(Editor’s Note: We also just went to see Power Rangers and my wife went to see Beauty and the Beast with her father. So, none of us is immune to the siren song of our childhood.)
A few months ago, I saw an advertisement for an official Nintendo authorized mini NES. It comes with 30 classic Nintendo games like Super Mario Brothers 1-3, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda. Regular readers of the page (welcome back, both of you!) will know why I specifically mention those 3 games. They will also be shocked to hear that I have no intention of buying the console. I know! Believe me, I’m just as shocked as you! This goes against everything that I hold dear about Nintendo! I am a traitor and a fraud!
For those of you who are new to the page, welcome! As always, we hope you enjoy your stay and come back for more. Please don’t take that first paragraph as an indication of our temperament. I promise that we are more reasonable than it might indicate. Perhaps I should explain myself a bit better. I have often said that all Nintendo has to do is release a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid game on a system and I will buy it. But, I’m not doing it this time. My reasons are numerous enough that I won’t go into them, but the main reason is that I already own those games and can play them through questionably legal emulators.
The reason that I bring it up is that I did my version of research for this article and discovered a similar retro style Genesis system. Now, I’m probably not going to buy that one either–because, emulators–but it got me thinking. I know, I know. What doesn’t get me thinking, right? What can I say? I have an active mind and I tend to follow it down every dark path it takes me. Sometimes it pays off. Other times, I get eaten by a Grue. The best part is that we get to find out what happens together this time.
None of this should come as a surprise. I’ve always know that nostalgia is big business. Well, perhaps “always” is stretching it. Ever since I watched MTV (was it even MTV or am I remembering it incorrectly?) try to force nostalgia on our generation by using the nostalgia of the previous generation to attempt to revive Woodstock in the 90s and early 2000s, I knew that companies were in the business of exploiting memories for monetary gain.
It is weird that I’m experiencing it first hand. When faced with the prospect of a strictly financially motivated Woodstock, even as a rebellious teen, I was insulted. You’d think that I’d be even more insulted that it is my own memories that are for sale. But, I’m not.
I’m mostly ambivalent about the phenomenon, as my attitude about the retro systems clearly shows. In other cases, I’m actually excited about, enjoying, and contributing to the commercialization. New Star Wars and Rocky movies that are little more than retelling the original story? Sign me up! An endless stream of Marvel entertainment in the form of movies and TV shows? Please, Sir, can I have some more? 2D Mario games? Pokemon on my phone? A new version of Blood Bowl? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!
This all begs the question, “Why was I more offended by the appropriation of a music festival that happened before I was even born than by exploitation of my own childhood? I think that I already have an answer, but I will give each theory the proper diligent analysis. It’s the least that i can do as a man of logic and reason. Plus, I have a reputation to uphold as far as word counts are concerned. Truthfully, and with some shame, I have to admit that I’m more worried about maintaining the second reputation under the guise of the first.
So, allow me to present my logical and well reasoned arguments. Maybe I was too overcome with emotion to even notice. Taken back to a simpler time when I didn’t have to worry about anything other than cereal and Saturday morning cartoons, I worried only about those things. That theory loses steam rather quickly. While it is true that I was initially overcome with a deep sense of nostalgia as soon as the opening scrawl rolled on Star Wars, Creed took a little longer to trigger. Eventually I came around and analyzed Creed’s fighting style, noting his weak side and how the fighting scenes exposes that consistently through the movie.
However, in spite of it all, I still recognized that they were feeding us the same story line in both movies. At least Star Trek had the decency to admit that the characters were the same and made no pretense of originality. It felt that much fresher when the storyline took a bit of a different turn and incorporated Leonard Nimoy in the movie. Maybe the Star Trek experience jaded me to the others because I already knew the trick going into them. In any event, I knew they were manipulating me and I didn’t care.
Another possibility that exists is that I noticed the manipulation, but that I overlooked it because I am a proud father who wants to share these things with my children. This theory already holds more water than the first because I just spend a paragraph explaining that I noticed the manipulation. Now, I just have to spend another paragraph explaining why my love for my children did not overshadow that knowledge and set up the big reveal of the actual reason that I have concluded to explain this seeming contradiction.
First, and this shouldn’t need to be said, but I will because this is the internet and everyone misinterprets on the internet. I do love my children. I know that it’s a controversial stance to take, but dammit, I’m not backing down. I also can’t wait to share these things from my own childhood with them. So, I suppose that is just another point in favor of this theory. However, that love and desire to share did not obscure my ability (as seen in previous paragraphs) nor recognize, nor care about the corruption of my youth by the darker forces of capitalism.
And, finally, we come to a conclusion. I leave it to you to judge if it is a satisfying one or not. Even as a child, I knew that my childhood was for sale. George Lucas supposedly signed a deal for Star Wars that didn’t care about proceeds from the movie–or they weren’t a priority–as long as he received nearly every cent from merchandising. Hell, Mel Brooks did a whole joke about it in Space Balls. Therefore, it came as no surprise when that attitude persisted for the life of the franchise.
By comparison, it was always my impression that the original Woodstock represented a true spontaneous celebration of peace, love, and music. Obviously, I have no hard evidence for this case. this is solely based on what my parents said, a biased and possibly erroneous admiration for hippie ideals, and repeated viewings/listens to the movie and soundtrack. As a result, I might be completely off base.
Even if I am, that’s my rationale. You may argue all you want, but you can’t prove me wrong. We live in a post truth world. The earth is flat, punching Nazis is politcal correctness run amok, and Woodstock had no capitalist intentions. If I say it, in my reality, it is true! Man, I love post truth! No, that’s a lie. Also, the earth is a sphere.