Remember when…?

One thing that always influences what games I enjoy is nostalgia. Every long-time gamer has it for one game or another, and I’ve got it in spades. Older games appeal to me for a variety of reasons, while new games need to work hard to impress me.

Even when I play new games, I’m often looking for something to remind me of an older game. Game development isn’t as creative as we’d like to think – pretty much everything has been done before. What I enjoy is recognizing an old idea that’s been cleaned up and done right.

I went through a phase about four years ago where I played old games almost exclusively. Not only did I spare my wallet, but I got to play through all my old favourites. There were games that felt dated, not every old game can age well.

Even so, I give the developers points for trying. Usually, there’s a good idea or two hidden in those below average games. When I see those ideas, I tuck them away in the back of my brain. They’ll be there for years, loitering around and waiting for something to happen.

Then I pick up a new game and find one of those old ideas. Here’s where my nostalgia kicks in – I start talking about how I’m reminded of an old game, blab on about how it was awesome, except for when it wasn’t.

It’s rare when I don’t compare a game to something older, but all my favourite newer games have a piece of the old in them.

The game series I like the most is the Mario series. Nintendo is a company that gets by on nostalgia. I grew up playing Nintendo, and I’ve bought every one of their systems since the Super Nintendo.

Every few years, Nintendo will release a new Mario game. Every time I’ll buy it, play it and enjoy it. This is all because of the heavy nostalgia of each game. While Nintendo isn’t afraid to stuff original ideas into each new Mario game, the games are always built from the same set of blocks – which is literally decades old.

Finally, I know how important nostalgia is to me when I talk to someone younger than me about video games. I ask them what they play, and we chat for a bit. At some point, I tell them that back in my day, video games were better. When they ask me why, all I can manage to say is they just were.

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