Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nostalgic Bias

As promised, I've started playing Symphony of the Night. And I'm having a hard time developing an unbiased opinion. I'm comparing my current experience with the experience other people had in the natural evolution of gaming. I'm coming to this game after having already experienced a half dozen of its indirect sequels. It's extraordinarily difficult to pretend that I'm not bringing a ton of baggage with me on this experience.

But that's always the case, isn't it? All of our experiences are shaped by the path we were on that lead us to them. Expectations, one way or the other, can completely tint our perceptions. Trying to be completely objective is futile, so I guess I shouldn't bother to try? In as much as this blog is a record of my memories, lack of bias is irrelevant. But as this blog serves as a form of communication with other people and a platform for discussion, it's more important for me to try to relate my point of view to a more broad point of view.

So I guess you should question my judgment about this Super Castlevania game. My opinions are not be trusted, as that they are steeped in a nostalgic bias. But should I question my own feelings? Given the warm fuzzies that nostalgia gives me, I don't really have any incentive to upend my positive experiences. But hopefully those don't get in the way of forming new experiences, because when that happens I'm officially Old.

Maybe the true solution is for me as a writer to share my history with you as a reader, so that you can judge how well your path aligns with my path. If you and I have been on similar journeys then it stands to reason that the way I experience something new will be very similar to the way you will experience it. Although you can read what I've posted here and piece some of that together, you'll always have incomplete information because you don't have my whole history. For some time now I've been meaning to put together the autobiographical sort of my gaming experiences (a la High Fidelity) which would definitely serve this purpose. But to take advantage of that I'm assuming a much larger investment from a reader than is probably sane. As I stated from the outset of this blog, I assume I am my only audience. So I should probably only engage such a task if it's appropriately self indulgent, for which I think this qualifies.

In the meantime, I encourage you to challenge what I have to say. I am only one data point. If you're in the same boat, give Symphony a spin and we'll compare notes. Or perhaps you've played Symphony but not Super Castlevania, and can give the reverse analysis. If we come to opposite conclusions than we've really learned nothing more than nostalgia is king. But if there's agreement then I think we're on to something.

1 comment:

  1. Quite honestly, I don't think you should attempt to curve your nostalgia or what experiences lead you to how you view the game. I think you should explain where you're coming from, but not neccessarily to try and sway your opinion either way for anyone's benefit (or percieved benefit).