Will we (I) inevitably become nostalgic over every era of gaming even if we (I) didn't love it at the time?

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6053

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By bigsocrates  Online

I've been listening to the Trials Fusion theme a fair amount recently. I remember enjoying it at the time of its release, 10 years ago (I don't really want to think about what that means) and I also enjoyed the game, especially the way that my best friend at the time (we're still friends, just not as close) and I would compete for track times and send clips of our most outrageous crashes to one another.

In general I have a lot of nostalgia right now for that early PS4/Xbox One time in gaming. Games like Titanfall, Sunset Overdrive and Resogun were a peek into what the next generation could do, but we were still early enough in the generation that live service games weren't dominant yet. We were still getting a lot of games in the 7th gen mode of 10-15 hour campaigns and the fact that the newer consols had been designed with digital games as a main feature instead of an afterthought meant that indies were getting bigger and better, bolstered by the success of Kickstarter. There was a lot of good stuff going on in gaming, much of which I look back on fondly.

But it was also kind of a bad time. The PS4 infamously took a long time to get going, with 2015's Bloodborne arguably marking the turning point from awkward new system to the powerhouse it would become. The Xbox One floundered out of the gate. The Wii U was a complete wreck. While I can look back on some of those games with fondness and view some of them, like Transistor, as all time favorites, I can also say that 2014 had a lot of games I didn't really like. I think Shadow of Morder is overrated and just okay. Assassin's Creed Unity launched as a complete and total mess. Destiny remains one of the games I played the longest after I was already not having a lot of fun.

I was in my 30s at the time, so it's not like I was a kid, and I was quite miserable, in absolutely horrendous physical shape and hurtling towards an early grave, something I would not begin to address for another 3 or so years. It's not a time I really look back on with a lot of fondness.

And yet I do have nostalgia for some of those games, and maybe for the era as a whole. I think that can be attributed to a few things. The first is that even in bad times there are almost always some positive moments or experiences that shine through. The games of 2014 may not match up to a year like 2017 (or 2023) but they're certainly not all bad. I had good experiences with some of them. Even great experiences with a select few. As time goes by those memories stand out more strongly, and the good times I had in something like Titanfall are clearer than all the mediocre stuff I played and didn't really like.

The second is that each era of gaming is different from the present, at least to some extent. Trials Fusion had a dry, comedic, style that drew on Portal and that has fallen out of fashion in the modern day, where games tend to be a little more sincere. Say what you will about Shadow of Mordor but it was a complete product (there was some DLC but it was side stuff) and a little less bloated than a lot of the most modern stuff. It's easy to think of the best of the time in contrast to our modern slate and have some fondness for the good stuff that existed back then.

The question that really interests me is whether in 10 years I'll be nostalgic for 2024. Will I look back on Suicide Squad and Skull & Bones with the same "were they really that bad?" attitude I have towards AC: Unity (which, to be fair, is in its current state a much better game than either of those will likely ever be.) Will the pretty dry looking last year of the Switch be seen as a time when charming smaller games came out and we all enjoyed Princess Peach Showtime! while waiting for the Switch 2?

There's a sort of comfort in the thought that even the darkest times have bright spots and that inevitably time will sand away the junk and the frustrations and polish the gems that maybe we couldn't appreciate so much at the time. In 10 years the dull slog of Redfall will just be a vague memory but Hi-Fi Rush and Tears of the Kingdom will stand out, with clear high points and moments of fun of joy.

And I like that even in my advanced age I can still feel nostalgic about the good bits of the not so distant past. Trials Fusion is a good game. Better than Skull & Bones, at the very least!

Avatar image for rebel_scum
Rebel_Scum

1632

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

Not really. I see the last gen as being pretty weak compared to x360/ps3 era. It felt that way back then and for me thats not going to change my opinion of it.

