Sunday, March 20, 2011


According to Wikipedia, the word nostalgia stems from the Greek words nóstos, "returning home", and álgos, "pain" or "ache". I just felt like I should say that. When I was first thinking about this post, I thought I could take the definition and come up with some brilliant line comparing the origins of the word to my experience with games. But I guess I'm not that good.

I think now would be a good time to tell you that I don't have an Xbox360 or a PS3. I have a Wii, which I only use to watch Netflix with. I haven't bought a game for a current-gen system in a long time... maybe 2 or 3 years.

This brings me to my PS2. I had a GCN too, but eh... Oh PS2, I wish I had a name for you (but I don't) but you are so good to me. I've had you for what, 10 years? My first game that I got was like Madden 2001, (Eddie George was on the cover) so that tells you how old it is. Anyway, this is the system I use the most.

Now I do have recent games for the PS2 (Madden 11, and the most recent edition to the FIFA series) but recently I've been playing a lot of the old Tony Hawk series.

And this brings me to nostaliga. When I was still buying games regularly, I was happy with them, but when I remembered games that I played when I was really young, I was overcome with an ache. I was overcome with this feeling... when I would think about the Canada level in THPS3, when I would think about the first few levels of Jak and Daxter, when I would think about the island level (the very first level) in Kingdom Hearts, I felt that aching pain.

There's no spine transferring! Not as good as I remembered...

It was like I actually was at those places. Like I had visited them on vacation. It was like I had the time of my life on those vacations, and I wanted to go back. But something was stopping me... for some reason, when I was playing games that were new at the time, I couldn't put these old games into the PS2. I couldn't put my finger on it then, but now I know...

Now I know exactly why I didn't play them at first. I played THPS3 recently. The levels aren't as great as I remember them. I played Jak and Daxter recently. The game is still awesome, but at times the game can be a little boring. I played Kingdom Hearts recently. There's nothing to do on that island (talking about the first level again)! But it does look really cool. Anyway, point is...

My mind was playing tricks on me. In my mind, these things in the past were just being hyped up. I was comparing all of the games that I was playing to these games that existed in my memory- a memory that is either false or convoluted. Now I have to teach myself to dismiss that nostalgic aching sensation, to say "no Ethan, it's not that good."

I have to realize that sometimes "returning home" is worse than letting something live on in your memory, live on while being put on a pedestal and cherished. Thanks for reading.


Jack Brockley said...

Thought provoking. :)

Ethan said...

Thanks a lot- I don't really know how this can help as indie developers though... I kinda was just writing this more as a gamer, less as a developer.

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