Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hello nostalgia, my old friend

I swear, you open the door to nostalgia, just a crack, and the next thing you know, it's on your couch eating cheetos and hogging the remote...

This morning, I made my usual visit to GraphJam, and caught the following:

song chart memes

I laughed, and then realized, gee, not everybody I know would think that's funny, because I know a lot of the young people, and the youths just don't listen to good music anymore. /shakes cane (OK, granted, I'm not old enough to remember that song's debut, but the problem here is that even I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka is rapidly approaching the realm of "old.")

Not a big deal. I've been nostalgic all week after that trip to the Funspot arcade, but in a good way, in a sort of warm and fuzzy way.

But just now, a distressing article caught my eye on digg. Video arcades' last gasp, about a video arcade called Gameland in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, that's closing this September, after 64 years of business. OMG. Now I'm feeling nostalgic in a panicked sort of "I want to cry" kind of way. To read something like this days after re-discovering my love for arcade gaming is actually quite upsetting.

It suddenly hit me that I am very, very lucky to live where I do, because I have access to another increasingly rare commodity; drive-in movies. The Milford Drive-in is where I recently both saw Indiana Jones over fries and cotton candy and witnessed a rainbow touching the ground for the first time in my life (true story, and if I could just get the picture off my cellphone...). recently posted an article wishing a happy 75th birthday to the 400 remaining drive-ins in the United States, and it occurred to me how sweetly symbolic it was to catch a rainbow's end in the field right next to the Milford Drive-in.

Drive-ins don't offer the cushy audio-video candy that IMAX and stadium theaters can deliver. The film can't start till the sun goes down. The picture is sometimes too dark, and you must periodically battle the fogging of your windshield, or the mosquitoes (your choice). But it's an experience, and the experience takes center stage, instead of the movies (and it still is a double-feature, if you can stay up that late). People show up an hour or more early, set up lawn chairs, and enjoy the carnival-style drive-in eats while their kids run around on the grass or swing at the little playground. It's great. Then the sun goes down and the vintage concessions stand ads start playing (you know, with the hotdog doing flips for its popcorn master), and THAT, my friends, is nostalgia of the warm and fuzzy type.

I wouldn't want to see every movie like that, every time. Nor would I want to abandon my XBOX or PC games. But it's worth going out of your way to remember our roots now and then. Sort of like camping. So support your local drive-ins and arcades, if you've got them. And if you don't, come on up to New Hampshire sometime - we've got camping, too. :) While it's inevitable that we will see the day when both classic gaming arcades and drive-ins disappear entirely, we've done a great job of dragging our heels on that thus far.

PS - Before I forget, I read on the Twin Galaxies website that there's going to be a Billy Mitchell TOPPS bubblegum card. Personally, I'm hoping for a Pac-man rub-off game on the other side...


Andy said...

I love that song! Does that make me old?

Rabscuttle said...

I'd like to think it makes us "retro." :) (so in other words...yeah) Don't mess with Kung-fu Joe!