Nostalgia and Gaming–Blast to the gaming past

By: Sarah White

earthbound

Gamers are some of the most sentimental people around. Still playing their original games on consoles that are older than the average adolescent currently playing Call of Duty and screaming expletives that they don’t actually understand. But why do we continue to play these old games? The graphics aren’t great. Neither are the controls. There’s not even a whole lot of plot… So why? The answer is simple, nostalgia.

Most of us have strong sentiment for our childhood. Whether it was the carefree attitude or the youthful optimism of being a kid. Often when we come across things that were a part of our past, we’re all able to experience those feelings again. So when someone pulls out the ‘ol N64 and blows into the cartridge for Ocarina of Time, it’s the blast to the past experience that makes in enjoyable. It’s the reason why Nintendo made nothing short of loot when they rereleased Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask: gamers got to experience the same games they grew up with but with the graphics and mechanisms of modern games. It brings back memories for the older gamers, and opens up doors for the younger generations who never got to experience the original.

However, the big thing about this nostalgia is that it’s priceless. It’s hard to put a price tag on the indescribable feeling of being immersed by the things you were once so fond of. It’s the very reason that we’re still fond of them after all these years. This fondness of old memories is exactly why people will pay big bucks for old games. Look at the video game section of eBay on any given day, and then sort by highest price first. Without any buzzwords, the highest items, which go easily into the tens of thousands, is almost always a retro game. Praised both for its rarity and age, older Nintendo classics always go for big bucks. And people who are aching to feel that nostalgia will pay big bucks for a cartridge out of box, in good condition. For example, Earthbound for the SNES goes for, at lowest, $200, to upwards of around $2000. Though the steep prices are due to the games rarity and insane scalpers. If we look at more common N64 games – the ones that gamers simply want because they used to play them when they were younger, the prices are a lot more reasonable.

There have been several studies about the psychology of this gaming nostalgia, and they’re all incredibly interesting to read. So the next time you’re blowing out an old cartridge or scrounging up batteries for an old GameBoy take a moment to remember what first made you a gamer.

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