As the 2020’s continue trudging along, people continue to gripe about the degradation of media. They see MARVEL films they once clamored for now lacking in appeal. They see pop music becoming more rote and streamlined, the years of the innovative and fresh ideas of Michael Jackson long since faded. Video games becoming less fun with each new iteration of brand new console, the release of which was once a sparkling moment of lurid fascination, of what new amazing experiences awaited, now being nothing more than a seat-change of the now-current hardware. There seems to be a never-ending list of gripes about current media, not wholly unearned, and one in which we are seeing the effects of it in real time. Theaters are suffering the biggest droughts in box office we have ever seen, album sales are sinking, and video games, which had previously seen nothing but growth over the last 3 decades, have seen stagnation and even decline in certain areas.
People are going out less and buying less because of the economy as a whole, whether it be new or old, but they are still willing to fork over money when something catches their fancy, that aims to do what media used to do; entertain. From ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ to ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, people are tired of the subversions, tired of the ‘message’, tired of all the things modern media has become; a bludgeon. A weapon to force you into submission and to accept what they tell you. But what if I told you that there was an alternative way out of this?
People are unhappy with the direction much media has taken, but with that unhappiness we have also seen oddities within the popular culture. For brief moments, society has had moments of lucidity during the pandemic, seeing the resurgence of old shows getting clipped and replayed on TikTok and Youtube. Shows like ‘Star Trek – The Next Generation’, ‘Matlock’, and ‘Murder She Wrote’. With the halt in production on streaming services, they were forced to resort to picking up older programs, exposing a new generation to old media they had never seen before, and they took it in stride. For video games, we have seen people turning more towards indie titles, reminiscent in style and visuals of games from the 80’s and 90’s. The desire is still there, but the content is not…At least, not from this decade.
I always hear a ton of excuses when this suggestion is given, whether online or in person; “That old stuff is so dated”, “The graphics are just so bad”, “It sounds so cheesy”, and yet these people will also be the exact same individuals who go out to buy the ‘Nintendo Classic Mini’, remasters of old vinyl records, or the ‘Criterion Collection’ versions of old films. They convince themselves that it is somehow different from other old media, fooling themselves into buying something they may already own, or which may even be free through public domain, or something they may have even been indifferent towards previously, but now look at it through the starry eyed hype of a modern re-release.
Looking back on the catalogue of content that fills the archives of internet websites, corporate basements, and ebay collections, we see libraries full of films, books, albums, comics, and video games. All of these are just as worthy of your time as whatever else comes out these days. Many are superior in their craftsmanship.
My advice is to get over the superficialities that have been brainwashed into you by marketing campaigns from corporations, who have spent billions finding precise ways to convince you to ditch the old and go with the new. There is a treasure trove of media, quality, classic, media, for you to explore to your hearts depths. What old media that has been created is still available, with or without repackaging, and you are missing out. Ditch the craze over modern media, experience the fascinating oddities, revered classics, or perhaps even just the casual thrills from decades past. Even if you started watching/playing/reading them all right now, you would never finish even 1% of them by the time you grow old and die. There is no reason to wait with baited breath on a new film to satiate your hunger for something interesting, especially when it could be sitting in plain sight from long ago, simply waiting for rediscovery by a new pair of eyes.