Arcadism and Life (#1)
Why the kids today still need to play SNES and SEGA Genesis
Todays generation is the internet generation….
….They need a reason to reference the past. To say, “learn your history” is just not enough— for they will never see themselves as being a part of history. Kids will study history as something outside of themselves; completely detached.
In order for young people to learn history, and utilize their technologies, not as toys, but as tools of learning , they must see themselves in history and see the future's potential within historical contexts.
I was born in the early 90s. This is right before the internet really became mainstream, and also right around the time console gaming was starting to look better than it did in the arcades. The power that was in electronic products had gotten smaller and smaller. During the late 90s, cell phones had reached mainstream consumer usage, and were not the huge size that the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X phone was of 84'. Technologies became even more prominent in the home, video arcades were seeing a steeper decline, malls were downsizing, and pay-phones were starting to disappear. The internet AOL era was really the snowball for massive and mainstream internet usage within the home; so, once again, people became even more insulated. Surfing the web, communicating with people around the world, perhaps, spending more time inside…
We all know the story: The internet and e-commerce was the reason for the downsizing of grocery stores, malls, and big department stores. People were moving to the web. Most of this transformation took place in the mid 90s to about the early 2000s.
Arcadism theory focuses on the transition from public space, to digital space; The liminality between going and meeting in person vs meeting someone in a chat room. This is the era where you could take on digital personas and where, I believe, a new youth identity was being formed, one that would develop various online (art) movements and seamlessly make connections of various forms of happenings and creation. All of this was being done without a proper language for what was happening to us and we had no idea what we were making exactly…but it happened;
And as the world turned inside, to surf the digital ether, these young surfers were being criticized by the media for their methods of introspection and collectiveness . They were finding more reasons to connect with others and stay connected for longer around common interests in things like video games, Pokemon cards, and other niche interests.
The transition from physical space to digital space was perhaps too fast to not have proper and balanced public discourse surrounding it. Today, since the west still functions through supporting consumption and capitalism, what is left of the 90s (and 80s) kids are, in many cases, those who desire nostalgic media and fanfare. Maybe the 80s/90s really was better?
Perhaps, The best of pre-2000s pop culture was the phenomena of Crossovers. Two separate, products, ideas, or individuals coming together from separate schools of thought or industries to create an even more intense product or experience.
This was beyond collaboration, a project that two individuals worked on. Crossovers went beyond individuals, they were the intersection of intellectual properties, sometimes from totally separate industries, they were the "back to back" motif, the celebration of excellence that was the combination of unique and surprising elements. Of course, mixing and combining various elements is the very essence of creation itself, but the heightened consciousness of the crossover combined with its commercial intentions took the imagery of the combination two another level: Duality itself had become pop.
The crossover of those dualities would be the framework for the creation and discourse for internet movements to come……