Avatar image for chamurai
chamurai

1086

Forum Posts

472

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#3  Edited By chamurai

Well, with 2024 only being a lil more than 1/12 done, I'd say it's hard to make a judgement call on it. I certainly don't feel nostalgia for every year of gaming. More like a console generation thing. But then, I don't play a lot of recent games and usually play stuff after they go on sale or something. If we get something comparable to a The Quiet Man 2 or Balan Wonderworld 2024 then of COURSE the answer is yes. If not, then what would we have become?

Avatar image for gtxforza
GTxForza

2160

Forum Posts

5217

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#4  Edited By GTxForza

To me, it depends, but if you ask me what generation of video games I mostly feel nostalgic about, is the 7th-gen era, because of Gran Turismo 5 (PS3) and Forza Motorsport 3 (Xbox 360), which I can see their car models looks so stunning in its time and it's menu soundtracks are both so good! even though these two games have decent handling models they're not as realistic as iRacing, rFactor, GTR 2, GTR, GT Legends, Race 07, and Race - The Official World Touring Car Championship Game in terms of handling models.

Yet, I dislike the Standard/Simple/PS2/PSP era model cars in Gran Turismo 5 & 6, which don't look good compared to Gran Turismo 5 & 6's Premium/Detailed/PS3 era cars and Forza Motorsport 2, 3 & 4 cars.

Edit: Also here is another thing that I feel nostalgic about in the early 8th-gen era, is Forza Horizon 2 and Driveclub's graphics both look super stunning and way ahead of their time, but I dislike to admit these two look better than the original Assetto Corsa on PC (Without mods), even though the original Assetto Corsa is a different type of racing game compared to Forza Horizon 2 and Driveclub. Well, I have a reason why I prefer the original Assetto Corsa PC (Without mods) to Forza Horizon 2 and Driveclub because for featuring a more realistic handling model.

Avatar image for mellotronrules
mellotronrules

3597

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#5  Edited By mellotronrules

not going to lie- i'm not a nostalgic gamer. most of my favorite games fall within a constant rolling window of the last 5 years, so i can't say i empathetically relate. but you should take comfort in knowing it isn't an uncommon feeling, and perhaps the most complex to properly express.

i would, however, like to thank you for bringing the Trails Fusion theme back into my life.

WEL-COME 2 THE FUTURE.

MAN.

MACHINE.

THE FUSION!

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16682

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

I recall 2014 being a good year in games for me. The highlight of that year was Wolfenstein: The New Order (you talk about Shadow of Mordor being overrated, I'd tell you that W: TNO deserves to be talked about as a highlight in FPS campaigns, especially when it comes to story). Dark Souls 2 came out that year. Shovel Knight came out that year. I enjoyed Titanfall at the time, though I never played tons of the original.

I also graduated college and got a job. I'd later come to hate that job, but also education was over (or so I thought, you never actually stop learning) and earning a bigger paycheck than I ever earned while living with my parents so that might have something to do with me having a slightly brighter outlook on games that year.

I do think we tend to look at the past with rose-tinted glasses pretty much all the time, though. We tend to keep the things that remind us of the good times and we try not to dwell on the things that caused us stress and pain, which makes the past sometimes look nicer than it really was. So, yeah, I'd say any time in our past is a time we are prone to become nostalgic towards.

As for years I actually feel most nostalgic for... uh... I don't know which one to pick. I find myself not really keeping up with the newest releases as much anymore. I play a few on release, most notably Baldur's Gate 3 last year (I'm going to do another playthrough of that whenever they finish patching it and/or they release some kind of enhanced edition). There was a few years in the late 2010's where I played almost nothing new and instead just replayed Dark Souls and Skyrim and some other older favorites over and over again. And I don't regret doing that, it's kinda the thing I wanted to do at the time, but I don't feel all that much nostalgia for things from that era, except maybe Prey 2017 and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and maybe some others here and there. I played Pillars of Eternity 2 years later and I think that game's incredible, though, I'd probably have a lot of nostalgia for it if I'd played it at release.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

1045

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm only nostalgic for games that were released before I was 19 or so. After that, it's all "new stuff" to me (even if it's actually like 15 years old...)

