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D&D General Is D&D nostalgia the best nostalgia of them all?

GuyBoy

Adventurer
So, a story about rugby to segue on to D&D...

Last Friday, I went to support my 11 year old grandson in his first rugby match for his school. I would have been immensely proud regardless, but it was particularly special as he attends the same school that I did; a school founded in 1549, with an impressive rugby tradition. To see him playing, on the same pitches I did, wearing the navy and gold colours, brought back wonderful memories of tries scored, tackles made, injuries and friends. Great nostalgia.....and then there’s D&D

As well as rugby, I also played a lot of D&D at school and I still play it now ( 58 year old knees say no to rugby). The memories of D&D are even sweeter. Why?

My own view is that gaming ties in with the nostalgia inherent in myths, legends and fairy tales, and also ties in our interests in history. These, alongside the social nature of the game, place it in a unique position to offer the greatest nostalgia trip possible.
Far better than any try is the memory of defeating Nosnra in the Steading, of a 24 hour charity gaming marathon, of the sad death of my first character, Aelric, of Tier,an defeating the Witches of Marmon. Shades of Snow White, Beowulf, Achilles, Raven the Trickster, Wendigo but personalised. And enriched by ongoing stories, good and bad, from all the adventures since.

So, D&D, the finest nostalgia possible; agree?

PS the only lack compared with rugby was no grandson link.....but now, thanks to Stranger Things, both grandson and granddaughter want to play D&D. I wonder if they’ll agree to wear navy and gold!
 

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My own view is that gaming ties in with the nostalgia inherent in myths, legends and fairy tales, and also ties in our interests in history. These, alongside the social nature of the game, place it in a unique position to offer the greatest nostalgia trip possible.
I think your reasoning is solid. I would add that most of us played at a time when we were learning about friendship; how to protect, serve and build them. Combining this magical age of revelation with a social game that plays to history and myths is a potent combination.
 

Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
I am sort of the opposite these days.

While I have some fond memories of playing back in the 80s and 90s, learning the game and having fun with friends - I also have a ton of crappy memories of games gone wrong. (one that ended up with 16 year old me throwing a fit and literally assaulting friends who had been disrespecting me all session - ending both the game and friendships with 4 people)

Whereas my gaming now, in my middle age is at a whole different level... to the point where the gaming I have done over the past decade will be the subject of nostalgia in a decade more or so. Nuanced, richly developed games and narratives with tons of player agency that my friends and I simply didn't have a grasp of in our misbegotten youth.
 
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MGibster

Legend
I find nostalgia a tricky thing. I look back fondly on my Army days, but do not think about the cold, tired, hungry days sleeping in a swamp and only think about the fun times with the men I served with.
When Band of Brothers aired on HBO in 2001, the History Channel had a special where they interviewed the men from Easy Company. At one point, one of the veterans said something like, "I know you see us sitting here laughing and having a good time like we were remembering a trip to Disneyland. But we're just so happy we survived." The thing about nostalgia is that we have a habit of filtering out the negatives to accentuate the negatives. And even when we talk about the negatives we often laugh about them. And when I'm nostalgic for D&D it's really more about the people I used to game with than it is about the game itself.
 


niklinna

Looking for group
AD&D was pretty much my only social outlet in an otherwise barren adolescence in a backwoods part of Michigan. No nostalgia for any part of my pre-adult life, although D&D helped a little.

But World of Warcraft, yow, do I have me some vanilla nostalia. Classic was quite a reminder that you can rarely go back.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Nostalgia is a disease.
Careful on that edge.

Nostalgia is primarily a healing method that allows us to remember what is useful about the past and retain strong connections, without reliving the trauma that actually came with it.

Modern Western culture has aggrandized nostalgia to a wildly unhealthy degree, but to claim that it is inherently unhealthy (which you have done by calling it a disease), is pure nonsense, unsupported by literally anything. You might as well claim that calories are inherently unhealhty because an overabundance will hurt you in various ways.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Don't get me wrong. I think critical examination of the past especially those things we tend to feel nostalgic about is crucial. But nostalgia is defined by longing - and longing for past anything is not healthy.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Don't get me wrong. I think critical examination of the past especially those things we tend to feel nostalgic about is crucial. But nostalgia is defined by longing - and longing for past anything is not healthy.
No, it isn't. And longing for anything from the past is...pretty neutral. Longing for it simply because it's in the past would be unhealthy, but there are things that have changed in the world where the old way was genuinely better.

