the biggest game we played. My mom has problems with fast-moving games like Call of Duty and other highly graphic games. We played Super Nintendo and what a time it was! Zelda on the Super Nintendo we conquer many times. I say “we” but it was my mother playing not me or my sister. Even considering it while writing this I’m getting nostalgia. We kept getting close to the end and then the match wiping our rescue out so we started over like three times. It was great times. That was when I was about six or seven or eight. Nostalgia 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.
It is hard to consider what game came in chronological order but they all had a theme: single-player strategy. A broad gaming description that could fit a lot of games inside. Games like Pharaoh and Cleopatra, Age of Empires II, and of course Sid Meier’s Civilization III. I was not permitted to play shooters as they had bad language in them and so was restricted to single player games. My parents were very protective and games weren’t as prevalent twenty decades ago as they are now. Pharaoh is a city builder placing you in ancient Egypt. The goal of the game was that the build terrific cities using the tools at your disposal and it was quite a struggle for an eleven year old. Age of Empires II is a real-time strategy game that’s completely different from pharaoh. You have to balance resource collection and troop manufacturing to take down either AI or other players. To this day, I still play pharaoh and age of empires II.
Think about what nostalgia is for just a second. It is a feeling coming out of a memory. A memory of “better times” that may or might not be accurate. Games we played quite a long time past, that brings those memories back, may not continue to be enjoyable. Civ III I played hundreds of hours when I was younger isn’t as fun now that I am older so I do not play it as much now. Sometimes nostalgia lies.
To conclude, nostalgia in games is a good thing. It allows us to relive parts of our childhood that we otherwise wouldn’t have a reason to bring back up from the depths of our minds. Lots of people say that video games lead to anti-social behavior, violence, and a drop in school grades. Video games teach us how the world is. When you’re playing multiplayer of any sport 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 murdered Abel back in Genesis. I’m pretty sure at they didn’t have video games back then. So this point is obviously going to be moot. The only point which truly 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 the next time you feel nostalgia coming on, take a while to stop and smell the memories. Bask in the thoughts of better times and the expectation that good times are still ahead, regardless of what the world tells you in the present. This is what video game nostalgia educates us.