If you looked in the dictionary (which is retro in itself now), or more likely google’d the word retro, the definition you would find is:
“Imitative of a style, fashion, or design from the recent past.”
Could be anything right? Now to this Macklemore character and all of his thrift shop raiding hipster friends, im guessing the term retro pertains mainly to clothing. As I think of it, you know what? Don’t touch my grand dads clothes Macklemore. He was a grumpy, grizzled, now deceased war veteran. Do you really think he wants some weird white kid with a fur coat and a half shaved head to prance around in his cardigan while he films his new music video? I assure you, he would not. But to someone like me, a lifelong video game/fantasy movie enthusiast, retro means something completely different.
When someone starts talking to me about retro video games, I’m immediately drawn back to my past. Sitting on my dad’s fold out couch playing Super Mario Bros, River City Ransom and some submarine game that no one else seems to remember. I would give it a shout out except I cant remember the name of it either. Come to think of it, it may have never existed. The point is, those original NES games hold some sort of strange emotional value to me. If I sit down and pop in an NES cartridge, or even a SNES, SEGA or PS1 game for that matter, I am immediately transported back to that time in my life. Not physically of course, but mentally and emotionally. I can vividly remember what the rooms looked like when I was playing. Rooms that existed in houses I haven’t lived in or even seen in over 15 – 20 years. That is a powerful connection.
I’m sure others have the same relationship that I do with games, with all sorts of different things. Childhood cartoons, music or even toys. Speaking of toys, remember that Stretch Armstrong thing? What in the hell was that about? A training doll for future serial killers and bondage partakers? I would have loved to been present during that sales pitch.
“What’s your new product idea Jim?”
“Well sir, it’s a new doll. Not just any doll though. This one is tan, muscular, handsome man named Stretch Armstrong and he ONLY wears his underpants.”
“Now rather than having children utilize his kung fu grip or press a button that makes him talk like those other toys out today, we’re going to design him so that children will be inclined to mercilessly stretch his limbs. I mean these little bastards are really going to torture this guy. They stretch him as far as they can until eventually his extremities are torn right off of his body.”
“So what is this Stretch Armstrong going to be filled with?”
“Well sir, once the child successfully tears him limb from limb, Stretch’s blood – I mean gel, will ooze from his body. It is a vile, putrid, but not TECHNICALLY poisonous substance that we have concocted. This way the small children that will FOR SURE drink it, will not be poisoned…to death.”
“LETS MAKE SOME DOLLS PEOPLE!”
The same sentimental feeling I get from old video games, I find i can get from old movies too. There was this short, extremely influential span in my life in which I watched the same handful of movies over and over again. A few of them being Willow, The Princess Bride and one of the best movies ever made, The Labyrinth. If I ever happen to see one of these movies on TV or even catch a glance of them as i walk past my DVD collection, I am immediately drawn in. I have to watch them. I have forced multiple people in my adult life to sit down and watch The Labyrinth. All of them have the same reaction; disgust. I’m not sure why, but something about David Bowie surrounded by puppets, frolicking around in spandex, singing about goblins and babies makes most people uncomfortable. Not me though. I cant get enough of that shit.
What I’m trying to say is, enjoy your retro things – whatever they may be. Whether it’s an old video game that everyone recognizes as something great, a movie that nobody else seems to “get”, or some poor old man’s suit that you found at a thrift shop – enjoy it. And maybe during the process of you enjoying it you can open the eyes of someone who was never introduced to its splendor in the first place.