Today I feel it’s time to have a conversation that I swear I’ve had a thousand times, in a thousand previous lives, and but yet has never been heard. Long, long ago, I was a child. Chances are, you too were a child at some point. Therefore, unless we were drafted into Vietnam early, we all have childhoods with childhood memories and certain aspects we hold dear. It’s good to have memories and to care now about things we used to care about previously. But could I just remind you of one simple thing? Dissenting opinions do not undo your childhood.
Put another way, today’s article comes down to one of fanboyism, and specifically the reactions we have both when we hear someone speak negatively about something we associate positively with, as well as when we ourselves are the ones tellin’ it like it is. In either case, someone is not going to be thinking rationally, and, to be fair, they can’t be faulted for this behavior, as it’s purely subconscious.
We live in a world that has the gift of hindsight. This has granted us the ability to see which systems were destined to withstand the test of the ages and which games would follow with them, but with this comes the price of also clearly seeing what didn’t work. All the sore spots are visible and all the nay-sayers have as much ammunition as they’re ever going to get.
However, the important thing to remember, and which you shall instantly forget in my next paragraph, is that the memories you have with your system, every glorious all-nighter, weekend slumber party, and triumphant victory, is in no way lessened by someone else not sharing your experiences or failing to grasp why your experiences were uniquely wonderful to you.
For my experiment, I will say the following: “I believe that the original Sony Playstation was a boring, tired system with very few games and fewer reasons to return to it, which is why I never had much desire to own one when it was new and why I have little interest in pursuing the timeless classics now, mostly because I can’t think of a single one.”
There, after that completely biased, flame-bait worthy sentence seeps into your mind, I am sure a handful of emotions are surging through your head right now, particularly those who had a strong connection to the Playstation when it was their system. And yes, it was their system. It wasn’t just a system, it was theirs. And as my sentence of questionable validity stews around in their head, a lot of anger and resentment from a place of hurt may be bubbling forth.
This reaction is due to the unfortunate connection our brains continually make in instances of things pertaining to our childhood. First, I say that the PS1 is “wrong.” Next, they remember that the PS1 is something they defined their childhood by. Therefore, they jump to the conclusion that I said, very plainly, “your childhood is wrong.”
You can understand why someone would think this way, right? Games have always been toys, no matter how fancy the microchips and blast processing becomes. And toys are something we connect to our childhoods, which are a time of great vulnerability. To some, their NES may not be a simple thing that plays games. Rather, it is the item they shared hundreds of adventures with. It is the item that comforted them when their parents were fighting, or when they felt like they had no friends, or when they just discovered that eventually they will grow up and have to get a job/drafted into the war in Vietnam. Saying you think the NES is worthless is like telling someone their blanket is ugly, their dog is stupid, and that Hobbes isn’t real. Their first and only reaction is to just scream, “It’s not true!”
Much of this connection also comes from most kids growing up with a single system. Again, these are toys, so for the longest time, parents would see you playing with a system and assume, “Yes, my child already has that toy.” To most, having a SNES meant not having a Genesis, and vice versa. Apply this to the N64/Playstation era or even the GameCube/PS2/Xbox era and a lot of times, you sort of had to pick a side. Sure, there are plenty of kids who had all the systems, but even when we were kids, we sort of hated them on some strange level, because in some way, they broke the rules. It’d be like rooting for both teams in a football game. It’s just not done.
The same holds true much of the time in modern gaming, but in a slightly different way. Now it’s our money that’s buying the game systems, but game systems also cost far more money to purchase, then maintain, then replace when they break. As kids, this was still true since for most parents, one system was enough, and if it broke, it wasn’t typically getting replaced. If you had a SNES, you had to live and die by its successes and failures out of necessity. You had to justify the system you owned, and on the flip side, that meant you had to prove why the Genesis was the poorer choice of the two.
And even in this little example, someone is fuming because I’ve thus far failed to mention the TurboGrafx-16. Their rational mind may look at this and just realize that I have less experience with it and don’t readily think of it. Their less rational mind may be building the vilest insults imaginable because I’m snubbing their personal and sacred choice/team/childhood/life.
But we can move past this. It may be difficult, but knowing why you feel this anger can help keep you in check. Sure, you can feel angry when someone says that the NES is a joke compared to the SNES, but you should also be capable of understanding that an opinion means nothing to the truth of your experiences. One person disliking Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn’t undo the spring break you had in 2nd grade where you finally defeated Wart with only the most minor help from your older brother. A person can say that they hated the game and you are still correct in saying that your experiences were great.
I can’t stress this enough, mostly because on a site full of nostalgia, people forget the key word there: nostalgia. The concept is meant to be subjective. Nostalgia for one person is wildly different from another. It’s not even like the concept of love; it is love. You can’t always explain why you love a game, but you know that you do. I don’t care how many videos and articles have discussed why Bubsy on the SNES is a laughable excuse for a platformer. To me, I know that it’s awesome, because I have experiences that tell me so, and no one can ever convince me otherwise.
And with that, my point has been made (repeatedly). It’s time to open the floor for comments. Time to confess some console or game grudges that you’ve been holding onto for too long. Time to openly share your wonderful experiences, even if they’re with less savory titles. Go ahead and add that comment of yours. Literally nothing anyone says or does can prove it wrong.