Revisiting older games is more than a trip down memory lane. Memories of video games are enough to induce a feeling of nostalgia. Most gamers have strong memories of some of their beloved games. This psychological phenomenon is often an excuse for developers to create an endless sequence of remakes, reboots and sequels or prequels.

Research into the psychological impact of video game nostalgia is rather new and the results limited. As a psychological principle, nostalgia can be described as a sentimental yearning for the past. Revisiting old games is a manner to experience an idyllic past and relive some of these memories.

Older games and memories of the past

Retro games are popular at conventions. Here you find older game cartridges and consoles for collectors who are willing to pay to recreate their childhood memories.The visual design of the game is not as fundamental as the memory of the user.

In one of the rooms in our house, you find a pile of old games. From time to time, I take the time to revisit one of them to recreate some of the memories. These games are considered as a physical reminder of these memories. Selling them is not even negotiable and will never happen.

Re-released consoles

The success of the re-released retro consoles is one of several indications that older games and console hardware are still relevant in large groups of gamers. Some of the re-released smaller versions of the consoles were difficult to find and retailers experienced problems to keep up with the demand.

Remakes and reboots

Due to compatibility issues, it is often difficult to introduce older games to the younger generation of gamers. A remake offers them the chance to experience the original gameplay on the current generation of hardware, but a reboot is often the better choice.

The Call of Duty – Modern Warfare reboot serves as a good example, but this trend is not limited to this game series. Sometimes, the gameplay experience feels outdated. A reboot allows the developers to adjust the gameplay mechanics to the modern era.

Modernise the existing concept

To be clear, a reboot is a different game based on the original release. In most cases, developers decide to tell the same story with some small changes but further improve the existing gameplay mechanics.

In 2016, id Software released their Doom reboot. This game is introduced a new generation of gamers to the fast paced combat of the original. In 2013, Crystal Dynamics rebooted the popular Tomb Raider series with a more dynamic and relatable female protagonist.

Let the past be the past

There is nothing wrong with the feeling of nostalgia towards older games, but it can limit the creativity of the entire game community. Publishers consider releasing brand new game concepts as a risk. This is also the reason why you often see standalone games turn into entire game series.

The feeling of nostalgia and recognisable gameplay mechanics is often the safest manner for publishers to generate a profit. This results in an endless stream of sequels and prequels. With the new generation of console on their way, It is time to release more original games and let the past remain the past.

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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from Doom Eternal, a video game developed by id Software and published by Bethesda. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.

2 thoughts on “Games and nostalgia, a closer look at this strange psychological phenomenon | Opinion

  1. Great post! I am not a gamer, but these ideas transcend several different entertainment mediums. I agree- let the past be the past. However, I think millenials and even Generation Z need to stop buying these games, movies, tickets, etc. When we invest in nostalgia franchises, there are so many people with amazing ideas who risk not having the opportunities so many creators had before them. Thanks for spreading these ideas to the gaming community. We’re all in this together.

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