Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nintendo: Icon of the 80s Inner Child

I've always wanted to be an 80s kid. The revolutionary technology of video games, fantasy films and even toys... it was definitely a great time to be a kid. Several icons come to mind when I think of the decade: Michael Jackson, Back to the Future, Transformers, Hulk Hogan, Labyrinth... the list is endless. The influence of the 80s is certainly apparent today; the introduction of MTV and the music video in 1981 has had much significance in youth culture which is still prevalent. 80s nostalgia has rapidly began to saturate our screens in advertising and the rebooting of several film franchises including Transformers and The Nightmare on Elm Street in particular. Some may argue the creative industries are just running out of fresh ideas but I really do believe the allure of the 80s has one simple yet brilliant association: fun! Which leads me to the iconic image of the 80s I have chosen that embodies the ideology of fun perfecly... the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Who hasn't had fun "getting to know their mushrooms" in Super Mario Bros., slaying demons in The Legend of Zelda, or even saving kidnapped children in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (interesting...). And where else can you roam around as a terribly pixellated Marty McFly on a terribly pixellated screen to the terribly monotone drone of the Back to the Future theme tune. You will find such a retro console still sitting in 30-somethings' living rooms, tween college dorms and university halls because of the sheer fun and nostalgia it provides. By all means, Nintendo did come up with some less than stellar advancements (the Power Glove being a good example), but such accessories still foreshadowed the Nintendo Wii techology which was to become dominant within popular culture almost 20 years later. I own a Wii and find my only reason for keeping it is for the Virtual Console, an application that allows people to download and play classic games from retro game systems including Nintendo, Sega and several others.

So in 10 years - if I'm still here - I'll probably still be embracing my inner child playing 80s games on some brand new Nintendo system, anticipating a reboot of The Goonies while my children play with brand new Transformers toys, everything tracing back to the fun decade that was the 80s.

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