By Graham Somers
Bruce just wrote a post about developing the original Civilization game, one that I played a ton of. My brother was actually the one that bought Civilization and got me playing it. My brother and I played our fair share of computer games when we were kids. Our family never had a game console for various reasons, but our Dad bought a computer in the late 1980s. It was used and the previous owner included his collection of games with it, which was mind blowing at the time. You didn’t even have to put a quarter in to play the game again!
Fast forward to present day and you can find a lot of older PC games for sale via digital distribution. This can be both fun and absolutely shocking – exposing you to the rose colored glasses effect that our memories can have when it comes to many things in our lives. You forgot all about the bad things in the game you played way back when and just remember the good things. Not only that, you don’t remember the good things how they actually are. You can have a twisted fanciful memory of your favorite game feature which departs from reality.
I bought an old strategy game last year that was one of my favorites – Lords of the Realm – and even though I spent hours and hours playing it in the 90s, I was stumped for an embarrassingly long time by the UI when I picked it up again. It took quite awhile to get the hang of just doing basic tasks in the game. I also forgot about having to feed your armies, I just remembered the big battles and the fighting for new territory. I still love the game, but it was a surprise how selective my memories of it were.
As a Community Manager I also get to experience rose colored glasses from players of games I’ve worked on when they give feedback. “Why don’t you make it work like it did in the original game?” The player’s description of how the feature worked in the original game is different than reality. How so? They forgot how the feature actually worked, confusing features from other games etc. Or they forgot about the annoying things that made the feature not very good. Or they were having so much fun their brain filled in various missing pieces to make a grand feature out of something not very good.
A fine cure for nostalgia like this can be firing up those older games and diving back into the reality of the situation. No doubt there’s still fun to be had when you do.