Jul 15, 2014

Nostalgia just for the sake of nostalgia

Babbling at the Counter #50 – Video Games

Nostalgia just for the sake of nostalgia

Weird line of thought today. Didn't edit much, kind of messy. Just a heads up.

Recently, reading for a class, I stumbled upon the term “pastiche”. The author claimed that it was “an imitation without the original propose” of something. It got me thinking. I play games that imitate old games. I love pixel art. Was it all nostalgia just for the sake of nostalgia? Was I just looking for the past?

While playing Meikyu, I kept thinking “it’s like when I was young and games were only in English or Japanese”. I couldn’t read them. But, as I played, as I had to guess what to do, as I had to experiment to discover how use the item I just got, I remembered. I remembered why I liked games in spite of my inability to read them, not because of it.

I had no idea the game had an English patch. I thought it was Japanese or nothing. And I didn’t mind. Just like old times.

I don’t play “retro” games just because they are “retro”. I play them because I actually like them. Console games have their characteristics. Online games theirs, too. The same can be said of any subdivision of games. Retro, at least for me, means “short”, “simple” and “different”. When I started gaming that’s what I liked. Today, I just look for the same.

These ideas are kind of wild and difficult to connect, so I’ll just finish the Babbling with a summary. Making games is not just choosing graphics and controls. You are providing an experience. It’s true that there are games that just pay lip service to the “retro” concept. But low res graphics are back for a reason (they are easier to work with, so developers of free games work). The short games are back for a reason (see low res, above). The simplicity too and a lot of other qualities.

Today, with the free games I have access to, I can enjoy gaming like I used to, like I like to. It’s not trying to imitate the memory; it’s actually getting the real thing, the real experience. There is a reason behind it, not just nostalgia.

- The Storeman

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