I can't get enough of Pokémon GO. I have the app open every time I walk anywhere (got to hatch those eggs), and at the end of the day, my household gets together to see who caught what.
Pokémon GO might be the news of literally every media outlet over the last month, but right now it feels like everything old is new again. Or more specifically, everything '90s is new again. People are wearing slip dresses, chokers and even velour tracksuits! Lisa Frank is back, the Spice Girls are reforming (some of them anyway), we're forever creating Harry Potter theories, and in the world of gaming, the '90s has never been so hot.
Pokémon GO might be heralded as the first mass consumption nostalgia product, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. Nintendo is releasing a new console, the NES Classic Edition. It looks like the console you first played Mario Bros and Donkey Kong on — both of which are preloaded onto the NES Classic. And one of the most exciting things to come out of this year's E3 announcements was the revival of Crash Bandicoot. Despite there being a bevy of new games set to release.
So why is it that millennials love reminiscing? Whether about what we used to watch, play or do as kids, we can't get enough. There was a time those stories were reserved for conversations about embarrassing moments or things that make you cringe. But now, remembering how you used to place a lunch order at the school canteen is worthy of a Facebook share. Buzzfeed Australia's video, "Your Aussie Childhood in 2 Minutes," has been viewed more than 2.7 million times and received over 33 thousand shares in a week!
Maybe it's the endless possibilities afforded to our generation — you know, that ones that make us entitled and selfish — that have us yearn for a simpler time. A time when we weren't digital natives, and social media didn't make us feel guilty, self-conscious or anxious. A time when we weren't forever attached to a computer and didn't have to research "ways to switch off". The world has changed so much in two short decades, and it's overwhelming. The world seems smaller and dangers closer. As The Cut's agony aunt Heather Havrilesky wrote this week, "From my vantage point, it looks tougher to be a young person today than it has been for decades." It's no wonder we all want to play Pokémon and wear chokers.
I'm no expert, but this early-onset retrospective focus seems to be fairly unique to our generation – we're not even that old yet. Sure, your grandparents love to spin a yarn about their heyday, but technically we should be living ours.
Perhaps the nostalgia for things we loved as children has to do with the fact we're taking longer to grow up – we're moving out later, getting married later, having children later . . . Just as in the '50s when James Dean spurred the identification of "teenage years", maybe we're creating another stage of growing up – a time of more disposable income without responsibility for anything other than ourselves and playing games isn't "childish". Kidups? Growndren?
Or maybe it's just because we can – no other generation has had the technology to so easily revive the pop culture of their childhood. Things that would have been long forgotten along with your old school bag are just a Google search away. We've finally hit an age where we can look back, maybe this is just how we do it.
There's also the strong possibility that it's because the '90s was simply the best. One thing I know is that the millennial brand of nostalgia makes people happy, and it brings us together. Two excellent things I will never be against.