If there is anything that can make us feel humble and send a euphoric shiver up our spines to make us feel like life is incredible for a second it is nostalgia.
I have been pondering for some time that with the growing of the internet it has become more accessible to experience nostalgia. We can see things on a commercial scale that we once adored and potentially have the opportunity to purchase again. There are many mediums on the internet platform that provide us with benefits. Google images and Facebook can let us see images of places we once visited or how our home towns used to look. YouTube lets us watch videos of shows we watched or videos of places we lived/visited and eBay enables us to buy the stuff we threw away because what did it matter back then?
In media we are always seeing what we grew up with return and it can either be welcomed or resented. A movie reboot of a classic series never seems to go down well as it is a real pull on the heart-strings and the developments of cinema and technology damage the originally we hold so dearly. A random band you might have forgotten about might make a return and even record new music. It will never feel the same though (Busted). Time progresses and those things we loved try to keep up and change with the times yet we resent it.
Video games are a major nostalgia factor as they developed from a niche to a mainstream over the last 25 years. That makes those that played video games in the 90’s and whenever before feel very close to games I find. When a game gets remastered it is usually cheered as it reminds us of the simplicity of childhood. Pokémon GO was the perfect example of Nostalgia and last year The Pokémon Company rode the nostalgia train quite proudly. The game series which branched off into everything in the 90’s celebrated 20 years with all kinds of merchandise and a mobile app and new games Sun and Moon that saw a lot of people revisit the creature catching series. Everything about the games was different but it seemed to work for a lot of people. Pokémon GO appeared to be a groundbreaking piece of tech allowing people to hunt for Pokémon as if they were playing the game.
To be fair in that sense it is really nice to give people that opportunity and it was quite beneficial for everyone to get out and communicate. Another issue with this is that Nintendo rode nostalgia in a heavy commercial manner and the same thing appears to happen everywhere and not just in the video game market. It strikes me more as I love video games. Hearing the start-up screen of a Playstation 1 is an incredible feeling and something I hold near and dear.
So why is nostalgia is important? Is it due to all aspects of life and the nihilistic feeling that we’re all just going to die and rot in the ground so might as well hold onto what memories we have whilst also trying to avoid the reality of life and that we’re edging further away from said memories and we are fools for not appreciating our childhoods because of the lack of responsibilities and wonderful things we had? Maybe. Or maybe it is necessary to experience nostalgia as a means of appreciating life and the things we have done because humans will naturally remember more bad than good. Maybe that is an unsatisfying feeling we have where we never get what we want and so the parts of our past that stand out and make us feel warm are the greatest feeling in the world.
If we do not learn from the past then we are to carry it on into the future or at least what we do in the past plays a major role in the present and future and nostalgia is just that for me. A lot of the things I enjoy now in terms of TV, music, entertainment and job prospects are because of what I did in the 90’s or what were in the 90’s. Now I may only remember segments of the late 90’s but, what I felt in those times is better than the crippling realities of socio-economic happenings and being obsessed with a time period I was in stands out a lot more to me than one I wasn’t such as 60’s-80’s. Politics seems to play a major factor in my nostalgia due to studying Britain at A-level and seeing which time periods were better…they don’t look appealing.
In terms of my work I want to write about media such as video games and anime as I watched and enjoyed them as a child and they have stuck with me. I work in a store which I favoured greatly as a child and is really one of the only stores I can remember going to. Working there is a completely different kettle of fish to how it felt in the 90’s but there is a comfort somewhere. You see a lot of nostalgia-referenced stories in media outlets like Buzzfeed’s ‘top ten 90’s toys’ or, look at this catalogue for 1985 Christmas and this helps remind us when we have forgotten what bliss times they were. When a store closes like Woolworths, Virgin Megastores, Gamestation or British Home Stores (BHS) it reminds us that nothing lasts forever and then we wish it wouldn’t go but it is too late and we have to move on with the memories.
While it has its positives and negatives to how it dominates our lives in a sense that we are influenced easily and look to shelter ourselves in the past, it is a wonderful feeling. I find nostalgia to be one of the strongest drugs of them all, a positive hallucinogenic. The show South Park touched on this with the whole ‘Member Berries’ skit and how political frameworks can be based off of ‘it’s not as good as it used to be’ and we all just want to have a good time and experience the tranquility of our personal lives.
This post was merely a ramble about a topic that has been a centre-point for me for the past couple of years and I wonder how relatable people will find it. Nostalgia sells.