Cinema Admits All

Horrid Nostalgia – Like A Bellyful Of Honey

Horrid Nostalgia â Like A Bellyful Of Honey

Against my better judgement, I recently journeyed the rather dubious world of old-school games console emulation.

Essentially, this required poking around the Ugliest Web Sites Imaginable™ this side of Hades.  Imagine a Ukrainian website about Lego... crashing angrily ... and then imploding into the very bowels of the internet.

And all of this just to dig out the video games of my youth.  Shudder and wince.

How for Now?

Okay, here's a quick 'How 2' for those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about:

All you need to know is that there are some very nerdy places on the internet with a PC emulator for every old video game and console that history has wisely forgotten.

I suggest you read on and then do likewise...

Little Bits of Pleasure

The first thing you'll notice is how incredibly tiny these things are.  The emulators themselves are about half a meg, and the games are even smaller.  Wee? they're tinier than Barry Chuckle.  That much-treasured console from childhood and every game you ever owned is just a few clicks away.

Like a hypnotised monkey pushing a button for a banana, your slack jaw oozing drool into your cornflakes, you'll be smitten.  "203kb for Sonic the hedgehog? That can't be right, can it?" is all you'll uselessly say to an imaginary audience.  But it is correct.  And they do work.

These games were once long-anticipated Christmas presents, costing our loved-ones a small fortune.  Now here they are; antiquated, trivial and ubiquitous.  A bit like Noel Edmunds.

I Hate Noel Edmunds!

Alas, by modern standards, they do tend to look bloody awful (also like Noel Edmunds).

In fact, the first moments upon loading a game are spent repeatedly intoning the phrase 'the graphics... the graphics...' like some kind of 'Nam veteran undergoing flashbacks.  The visuals on these things make crazy-paving look like fucking Avatar.

Nevertheless, they do have a certain charm, these vaguely-remembered titles.

Lego Land

And they do have a knack for dragging you back in time faster than Doc brown could muster.  One creepy aspect of this is that you remember way too much – I found myself instinctively unearthing hidden bonuses and navigating the levels like a pro.

And yet I remember none of my history education.  Isn't the brain just a marvel?

It isn't all warm and fuzzy nostalgia, though.  Once downloaded, I can't exactly say that I've frittered away hours on these games.  Oh sure, I did the first time around – a large chunk of my childhood was burned away playing these games.  And that's really the problem.

I found that you can't really stomach more than a cursory couple of minutes before a kind of queasy nausea and headache sets in.  Playing these games evokes a rather woozy sensation of regressive comfort and soul erosion (A slogan I don't recall Mr Sega advertising in their ads).

I guess it's too hard to ignore the little psychiatrist in the back of your head, sucking air through his teeth and shaking his head.  In no way is this activity productive.  It feels too icky and unhealthy, a bit like Ray Liotta in Hannibal, willingly gobbling up your own brain giblets.

Maybe it's because playing old games doesn't allow you to look back at your childhood with cozy objectivity, but rather makes you relive it.  Every horrid button press.

And it has to be said; being a kid was actually kinda rubbish.  In fact, it was shitsticks.

Remember Noel's House Party?

If being a kid was so ace, I'd still own one of these things.


For the record: when it comes to nostalgia, Just Say No.


'Safari Hunt' image courtesy of uchg. 'neol edmunds is added to the hate list' image courtesy of big bozo.


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Mike J Hadfield
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