(NOTE: Today we have a treat, this is a guest post by a good friend of mine known as Stelfo64, it mainly covers his view of old versus new mentallity and The Thought Corner would like to thank him for his contribution.)
While surfing the web the other day I came across IGN's top 100 Animated Series and it reminded me of a problem I have when trying to choose my #1 of anything. The dilemma I always have when trying to choose my #1 is how do I compare an animated series, video game, tv show, or anything else of today to others from years past. The fact is that despite what our grandparents say most things are made “better” now than they were then. Technology has advanced, more content is available, and in the case of most everything mentioned more mature themes are represented. When asked for your favorite from the categories mentioned above most of us will often look to our younger days and pick something from the past.
I ask myself is this really the case, is Zelda really a better game than God of War or should Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really be ranked higher than a series like FMA that is obviously much more entertaining as an adult. One way of going about it is that each of these things is often geared towards a certain age group and should be compared to things geared towards the same demographic now. The problem with that logic is that I do not watch shows or play games today made for 8 year olds because they don’t have anything for me. Another way to look at it is to only compare things of one time period to things from that same time period. This is a system often used in sports when inducting people into the hall of fame; they compare that person’s numbers to that of others during his or her era. Seems logical, however I am always going to ask myself what is my favorite of all time regardless of the time period?!?! So what wins out is it nostalgia or is it what is more entertaining to me now? It is always a tough choice because I am penalizing each one for different reasons.
I penalize the new stuff for not having as big of an impact on me or for having spent less time with it. The problem there is that I had more time to watch these shows, and play these games at a younger age and most everything has a more profound impact when you are younger. On the other side I penalize the things of yesterday for not holding up today or just being too childish in comparison to the more mature themes of today’s entertainment. So in this journey for #1 what is it that wins out for me? At the end of it all when things get close and I ask myself which is better it always comes down to what would I rather watch or play now. I know this is biased because no one watches shows that were made for 8 year olds in the 80’s now and enjoys them the way they did then. This is just my way of doing things, and as is the case with any list it is all subjective.
One thing that I like to mention to those who choose nostalgia is to remember our choices were slim back then. I was born in 1981 and up until I was about 10 years old didn’t have cable. This meant that there was maybe a maximum of 10-12 channels for me to watch and often times some channels would show the same content (where I grew up channel 7 & 10 were the same and 5 & 12 were as well). The same thing applies for video games and movies, things were just much less accessible and there were far less of them so were they really that great or were they just the best of what was available at the time. That being said there are games like Zelda, and shows like Cowboy Bebop that hold up like an old friend, you’ve enjoyed them in the past and you get just as much enjoyment seeing them today as you did then. There are also the show’s like He-Man and games like Dragon Warrior that are like Ex-Girlfriends, sure I enjoyed the time I had with them but if it were up to me I never want to see them again. I have found that there are a lot more Ex-Girlfriends that I’d rather not see than old friends that I still enjoy being around.
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