If you have ever visited an arcade then you’ll know that as well as the brightest, loudest newest games there are always at least a handful of games that remind you of your childhood. Of course, each generation has its own nostalgic games, but the ongoing popularity of retro games shows that whichever generation you’re from, your fondest childhood games aren’t going anywhere.
A Nod To Everyone’s Childhood
As a child, you probably played one or a handful of games that really stuck in your mind and even shaped your childhood to some extent. The games we played as children divide us into generations, with the Space Invaders and Mario generations constantly arguing about who had it best. To this day, if you see something branded with a character from your childhood you’re more likely to buy it.
Nostalgia is a big seller and a massive marketing tool. In today’s world where technology moves at a frightening pace, playing arcade games from when you were younger is comforting – it reminds you of a time when things were simpler. One of the biggest examples of this is arcade game remakes. We constantly see mini arcade machines being produced to have in the home, with games like Pacman being prominently featured. Vintage Space Invaders imagery is featured on every “quirky” product, and it sells well because of this.
The Mario Franchise
Mario has enjoyed an almost 40-year franchise so far with the original Mario Bros was released in 1983, closely followed by Super Mario Bros being released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Since then there has been a seemingly endless amount of remakes with Mario’s friends and even some more minor characters like Yoshi, Luigi and Wario receiving their own games, while background characters like the toads and Princess Peach have been granted more prominent roles within the games. Outside of the games, the Mario franchise has grown massively, selling toys and memorabilia as well as having its own Mario Bros theme park in Japan.
We’ve seen lots of computer game characters branch out to be used in other products too – everything from breakfast cereal to slot machines has probably had at least one computer game character used as a theme for its promotion and advertising.
One of the reasons that arcade nostalgia is such a big selling point is that while the consumer connected with the character when they were younger, technology has moved on and has given people an opportunity to see their favourite character in a different light. As an example, Mario has evolved from a two dimensional black and white line drawing on an 8-bit screen, to a bright and colourful hat-throwing plumber in a 3D world. Mario and his friends have been given multiple redesigns which include adding more colours and even giving the characters limited speech. All of these new inventions have allowed the character’s we loved as a child to grow with us and allow us to experience them in a whole new light.
As well as receiving a redesign, technology has advanced to change the way that we interact with our favourite characters. We’re able to each play as a character in online multiplayer games which allows us to blend our own personality and gaming styles with the characters.
The technology behind online casinos is proving continuously popular too. There may be plenty of chances to play games with your favourite childhood characters but people most definitely want to be able to do this with a combination of the newest technology too. Data from Compare.bet shows that PayPal’s popularity at online casinos is at an all-time high. People want the convenience of using an e-wallet to carry out online transactions and it appears that the online casino industry is no exception. This is great news for casinos because designing a streamlined customer service experience is one of the best ways to ensure a business is successful – and PayPal helps with this perfectly.
The Gaming Industry Branches Out
Nostalgia doesn’t just sell similar games on newer consoles, either. Gambling companies have cottoned onto the loyalty we feel to our favourite characters and have used this to their advantage. Gambling companies often license well-loved characters to use as branding for their slots games. This has become particularly prominent with online casinos that can have a seemingly endless amount of games on their websites.
Another way that you’ve probably noticed arcade nostalgia being used to sell to us is in advertisements on TV. Big brands often buy the licensing for well-known characters and use this to sell to us – Sky UK is an obvious example, having bought the license to use Minions in their advertising, both on TV and in print.
Up and down the UK there are even various museums dedicated to video games from various decades. They usually have a range of gaming systems set up with various games from different generations. You can book in at a time slot and have a few hours reliving fond childhood memories and even introducing your favourite characters to your own children and hoping they fall in love just as much as.
The truth is that we all like to look back at yesteryears and be reminded of the good times. This is especially when times are tough and we welcome a look back at when time seemed better. Computer games are just one of the things that people can look back fondly on and relive times when they were happy – especially childhood memories when life seemed much simpler.
Arcade nostalgia is never going to get old. With new technologies enabling brands to reinvent our favourite characters and allowing us to feel closer to them, we will always be tempted to buy something out of loyalty to our digital friends. However, the next time you feel compelled to buy something from an advert, just double check that it is because you love the product and not just the character that’s selling it to you.