64-bits of Nostalgia

Thick grey plastic cartridges found in the old attic under the big box of clothes being saved for the next child or grandchild. 16-bit, 32-bit, 64 –bit, they’re all there, what you remember of them and what they were to you. Adventures, difficulty, sport, challenge, ninja turtles, Mario, Pikachu. All still there in the same way you remember fifteen years ago when you couldn’t even imagine being twenty two. There is a word for it you try to remember. Melancholy? Remembrance? Nostalgia. That’s what it is. Blue, green, yellow, red, the color of the old Super Famicon controller your mother found at the garage sale along with the old Japanese system you couldn’t understand was different from your friends. These are memories you can’t forget, and if you do forget can remember as soon as you jump into the old mouth of the great deku tree or play as the child from Onett who had a talking dog and beat things up with a baseball bat.

The old system doesn’t work. A wire is fried. What to do? Google search. Ebay. It's ten dollars for the knock-off power cord but, it’s okay because the seller’s got good reviews and at this point you’re desperate. Game cartridges won’t play? Buy a 3.88mm security bit screwdriver, mother’s mag and aluminum polish from the Walmart across the street, rubbing alcohol, q-tips, and a nice rag. Clean, rinse, shine, repeat. Put it back together and stare at the cartridge. In an old marker “Danny” is still written on the top of the cartridge from the used blockbuster version you bought when you were ten. There’s an old sticker there too. Whip out some Windex, spray it on the sticker, wait two minutes, and then scrape it off with an old box cutter. Danny, you’ve got to go. Grab some alcohol and a magic eraser rub off any and every marker, blemish, or pen mark that ever defaced the game you grew up loving. Replace any joystick, wonky button, loose bumper, broken handle, jammed memory card, missing screw, and sticky cord and everything’s ready to play.

What now? Twenty two and you can enjoy everything you first loved when you were a child in a way you could never then. Invite friends. Drink a beer. Make a bet in Mario-kart you can’t refuse and lose it in a way that forces you to drink two shots of Jim- Beam.
Is it the same as when you were a kid? Hell no. Its better. We grew up on these games, inspired and looking forward to a world far off from our own. It’s good to look back with friends who shared the same systems and games in a different way and feel the way you did Christmas morning when you hoped Santa brought you the same smash-bros game your cousin had and kept kicking your ass at. Its better sharing the experience than it ever was alone on the living room floor in Scooby Doo socks with grips on the bottom in the lumpy bean-bag chair. “We” will always be better than “you” in the same way the future will always be better than the past. Why play these games then? Should they not be left in the past? No, it’s good to look back. In the same way you remember waiting for the next mission in space or to hop on to the next platform on to the next level into a dungeon where you hoped you’d be able to beat the game. You hoped. You looked forward. It’s good to be able to look back and remember you can do the same today. Nostalgia is good.