Monday, September 01, 2003

At the mall lately there's been a kiosk set up with some kind of new gaming system featuring old Nintendo games I recall from my youth. Games like Elevator, Contra, and Joust. Not to mention Super Mario Brothers, a game I distinctly remember spending five hours a day playing at my friend, and next door neighbour, Jesse's house. What an interesting feeling of nostalgia it was to watch kids playing this game at the mall, or watching people my own age playing them and probably feeling just as nostalgic about them. It occurred to me that my generation is probably the only one that's going to feel nostalgic about the original, 8-bit Nintendo system, and it seemed to me that this is a very strange thing as a human being. There are unique things about every generation, truly, but it seems to me that maybe generations are getting to be a little more unique. How greatly did past-times really change for people from 1800 to 1900? True, there was the Civil War and other social changes that would have made differences from one generation to the other. But if past-times changed, it was usually merely because it went out of style, not because it went obsolete.

But then again, I did, after all, just see the old Nintendo games at the mall so maybe there's an enduring quality to these games after all.

Maybe the advancement of video games, technologically, has moved so quickly that we've left valuable aspects of games behind? Maybe there's a hunger for a certain kind of game that gaming companies don't see the point in making anymore--this would explain the flash games people make in their spare time (like these). What these people are doing now just for kicks may have been hailed as conceptual genius just ten years ago. Maybe?

I'm reading Beowulf for class and I got to thinking about how often people have re-done Beowulf in film and literature (or even video games), or have drawn on it for inspiration. And Beowulf is, of course, quite old, and really, at it's heart, it is a very simple tale. When people look back to it, instead of any number of other, newer fantasy epics, what are they looking for exactly? Some granule of idea that imitators or inspired artists had never thought very relevant before but now seems tremendous in light of modern thoughts and sensibilities? Or just some sense of what these very different people were, and how they are like us enough to create an engaging tale . . . what has been lost in the evolution of literature, and what can be gotten back from the ancient grave and harnessed to-day to give us a rebirth?

Perhaps, hundreds of years from now, game makers will harken back to the days of Super Mario Brothers and wonder! . . . er, or maybe not. But then again maybe! Who knows? is all I'm saying . . .

Anyway, at the mall to-day, I noticed a little, four year old boy and girl--they couldn't have been more than four years old--playing Duck Hunt. And this little guy was very quietly getting a perfect score, hitting a duck with every shot.

And I thought to myself, "How interesting!"

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