You know what? I’ve done a lot of more light-hearted discussions on this blog, but lets delve into something a little bit more ‘serious’ shall we? Nostalgia, we all have it and we all have something that we associate with it. The feeling of nostalgia is the recollection of experiences and feelings you associated with a specific type of media. In this day and age we are experiencing an age of nostalgia, reboots and sequels are rampant and the opinion on these are divisive to say the least. Many are saying that the media industry is dying because of companies capitalizing on nostalgia, so that’s what I’m aiming to answer today. Is nostalgia killing the media industry?
To me, there is no greater display of ‘nostalgiabating’ than video games (you can thank Urban Dictionary for that word by the way). With the massive influx of games over the last decade, many of them have been reboots and remakes of already existing games and franchises. While many are glad to see these beloved franchises rebooted, many are saying this is proof that the industry is running out of ideas but rather they don’t want to risk making a new idea that might fail over a reboot that’s going to be a sure-fire hit. Nostalgia is all about cashing in on the fond memories someone has with a product, and this is why nostalgic games and reboots/sequels always grab us, because we want to relive the excitement we felt before. Some reboots are good like the Doom games, but then there are some that are not so good, like Mighty No. 9 and a handful of the Sonic the Hedgehog games. However I don’t think nostalgia is necessarily killing the video game industry, in my opinion it’s rather just changing it long-term. Many sequels and reboots are getting well received and I feel that video games are less likely to persuade a customer if they’re a reboot simply because of the sheer diversity the industry has.
Yes, the movie industry is being crippled by nostalgia on almost every front. Sequels and reboots are seen nowhere else more commonly than in movies, and it is single-handedly destroying the industry. But aren’t reboots and sequels making a ton of money? Maybe yes, but let me explain why it’s killing the industry. Many of these reboots and sequels suck, badly. Examples of this (going off of critic scores and audience reactions) include Ghostbusters (2016), The Predator, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michael Bays Transformers and way too many horror movies to count. Movies are one of the most nostalgic things a person can experience, they are thing many of us grew up watching and seeing such a thing in a new and updated light is a tantalising concept to many. However, while video games take time and care with many of their sequels and reboots, movies more often than not, don’t. Usually a reboot is cheap, lacks substance and more often than not serves to taint many people’s opinions of these once beloved franchises. People keep asking, ‘if these reboots are bad why do they keep making them?’ The simple answer is they make them a lot of money. Now granted some reboots can be massive box office bombs like The Predator was, but then you have movies like TMNT that made almost half a billion US Dollars and a whole band of movies that make equal and larger amounts. If a product makes money, then the maker will keep manufacturing it, therefore reboots are constantly made since they always seem to turn out a profit. No matter how bad a product is, it will keep getting made as long as it churns out a profit, the Transformers movies are the most egregious when it comes to this. Another thing that people hate about reboots is that many of them were things no one asked for, and therefore many of them can occasionally bomb. So is there any hope for the movie industry? Well yes and no. Yes because for all the bad reboots we are getting, we’re getting an equal number of original and wonderful films and even the occasional reboot that isn’t actually awful. But at the same time there is no hope, because for every box office success these cheap and heartless reboots and remakes get, we’ll get another that’s destined to soil yet another franchise. The cycle will continue as long as we keep giving these companies our money, and as long as this continues, the movie industry will slowly begin to sour and pretty soon we will have an overall unsatisfying movie industry that will aim to capitalise on the concept of recycling ideas and reusing the same plotlines, with any semblance of originality beginning to fade into obscurity.
- I wanted to touch on TV shows for a moment since I feel this industry isn’t as badly affected by nostalgia as others, but it is still slowly falling victim to it. Nostalgia is affecting TV shows because we are seeing many continuations and follow-up seasons of shows that either ended a while ago, or have been going on for years and refuse to die. Now some TV show revivals can go over very well, but then there are those
Anime isn’t necessarily something you think of when it comes to nostalgia per say, but anime is a part of my blog, so I feel it should be included. Nostalgia is both helping and hurting the anime industry, but it’s also not exactly affecting the anime industry, it’s a real mixed bag. Let’s break down each outcome for this segment.
- Helping: Nostalgia is helping the anime industry as it is helping to revive many old series and bring them into the modern age. Some newer anime fans aren’t always too keen on watching an anime that looks old or is from a different time (I know people who were like this). A revived series can sometimes be a good way of ushering them into the series. My friend originally was against watching Dragon Ball because of its ‘dated’ look but after the Battle of Gods film and Resurrection F, he got into the series and then grew to appreciate the older stuff. Nostalgia also helps to revive old shows that people have wanted back for a long time and allow us to experience new ideas and additions to the lore, some of the best examples being Dragon Ball and Boruto.
- Hurting: Nostalgia is also hurting the anime industry for the same reasons it’s helping, it’s almost like some sort of nostalgia paradox. The problem lies in the recent resurgence in revived series we’ve experienced, with many believing this is damaging the originality of the anime industry. These newer series also cause problems since they sometimes take the series in directions that many previous fans don’t want, which can damage the reputation and fanbase of a specific show or idea. However, I don’t think this problem is as bad as people let it on to be, and the reason for that is…
- Not Affecting: There is simply so much original content in the anime industry that the concept of nostalgia is often preserved for old series and nothing else. By this I mean many people are willing to let an older franchise remain just that, old. For every second season or reboot, about 5 more new anime take arrive with them. Anime is one of the most diverse media categories in the world, it spans decades and contains more unique ideas and concepts than any other media form, except for maybe books.
So after all of this, is nostalgia really killing the media industry? Well, for mt it’s a double-edged sword. By this I mean it is helping some sectors of the media industry, and other it is crippling almost to the point of no repair. As I said before, anime and video games are more or less fine, video games becoming more of a victim to modern tropes leaking into older styles while anime’s sheer diversity prevents it from being affected all that much. Movies and TV however are in serious trouble in my opinion, and if all these unnecessary sequels, reboots and revivals, the movie industry is going to become stagnant and will eventually turn into a very sour industry. But there is still hope for it, and that hope lies in us, the consumer. We all have a right to demand more from our media, we can demand more creative ideas and for companies to stop falling back on sequels and reboots, and to stop capitalizing on and manipulating our nostalgia. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, it gives us a reason to remember things and allows us to reflect on and recall great tines spent watching something or playing something, but as we’ve outlined in this discussion, if used simply to make a product with no integrity, it can hurt more than help. I don’t think the media industry is being killed by nostalgia, rather it’s being both improved by it, and damaged by it, but only time will tell which side will win.
Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it. If you did please consider leaving a like and following my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me on twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense. Till next time.