Falling Down the Nostalgia Rabbit Hole

Mario, Pac-Man, Crash Bandicoot

Recently, I’ve been thinking  lot about the girly video games I played growing up, including Purple Moon’s Rockett series. I’ve been reading about the games on Wikipedia, looking for used copies on eBay, and trying to find out if the series ever revealed Rockett’s middle name.

This is a common pattern for me. Something will remind me of The Incredible Machine or Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, and suddenly it’s all I can think about. It doesn’t matter if the game was good or if I remember much about it at all. It’s stuck in my head like an earworm, and I’m doomed to be fixated on it for at least a few days.

Sometimes I get sucked into the nostalgia vortex without being reminded of anything in particular. I have a collection of old gaming magazines that I sometimes waste hours pouring through. YouTube lets me instantly relive any old video game commercial I can think of.

There’s nothing wrong with looking back at the old, but I am definitely guilty of doing it at the expense of the new. Why am I looking at Rockett’s First Dance on YouTube when I have brand new games I’ve barely touched? Why am I reading video game articles from 1997 when I could be reading about games coming out next year?

I’m not one of those people who insists games were better back in the day. In fact, I’m a lot more likely to argue the opposite. There were great games, absolutely, but there were plenty of bad ones too. It’s just that the good stuff is usually all that we remember.

Maybe that’s why I’m so determined to look back at every game that pops into my head. I want to remind myself that there were always goofy games mixed in with the great ones, and that gaming isn’t in a state of decline. Looking back at the wackier games I played in my youth satisfies my curiosity, but it also lets me see that not every game from my childhood aged well.

I can’t say I dislike my trips down the nostalgia rabbit hole. Taking a few hours to replay a silly old visual novel isn’t productive, but it is pretty fun. Still, I’d like to get better at finding a balance between the two. Blasts from the past are entertaining, but I’d hate to miss out on something new because of them.

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