Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
07 December 2005
Nostalgia Ain't Worth It
On Kotaku we have Kyle Orland weeping over his used games. His lesson: keep your beloved games or pay dearly when nostalgia hits.

Here's a better idea: Tell people to resist nostalgia. The past just ain't what it used to be.

Over the past couple of years I've learned that most games I'm nostalgic for aren't worth a pitcher of warm spit. I'd be better off now having sold them all and bought new ones. Those games in my past were good only because I didn't know any better. Now I do.

Even though I might not want to admit it, there is a trend of improvement in games, even today. Slight improvement, but improvement nonetheless. And every step forward makes the past all the less appealing.

Now, you might well look at my list of games and ask "Why the heck are you keeping all that stuff?" Good question, the answer to which is: I'm not keeping just what I like -- I'm building a personal library. That way when I want to write about how awful a game is, I can fire it up and see for myself. That's just my way.

So forget nostalgia. Forget about yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow. Sell your games with abandon.

And let me know when you're done so I can buy them on the cheap. Thanks.
--Matt Matthews at 15:08
Comment [ 6 ]

Comments on this post:

Aside from the depressing lack of PC Games on your library list, I agree completely. My shelf is full of crap - including a lot of crap I've bought on Ebay just to fill out my library.

But I don't miss ET or Raiders of the Lost Ark for my old 2600. Nostalgia is wasted energy.

By Blogger Troy Goodfellow, at 07 December, 2005 21:05  

Well, there's a reason (almost said "good reason", but I won't go that far) for the lack of PC games: I don't use a computer to play games if I can find an alternative on a console.

Take Battlezone for Windows. I bought the N64 version just so I wouldn't have to use a Windows computer to play it. Same with Driver (PSOne), [Sim] Theme Park (PSOne), GTA (PSOne), Deus Ex (PS2), Escape from Monkey Island (PS2), Half-life (PS2), DooM (Jaguar, PSOne, GBA), Tomb Raider (PSOne, Saturn), and on and on.

By Blogger jvm, at 07 December, 2005 22:41  

There are some games that I think it's a bad idea to sell. If you got rid of your Genesis edition of ToeJam & Earl (possibly the best game for that system), for example, good luck ever playing it again, for I'm not aware of anywhere you can get it legally via emulation.

By Blogger JohnH, at 08 December, 2005 01:43  

I realize the post was in large measure hyperbole, but there are obviously some great classic games that remain more than simply playable. Kaboom!, Pitfall, Combat, Circus Atari, Indy 500, even Space Invaders are all very playable 2600 games. Tecmo Bowl, Baseball Stars, and a few Zeldas are all playable NES games I can recall off the top of my head. You obviously still enjoy Earthworm Jim, and Sonic, Vectorman, most any NHL by EA, Golden Axe, etc are good Genesis games. Can I stop now, or should I jump in with the C=64 and Archon & Adept, Elite, Bruce Lee, Gridrunner, Bard's Tale, Zork, ...?

I'm not sure why Matt takes the half-empty stance on retro games, but he's hardly convinced me. There's a reason the 10-in-1s *continue* selling. Not to mention the ability to study these games for their "cultural commentary", if you'll allow me to be so bold. They're not *just* fun. To dismiss nostalgia so easily seems as much personal neurosis as anything else. ;^)

By Blogger rufbo, at 08 December, 2005 11:40  

I've got a finite time to explore as much of the videogame world as I can. Every hour I spend on some 8-bit game that I thought was the bee's knees 20 years ago is an hour I can't be playing something new. In the library I have here, I've collected literally dozens of games that I've not had time to fire up yet.

Between yet another game of Bard's Tale and something like Beyond Good & Evil it's not even a fight. Heck, between Bard's Tale and a 20-year-old game I've never played before, it's not even a fair fight.

And what of Robotron: 2084 which I'd play once every day if I could? That's like going for a jog for 10 minutes, which I'm willing to allow. :^)

By Blogger jvm, at 08 December, 2005 18:57  

"Every hour I spend on some 8-bit game that I thought was the bee's knees 20 years ago is an hour I can't be playing something new."

Let me start by saying this is a completely different argument. Then let me add that what few books I've read more than once I feel I understand quite a bit better now than I did the first time I read 'em.

Then I'll shift gears completely and say that that's part of why the retro games are still great. If you can't pop in Circus Atari (especially in the Jakks 10-in-1) for seven minutes and enjoy it in a way you can't enjoy MGS3, you're missingwhat amounts to a fundamental appreciation of retro gaming. Adept is another example of a great game that's playable relatively quickly -- and excels when another person in is in the room.

I suppose the bottom line is that you don't have a desire to play games whose draw for you is solely (or predominately) nostalgia. It appears I'm not nostalgic for many games that aren't still worth playing.

By Blogger rufbo, at 09 December, 2005 22:05  

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