Many things in life we enjoy for nostalgia’s sake. We can all think of things that we love, that are not really the best product but we love it because it takes us back to a time we want to remember and savor. Square pizza from the school cafeteria is a great example. No one would argue that the square, cardboard like crust and somewhat cold version of a child’s favorite meal is superior to say a Pizza Hut stuffed crust meat lover’s. That’s insane. But, even as I write this I have a hankering for a good ol’ square slice of that school time goodness. Why? Because it takes me back to a time that I want to remember. Is that the reason that there is so much love for the Nintendo Entertainment System? Is it really that good or are we just wanting to remember a simpler time of plumbers fighting dragons? I would argue that while nostalgia may play a part, it does not give a complete understanding as to why we love the NES. We love the NES because it was awesome, revolutionary and can still be played today and enjoyed by those of all ages.
When Nintendo brought the NES to the world the video game world needed to be rescued. There has been a “crash” in the video game market that can be read about here:
Video games needed a hero and Nintendo set out to be just that. But what Nintendo brought to the table was worlds away superior to what even the best gaming systems of the past had come to market with. To me, even to this day I never cease to be amazed with the gaming capacity and fun that could the NES came with, especially at the time. The NES really in a lot of ways brought games that were usually saved for the arcade cabinets, right into the living room of millions. So it comes as no surprise that the NES had so much success. But why do we continue to love this gaming system?
In a world where you can play games that feel so realistic, why do I choose to pick up a controller with 4 buttons and a D-pad? Because I simply feel that the games the NES had (and there are a lot) are more fun than anything I can pick up today. They were original. They played (for the most part sans a few games that were maybe hastily produced) smooth and perhaps one of the reasons I like them so much is that you could sit down and play them at any time, without the long commitment many of today’s games ask.
Now before everyone gets angry with me, I need to clarify something. I am not trying to bash the modern day games or systems. They are great, no doubt. But if I had to choose, say stranded on a desert island (that somehow had power) I am going to choose the NES. I get an insane amount of pleasure beating Super Mario Bros. for the millionth time. I love to play Tetris and listen to the rhythmic tunes of many of the games music. From Super Mario to Ninja Turtles and beyond there is no other system that I enjoy to sit down with more. Plus all the games come in a cartridge, the superior game holder.
So does nostalgia play a part? Of course. However, if I had never played a NES and was just introduced to it today I think I would still love it more. (Thankfully we will never know the result of that experiment.) So as the weekend approaches grab some pizza (square if you like), a NES and have yourself a good time. The Dudes would approve and Tom Arnold would be impressed.
- Dude Justin