There’s a lot to be said for exploring our first loves. Oh, and we do! This applies to everything from music, to movies, to video games. Yes, video games. The truth is, we yearn for the simple pleasures of our childhood. It may have a great deal more to do with nostalgia than what we would like to admit, but it’s a reality for most of us.
Psychology suggests that the reason behind this is that those of us who were fortunate enough to have grown up in happy and loving homes will forever try and duplicate and re-create the sense of security and well-being that we experienced during our childhood years.
Nostalgia is a very interesting concept, and often a bittersweet one at that. Whilst some people view nostalgia as a negative element, one that seems to suggest that a person may not be able to let go of their past and live fully in the now, psychologists agree that nostalgia is actually a very necessary and positive element when it comes to dealing with existential functions and issues, or in plain language, when it comes to the business of getting down and living.
Why Nostalgia Saves
This may explain exactly why, despite the prolific development of technologically advanced and artfully created modern video game titles, many players still find themselves returning to the classics like Tetris and Super Mario, and why Nintendo’s Labo cardboard games are such a hit.
Research suggests that the concept of nostalgia fulfils existential functions and acts, in essence acting as a type of safe haven that people return to in order to ward of their existential fears. More and more studies are being done on the correlation between nostalgia and consumer behaviour. In other words, why we buy the things that we do, eat the food that we enjoy and in this case, have a propensity to return to the old classic video games despite the existence of newer, more advanced games.
The market for game consoles has continued to grow at a steady pace, with new and more interactive technology being developed all the time. And whilst many of us enjoy the perks of modern technology, constant interaction and full-on connectivity, we also continuously yearn for the classics.
Is nostalgia solely responsible for this tendency? The experts are divided, but many disagree. Consider, for example, the Sega Mega Drive. Let’s face it; this was simple and uncluttered technology at its best. Which is just a diplomatic way of saying that it wasn’t exactly designed with cutting-edge technology in mind. The reason being, of course, that cutting-edge technology did not yet exist at the time of its manufacturing.
And yet, all things considered – maximum capacity of 4MB, limited sound and graphics – the limited capabilities of the consoles did not prevent the developers from making highly entertaining games that had the capacity to keep busy minds and bodies occupied for hours, even days, on end.
Counting The Cost
Another element that seems to come into play is the cost of new games versus the cost of the old classics. Many players argue that it’s completely unnecessary to spend hundreds of dollars on a game that they aren’t certain of in the first place, specifically referencing the matter of whether the game will be enjoyable or not, when they can just as well invest in cheaper games that they know and love.
Apart from nostalgia and money matters, there’s also the element of passing on the legacy. When questioned about why they often return to playing the old classics, many players indicate that they do not merely do this for themselves, but also for the sake of their children.
Players find a great deal of joy in the act of passing on the old classics to their children.
It seems then that we truly are creatures of habit, right down to the video games that we love to play.