Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Experiments with Nostalgia

Nostalgia Experiment # 1.

I clearly remember how much I enjoyed playing games on my Commodore 64 PC in the mid 80s. The clandestine games trading in school and tuition homes; the excitement of visiting Al Hamed Centre and spending 10 Dirhams on a new game. It was all great fun. The memory is still fresh and yes dearly "Nostalgic". Due to the digital nature of most of these experiences. I can, if I wanted to , re-install and re experience all those games today. Most of my mallu friends have been aflicted with this terrible malady of nostalgia, and constantly post stories and poems about how wonderful their green fields, and blue mountains are back home. The fact that none of these things exist in its present form or colour is simply irrelevant to their memory.

We all are nostalgic. But how true is the memory in relation to facts. As a test of my nostalgia factor, I decided put to test how different memory is from actual experience.

I installed an emulator for Commodore 64. (64 stands for 64K of memory) on my Windows 7 PC (4Gb, 1Gb Video, i5 Processor, dual-wide-screen monstrosity). An emulator (for IT challenged amung us ) is a virtual machine that runs on a different operating system and/or processor. For those who arn't familiar with C64 a quick word. C64 runs 16 colours 320 X 200 pixels screen resolution, with a memory of 64K and a speed of somewhere around 1.5 Mhz. (Which is about the same capacity and speed as a door bell today)

After installation of the emulator I tried one of my favourite games , Mission Impossible. Yes the same game was latter made into a blockbuster movie. I even invited my 10 year old son and his neighbourhood buddy to watch me play the game.

And folks It was not a pleasant exercise. The game was slow, graphics was terrible and nothing even close to what I had imagined. The whole experience was just shit. My son was although sympathetic. He consoled me and said that those games were made for a different time for a different bunch of people. 10 year old K.Jr. is much wiser today than what 16 year old K.Sr was then.

I immediately un-installed the emulator and deleted the game. I realized that further installations of Double Dragon, Couldron and Winter Games would simply tarnish the memory of those wonderful games. Which are too precious to be tested, compared and dissected against these 3D x-box and playstation games.

Nostalgia Experiment # 2.

23 years ago I was in charge of special effects (thunder, lightning, storm etc.) for a Malayalam stage performance (Sree Bhoovil Asthira) that ran full house on 10 separate stages all over the UAE. Last week I was invited as a guest to attend the re-enactment of the same musical in Abu Dhabi. The Performance ran like it was supposed to. There weren't any changes at all to the performance, music or script.

However, I couldn't sit through the entire performance due to sheer boredom. 20 years ago it seemed the right thing. Today however it is too slow and boering. And Since I was wedged between two senior patrons of the club, who were so keen on inviting me, I could not even get up and run for dear life before the 3-hour-torture could end. The theme, pace and  techniques were simply out of sync with  present-day audience perceptions. I didn't know that people could have evolve to this extent in 23 years.

I dearly wish that I had never seen the show again. I had cherished all those wonderful visuals, but now they have been re-painted with this mediocre and excruciatingly painful experience that I can't ever forget.

Conclusion: Nostalgia should neither be exposed nor tested with ground realities. Most of them stink. And if the odor is stale to you it can be obnoxious to others.

1 comment:

  1. കാല്‍വിന്‍April 29, 2010 9:27 PM

    rightly said

    ReplyDelete

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