We can all point to early gaming experiences that shaped our lives. Whether it was playing Tetris at a friend’s house, that first time playing Starcraft, or the first time you really identified with a character in a game, we all have gaming experiences from the past that we remember fondly.
I’ve recently revisited some of my most nostalgic experiences. I reviewed the NES Classic Mini, as well as the Ezio collection. I was really looking forward to both, excited to revisit the wonderful games I loved, the experiences that my nostalgia claimed were far superior to current day gaming. But while both were good, they were also both underwhelming.
Yes, Ezio is still a charming assassin, but the core gameplay doesn’t live up to the improvements seen in more recent iterations of Assassin’s Creed. And while it was cool to replay some of the retro games of my youth on the NES, they weren’t quite as amazing as I remembered.
But, if you discuss a franchise like Assassin’s Creed, people will swear up and down that it hit its peak with Assassin’s Creed II and has been going downhill from there. They will swear that early version of any genre or franchise were far superior, citing Final Fantasy VII, Call of Duty Modern Warfare or Warcraft III as the pinnacles of gaming. Our nostalgia is strong. It’s so strong, that I’d bet there are a good many new games that aren’t given the credit they deserve because they don’t live up to unrealistic or inaccurate memories of older versions.
But is nostalgia actually a good thing? If we keep remembering old school games as being far better than they actually were, will we continue to falsely rag on new games as not being as good? Des our nostalgia set inaccurate expectations for games? Or, is it actually a good thing, holding our industry to a high standard, pushing for continual improvements and new experiences we can grow nostalgic about?
Last Updated: November 25, 2016