With Mario Kart projected onto the screen in front of everyone, and the whole class cheering along with the players, it’s hard to not get involved and caught up in the excitement. I found myself really enjoying watching the competition, sometimes cheering for people who weren’t even technically on my ‘team’ blog group, since the crowd got so invested in the game and certain players’ experiences. Afterwards, people talked a lot about that sense of getting caught up in the action of the game, so much that it was difficult to watch the players rather than the screen. But one thing a lot of people mentioned that I couldn’t really connect with was the nostalgia.
Nintendo games were never a part of my childhood. I didn’t play Mario Kart until junior year of high school, and I’ve never played any of the individual games those characters are from. So I found it really interesting that people were talking about the nostalgia of the games so much, since this is a fairly common thing for me – I didn’t watch many of the cartoons that were common in my friends’ experiences growing up, and I think a lot of the first video games I played were simulation games like Civilization. The only ‘typical’ video game that can be considered part of my childhood was Portal (I started things like Mass Effect a couple years ago only), and I’ve only ever played PC games; I’ve never gone anywhere near Pokemon, for example.
To me, Mario Kart is fun, but to many other people I know, it has other memories associated with it – that’s been interesting to think about because it forces me to consider how other people approach experiences like this class differently based on their own past experiences and memories. I’ve approached most of the games we’ve talked about in class with a blank slate, and a lot of other people haven’t. I think it’s still possible to understand how that nostalgia works though, because I can think of plenty of examples of things like Star Trek, for example, that would make me think of my own childhood. So it’s been a cool experience to see how many people reacted so strongly to Mario Kart and the idea of being able to play that in a classroom setting.