When an MMO dies - Memories remain?

Posted by dagas (3070 posts) -

I'm sure everyone at some point get that feeling that you want to go back and replay a game. You dust off your SNES or Saturn and hook it up to the TV. You start the game and the memories come flooding back. You play for 5 minutes and realize it's not as fun as it used to be, or perhaps it never was fun and the nostalgia filter is the only thing convincing you that there once was a time when the game was like an escape to paradise. 
 
With MMORPG's you don't have that luxury. Like on old girl friend you'll never see again there is no way to play the game and feed the demon inside you that is nostalgia. I feel that way about Tabula Rasa. I know if I could go back and play it that I would get tired after a few minutes, but because I cannot actually go back and do that, the feeling is left inside. I cannot play it and get that "Yup, that's the game alright. Yup, that's what I liked about it and yup that's why I stopped playing it." that you can from single player games. I stopped playing TR not because it was shut down, but because I didn't like it anymore. Like a girl friend you part with because you know you are not meant for each other and staying together is just prolonging the inevitable, you cannot help but wonder "What if things had turn out differently? Maybe we could start over again?" It's not enough that you know that it wouldn't work, you feel like you have to know it wouldn't work. 
 
Just like with old girl friends you only remember the good and conveniently forget the bad, even when you are fully aware of the bad, part of your mind simply refuse to accept it. The nostalgia tells you that your life used to be much better. There was a time of absolute happiness, even when no such happiness existed at all. I want to start up the game, log in, find my character who looked like a woman straight out of the US Air Force, gum chewing, spitting, bad-ass lady with shades straight out of the Top Gun movie. I want to hear the background music and jump into the game and start attacking some command post controlled by the Bane (I think that was the name of the aliens). 
 
The part of my mind that handles reasoning and logic know that going back to the game is futile and that I already know exactly what would happen, but the nostalgia demon whispers to me that true bliss can be found only on the world of Tabula Rasa. If only there was a way to play MMO games in single player, even without any people it would be enough to get that fix the nostalgia demon demands every so often. MMO's are like a forgotten period in history where we have no documents or buildings that have survived to tell us what life used to be like. We can only remember them and like history passed on by oral tradition, the memories change over time and move further and further from the truth. In our mind it becomes like the blissful state of nature many 18th century philosophers* were obsessed about. The time before the world become corrupted and everyone was pure. Or in the case of video games, before game developers become corrupted by large publishers such as Activision or EA and the games were pure and innocent, made for fun rather than profit. I doubt there is anyone who never have thought "games used to be so much better" even if they realize it's not true as soon as they have the thought.
 
What we need is an MMO museum, where servers are stored and people can get the true facts. Experience the game as it was and not as how they remember it. Perhaps in the future the worlds in MMORPG's will be on the Lost Worlds show on Discovery. People will study these virtual worlds and wonder how people live and future hackers will be like archeologists of today, trying to find the remains of the once great civilizations. 
 
* Jean-Jacques Rousseau for example

#1 Posted by dagas (3070 posts) -

I'm sure everyone at some point get that feeling that you want to go back and replay a game. You dust off your SNES or Saturn and hook it up to the TV. You start the game and the memories come flooding back. You play for 5 minutes and realize it's not as fun as it used to be, or perhaps it never was fun and the nostalgia filter is the only thing convincing you that there once was a time when the game was like an escape to paradise. 
 
With MMORPG's you don't have that luxury. Like on old girl friend you'll never see again there is no way to play the game and feed the demon inside you that is nostalgia. I feel that way about Tabula Rasa. I know if I could go back and play it that I would get tired after a few minutes, but because I cannot actually go back and do that, the feeling is left inside. I cannot play it and get that "Yup, that's the game alright. Yup, that's what I liked about it and yup that's why I stopped playing it." that you can from single player games. I stopped playing TR not because it was shut down, but because I didn't like it anymore. Like a girl friend you part with because you know you are not meant for each other and staying together is just prolonging the inevitable, you cannot help but wonder "What if things had turn out differently? Maybe we could start over again?" It's not enough that you know that it wouldn't work, you feel like you have to know it wouldn't work. 
 
