Nostalgia: The Power of Old-School Games

Games, regardless of your platform of choice, have had a significant impact on all of our lives. Who can forget the first time he picked a controller or sat behind a mouse and keyboard and played his first video game? The experience was completely different from everything else and regardless of whether you grew up in the age of Atari, toting an NES or SNES controller or played your first game on a Playstation you’ll remember those times fondly.

Cut to today in the age of Halo 4 and Farcry 3 with flawlessly executed graphics, quick-time events and DLC and it seems that those old-timey games are from another world or some distant point, centuries in the past. And yet, these old-school games are more available today than at any point before in the history of gaming and it’s all because of the awesome power of nostalgia.

When those very same gamers mentioned before got to a certain age and became financially independent they mostly lost contact with games. Sure there is a growing minority of gaming aficionados who build their own gaming rooms, buy old-school arcades and all the consoles they can handle but, generally speaking many Mario players left their SNES behind when they moved out of their parents’ house. For a very long time they have ignored gaming and only managed to get minor insight into the evolution of the hobby. And now, fifteen or twenty or twenty-five years after they stopped playing a beloved company comes along offering them the exact same experience on a more modern system. How could anyone resist? I for one cut my teeth on an old NES knock-off and now I play Beetle tank whenever I can just for that feeling of re-visiting my childhood.

The power of nostalgia bridges decades and it is the main reason why Nintendo still manages to resist despite putting out technically inferior systems and manages to outsell many triple-A titles with the likes of Mario and Luigi. It is also one of the main causes of the resounding success that Obsidian entertainment registered recently when they gathered 4 million dollars in 30 days through Kickstarter to create a modern day equivalent of an Isometric Infinity engine game. Gaming nostalgia draws its strength from people and their desire to live again in the ‘good old days ‘ when they didn’t have a care in the world and while people dream of yesteryear’s games it will be a force to reckon with in gaming.