East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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My late mother used to say that if you never saw something before, then it was new. That was her main response when someone commented that a certain movie she had just discovered, or a book she had read recently, was “old”.

This idea came back to me today, when I suddenly realized I had my fill – and then some – of the incessant nostalgia that’s been pushed on us.

Today, while browsing my social media during lunchtime, I was rapidly exposed to…

  • the good old days when we played Mortal Combat
  • the Old School revival and how great was the original D&D game
  • how science fiction died after Tarkowski shot Solaris
  • He-man and the Masters of the Universe was the best animation show ever
  • the best fantasy book ever written was published in 1934
  • and music’s not been the same ever since Led Zeppelin disbanded

And don’t get me wrong – if it’s the first time you catch those, you might as well find them great. And really, maybe you should check them out, if you’re a fan of similar stuff.
But if you know them already, then going back to them obsessively instead of looking forward is not healthy.

There were some great stories, and shows, great music and games in the past? Sure.
But there are some great stories, and shows, great music and games right now.
That’s the fun of it – evolution never stops.

And I realize it is weird this coming from someone that writes pulp-ish stories set in the ’30s, and genre fiction, and is currently re-watching the old Kolchak TV series.
But I am doing my best to avoid building chains to keep me trapped in the past.
If it’0s the first time you catch it, it’s new. And there’s good in a lot of places – past, present and future.

This market-driven nostalgia, pushed to milk the memories of the currently forty-something crowd, makes me sick.

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Not all the boxes were red, back then

I keep seeing posts on social media about people that wax nostalgic about the wonderful time they had as kids, playing D&D Red Box – what was at the time known as the D&D Basic Set. The long hours spent with their friends, the simple joy of adventure in a more innocent time, the thrills and the laughs and the excitement of being heroes in their own adventures, fighting monsters in a fantasy world.

My memories are somewhat different.

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The Amazon Queen and misplaced nostalgia

Flight_of_the_Amazon_Queen_box_artI think I got a handle on this whole nostalgia thing that’s going at the moment.
You see, a few nights ago I was going through one of my usual bouts of insomnia, and so I decided to waste my time playing Flight of the Amazon Queen.

In case you missed it, it’s an old point-and-click game that was released in 1995 for the Amiga and MS-DOS systems, and it’s been going around as a free game forever.
In the game you play Joe King, a bush pilot that in 1949 is chartered to fly a movie star to the Amazon jungle for a publicity shoot, but crash lands in the middle of nowhere instead.
Featuring a mad scientist called Frank Ironstein that plans to conquer the world with an army of dinosaur women, Flight of the Amazon Queen is a game in the same style of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and The Secret of Monkey Island.
And I found it as boring as hell. Continue reading