Retro, vintage, old school (or skool if you’re a child of the 90s) – however you describe it, there is no denying that the market for nostalgia inspired products has gone through something of a boom over the past half-decade. In a time when it seems like the generational gap is growing ever wider and technology dominates our day to day existence, sharing fond memories of a time before the stresses of modern life is one universal bonding experience to which we can all relate. Remember when milk still came in glass bottles? Remember when Pogs were a thing? Remember a time before Instagram? Someone else does too.

Perhaps one of the driving factors in the sudden resurgence of love for all things pre-1990s is that socialisation these days is in fact, becoming a very singular activity. Never before in human history has there been a time where we spend more time connecting with one another virtually as opposed to in actuality and interacting with others without ever even leaving home. The seemingly far simpler days of a pre-internet era feel like a warm, distant memory filled with images of analog television, bicycle riding aliens (who didn’t love watching ET powering that bike across the silhouette of the moon?) and having to use a walkie-talkie to find out what your friends were having for their dinner.

Whilst the dawn of the internet era has enabled many people who would otherwise never had had the means or opportunity to reach out and explore the world from the comfort of their sofa, there is no denying that it has also led to a steady decline in genuine interaction. Why pop over to your neighbour’s house to borrow a cup of sugar when you can just text someone to grab some for you? It is little wonder, in that case, that people are now turning their minds back to a time when playing games meant sitting around a table or on the floor with your family and friends enjoying some quality time together.

The rise in popularity of TV shows like Stranger Things, The Goldbergs, and Glow has inspired a wave of 80s themed pop culture. Movies like 2018’s Ready Player One, with its references to the original Atari gaming system and cult classic The Shining as well as 2017’s neon-infused He-Man-esque Thor: Ragnarok evoke the spirit of a time when video games were something that you played in an arcade, or huddled on an old sofa with all your mates in the basement of that one kid in the neighbourhood who had a console and a copy of Q*bert or Missile Command.

Even games like Monopoly, which in itself is considered an old classic having been around since 1903, have climbed on board the retro train (pun intended) launching variations that pay homage to the good old days of Charlie Brown and friends and the era of the classic superhero comic with the Peanuts and DC Originals editions, both priced at $52.00 and available at Dicebox. If you grew up in the late 70s or 80s chances were that your Christmas day wasn’t complete until Pop Up Pirate put in an appearance or you’d watched your dad fall asleep on the sofa in a post-lunch attempt to work out how to complete the Rubik’s cube you’d just unwrapped that morning.
Since the last 2000s classic arcade favourites like Tetris have become increasingly popular in board game format with variants like the Tetris card game and Brain Teaser cube paying homage to original video game launched in 1984, a game that remains to this day, the 2nd bestselling video game of all time second only to Minecraft which was launched in 2011.
Even games that are newer to the market have taken a turn towards the retro with branding, characters, and styles reminiscent of classic childhood favourites. carry a wide variety of alien-infused, laser gun shooting strategy games with a deep space setting that will take any player straight back to the days of Space Invaders, Flash Gordon, and Dune. For a true taste of space adventure we recommend Space Gate Odyssey ($89.00) – a colonization game in which players each lead their own super country and supervise the construction of their station’s modules.
The age of the internet has helped revolutionise the gaming world, in that it has provided those who might not otherwise have had the opportunity or access to engage with fellow players in the global community and to share their passion with people from across the far stretches of the world. For times, however, when we crave a more personal connection, the simplicity and joy of the physical presence of a real game board, played with real people is something hard to beat.

If like many people these days, you find yourself hankering for a simpler world, we say just do like The Goldbergs do – throw on your best geometric print hand-knitted jumper, dig out your best of INXS album and get the family around for a few games and a nice glass of Midori or two. You’ll all be reminiscing in no time. Just stay away from the double denim.