Psychology Study Reveals How Nostalgia Made Retro Video Games Popular Again
Nostalgic Gaming and Well-Being
Perhaps more interesting? Memories of video games were enough to induce nostalgia that, in turn, made those people feel a little closer to those around them right now.
The study has limitations — the largest being that participants did not get to play their older games, so we don’t know if their nostalgic memories would be the same if they actually replayed the games — but it helped us better understand gaming nostalgia and its potential effects. Our findings have also been corroborated by other research on gaming nostalgia, such as work on active players of Pokémon Go. In that study, playing the game resulted in feelings of nostalgic reverie, which in turn was positively connected to resiliency, or the ability to cope with challenging times in life.
Research into the psychology of video game nostalgia is relatively new. However, the results of this work suggest that games can be nostalgic, and that this nostalgia can be therapeutic. For example, we already know that playing games at work can aid in psychological recovery from stress; it might be that playing nostalgic games could intensify this process. It could also be possible to use the popular video games of yesterday as health interventions to delay the onset of dementia, following a line of research showing video games to have cognitive and physical health benefits for older populations.
As gamers age, understanding gaming nostalgia will help us better examine the wide range of experiences that they have with one of the most profitable and popular forms of entertainment media today.