But nostalgia is just strongly fond memories of some aspect of the past, that polishes the stains and wounds of your life's experience, and makes it easier for you to think about the past without getting caught up in the brambles. It's a valuable part of our psyche.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Careful on that edge.

Nostalgia is primarily a healing method that allows us to remember what is useful about the past and retain strong connections, without reliving the trauma that actually came with it.
By not remembering those bad parts we very much have people regressing laws and other things who want to push everything back to what they thought they had in yesteryear (this is combined with the ignorance over why change happened) can make nostalgic reverence dangerous.

Not a disease but prone to creating problems.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
By not remembering those bad parts we very much have people regressing laws and other things who want to push everything back to what they thought they had in yesteryear (this is combined with the ignorance over why change happened) can make nostalgic reverence dangerous.

Not a disease but prone to creating problems.
I think blaming that on nostalgia is a gigantic stretch. There is a huge difference between being able to think about the past and maintain emotional ties to things you associate with the past (which is part of how most people keep strong bonds to community and family) without being re-traumatized by the worst parts of the past, and being incapable of seeing the bad parts.

I'm an anti-traditionalist. I don't like the influence of nostalgia on our culture. But trying to blame the world's ills on it is just reductive nonsense.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think blaming that on nostalgia is a gigantic stretch.
I think blaming that on nostalgia is a gigantic stretch. There is a huge difference between being able to think about the past and maintain emotional ties to things you associate with the past (which is part of how most people keep strong bonds to community and family) without being re-traumatized by the worst parts of the past, and being incapable of seeing the bad parts.
You brought the word trauma in? Yes it is possible to like the good bits and remember those fondly but it is specifically about not remembering or repressing the bad ones or even just never knowing why things changed, those are the roots of mottos like -> make "my country" great again <-- and why it is such a strong ummm calling card of the regressive.

Yea who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

I'm an anti-traditionalist. I don't like the influence of nostalgia on our culture. But trying to blame the world's ills on it is just reductive nonsense.
Not all the ills, I called it dangerous ...you just reduced what I said so you could assert it was nonsense.
 
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I find nostalgia a tricky thing. I look back fondly on my Army days, but do not think about the cold, tired, hungry days sleeping in a swamp and only think about the fun times with the men I served with.
Nostalgia is forgetting how crappy something really was. I look back on my 1E days with fondness... until I remember the rules arguments, childish characters and adventures, and convoluted rulebooks.
 

Hussar

Legend
Nostalgia is forgetting how crappy something really was. I look back on my 1E days with fondness... until I remember the rules arguments, childish characters and adventures, and convoluted rulebooks.
I gotta admit, I'm in this camp. Most of the people I gamed with were dicks. I was a dick. Might still be one to this day, but, I hope not. Sure, there are some fond memories, and sure, I had fun at the time, but, would I want to do it again? Not a chance. I'm glad that people who are coming after me into the hobby are coming into mature games that actually function.
 

MGibster

Legend
Nostalgia is forgetting how crappy something really was. I look back on my 1E days with fondness... until I remember the rules arguments, childish characters and adventures, and convoluted rulebooks.
Where did anyone get that idea that nostalgia means forgetting the bad? While I have some very fond memories of playing 1st edition, the last time someone seriously asked me if I was interested in playing some AD&D I told them I'd rather use a cheese grater on my eyes. Nostalgia is not the same as being in denial or having rose colored glasses.
 

Hussar

Legend
Where did anyone get that idea that nostalgia means forgetting the bad? While I have some very fond memories of playing 1st edition, the last time someone seriously asked me if I was interested in playing some AD&D I told them I'd rather use a cheese grater on my eyes. Nostalgia is not the same as being in denial or having rose colored glasses.
Maybe not. But, quite often it slides into that territory.
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
I agree that nostalgia can be a tool exploited by certain ideologies and used for negative reasons with poisonous consequences: the “Again” part of MAGA being a case in point, Hitler’s use of Wagnerian pseudo-history and, on a much smaller (but still unpleasant) scale, the recent escapades of TSR mark 3 to place a non-inclusive spin on the hobby.

The reason for this thread was partly to reclaim the actual nostalgia of the good bits of the early hobby (at least to me) and just enjoy them for positivity and well-being. In part, because standing on the sidelines of the rugby pitch, I could also see the windows of the classroom where our D&D club used to meet, and it just felt “nice.”
That’s definitely not to say it was all rose-tinted; some campaigns were pretty crap and some people I’ve met through gaming were.......dubious.
 

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