Capitalizing on Nostalgia: Reselling you your Youth

Posted: August 9, 2011 by Tim Utley in Editorials
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Youth is a sacred time in everyone’s life because it represents a period where you were absolved from responsibility and you could truly enjoy yourself with little to no repercussions.  Accompanying most peoples youth are certain artifacts including but not limited to movies, video games, and events that in compilation created your own unique version of the conventional youth experience.  I know I have plenty of things that I associate with my youth and I frequently revisit them to wet my nostalgic palette.  Companies understand this concept all too well and with that understanding stand to capitalize on our innate desires to feel nostalgic.

Nostalgia by its very definition is something that warms us and what better way to elicit these feelings than by selling us something that we once held near and dear, again.  The video game industry; amongst others have a particular knack for doing just that.  Whether it is reissuing a game from our youth in a vibrant new package or developing a game with a retro look, both techniques stimulate feelings of nostalgia and through that process create a market for goods that had originally been rendered obsolete.  Are we victims to the video game industry for doing this?  Absolutely not, because at the end of the day it is still a product we are willing to pay for and enjoy.  While we might not be victims we are certainly targets for nostalgic marketing and design, but is that really a bad thing?

Gamers are given the opportunity to not only relive their youth, but also in certain instances we get to relive it better than we originally experienced it.  Retro collections are so pervasive in gaming that all generations of gamers can experience not only their own contemporary titles, but also titles predating their existence.  Videogames have a rich heritage that will be exploited in order to make money.  Some will see it as a perverse intrusion of their youth, but I see it as an opportunity to remain complete as we age.

The intrinsic power that nostalgia has is uncanny and will be capitalized on.  Nostalgic consumerism regardless of its power still requires active participation on behalf of the consumer.  Some folks choose to not remember their past for various reasons, but others revel in it (such as myself).  I think it is important that as an industry moves forward they don’t forget the steps and concepts that preceded them.  I love feeling nostalgic and my youth can be resold to me infinitely because I don’t want to forget the path I took to where I am now.

If you enjoy feeling nostalgic comment about an experience that you have had recently I’d love to hear about it and as always to get more of me you can follow me on Twitter @GamersAbstract or on Facebook.  Stay tuned for more.


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