In whatever form of media people choose to consume, now more than ever, there is an intentional use of nostalgia. On the radio, its hearing old songs on different stations that put you back into a specific moment. Or, it’s hearing a voice that is soothing to your ears as you drive along, remembering who may have been sitting in the passenger seat listening to the same station. On television, it comes in the form of something like Nick @ Nite when I get to watch All That, Rocko’s Modern Life, and all the like.
There’s a reason why the less technologically advanced forms of media still exist: nostalgia. When you put all the technology we utilize daily into the bigger picture, the ones we grew up with still are the ones most important and close to us. In video games, there’s a reason there is a massive market for re-mastered games, like Kingdom of Hearts, Crash Bandicoot, and The Last of Us, and that is, you guessed it, nostalgia. In video games, nostalgia can matter on multiple levels. Not only can we remember the games we loved as kids, but it can allow us to figure out how the narrative structure works, how to get to the end of the narrative, and, in general be better at the game. When we play games several years later, we have a certain maturation that we have developed, which gives us an entirely new outlook on the game, but in playing it, we are transported back into a older reality.
Nostalgia matters as a cultural unifier that allows us to remember the good, the beautiful, and the bad. It’s what sits us around the TV as family at dinner, and what is at the core of every relationship, past and present. Things will always develop, but we are always brought back by our own humanness.