80's and Early 90's Nostalgia

basically, the reason we're all here reading this...
October 13, 2008
So I'd like to start this article by introducing myself, since this is my first article on here. I've been a fan of this site for about a year now and I've just recently decided to join and take a swing at writing my very own "Retro Junk Article."

After reading article after article and thinking "Hey, I can do that!" I've figured I might as well prove it. So what better way to start off my first article on here than by writing about the reasons why we all love sites like this?

I'd like to take a moment and discuss with you all a little thing called nostalgia. You all should know what it means, my dictionary on my laptop defines it as: "a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations." In other words, it's that amazing feeling of appreciating the better days, those times of yestur-year. The good ol' days. The times and places and things and people we remember from long ago that we miss nowadays. Personally, I'm a child of the late 80's and early 90's. I was born in 1983 in Southern California and have lived here all my life. And yes, I was brought up in the suburbs. I'm not going to simply state a top ten list of mine because I'd like this article to be a bit different. And I'm not going to just tell you a story of my upbringing. Instead, I'd like to just gloss over a few things I can recall from my youth, and why they're so special, and why a site like this is a great place for people like myself and the rest of you reading this. Now if you're like me, you're also a child of the 80's or 90's. If not, that's not a problem, it's just that these same thing I'm about to discuss may or may not hold the same significance to you.

Nostalgia is shared by all of us. It is cherished by us all and remembered constantly from the littlest memories to the grandest recollections. Remembrances are fleeting though, and so hopefully we attempt to make permanent what we used to experience, in both photographs or film, perhaps a drawing or two... but nothing is as special as our own memories. These can be of anything we experienced in the past, and once the actual events are long gone or forgotten over, it's those occasions when we get to remember them once more that we can't be thankful enough for.

For me, my childhood consisted of things shared by lots of other kids like myself. Toys, cartoons, wacky trends, breakfast cereal and video games... classic films and weird fashions. I can remember things like waking up early to eat a bowl of these:

Yeah I loved Ghostbusters just like the next young boy. I remember loving them, I remember having the Firehouse playset, I remember having Ghostbuster pajamas, and watching the cartoon every chance I could get. But can I remember specific moments? Not quite, vivid flashes in my mind take me back every time I look at pictures like the one above. I'll smile and remember how young and innocent and carefree I was. Times were so much simpler back then - as cliche as it sounds, it's true.

Nowadays we live in a world where most kids are brought up to be technologically adept and are mocked or shunned if they're not. It's a loooong way away from the times I remember as a kid where stuff like this was considered the greatest thing since sliced bread:

Yeah that's right, no Alienware's running the Core 2 Duo's with the Terabyte hard drives and the Gigs of memory! No flatscreen monitors, no 3D cards and graphics accelerators! As kids growing up, we had Oregon Trail and to us that was just fine. It was the coolest computer game a kid of the 80's and early 90's could play. I can remember at my elementary school, we had a computer class, I think it was every Friday or every other Friday or something like that, and I can fondly recall playing Oregon Trail and all of my best friends dying of dysentary over and over again. Classic. Of course, when we got out of school and finished our homework back at our houses, we'd pop in the latest or our favorite grey cartridge into the epic box itself, that's right folks, I'm talking about the one and only original Nintendo Entertainment System.

Now I've read countless articles on here about this staple of late 80's early 90's youth, and they're all the same. We all know of the NES, I don't need to go there. I had my favorite games, just like the next kid. Mario 3, check. Mega Man Series, check. Castlevania Series, check. Legend of Zelda Series check. Metroid, check. Kids today play the modern versions on their Wii's and their portable, flip open hand-held touchpad and microphone toting wannabe Game Boys. It's just amazing how far the portable gaming industry has advanced. Yet, it doesn't matter the technology, the affection and the nostalgia remains the same for each of us, for it isn't the game we played but the fact we were playing and having fun, these memories are priceless. I can recall going on vacation with my family to Hawaii in 1993 and my sister had just gotten Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land for her black and white Game Boy. We played that thing nonstop. And I'll never forget those times.
Super Soaker battles in the front yard and down the street, the blacktop scorching our feet in the hot summer sun. I can recall water balloon fights that lasted far too long. I wasn't lucky enough to have a nearby wilderness area to hide in or a fort to retreat too like some of you people on here, but I'm not envious or dissappointed, and I don't regret it or feel jealous. I got to make my own special memories playing with my friends in other ways like you guys have, we loved these things:

and I can remember when my best friend across the street first got his Super Soaker 100 and how impressed we all were by it. Okay, so maybe THEN I was jealous. But looking back, who wouldn't of been? When summer came around, your water-weapon of choice was what defined you and we all knew that like some code of childhood that was unwritten yet understood by us all. Everytime I see pictures of the new water toys they have, I chuckle inside, knowing how ridiculously I must have looked running down my street with something equivalent to them back in the day. But then I also smile inside, knowing that to today's generation of kids, these things are just as special to them as our water toys were to us.

Cartoons as a kid were a staple, you lived off them and had to watch them. Today's kids have Anime and SpongeBob and politically correct junk and that's about it (sorry if I sound jaded haha). In my childhood, we didn't grow up on South Park or Family Guy but luckily are now old enough to appreciate such humor. Instead, we grew up on classic cartoons that wasted your entire Saturday mornings or those precious hours after school before dinner, shows like Ghostbusters, TMNT (the original and still the best, before they decided to reboot the franchise once more), Thundercats, Transformers, X-Men, Batman The Animated Series, Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, etc. etc. etc. Looking back, these shows were probably more politically correct then they needed to be, but they were just FUN! Good clean fun and they were entertaining and addictive. We just don't have the same quality (not to mention variety!) of shows for today's generation of children. I can remember getting up at 5am to watch 5 hours of shows until 10am before deciding to actually do something with my Saturday. Ahh how the times have changed.

As a boy, action figures were a neccessity in my childhood. In the 80's and early 90's we had lots to choose from. Days with your friends could be spent fighting the evil forces of Cobra, battling Splinter once again, defending humanity from the Decepticons, saving Gotham City, surviving Jurassic Park (or the Terminator, or the Aliens, or... I could go on and on) or even mixing them all and seeing what it'd be like if Godzilla fought Spiderman! Today's kids still have many of these same experiences, and luckily this is something that will hopefully never change. I can remember playing with Legos in my living room, sprawling my playsets from one wall to the other, my Lego city alive and all mine to control. I can remember epic jungle excursions (in the front yard) with these guys:

Of course I maybe had like 10% of all of those guys, but still...

Anyways, this is getting far too long and I need to probably wrap this up and head off to work... so let me conclude a few things.

Sites like this are amazing! They let us reminisce about the past and let us remember things we have stored away in the memory banks of our minds. We see a picture or hear a story about a particular place or time and we recall that stored memory of a shared experience and it brings back so much. Hopefully, nothing but good memories, but who knows... perhaps sad ones of a time when you lost your favorite toy or your best friend moved away or whatnot?

I, for one, am thankful for this site and for all the posters and contributors on it for sharing their stories and experiences. So here's to everyone who has made it possible. Thank you to you all! And here's to hoping for more stories of the past and less top 10's. Not that there's anything wrong with hearing about thee absolute must-have games for the NES or the definitive cult films of the 1980's, it's just that most of those lists end up being simple descriptions with pictures and little more. Where's all the emotion and the significance?

So yeah, I'd like to end by stating that if this does get accepted, I'd love to do more articles for you all to read!

Some potential topic ideas anyone? Oh, and sorry about the lack of pictures, I'm new after all. Thank you.
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