The Retro Trend

BY CHASE WEAVER, Contributing Writer

The vast entertainment industry in which we have the opportunity to indulge has grown exponentially over the last fifty years. Effects in film that had previously only been the stuff of dreams are now easily produced and undervalued. Computer technology that used to take up entire rooms can now fit entirely in the palm of a child’s hand. Digital information can be quickly created and instantly spread worldwide. If the newer and the state of the art are truly the best, then why are we witnessing a current trend of retro style in the media? Especially in cinemas, we are seeing a resurgence of intellectual property once popular in the 1970s and 1980s. These past few years have been host to reimaginings of “Robocop,” “Footloose,” the G.I. Joe series and several others.  The video game market has also seen its fair share of nostalgic recall, although this has focused on graphics and gameplay mechanics instead of intellectual property. While we have visually stunning and intricately programmed games like “The Last of Us” and the Portal series, a profitable market has developed for games reminiscent of an earlier visual style—“Minecraft”—or gameplay mechanic—“Hotline Miami” and “Fez.” These games, while functioning on archaic programming engines, are placed on the same level of quality as those that attempt to advance the current idea of modern technology. This paradoxical attraction to the recent past in pop culture can be explained if we look at the consumer demographic. Many of the material being recycled in movies and gaming were popular particularly in the 1980s. At this point in time, video games were marketed towards younger audiences as were many of the films being remade today. Over the following twenty years, the children who enjoyed this particular era of entertainment have grown and joined the work force. As this generation gains a larger foothold in the nation’s economy, they become a valuable demographic for the same type of media. What they enjoyed as children, they now appreciate with a sense of nostalgia which leads them to consume such entertainment. With the advent of social media and digital archiving, this generation will also be the first to have such an unlimited archival ability. With such an ability to keep records of entertainment and culture, what modern media will become part of the retro trend for the Millennial Generation?