With the new SNES classic in the process of being released in the United States, many of us are drawn back to the nostalgia of an amazing era where graphics were two-dimensional and the games were fun and intriguing. Indeed, the SNES classic taps deeply into the root of nostalgia and is pretty much sold out wherever it has been available to pre-order. This SNES shows just how much American culture has been influenced by video games on such a wide scale, so much so that we often forget just how much of an impact games have made on things like television, movies, and even comic books.
When the original Super Nintendo first came out, society wasn’t particularly interested in things considered to be geeky. Things like Dungeons and Dragons, comic books and fantasy were usually relegated to a special area that some adults looked down upon. Children, the outcasts, and misfits were the only people who would openly enjoy gaming, and these older geeks were often isolated from the rest of their community. But as the medium evolved, so too did its complexity. As the internet became more mainstream, communities began to form around these hobbies, creating the geek culture that we know and celebrate today – namely things like comic books.
But gaming itself wasn’t widely accepted until the technology began to grow more complex on a technological level. Over the years, with the advent of 3D technology, action games, first person shooters and triple A titles, video games shifted from being perceived as being simple child’s play to something more. Film companies started to take advantage of this advanced special effects technology and directors started to look to games for visual inspiration in their work. Filmmakers began to implement things that they enjoyed from games and even camera work started to take notes from first person shooters.
As the technology and accessibility of games improved, so too did its reputation. Casual games and online casinos started to draw in regular people and companies like Microsoft were able to target the mainstream audience with games like Call of Duty. These elements broke through the social barriers, moving gaming from being a type of subculture to a widely accepted type of hobby.
Of course, there are still a group of holdouts who look down on gaming, considering it to be lesser than television or films, but these holdouts are shrinking by the year, especially with the arrival of E-sports and Twitch, which has shown that you can make a legitimate career out of playing video games. With each passing year, the stigma of being a “gamer” fades further and further from memory.
But for those of us who started at the very beginning, back when we were young and a SNES was cutting edge, we will always have our nostalgia to provide warmth when we boot up Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario or Donkey Kong. For many of us, those were the first games that we played and they influenced our pop culture tastes and desires for the rest of our lives. And Nintendo is well aware of that, which is why they released the SNES classic which comes preloaded with 21 classic games, games you probably loved to play when you were a child. There’s a reason the product is off the shelves before it has even been released: games were really good back then and they will forever shape nerd culture and the way we consume entertainment.