When Nostalgia Gets The Best of You

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#1 Posted by BiggerBomb (7011 posts) -

Sometimes life will throw you a bone. It's called nostalgia, and when it gets the best of you, nothing else can match it.

I took some time today to go browse the Elder Scrolls' official website, something I do all too often. I guess I have a crush on Nirn and all her intricacies. Anyway, I spent time looking through screenshots, concept art, descriptions, and fiction. I do this for enjoyment, and sometimes I do this so I may use the information as a firsthand source for researching a subject that I am writing up a wiki on. I have an example (read: shameless plug.) I have begun to dedicate a solid chunk of my free time to the researching and recording of the history of crack/cocaine in The Elder Scrolls; herein my favorite of all fictional universes, it's called skooma. You can check it out if you're bored and if you have some time to kill, I find it strangely interesting.

Well I ended up clicking on the "Links" link at the top right corner of the screen. Upon doing this, the page changes to a list of all the accomplishments of Bethesda's RPGs, and a column on the right provides links to pages that are compilations to reviews for the games each link specifies. Needless to say, I clicked on one of these links. Specifically, a link to Oblivion reviews. And that's when it hit me. Greg Kasavin reviewed Oblivion. I remembered watching the video review all those three years back, and I decided I should watch it again.

I remembered then why GregK was a favored reviewer. I remember why I liked him to the degree that I did. I remembered...dude, this guy was awesome. And so I felt nostalgia; nostalgia for the days when GregK was my source for video gaming news & reviews.

And in seeing this review, I felt nostalgia stir for other things. Hearing Patrick Stewart's introduction to Oblivion, him playing the role of Emperor Uriel Septim VII, came to be a powerful catalyst that acted as an alarm clock to my dormant desire to enter Nirn, to enter Tamriel in all of its beauty and mystery. I continued to watch the review, listening to Greg's detailed description and loving every moment of his giddy-boy-on-Christmas-morning enthusiasm.

I love TES as much as Greg does and for such a god damn time I have wanted to get back into TES. But for inexplicable reasons, it never works out. I never get the chance to do it. So I finished the review, and I felt nostalgia; nostalgia for the days when I spent hours upon umpteen hours playing Oblivion. But it always came to be a tragic irony for me, because the game I loved so much I could never stay playing for long. It's not that I would get bored, not at all! It's that my grades would drop, or I would yearn to play a different character (then never get around to playing it,) or I would get a girlfriend and become distracted, or I would be interrupted by issues out of my control and I could never stick with it. It's a shame that I can't help but pity.

And Oblivion isn't the only Elder Tragedy, as I played a predecessor by the name of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. When I played that game, I was young. I was young and naive. I breezed through the guide to that game, spoiling the details of all three major stories (Morrowind, Tribunal, & Bloodmoon.) Not only this, but I used cheats. I haven't used cheat codes since...I really don't know. But I haven't been using cheat codes for a very long time. I ruined much of such a brilliant game. And as I thought about it, I felt nostalgia; nostalgia for the world that Morrowind opened for me, the obsessive detail Bethesda applied and the likes of which are not even in Oblivion. Oblivion brought Tamriel (more specifically: Cyrodiil) to life through brilliant AI, streamlined gameplay, and jaw dropping visuals. On the flip side, Oblivion lacks the sheer scope and atmosphere of Morrowind.

When in my mind's eye I draw a comparison between Morrowind and Oblivion and in doing so, the song Peace Sells by Megadeth comes to mind. In case you haven't heard the song, its trademark is the line "peace sells, but whose buying?" I feel that if you substitute the "Peace," in Peace Sells, with "Depth," you get an accurate interpretation of the problems occurring in the transition from Morrowind to its successor.

