Nostalgia: Favorite Games Growing Up

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Each generation seems perplexed and outraged by the state of ‘kids today.’ You’d think that your parents grew up in a sanitised Disney movie if you believed the idyllic pictures they paint with their stories of how blissful and uncomplicated life was before the internet and satellite TV – but you can be sure they’d have jumped at the chance to play Grand Theft Auto if only it had been available in the 70s.

There’s always a danger of looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses, especially as childhood is usually such a happy and innocent time. But that doesn’t mean the toys and games you loved so much in your youth should be forgotten for the sake of growing up – look at all the grown men who cried at the end of Toy Story 3 and tell me the older generations don’t pine for those simpler days.

Some of my favourite toys growing up were board games, which provided much of the entertainment before the first game consoles arrived in our home. Looking back, some of these were surprisingly limited, like Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur – which involved moving Ludo-style cavemen counters around a prehistoric board before letting a wind-up dinosaur loose to knock them over. Pointless, yes – but also a lot of fun. Others were a lot more complicated, like the classics Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble, so it’s no surprise which ones have stood the test of time.

Corporate branding was an inescapable part of growing up in the 80s too, and I’m a little ashamed at how adamantly I would demand anything with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Real Ghostbusters logo plastered over it. Some of these toys and games were genuinely fun, like the large (and probably expensive) Turtles’ sewer lair and Ghostbusters fire station play sets. Others, such as the action figures of increasingly obscure characters, were there mostly to fill out the ranks.

When video games arrived, there was a major cultural shift in kid’s games that saw some older entertainments – like my beloved board games – being consigned to the wardrobe forever more. Just like board games, there were some great titles available if you looked hard enough, even on these early machines – Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros series were firm favourites. But there was also a staggering amount of really bad games that we’d make our parents spend their hard-earned money on – even though those early video games are basic by today’s standards, they didn’t come cheap in the early 90s.

Kids growing up in the 2010s don’t have it any better or worse than those from earlier generations. There may be more gadgets and brands competing for their attention than ever before, but just because something’s new doesn’t mean it won’t be considered a ‘classic’ in time, providing nostalgia for the future.

This was a guest article by Jennifer who is a part of the digital blogging team at who work with brands like Woolworths. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in lifestyle news, check out my posts at or visit my Twitter account, @awnow


Updated: March 8, 2011 — 3:39 pm