[Banner image source: Pixabay].

There used to be a belief in advertising that when kids grow up and start earning money, their taste fundamentally shifts. Rather than enjoying the games, television and film of their youth, they would now appreciate an entirely different set of media, discarding their past entirely.

Well, we all know that isn’t the case. What we love as a kid shapes our personalities fundamentally, forming the basis of our taste for the years and decades to come. Once we all realised that, fundamentally, we’re still the kids who enthused over Super Metroid and He-Man, things began to change in a major way.

Today, nostalgia media has come to dominate the world. No longer a weird niche for those of us with a head full of references and a garage full of ephemera, it’s entered the mainstream in a huge way thanks to the likes of the Goonies-inspired Stranger Things, the countless video-game references in Disney’s Wreck-it-Ralph and Ready Player One, and even in popular video games like Terraria, Fez, Towerfall, Hotline Miami, Shovel Knight and many, many more.

Put simply, we’re living in an era where not only can we access all of the amazing stuff from our childhoods, we’re creating works which directly contribute to their legacy, taking their genius as inspiration for a new generation of media.

But why has nostalgia media taken over? Well, you could argue there are two major driving forces…

The geeks have taken over
All of us kids who sat glued to the TV throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s who were told that we’d struggle if all we did was absorb media? Well, guess who’s making the TV, movies and games now? Prominent geeks are everywhere in society today, from the Duffer Brothers to Felicia Day and with them has come an immense love for everything great from their childhoods. Not afraid to mine these resources, they’re producing media by geeks, for geeks. No longer is this content being produced by people wildly extracted from what we actually want. Instead, it’s being made by people just like us. The geeks shall indeed inherit the earth.

It’s a huge change, one that’s meant that everything from retro themed casino games online, like Baywatch-inspired slots, to the forthcoming Octopath Traveler video game have an authenticity right at their core; something that makes them irresistible.

The Internet has preserved everything
Perhaps the biggest change, though, has come in the form of the internet, which has completely transformed the way each of us consumes media. Rather than being stuck to whatever you’d personally archived and whatever’s currently on the television, on the radio or in stores, the internet has made everything available instantly.

Whether it’s the Internet Archive preserving thousands of MS-DOS games or the seemingly bottomless well of classic TV available through YouTube, Netflix and the like – we’re still immersed in the culture of our youth. More than that though, it’s meant that the youth of today can share in the experience too, breaking down the barriers between what’s new and what’s old.

It’s resulted in a world where nostalgia isn’t just a wistful look into the past, it’s a visceral part of the present and, hopefully, part of the future too.