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Do nostalgic games trick us into loving them?

posted by Woodsyblue on - last edited - Viewed by 464 users

So I just read this article on Joystiq called 'How nostalgic JRPGs trick us into loving them' and about halfway though I realised you could replace "JRPGs" with "Point'n'Click Adventure Games" and you'd have the exact same story (only less marketable; see what I did there?).

So what to people think? Do you agree that "old games can take us to states of euphoria by triggering our memories of the past... which can convince us that they're superior experiences, even when today's games are leaps and bounds better" or are the older games the superior experiences and they just don't make them like they used to? In short, is the problem the games industry or is the problem us? Or is there not a problem at all?

26 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Yes, nostalgia is a pretty common factor that manipulates the way an individual feels for something, it doesn't have to be games. (the movie "Ratatouille" touches on this subject very well) I don't exactly think it's such a big problem to the extent the article puts it, but yeah.

    As a person with a review blog I have to watch out for any sort of nostalgic bias in the way I review things, it's sometimes difficult to pinpoint, but I manage.

  • Yep. But look at it this way too, there has to have been something good about it to make it nostalgic for you in the first place.

  • Just to prove how interchangeable the genres are here is another quote from the article. Sound applicable?

    "I do think that there actually was something special and unique about the games from the 80s and 90s... If you look at the teams who made the early [Monkey Island] and [Kings Quest]* [games], those were very small teams by today's standards. Design-by-committee rarely produces something as compelling as the vision of a single designer, and I think that small teams can produce better, more adventurous games. And when too much money gets involved in a game's development, I think that very often the design gets polluted by business needs."

    *In the actual quote the games are Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, I just replaced them with classic adventure games for the sake of argument.

  • I am not a veteran of Monkey Island, in fact I decided to play them from the beginning when I got episode 1 of Tales for free and played it for a bit. (back in 2009) I still enjoyed them a lot regardless of no nostalgia involved.

    While nostalgia can be a big factor into someone's enjoyment of a game, I think they are generally aware enough to know whether a game is "good" or not on a technical level. For example, I love Sailor Moon, but on a standard viewing it's a pretty crappy anime overall.

  • This is the part where I chime in to say I love King's Quest (of which 6 is my favorite) and you all shoot me down for having nostalgic bias for a game you think is no good anymore.

  • I don't think anybody is arguing that the games aren't necessarily good. But as with all things there are definite nostalgia factors involved.

  • @DAISHI said: I don't think anybody is arguing that the games aren't necessarily good.

    When the people who most frequent these forums have not and will not play them, I'd say that's an indication of whether they think the games are good or not.

  • I never said I wouldn't play them, did I? In fact, one of my possible plans after finishing my run of the LucasArts library was to give Sierra a shot. Considering how much more potential there is for fucking up in those games, it should be pretty amusing for anyone who cares to watch.

  • @Chyron8472 said: When the people who most frequent these forums have not and will not play them, I'd say that's an indication of whether they think the games are good or not.

    As one of the frequenters who have not (and maybe will not), I can say, at least for myself, that it has nothing to do with my perception of the games' quality, but rather my own lack of interest in revisiting that era of Sierra adventures.

    I think Space Quest is a brilliant series, and I have fond memories of it, but I have no will to play it again for the foreseeable future. For the same reason, I don't see myself playing King's Quest past what little I've played either.

  • Well, I haven't played King's Quest, but it's perfectly fine to like a game for its nostalgia, you just gotta recognize when nostalgia is actually a big factor for it. I mean nostalgia's great and all, but I can't recommend a game to someone based on that alone.

    When I "like" something, and I wanna recommend it to people, I usually take a step back, and think of the reasons why I like it. If I can't come up with any reasons that hold water for a recommendation, (and it's pretty simple, from graphics to relatable charaters to compelling story to well-executed gameplay etc.) it's usually because the outweighing reason is nostalgia.

    Once again, I have not played King's Quest, so I can't refer to your situation in particular, but I agree someone shouldn't berate someone from liking something that to someone else looks like crap, even if it's a majority's opinion, but at the same time I don't think people should berate others for disliking it either.

    Again, Ratatouille does a good job in explaining this phenomenon. Quote: "The average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."

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