While I refuse to say that Oblivion is without depth (it's not,) the depth found in Morrowind is most certainly not present. By mentioning "Depth Sells," I intend to plug it into the phrase "depth sells, but whose buying?" As I see it, this means that unprecedented depth will always sell itself to those who appreciate it. But, whose buying it? Not too many, because it is not as tolerable as polish. So I see this depth done away with in favor of refinement. This is also applicable to the fate of Star Wars: Galaxies, a game that I never played but have a cursory understanding of. The game began as an immensely deep game, but the depth of it did not sell. Over time, it saw its realism (in context of Star Wars) replaced by what some dude thought might appeal to the ethos that refinement offers, ethos resulting from gameplay that cries, "I can be World of Warcraft, too!" But the changes resulted in a trainwreck that has forever marred "SOE."
**Now listen. I am NOT-NOT-NOT equating the fate of SWG to the differences between Morrowind and Oblivion. I'm simply noting the similarities of these differences, hoping to identify an underlying theme. Keeping this in mind, I will continue.**

It's this depth of Morrowind that I feel is lost, yet only left unforgotten because it still hangs on to its origin. By this I mean the depth that wants to go the way of the dodo, still has its vital signs in check because a game can be timeless.  Because of this, this depth remains in Morrowind. As I thought this, I felt nostalgia; nostalgia for what Morrowind could be, if only you allow it to do so.

And so I have been feeling nostalgic. In the course of an hour's time, I was fed nostalgia intravenously. I saw a purer than the driven snow clusterfuck of nostalgia, I felt this nostalgia and I'm having trouble ignoring it. But should I even attempt to do so? Should I actually try to ignore it?

I have a birthday on Saturday; my seventeenth birthday to be precise. Birthdays involve presents and I have been trying to think of what I should ask for. I thought about F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and the Grand Theft Auto IV expansion, The Lost and The Damned. There are also other games coming out this year that I would like to play. Not to mention the fact that the whole "hey, hey! Mass Effect saves transfer to Mass Effect 2!" shenanigan compels me to play Mass Effect again, as I switched Xbox 360's in the time since I played ME and I no longer have a save file. Additionally, if know me at all, you know that I have been going nutso for Prototype for the last year or so.

But I've felt Nostalgia's call. I...well, part of me wants to do away with all of it. Do away with what 2009 and the future has to offer. Part of me wants to jump into Morrowind and wave goodbye to other games. Nostalgia has gotten the better of me, today. But I don't know how long this will last. Should I fight it? Or should I accept it as what I really want? I don't even know if those questions are rhetorical, because I don't know the answers myself.

Hopefully time will tell, hopefully this time won't take too long to speak. Alas, all I can do is ponder this to oblivion (no pun inten-fine, it was intended) and hope something sticks.


That's a pretty big wall of text, sorry about that! To quote Grandma's Boy, "I CAN'T STOP, IT JUST FEELS SO GOOD!"


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#2 Posted by BiggerBomb (7011 posts) -

I accidentally deleted this, so I kinda had to post it again? =P

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#3 Posted by crunchUK (6052 posts) -

Whenever i try to play oblivion i think "this is boring i think i'll play halo"

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#4 Posted by Oni (2283 posts) -

I get that feeling of nostalgia all the time. When I hear a piece of music or something. Sometimes I'm just filled with the urge to play Ocarina of Time again, or Final Fantasy 8, or Metal Gear Solid, or Shadow of the Colossus, or any of the other games that touched me in special ways (and places), but the magic isn't there anymore. The first time was unique for a reason. I can still enjoy these games, but the memories, the feelings they evoked the first time are just that: memories.

Oh videogames, why do you torment me so?

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#5 Posted by Hexpane (1435 posts) -

Wow this halo troll crunch never fails to find a way to weave in his love of being tea bagged by racists.

Tribunal is godly, one of the greatest expansion packs ever made for any RPG

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#6 Edited by Arkthemaniac (6872 posts) -

The most nostalgic game for me in history is probably Star Fox 64. That's when I really started to play, and I loved that game beyond convention.

I popped it in in summer of last year and beat it twice in one day. I think it's one of the few games I call "complete".

And, as I said in your other post . . . cheats in Morrowind? Blashphemy.
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#7 Posted by Lashe (1409 posts) -

First game I ever completed was Starwing and I will still enjoy every minute of it to this day.. But the biggest nostalgia trip for me personally is Suikoden 2.

Absolute bliss.

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#8 Posted by BiggerBomb (7011 posts) -

Thanks for teh replehs, meh GiantBruddas

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#9 Posted by insanegamer (734 posts) -

happy birthday for saturday. hope its a great day for you and you get what you want.

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