Nostalgia is looking through old photographs. It’s the moment you pedalled a bicycle. The day you graduated. When you left home and waved goodbye. It’s the loss of a loved one and the creation of another. It simultaneously separates & connects; where atrocities and conquests we experienced live alongside us, so we can share them with fondness or contort them with anguish. Nostalgia is, powerful.
I was 8. My bedroom clad in Sonic merchandise from curtains to wallpaper; a stack of Goosebumps books beside my drawer, a pair of muddy trainers that had flashing lights in the soles. The wardrobe stood a few feet from the wall, adequate size for a den. It housed my Lego creations and on this morning, me. I’d hidden in anticipation. What child doesn’t dream of catching Santa in the act? Luckily for him, I was a heavy sleeper – I’d aim to get him next year though.
Awakening, I did as we all did when our excitement boils to bursting temperatures, I dashed to the bed grabbing a stocking the size of me and hastily marched downstairs bellowing giddy shrieks. The mince pies had of course vanished and, as with every Christmas morning, my mum was already busy in the kitchen making preparations to the evenings feast of turkey, sausages wrapped in bacon and an array of other festive goodies.
The marathon of unwrapping began, with sheets of brightly coloured paper cascading through the air and rogue pieces of Sellotape latching onto anything and everything; I was in a frenzy. What felt like hours passed and a tower of paper had grown to a size that could’ve easily housed the Eye of Sauron. However, it was time to finally unwrap the “big present”.
Hidden beneath a particularly difficult layer of ‘The Simpsons’ wrapping paper, I was greeted with a grey that shone gold. It was but the duration of a breath I went from ecstatic shouting to an oddly uncomfortable silence. I wasn’t sure how to react. I held in my hands a PlayStation and when you’re a kid at that age, there’s really not much you can say at all. I remember vividly being knelt on the floor, trembling with this gargantuan box in my grasp remaining utterly silent. Turning to look at my mum, she has a smile on her face bigger than mine and excitingly says “You better go and set it up then!”. So I did. Quickly.
From that day, the PlayStation was a part of my life. Me and my brother would take it in turns on Spyro, trying to chase down that odd chap who ran around with dragon eggs. My mum would try Gran Turismo and declare it “…nothing like real driving!” and I’d be taken on more journeys than I could have ever fathomed from Fear Effect to Vib Ribbon. I wasn’t the weird kid at school any more; I was a spy, a vigilante, a race car driver, a mage.
That Christmas defines my appreciation of PlayStation and why I’ve remained an evangelist for all these years despite PR blunders, odd marketing directions, delays or having to get an extra job to afford the next console. Something monumental would have to happen for the memory of that Christmas to be tainted and, if I felt that way, then I imagined many others would too.
This is how #PlayStationMemories was conceived.; a moment of nostalgia whilst I was riding the bus to the office. No marketing teams. No vigorous research. Just me, missing home and having a nostalgic moment – just in time for the PS4 press-conference. Arriving in the office, I started to share some of my memories on Twitter and it quickly picked up steam. Now, all I need to do is search for a simple hashtag to see my story reflected in hundreds and thousands of others and that’s a beautiful thing.
It’s months since I started the campaign and its popularity remains; an official PlayStation Store sale, a beautiful advert (#4ThePlayers) but most importantly, an array of passionate gamers sharing the moments that touched them. Am I upset I’m no longer involved with SCEE and PlayStation? Absolutely. Though, knowing I conjured something as popular as #PlayStationMemories is nothing short of humbling and the PS Access team amongst others have done a great job continuing its success.
Nostalgia is looking through leaderboards. It’s the moment you clicked L3 & R3 as Kratos. The day you captured the flag. When you lost your last life and started all over again. It’s the loss of a save-game and the creation of another. Nostalgia is, powerful.
By Bear (Bearskopff) Parker