Nostalgia biases modern consumers against new and changing media

Film and video game companies’ attempts at remaking or continuing their successful releases tend not to sit well with the devoted fans of the originals. This concept is known as nostalgia blindness.

Nostalgia blindness is when a product, normally a video game or movie, is either remade or given a sequel to fit a modern audience. The remake or sequel does not perform as well as the original since consumers do not get the same sense of wonder from it that they experienced as children, or even at just an earlier stage in their lives.

Nostalgia blindness is also often seen in relation to video games people played as children that are recreated years later by different teams, as the creative direction of one team can differ greatly from the vision of the original development team.

People often seem to remember the old game as being better than it was, and as a result don’t like the new game because it doesn’t come with the same sense of nostalgia as the original, even if the premise of the game is exactly the same.

This bias towards recent sequels and remakes can be seen prominently in the movie industry.

These attempts at recreating or continuing classic franchises often don’t perform as well, statistically, to the originals.

Box Office Mojo reported that out of 2015’s five most underperforming films in the domestic box office, two were sequels and one was a remake.

Another example of this is the ratings on the crowdsourced movie review website Rotten Tomatoes. The reviews of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was created in 1971, were over three and a half stars 86 percent of the time, while its 2005 remake, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, received far harsher views with only 51 percent of reviews being above three and a half stars. However, critics, who presumably were not blinded by nostalgia, ranked the original much lower than the sequel.

The draw of nostalgia seems to get the best of most viewers. Yet it is the inability to match that fuzzy feeling of childhood associated with classic films that make modern sequels and remakes fall flat.