There are some moments of absolute nostalgic clarity: I remember the first time I sat on the swing set my parents built for me in the backyard; I remember the first time my partner and I met in our hometown's public library; I remember the first time I thought, "Dear God, I hate Bob Boilen" (I was in Montreal, putting my coat into my closet outside of my college bedroom).
I know that remembering a memory just FEELS like it's being relived. I know that it's actually more like a game of telephone, where the more a memory is recalled, the more it degrades in your mind.
However, I'm still a sucker for it. In quiet moments or on long drives, I can sink into these memories and recall small somatosensory details.
As a ~*~millennial~*~ it seems common sense that I'd have similar feelings about video games. I mean, I was one of the first generations (if not THE first) to regularly use video games at home in daily life. However, I wasn't really prepared for the level of GENUINE EXCITEMENT I'd feel when I stumbled across some Let's Play videos of Broderbund titles. Seems that some things seeped deep into my long-term memory.
Games like Reading Galaxy, The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, and Gizmos and Gadgets were brought in my childhood home by my mom in what I'm almost certain was an attempt to diversify our educational opportunities. I was a nerdy kid. I loved going to the teacher supply store ("There a whole room full of WORKBOOKS??"). I cried when my second-grade teacher told me I wasn't going to get homework until later in the year. Being able to solve puzzles at home from the comfort of my desktop computer was a godsend.
Of all of them, The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis was my favorite. It involved leading little blue creatures from a life of slavery to a new world of freedom. In order to escape, they had to navigate a world increasingly difficult logic puzzles.
Watching a play-through of Zoombinis, I quickly realized that I could deliver almost word-for-word readings of any of the lines spoken by the characters. I remembered the rules of every puzzle. I remember the level of sadness I felt whenever I "lost" one of the Zoombinis due to incorrectly completing a puzzle. I felt Real Human Emotions about this game that literally was just trying to teach kids logic.
I can't remember who I sat next to in my second-grade classroom, but I remember so many minute details about The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis with absolute clarity.
Maybe other folks don't feel the same level of nostalgic compassion for these early games as I do. However, I might guess otherwise, based simply on the fact that when I mention Mavis Beacon to any of my peers, their eyes usually immediately light up with the memory of her many typing exercises.
If my guess is correct, one fine day in the future, I look forward to all of us sitting around in our old age on some porch or another, waxing poetic about our adventures with Carmen Sandiego, or reminiscing about our trials and tribulations on the Oregon Trail, or how lost we got in Myst.
And who knows, maybe we'll install some computers into these Old Folks Homes of the future, and maybe we'll convince the people who work there to load Logical Journey of the Zoombinis on it for one last break for freedom.