Saturday, August 9, 2014


Nostalgia is a funny thing.  It gets talked about online like it's a sin; as if being fond of things from your past is a terrible thing.  Nostalgia can be taken too far, certainly, but I don't think there's any shame in taking pleasure in the past.

The adventure games I wrote about a few days ago are a good example.  By today's standards Sierra's adventure games were often perversely difficult with sometimes illogical and unforgiving puzzles.  The Rumpelstiltskin puzzle in King's Quest or the collapsing bridge in King's Quest II are great examples of that.  That doesn't reduce the importance of those games in the history of the medium.  And it doesn't mean I can't play them today and enjoy them.

Nostalgia is as much about the period something came from as the thing itself.  It's almost impossible to divorce something in our past from the things surrounding it.  When I think of Duck Tales, or Talespin, I also think of the house I grew up in.  Empire Strikes Back reminds me of watching it on VHS for the first time at my aunt and uncle's house.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reminds of my best friend, who was an even bigger fan of them than I was.

As time passes, it's only natural for our pastimes to be linked to our strongest memories of them.  The mediocre fades, and the great and the terrible remain.  We just have to remember that those extremes were not the whole of the experience; that the good and the bad were both tempered by lesser times that we don't remember as well.  And that today's experiences can and will match those of our memories once we have a little distance.

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