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6053

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#8 bigsocrates  Online

@chamurai: It's funny, I picked up the Quiet Man cheap on a digital sale a little while back, but at this point I don't know if I will ever have the motivation to play something like that again. I feel like I've hit some hard turning point in my gaming where bad games are losing their appeal. Heck at this point I'm kind of struggling to engage with GOOD games. That, I'm confident, will change, but I feel like something has shifted in me and I'm no longer the Balan/Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood guy I used to be just a couple years ago. Maybe I'm wrong and that will come back. Only time will tell.

@mellotronrules: LIFE IS A REVOLUTION!

@justin258: I don't think 2014 was a horrible year by any means. It's the year Mario Kart 8 came out and I hear that game is pretty popular. I just don't think it was seen as a particularly great year, and at the time I remember the feeling that the new consoles were off to kind of a slow start, which I think in retrospect is pretty true. I just don't think it's the kind of year that I would expect to look back on as something special, and I don't think it really was, but for me I have some strong emotions around it right now.

I wish I was the kind of person who could feel happy playing through the same games over and over. For one thing it's cheaper. For another you get to really know a game well, and I think there's something to that. Instead I'm the kind of person who can enjoy old "new to me" games, but I really struggle replaying stuff for the most part. I should maybe try it a bit more but there's always something I haven't played that I'm curious about. Still I imagine that playing Skyrim yet again is a more fulfilling experience than "I gotta know what Balan Wonderworld is REALLY like." Then again, so is staring at a brick wall.

Avatar image for ginormous76
Ginormous76

509

Forum Posts

114

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 11

@bigsocrates: IMO, probably. It's because we have selective memories. There are games on every console that I wish I could play again for the first time. There's also nostalgia for just being younger in general.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

6994

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I don't think I can be massively nostalgic for the relatively near past. Not without a recognisable overriding aesthetic. I think the PS3/360 era has one but the following generation feels a lot more ... well, like today.

Also, someone help me put a finger on that 360 aesthetic. It's that weird sun-baked filter that made Burnout Paradise look kinda ... gritty. Not very now but very then.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16682

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

@chamurai: It's funny, I picked up the Quiet Man cheap on a digital sale a little while back, but at this point I don't know if I will ever have the motivation to play something like that again. I feel like I've hit some hard turning point in my gaming where bad games are losing their appeal. Heck at this point I'm kind of struggling to engage with GOOD games. That, I'm confident, will change, but I feel like something has shifted in me and I'm no longer the Balan/Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood guy I used to be just a couple years ago. Maybe I'm wrong and that will come back. Only time will tell.

@mellotronrules: LIFE IS A REVOLUTION!

@justin258: I don't think 2014 was a horrible year by any means. It's the year Mario Kart 8 came out and I hear that game is pretty popular. I just don't think it was seen as a particularly great year, and at the time I remember the feeling that the new consoles were off to kind of a slow start, which I think in retrospect is pretty true. I just don't think it's the kind of year that I would expect to look back on as something special, and I don't think it really was, but for me I have some strong emotions around it right now.

I wish I was the kind of person who could feel happy playing through the same games over and over. For one thing it's cheaper. For another you get to really know a game well, and I think there's something to that. Instead I'm the kind of person who can enjoy old "new to me" games, but I really struggle replaying stuff for the most part. I should maybe try it a bit more but there's always something I haven't played that I'm curious about. Still I imagine that playing Skyrim yet again is a more fulfilling experience than "I gotta know what Balan Wonderworld is REALLY like." Then again, so is staring at a brick wall.

