Nostalgia is a prickly emotion. We all love it; it is a powerful but dangerous force often integrated with our entertainment. In the past few years many different people have succeeded to sell our nostalgia to us. Whether the source is a rich Hollywood producer or a “let’s play” on youtube, they are all selling our memories back to us. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does create the impression that there is lack of creativity in entertainment. It also promotes the sentiment that things aren’t as good as they used to be (ie: New Super Mario Bros is not as good as Super Mario World). It’s time we let go of these irrational comparisons and emotions.
The same can be said for the game franchises we love. People exhaustively debate which Zelda was best, often your favorite Zelda was also one of your first. What that series means to you is closely tied to your earliest experience with it, be it Link to the Past, Ocarina, or Wind Waker. All of those games celebrate the spirit of adventure. It doesn’t ultimately matter which one is “best” because it is so often directly tied to the chapter you have the fondest memories for. It is instead more important to celebrate the connection we have with these games.
Indie games are new “retro” games. They pay homage to our past while still creating something new. We should not fear the flood of sequels, reboots, and remakes because we have other avenues. There is nothing wrong with with dynamic graphical fidelity, or annual series like Assassin’s Creed & Call of Duty. If there is a market demand for those titles then they should exist. I’m not saying big budget titles are evil, or lack any creativity. Nor do I think we should stop criticizing and having educated discussions about these games and the industry as a whole. Instead I intend is for more to realize the industry is much richer than they may think, and that we are lucky to live in a time where there is a rich variety of games (and price models) to explore.
In the end I’m satisfied we can support highly creative and experimental games, while still enjoying the occasional blockbuster experience.