The Nostalgia Dollar, and why I’m OK with it.

mario64

Tonight on the Geek Infusion, Matthew talks about the Nostalgia Dollar, and why he’s ok with paying it.

In fact, this week is Nostalgia Week, here at the Geek Infusion, and Matthew is going to talk about some of his favorite games from his childhood.

Nostalgia week. I’ve been looking forward to this.

I’ve been playing video games since I was about 4 years old, but I can’t say I really started to play very seriously until I was about 8 or 9. I remember saving up to buy a Super Nintendo around that age, and buying Yoshi’s Island to go along with it. That game was awesome.

So, as you can probably tell by the above paragraph, I’m largely going to be focusing on Nintendo this week.

God knows they could use some good coverage from me, since I think everything they’ve done since the launch of the Wii has been nothing but rubbish….

….except for the Wii Store.

Why?

Because I will pay to relive my childhood. And I will do so with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, all the way to my wallet. I will sing praises and wear my rose coloured glasses as I enter my credit card info, and I will dream sweet dreams as my purchase downloads. I love old Nintendo games, I love old PS1 games and, hell, I even love some old Xbox Games.

(Speaking of which, I’ll be acquiring an Xbox One later this month. Stay tuned from streaming dates. I’m just waiting to see if my family decides to buy one for me for Christmas first. Why spend my money….)

I drift around the internet a lot as you can imagine, and I see Nintendo taking a lot of crap for rehashing old game concepts over and over. One needs only look as far as Skyward Sword to know that this is true, but it’s never gone into detail as to why this is a bad thing.

Personally, I think it’s because Nintendo is over-indulging. Double-dipping as it were. Not only are you in a less-than-stable relationship with third-party developers, ensuring you don’t have a steady stream of non-Nintendo titles to prop up your system, but you’re selling the very games that your current releases are based on for a cheaper price in your online marketplace.

This doesn’t make much business sense to me. Sure, I’m glad that these older titles are available, and I’ll gladly spend my money to purchase them, but if I can buy, say, Super Mario 64 because I loved it as a kid, what’s the incentive to buy New Super Mario Brothers Wii U?

Not much has changed about Mario in 30 years, and I doubt much more will change because Nintendo is nothing if not formulaic. So it begs the question.

No, bad Matthew. I said I’d give Nintendo good press.

You see, buying Nostalgia isn’t a bad thing. We,on the internet, make a bloody to-do about nostalgia all the time. We get excited for Thunder Cats, Transformers, and Marvel Films all the time.

Why can’t I get excited about Ocarina of Time on the Wii? Do I still have the cartridge? Sure. I don’t know where my N64 is though. Like as not I don’t have it anymore. I did just get back from the UK after all.

Each and every one of these games is linked with a thousand memories. Sights, sensations and scents of a time, oh so very long ago. My biggest worries were which friend I’d hang out with this weekend, and making sure that girl who sat in front of me in school didn’t know I actually like-liked her.

I had two friends in particular that I spent a lot of time with. One is a young lad named Kyle, and the other is Evan. They didn’t know each other. I went to school with Kyle and met Evan through Scouts.

Due to Evan’s dad living in Toronto, I would spend one weekend with him, and the next with Kyle as Evan would be in Toronto.

We would stay up rather late playing video games, and my time with these two largely informed the games I still play today.

With Evan I played action-adventure games, or what would now be called action-adventure. I suppose the closest we had back then was platforming games. We played a LOT of Mario 64 as well as Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, which I suppose was more a first person shooter.

Kyle, on the other hand was a much larger influence in my gaming life. He introduced me to the RPG. He and older cousin Steve used their Magic: The Gathering cards to teach me how elements related to each other when playing a video game, and then moved me into the Final Fantasy series, and other PS1 RPGs.

In fact, the first RPG I ever finished was the Legend of Dragoon. Which, incidentally is available on the PS Plus marketplace at the moment. I highly recommend it. Wonderful story, great, engaging game play and memorable characters.

Kyle also introduced me to the Legend of Zelda, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

This is why, with the exception of Skyward Sword which was bad for so many reasons, I’m ok with Nintendo using older games as jumping off point.

But that’s all they should be. The starting block. Ocarina of Time, for example, has an excellent control scheme that has only gotten better with the refinement brought about by modern analogue sticks and is largely the text-book example of how to tell a Zelda story.

One only needs to look as far as Twilight Princess to see how successful this approach can be.

But it’s these memories that keep me coming back. Life as an adult is, as I’m sure you know, complex. Bills, marriage, children, job, student loans, co-workers, office politics. Isn’t it nice to be a kid again for a while?

I defy any of you to tell me that, even if you play something like…I don’t know…CoD for the multiplayer that it isn’t some form of escapism. You do it to wind down from work, or forget about your stress, or to relax. These are all good things (to an extent) and what better way to do that than to play the games that you loved as a kid. See if the hold up, find humor in the places they don’t.

This week, I’ll tell you about some of mine, starting with my favourite RPG of all time: Star Ocean: The Second Story on the PS1.

See you tomorrow,

-Matthew

p.s. I apologize for the lack of updates this past week. I’ve been working on a very important piece for the blog, and I just can’t get it right. I’m proud of it, but it can be better at the same time. Hopefully, I’ll have it worked out by the weekend. Until then, enjoy Nostalgia Week, and next week we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of the industry again as the Christmas Release schedule heats up.

Take Care.

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The Nostalgia Dollar, and why I’m OK with it.

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