Just like with old girl friends you only remember the good and conveniently forget the bad, even when you are fully aware of the bad, part of your mind simply refuse to accept it. The nostalgia tells you that your life used to be much better. There was a time of absolute happiness, even when no such happiness existed at all. I want to start up the game, log in, find my character who looked like a woman straight out of the US Air Force, gum chewing, spitting, bad-ass lady with shades straight out of the Top Gun movie. I want to hear the background music and jump into the game and start attacking some command post controlled by the Bane (I think that was the name of the aliens). 
 
The part of my mind that handles reasoning and logic know that going back to the game is futile and that I already know exactly what would happen, but the nostalgia demon whispers to me that true bliss can be found only on the world of Tabula Rasa. If only there was a way to play MMO games in single player, even without any people it would be enough to get that fix the nostalgia demon demands every so often. MMO's are like a forgotten period in history where we have no documents or buildings that have survived to tell us what life used to be like. We can only remember them and like history passed on by oral tradition, the memories change over time and move further and further from the truth. In our mind it becomes like the blissful state of nature many 18th century philosophers* were obsessed about. The time before the world become corrupted and everyone was pure. Or in the case of video games, before game developers become corrupted by large publishers such as Activision or EA and the games were pure and innocent, made for fun rather than profit. I doubt there is anyone who never have thought "games used to be so much better" even if they realize it's not true as soon as they have the thought.
 
What we need is an MMO museum, where servers are stored and people can get the true facts. Experience the game as it was and not as how they remember it. Perhaps in the future the worlds in MMORPG's will be on the Lost Worlds show on Discovery. People will study these virtual worlds and wonder how people live and future hackers will be like archeologists of today, trying to find the remains of the once great civilizations. 
 
* Jean-Jacques Rousseau for example

#2 Posted by Diamond (8678 posts) -

I get really nostalgic about my Everquest 1 experiences.  Just hearing one of those MIDI tunes is enough to remind me of the fun I had.  Luckily I can experience some of that with EQEmu, I've set my own server up on my PC for my own private visitations of the classic version of the game world.  It lacks the people however, and without that it's a shadow of the former self.  Like looking at photographs of your youth.
 
In a logical way I can remember all the problems I had with the game, fear of losing my progress, the weeks on end I spent playing it and ignoring everything else.  Emotionally I remember the good times, as you say.

#3 Edited by animateria (3302 posts) -

I believe there is a Museum that collects MMOs and are able to run them on their systems legally.
 
Of course, because it isn't meant for play, and mostly to store these as historical artifacts. There wouldn't be anyone else in the game world besides the ones playing it in the museum.
 
Robert Ashley (Worked at 1UP I believe) had a podcast on interviewing such person. Just pass the part about pinball machine collectors if you find that utterly uninteresting.

 http://alifewellwasted.com/2009/03/03/episode-two-gotta-catch-em-all/ 

#4 Posted by SpudzDK (94 posts) -

Great blog entry on both points :) I shall have to listen in to Robert Ashley´s podcast too. It sort of drowned in the "sea" of new podcasts after the mass layoffs at Ziff Davis(?) and all the old employees forming little personal groups to try to recapture the good vibes of the 1up show, 1up yours and the others. 
 
Perosnally I feel the nostalgic sting less on MMOs than on those regular old games I have on my shelves. I install them once more, start them and SMACK in the face i realise they cannot run on vista and sometimes not even on XP.
#5 Posted by MrHammeh (207 posts) -

Very well said.  Anarchy Online was like that for me although it is still going.  I hadn't played that game in years then all that nostalgia started coming back and I started to play it again.  Alas, it was still fun though, and I remembered why I liked it so much.  Such a shame that DOAC was not the same, it really made me sad when I went back to try that one out.  
 
That's interesting that it was commented that there is a museum for MMOs?  Wonder if I could have some more info on that if anyone knows?  Would be interesting to read about to say the least. 

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