Comfortable and Furious

Gaming, the Fruit Machine and “Nowstalgia”

It’s said that the past is only attractive because feeling is removed. Yet a desire to turn the clock back completely – emotions, scenarios, products, and all – seems to be one of the defining traits of younger generations, especially millennials and Gen Z. 

Marketers regularly harness millennials’ connection to the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s to sell them new (old) products. It’s not always a good thing. This era of remakes, remasters, sequels, and rehashes has been described as “nauseating” by the Medium website. 

It’s not going away – but some cultural icons are more welcome in the present than others. Tetris has been remade at least 220 times and is unlikely to end up in the same landfill as other games from the same era, like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, now a Smithsonian exhibit.

Similarly, humans seem eternally grateful for superheroes on their screens, even though Superman, Captain America, and Batman are approaching their centenary.

Nobody seems to want floppy discs and dial-up internet back just yet. 


Even nostalgia changes, though.

An article published by the BBC on the concept indicates a new phase in the phenomenon – “nowstalgia”, as we no longer need to remember too far back anymore. Years-old posts on Facebook can be presented to us daily, via the site’s Memories section – and with all the shame and embarrassment intact.

The article also notes the role of instant gratification in shortening our concept of the past.

Gaming, as hinted at earlier, is a place where nostalgia shines – and where this concept of “nowstalgia” brings recent titles back to the present every few months

The related casino niche has a different take on things. Fruit machines have managed to stay relevant since 1894. They were updated in 1963 with electricity and, from then until the 2000s, became a fixture of pub furniture in the UK.

Simple games, fruit machines continually present two different faces to the public. The Cash Volt game at Playstar is a recent release that tries to emulate the oldest experiences with HD graphics. It has all the original symbols on the reels – lemons, cherries, horseshoes, and BAR.

Modern examples, perhaps better known as slots, take the logical approach to technological progress, adding special features and any number of hidden treats.

“Confused or Shocked”

Now for the bad news. The BBC’s concept of ‘nowstalgia’ risks making nostalgia marketing obsolete by twisting even the most mundane and forgettable ideas into faux classics. The continued recycling of video games means we’ve got no time to miss them, for instance.

Forbes also points out nostalgia is difficult to get across, as the product in question might only appeal to a small subset of society, including small age ranges. It can leave others “confused or shocked”, to quote the magazine’s article. 

Long since the last original Furby rotted away, nostalgia is still widely debated in marketing circles. Whether its fans can avoid watering it down to nothing is the next great question.





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