The Danger of Blind Nostalgia

The Danger of Blind Nostalgia

So many retro games & consoles are coming out these days, I want to talk about why the “good old days” weren’t as good as people think.

Retro Classic Consoles

I knew the classic consoles were going to be successful from the moment they appeared. I still have a huge fondness for my old SNES (Super Famicom for my Japanese friends) as it was a massive formative part of my gaming life. But I’m also old enough to remember it as it was rather than as I wanted it.

The Problems

First of all, not offering downloadable game slots was stupid. Only having a fixed (and very small) selection of available games is ridiculous. Especially since the SNES had so many absolute classics. So why not let people choose the games they wanted rather than forcing the games on them?

Secondly, since the tech is basically a Raspberry Pi running an emulator, the cost is laughable. For a fraction of the price you could build your own, choose all of the games you wanted and still have a ton of storage space free for other things. Or get some emulators and do it for free on PC. Legally sketchy, but definitely an option for the demographics who bought the official consoles.

Remakes & Remasters

At the time of writing, WoW Classic has just been launched and I’m already seeing problems that existed 20 years ago but have since been resolved by technology. People are waiting in hours-long queues for limited spawn enemies. People are power-levelling characters to the cap and then running out of stuff to do. And this is costing them $15/month!

The Problems

The thing to bear in mind is that no old game is ever as good as you remember it. I loved Starfox, but it runs at about 15fps, a rate that I find almost unplayable these days.

I also loved plenty of old games on Spectrum that I know haven’t aged well. Technology moves on. Game development improves* over time. You’re not the same person you were back then and just because your rose-tinted glasses give you fond memories of how you felt back then, doesn’t mean that’s how things actually are.

*not counting BS things like micro-transactions and free-to-play mechanics.

What Can We Do?

The easiest thing to do is to think about why you stopped playing that game in the first place. If you got frustrated by something, that will still exist in the “classic retro remake”. If you got bored by something, that will still be there. Value your time more. Try not to get sucked in by feelings you had a long time ago. Demand more from developers before you start throwing money at them for something that you already paid them for 20 years ago.