Everyone has that one thing or perhaps multiple things that bring up a strong sense of nostalgia. Whether its a family memory, an old show, a game, old job, etc. etc. etc. I love the feeling of nostalgia. It gives you a sense of roots and personal history. However, its definitely not something that can be easily explained. I mean, I’m about to go on and on about something that’s given me strong nostalgic feelings lately and you’re likely going to think: ‘really? She’s writing about this? Come on, your old posts are better.’ Well, you’re probably right. So, in continuing further, I dare you to relate in some way. You likely don’t have any feelings for what I’m about to write about, but you do have something else that brings a sense of nostalgia to you and I want you to keep that thing in mind. If anything, it’s always nice to pause a moment and remember a good thing from days long passed.
So, about a week ago, a new game came out for the Nintendo Switch (no it’s not a Zelda game), and I preordered it so I didn’t have to wait to play it. The game is Pokemon Snap. It’s a cute, little game where you get to play wildlife photographer in the pokemon world. You just take snapshots of pokemon in their natural habitat. There’s no catching, no training, no battling, and no trading. You’re just a snap happy photographer taking pictures.
When you think about it, the point of the game isn’t that exciting. There’s no villain you have to fight, no puzzles to solves, it’s just picture taking. So, it’s not a game for everyone. I got it because I used to play the Nintendo 64 version of Pokemon Snap ALL THE TIME. I completed the Photodex, found all th Pokemon Signs, and I was quite proud of myself for doing so. Even now, I can recall all the music, sound effects, gameplay, and tricks in each area. When I was little, I always hoped they’d come out with another one. Now that I’m in my twenties, they finally did!
Do you remember a time when you got the news that they were remaking something you loved as a kid? Maybe a Disney movie, an old tv show, a theme park restoring an old roller coaster, a game (in my case), or whatever it was that you were obsessed with as a kid? You hear the news and you get excited, but then comes the influx of emotions where you’re not sure its a good idea. Maybe it won’t be as good as the original? Maybe they’ll butcher an important scene or part or they’ll pick the wrong actors or mess up the story line. Or they’ll change something where it just isn’t the same anymore? I felt that when I heard about the new Pokemon Snap. I was super excited, but then very weary that it just wouldn’t be the same as the old 64 version or the developers would change something that doesn’t need to be changed.
Thankfully, in my case, they didn’t remake the old Pokemon Snap, they expanded on it. A LOT of new pokemon have come out since the original game so the developers are including a LOT of those new pokemon. Plus, its in a new region, there are new areas to explore, new mysterious to solve, and they give you little challenges and clues in each area to help you get the best pictures. I may not have played the new version of Pokemon Snap as much as I would’ve liked since it came out, but I can happily say I’m NOT disappointed in it. A lot of controls and items are the same and they included new items to help you get the best photos. They also make it possible to edit your photos and enhance them. It’s gotten a very good improvement and let’s not forget that video game graphics have come a long way since 1999. So the designers deserve a huge pat on the back for how well they crafted the different ecosystems and landscapes of the region you explore in the game.
Speaking of ecosystems and landscape. They expanded on something in this new version of Pokemon Snap that was pretty mellow in the old game. For those of you unfamiliar with the game: there is a reason you go around taking pictures. In both games, you’re helping a professor document the habits and behavior of pokemon. In the new game, they expand it further by giving more detail to the lab you work at: the Laboratory of Ecology and Natural Sciences. This game is meant for kids, so it’s likely a kid isn’t going to know what ecology and natural sciences are, but they will understand the point. You go around a habitat (a swamp, a cave, a desert, a jungle, a meadow, or under the ocean, etc. etc. etc.), taking pictures of the pokemon, and how they interact with each other and their surroundings. You also get to find new paths and areas and uncover inspiring discoveries about plant life too–all by keeping your disturbance to the habitat a minimum.
Now, pokemon aren’t real and the magical mysteries in the game don’t exist, but what if you implied the concept of Pokemon Snap to the real world? One of my favorite things about the game is that it can be an inspiration for someone to go into ecology and natural sciences. They may enjoy taking pictures in the game so much that they want to take pictures of nature and study the environments of Earth. I, for one, am someone who’s fascinated by animal behavior and when I see the chance to snatch a good photo of some wildlife, I try to take it. There’s been a spotted owl around my work lately and I’ve chased it around the property (I’m not very stealthy at work) trying to snatch a good photo of it! Now, Pokemon Snap likely isn’t the reason I chase wildlife around, but it may have played a part. I think the new Pokemon Snap does a great job of highlighting the careers of a researcher and a wildlife photographer. I hope every kid out there that plays it gets inspired to research wildlife beyond what’s done in the game.
Alright, enough of my nostalgia. I could go on…and on…and on. However, this blog isn’t here so I can ramble about Pokemon. I wanted to share my nostalgia in hopes to get you thinking about yours. So, what is it? What gives you a strong sense of nostalgia? A song? A show? A game? Etc.? Do you think that thing inspired some habit or career of yours? Or could potentially inspire others? Let me know what you think in the comments below and thank you for taking the time to read this post!