Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Retro Gaming Nostalgia

OK, I admit this is going to sound like the grumblings of an old curmudgeon, but this is something that has been on my mind for a while now.

I've been thinking about some of the things which have entered the pop culture consciousness and it occurred to me that there were particular items of video game history which a lot of younger people have taken as their own, despite having never really experience them.

Take for instance, the Konami code. It is one of those things which is out there in the world, but outside of a few sites, it rarely comes up in mainstream gaming these days. But when I was a kid, it was everywhere... it was a ubiquitous secret code, one which crossed over into the work of other game companies as a reference.

But I don't understand how it got so well known that it ended up being tattooed on multiple people.

I also wonder how many of the teens and 20-somethings that lionize the original Super Mario Brothers have actually played it, as opposed to watching it on Youtube and the like. I am sure it is a much smaller number of people than it appears, and I am sure the number of people of a certain age who played the original Legend of Zelda is relatively low as well, despite the retro geekdom shown by members of that generation.

And I have always been curious about the number of relatively young people who claim that E.T. the Extra Terrestrial is the worst game ever made. I wonder how many of them have actually played it. I mean, when I say something is the worst, I've watched, read or played the item in question.

Again, I sound like a grumpy old man talking about this, but it has been something I have been thinking about for a while.


Arjan said...

I think you're on point for the Mario thing (don't know the other stuff) though. I only played Mario on the super nintendo at a friend's place and the same goes for some Mario Kart variants and I watched various tv-series but I never played it on the gameboy or had a console at home where I spent many an hour getting through the levels.

I'm sure I'm not alone. Most people probably only played mario karts (similar to me) or started with the new series on the Wii.

Madgestic said...

I've been thinking about it too, and I don't think it's one upmanship (not that you were suggesting such a thing). I wonder if, at a certain age, people feel that the past that's just out of reach is more 'real'. I work in an office surrounded by 20 year olds who honestly think the eighties were the golden age of cinema.

It works the other way though. As a terribly old lady, rather than bemoan the Goonies-loving ways of my otherwise awesome co-workers, I instead get SUPER-EXCITED if I wisely say "I got to the end of Nodes of Yesod" and they know what I'm talking about... :)

MC said...

Arjan: Mario Kart is certainly iconic in its own right.

Madgestic: It is a pleasure to meet you and I am glad to know I am not alone on this. Granted when I was a teen in the early 1990's, there was a huge 60's boom, so I guess this 1980's thing is an extension of that these days. (and it seems sort of funny that BTTF 2 figured that out in theory).

Lee said...

I get irritated when 20 something's claim Leisure Suit Larry and King's Quest. I remember when their immediate sequels were actually released so please don't ask if I've heard of them or claim some special connection to them when you weren't even born yet!?!?

Now where's my slippers, pipe and why are those goddamn kids on my lawn!?!?

It's the t-shirt mentality that actually irritates me, retro prints for kids who have no idea what they represent. So I get 100% what you're saying but as Arjan illustrates by his very existence there are exceptions.

MC said...

I know there are younguns who actively seek out old games and play them, so I am not ripping on them... it is just the ones appropriating retro gaming for the geek chic of it.