One of the undervalued aspects of the Internet is its endless capacity to enable nostalgia. Whether you had a childhood love of My Little Pony, Dungeons & Dragons or a defunct hockey team, there’s a website (and probably an eBay auction) where you can revisit that pleasure of your youth.
I was reminded of this phenomenon over the weekend, when a friend and I were discussing a new Olympics-themed video game called Vancouver 2010. Like many Olympics computer games before it, it enables you to play a number of the sports from the Winter Games. Here’s a trailer:
It’s noteworthy that the Games’ three sports that are most popular among Canadians–ice hockey, figure skating and curling–don’t appear in this game. It’s not surprising–hockey has its own franchise games, figure skating would be tricky to program effectively (imagine the control scheme) and curling, well, is curling. That said, I think curling would make a great game for the Wii.
The Heady Days of Microsoft Decathlon
My friend reminded me of a slightly earlier sports mini-games-within-a-game for the PC. It was called Microsoft Decathlon, and, believe it or not, it was published in 1982. 1982! The first version of PC-DOS, on which is ran, was only released in August, 1981. I probably didn’t play the game until 1984 or 1985, but I played it a lot. When I watched this video, the sense of nostalgia was visceral:
The crazy midi theme, the four colour interface, the high jump mat labeled “FOAM PIT”–it all came back to me. The whole video is 10 minutes, so don’t bother watching the whole thing. I might draw your attention, however, to the awesome rendering of the shot-put event.
When you compare those two videos, it’s a little shocking how far games have come in 25 years. What will they look like in another 25 years? How much will innovation slow down, as has happened in television and film?
Do you have a secret source of online nostalgia?