Nostalgic Nuggets

by Gert Garman | 28 Oct 2021

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed

According to Wikipedia, Nostalgia is associated with a yearning for the past, its personalities, possibilities, and events, especially the "good ol' days" or a "warm childhood".  Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. The word nostalgia is learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "homecoming", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain" or "ache", and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home. Described as a medical condition—a form of melancholy—in the Early Modern period, it became an important trope in Romanticism.

The scientific literature on nostalgia usually refers to nostalgia regarding the personal life and has mainly studied the effects of nostalgia induced during the studies. Smell and touch are strong evokers of nostalgia due to the processing of these stimuli first passing through the amygdala, the emotional seat of the brain. These recollections of one's past are usually important events, people one cares about, and places where one has spent time. Music and weather can also be strong triggers of nostalgia.

As I am getting ready to pack up my house this weekend to downsize, I am beginning to feel very nostalgic about what to keep, donate and sell.  Of course, I have some games and toys from childhood that I won’t be able to part with because my brother and I played endlessly for years.  Two of our favorites were Sorry and Yahtzee and I still have the original boards from 50 years ago.  They will be in one of my boxes heading to the storage unit.

That’s why I love the toy and game industry!  You get to integrate yourselves through your ideas and products into family members’ lives and weave your way through generations for years to come.

Nostalgia is a powerful tool to use for memory makers.  When I was on the innovation team (Creative Inc.) at Disney, we did a huge creative session on how to leverage nostalgia as an experiential mechanism for Guests.  We brought in all the senses: 

  • Sight – for example, seeing the castle for the first time or riding the monorail
  • Touch – hugging a favorite character for the first (or 10th) time
  • Taste – a first turkey leg or Dole whip
  • Hearing – hearing a child’s laughter or hearing the delighted screams from the attractions as the roller coasters move
  • Smell – the freshly baked cookie smells on Main Street

So, I guess the thing to keep in mind moving forward with products that we are creating is how might we keep the senses in mind so we may make something so special that 50 years from now some other middle-aged lady is packing her house up and making sure that she makes room in the storage unit for your game or toy! 




#nostagia #innovation #creativity

Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!