I have faint memories of an open desert landscape. Somewhere in the centre i am sat with new friends i had recently made, i don’t remember their names, i cant remember if all these years later they are still my friends, lost amongst my contacts lists. We were all dressed as pirates and pretending to be drinking and smoking, an act of rebellion against adulthood, it felt great being in a care free gang, like those kids in that film i once watched, the Goonies.
And thats where it all started 2006 in the virtual world of Second Life, my road of nostalgia in virtual reality. I created a group called the SL Goonies and for a while it seemed to bring similar minded people together to reminisce about those things in our past that made our childhoods beam with warmth, and here in Second Life we could actually revisit, replicate and hang out in that warmth.
And that’s how it was for many years. I thought we were the only ones doing the nostalgia thing, but then it went mainstream and like most things excessive has become a somewhat negative thing. Today nostalgia is used to break through to your inner child to either sell you stuff or worst convince you everything was better in the past to the point where nostalgia is seen as a hurdle stopping us from moving forward and an attempt to turn the clock back. Nostalgia is also increasingly being seen as lazy reuse of old ideas and that to be nostalgic is to lack originality.
People who see my avatar, see what i build, and they see all the things i’ve dragged into Virtual Reality with me, i positively beam with the nostalgic things i celebrate and this has lead to people remembering me when they’ve watched Stranger things or read Ready Player One.
I’ve been using Virtual Worlds for so long now that i’m nostalgic of the the first time i was nostalgic in virtual reality. I will always be nostalgic, i’ll always mine those inspirations for my future art, but right now, post the Ready Player One movie, the mainstream idea of Nostalgia feels like something has peaked.
Everyone is nostalgic about something, wether it’s the 80s, the 60s what ever time you picked up influences. it’s a part of unlocking and understanding what makes you who you are, and last time i looked, self actualisation is still seen as a great thing to achieve.