I find that I replay games less now that I'm in my thirties and own a home. Oh, I still do occasionally, but usually when I replay a game I do something different, and I don't just mean turn up the difficulty. With something like Factorio/Satisfactory/Minecraft, you just give yourself a different project. With something like Divinity: Original Sin 2 or Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, you try different character builds and make different choices. If it's not something like that there must have been a long time between then and now for me to replay it, either that or it's Halo. I seem capable of replaying Bungie-era Halo campaigns pretty much infinitely without getting bored.

Also, I find myself most engaged by big games with lots of stuff going on gameplay-wise. When I get home from work I don't want to look at a list of games and figure out what to play, I just want to double-click something and go, and if I already know how to play something... great! I can just keep doing that! Picking something new every week or two and learning the ropes for it just sounds stressful. Give me something I can snack on for a month or two (but not infinitely, I don't like games that try to keep your attention for an infinite amount of time).

For Skyrim... my favorite playthrough of that game was one where I put a hundred hours into it over a month, something I don't think I've done since. I bumped the difficulty up one notch and specifically tried to play without fast traveling. I would pay for carts to take me somewhere, sure, but the map was for navigation. The higher difficulty makes you engage with that game's systems more than you would on normal, where just mashing the attack button over and over and sometimes drinking a potion wins everything, and that made gameplay much more engaging. I won't claim it's a great combat system or a deep RPG or anything, but it still felt like there was a lot more to it than most people give Skyrim credit for. That, and I also played through the DLC and wound up exploring a lot more of the sidequests than I ever had before. This was like six or seven years ago and talking about it now makes me kinda want to play Skyrim again...

The "playing bad games ironically" schtick might be funny for a little while but eventually you've got to genuinely enjoy something.

Avatar image for bribbins
Bribbins

65

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I find myself nostalgic for anything that reminds me of a previous era in my life, no matter how recent. It’s fun to look back at the past

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

6053

Forum Posts

162

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#14 bigsocrates  Online

@justin258: Can you really "replay" Minecraft? I think of it as just "playing more" Minecraft. For me to count something as "replaying" it has to have more of a definitive beginning and end (which I guess Minecraft technically does, but people don't play it for that.) I play Monster Train pretty frequently but I don't consider it replaying any more than playing Tetris is replaying.

I can definitely understand the desire to play an engaging game you already know. I also kind of hate starting new games, as do a lot of people. It's not just learning the controls it's getting past the beginning when you're often super weak and doing something like killing rats or just walking around a base talking to people.

The issue for me is more that one of the big things I get from games is novelty, so I find replaying stuff doesn't hit as hard. Maybe if I waited longer in between plays, but there's always something new I want to see. And I get the effect of already knowing how to play something from playing sequels. Like if you played Spider-Man you know how to play Spider-Man 2. There's a little learning but it's not a significant impediment.

I have never played exclusively bad games ironically! That sounds...awful. And I don't even play them ironically. I generally play them because I think I'll enjoy them and/or I find them interesting. I was actually really excited by Balan when it was announced and I really like Werewolf: The Apocalypse as a setting. I'm just finding myself less engaged by such things these days.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16682

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

@justin258: Can you really "replay" Minecraft? I think of it as just "playing more" Minecraft. For me to count something as "replaying" it has to have more of a definitive beginning and end (which I guess Minecraft technically does, but people don't play it for that.) I play Monster Train pretty frequently but I don't consider it replaying any more than playing Tetris is replaying.

Huh. I never thought about it that way. I always considered rolling a new world as "replaying" it, but I suppose it's not the same thing as starting a new Skyrim character.

Avatar image for catlicker
Catlicker

671

Forum Posts

214

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#16  Edited By Catlicker

Unironically, I tie the PS4 + Xbox One era (including its pre-launch year) with my experience with Giant Bomb. I joined this site in 2011 and I could say that I fell off of it around the pandemic, so that whole generation is encapsulated with my experience here, specially with GOTY discussions and landmark releases. It kind of was a miserable era for video games, but all the nostalgia I have for it feeds into my GB nostalgia.