Games nowadays are pretty captivating, yet still many of us reminisce about the good times we had gaming as a child. Nostalgia can sometimes get the best of us, and we are drawn to games from the past instead of looking forward to upcoming original releases. While it is fun to have our childhood memories recreated for us in the present, there are certain dangers to showing too much enthusiasm for remasters and the like.

Nostalgia and Gaming

Nostalgia is at its heart a sense of familiarity, a longing for things from the past, something we can remember from our lifetime that holds special meaning to us. Certain artifacts from our past strike a lasting impression and we want to engage with those artifacts again.

It doesn’t necessarily have to do with missing the way things used to be. With 4K game quality all the rage recently, why would anyone want to go back to a time where all we had were simplistic 2-D graphics and lack of detail? It’s more about recreating that experience in the present.

On June 30th 2017, the new Crash Bandicoot Trilogy was released, a game that’s originally from the late 90s. As well this, Naughty Dog had released the first three Uncharted games for PlayStation 4 in 2015. Trilogies are a popular way of re-releasing games and they tend to be cheaper for us than the original standalone games. So even if nostalgic trilogies are making a profit off of us, at least it is at a reasonable price.

We also saw this happen with the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Instead of releasing a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016, they released a remastered trilogy. This trilogy reminded us of the fascinating storyline the series once had with everyone’s favorite character, the very charming, Ezio Auditore. Undeniably, the fans love Ezio, and after two years of mediocre entries, the franchise played a nostalgic move to keep the fans engaged and to remind them of the great past of Assassin’s Creed.

Similarly, we can see this happening with the SNES Classic edition releasing this year. SNES was originally released in the early 90’s, and there is no need for such an outdated console when we have many newer ones. The games that are being re-released for SNES Classic edition could have easily been released for present-day Nintendo consoles, but the industry wants to feed off of our nostalgia.

Nostalgia is a great marketing strategy. It has always played a key role in the gaming industry. The feeling of playing a remastered game will not be exactly the same as it was back in the day; it is more of an emotional experience.

When we hear gamers say they want Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remastered, they are craving that good nostalgic feeling. They want to explore the same maps, use the same strategies, and maybe even play with the same people they used to play with. Remastered games and consoles are irresistible. They makes us remember the good times.

A Selling Tactic

Perhaps nostalgia is just a strategy to make more money, but gamers truly do want to relive those past experiences, and this is good news for the gaming industry. I believe this tactic presents a win-win situation – the game companies sell the remastered games, and we buy them because the quality is better or we don’t have backwards compatible consoles. The industry profits from our nostalgia, but we also get to enjoy the same games we did as a child. A downside to this is that inevitably we will see more games releasing that capitalize on nostalgia simply because so much hype (and money) is generated by these remastered titles.

The main issue with this is the expense. It isn’t necessarily a bad idea to purchase nostalgic games, but I think we should all think twice before doing so. In my opinion, you shouldn’t immediately empty your pockets for the same game you played 10 years ago.

Yes, of course it is tempting to buy that game you used to play when you were younger. I’m not trying to say that the gaming industry is in the wrong for using nostalgia like this, because as I mentioned before, we all like a good trip down memory lane from time to time. But in the end it is our decision to buy, or not to buy. When we do decide to take the dive, and pick up a title like the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, we do so because we think it is worth the money. But it’s usually the case that the nostalgic feeling will not last long, and we will want to play something new.

I think that gamers need to ask themselves if they really need to spend money on games just to feel nostalgia. To me it almost seems like an impulse buy; we get a rush of emotions and we fall for it. It could be worth keeping our emotions in check and asking ourselves if it is really worth our time and money. We just need to bear in mind that the industry is making money out of exploiting our nostalgia, and by buying remasters, we are sending them a clear message that we’re OK with that. Of course, the object of any business is to make more money, but wouldn’t we all rather have them focus on being more creative, and making something new?

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