The Video Game Nostalgia Wave: The Comfort Of Returning To Older Gaming Devices

Each console or handheld generation gets updated every few years. The tech is newer and shinier, and the capabilities are greater than what came before. For instance, the Nintendo Switch has become groundbreaking in what it means to game on the go or stationed on a dock to play at home. Whatever your needs are, the Switch has become the gaming device to adjust accordingly. As we move further and further away from what has become outdated and no longer “in”, sometimes, I do appreciate going back to what once was the darling of the gaming world.

[Credit: Nintendo]

Whenever I upgrade to a new console or handheld, I often find myself not trading in an older, soon-to-be phased out system. I’ve held onto my Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS. There was something unique about each device that I couldn’t part with, though maybe not so much with the Xbox 360, and there were physical copies of each game I still had yet to play or finish.

The Wii stood out with its motion sensor wand. The Nintendo DS introduced gaming with a stylus pen. The Nintendo 3DS made gaming in 3D a neat or annoying, depending on who you ask, feature. The Xbox 360, well, again not much really sets it apart from when the Xbox One eventually replaced that old console.

I suppose I’m not so quick to trade these older systems away to make way for the newer generation because one, I still have space to keep them and two, opting for any of these over the more recent systems I now have brings me back to a time and place when I was just getting started on my gaming journey. Not to mention there have been plenty of good games that came out for each system at the time they were the predominant ones people had in their homes.

Going back to my Nintendo 3DS recently to try and wrap up Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright has hit me with a strong case of nostalgia with the 3D screen and touchscreen that carried over from the classic Nintendo DS. I recalled that the only reason I was able to play this game in particular was because my friends pooled together some money to buy me the handheld years ago as a birthday present. A fond memory would forever be tied to this 3DS, and unless this handheld ever dies out on me, which I sincerely hope it doesn’t, this would forever stay with me for as long as I live.

Another advantage of going back to the 3DS is realizing how small and easily this handheld fits into my hands. I naturally have small hands so the size of the 3DS and DS were a major plus for me. As much as I adore my Switch, it’s a bit bigger when you play it in handheld mode, and there were definitely a few times I played it while lying in bed and the Switch accidentally bonked me in the face when I lost my grip on it. At least if that were to happen with the 3DS, my nose wouldn’t be smarting as much.

In our fast paced world where people are naturally quick to move on to the next new innovation, I personally like to go back and not entirely abandon what came before. Once upon a time these devices were what every gamer wanted. For me, they’ll continue to have a reason to remain with me when I’m looking for my next game fix.

Are there any older consoles or handhelds you have kept even as newer ones eventually came out? What made you decide to keep them over trading them in?

7 thoughts on “The Video Game Nostalgia Wave: The Comfort Of Returning To Older Gaming Devices

  1. I’ve kept all my systems over the years for both nostalgic reasons and plain ol’ practicality. The few bucks a trade-in would get you is never worth losing access to years’ worth of games. That, and I still like to bring them all out and enjoy booting something up every so often. I still get plenty of use out of my 25 year old N64, and it’s just plain fun to boot up the original Sly Cooper on the original hardware. There’s something about holding the old controllers and hearing/seeing the games that just plain feels magical. Things I’d long forgotten come rushing back as if they’d never left. It’s as if the old systems really are time capsules of a sort. 🙂

    1. I know people are quick to trade in the old generation for the shinier new one, whether to clear up space or to get a bit of cash out of it, but I never could get rid the older consoles or handhelds I have. Maybe if it starts getting a little impractical to keep every single one, then maybe I might start getting rid of some. Otherwise, it’s true, you can’t really go back and play certain games on the new systems. It’s also pretty miraculous when you realize how well these systems are still kicking even after all these years like your N64. I like the idea of thinking of these systems as sort of time capsules for games. Nothing beats the memory of the first time you played a favorite video game on a certain system, or reminiscing about a time when things were simpler. It’s nice to reflect sometimes. 🙂

  2. Nice post. I’m still keeping my Wii U just to play Xenoblade Chronicles X. If it ports to Switch, though, I can get rid of the Wii U and its stuff.

    I handed my 2DS down to my son. He still plays it sometimes, and when I see it, I feel like getting it back and playing Animal Crossing New Leaf on it.

    There’s something special to me about the 2DS. Its smaller size and clamshell form – folding and fitting a pocket – is really cool.

    I hope Nintendo makes a future Switch model that combines the DS form. Imagine a smaller Switch that has 2 screens and folds to fit a pocket. Well, just take the 3DS/2DS body and put the current Switch guts inside, and adapt games for it. It’d be like a Switch Lite 2DS, or just call it Switch DS.

    Back to old systems. So we can play NES and SNES games on Switch, which is cool. But reliving my childhood would be more nostalgic if I had the hardware and could physically insert the chunky cartridges. The whole experience.

    1. That’s great you passed on your 2DS to your son. At least a new generation of gamers could enjoy and appreciate what came before. While I do love the Switch, like you, I kind of miss those days when the portables were more pocket sized. Taking the Switch on the go is a bit of a heft more than the Nintendo DS and 3DS ever were. No matter what new evolution we get with these consoles, I don’t plan on giving up the old ones anytime soon. 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading! Yeah, I never want to part with my older systems, mainly for the nostalgia some of it brings me, but I do think eventually I might have to trade some of them in if I upgrade a console. Otherwise, I’ll be swimming in too many old consoles I won’t have room for.

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