This Christmas, my wife bought me a Sega Genesis.
I had asked for it after feeling full of nostalgia seeing all the old sports games from my youth while peeking through the window of a retro video game store in Miller Place.
This past weekend I spent a couple of hours in a spare bedroom trying to reverse history by taking the 1995 New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup on “NHL Hockey.” Then I converted the imaginary Madison Square Garden floor in my television so Patrick Ewing could once again take the court for the Knicks in a game of “NBA Live.”
It was an incredibly unproductive use of my vacation time — especially for a dad with limited downtime who’s supposed to be getting that room ready for baby No. 2 — but it was also something I needed for myself.
Perhaps it’s the start of a mid-life crisis, but lately I’ve found myself craving nostalgia. And I’ve certainly timed things just right.
It seemed that everything from my youth made a comeback, for better or for worse, in 2015.
The last two films I saw in the theater — and two of my favorite movies of the year — featured Han Solo and Rocky Balboa as major characters. As much as I loved the experience of seeing Harrison Ford and Sylvester Stallone reprise their legendary roles, it paled in comparison to seeing Tom Hardy bring Max Rockatansky to life in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a character I never imagined seeing on screen again.
Even my least favorite movie of this year, “Vacation,” was a reboot. I never saw “Point Break,” “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” or “Jurassic World,” but those films also have roots in my formative years.
This trip down memory lane hasn’t been limited to just movies. The best television show I watched this year? The second season of “Fargo,” a sort of prequel to my favorite movie from my senior year of high school.
It’s fitting that Yogi Berra passed this year, because déjà vu was, in fact, happening all over again.
In music, Duran Duran played a music festival in Riverhead. In sports, my beloved Mets made a return to the World Series for the first time in 15 years. In politics, I watched debates featuring a Bush and a Clinton. Gas was under $2 a gallon at Costco this weekend!
I know this retro-world isn’t all good. What does it say about us when we keep supporting candidates with the same last names? And how do creative new filmmakers or musical artists reach us when we keep paying to support the same old talent?
A cynic would say we’re all pawns buying whatever is sold to us. As a society, we lack vision or creativity.
But we also live in a time where we’ve become desperate for an escape and there’s something in each of us that wants to reconnect with the things we know we love.
When I went to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” earlier this month, there was an energy in the theater the likes of which I hadn’t seen in some time. The audience was so excited about the opportunity to revisit this far-away galaxy they were bursting out in laughter and applause during the trailers, before the movie even began.
During “Creed,” I could feel the hair on my knuckles rise as Adonis took to the ring in his father Apollo’s iconic red, white and blue trunks.
On nights like these I don’t go home and talk about the latest mass shooting or terror threats or climate change. I don’t worry about paying the mortgage or the oil bill or my son’s health insurance. Nope, these are the nights where it feels OK to just have a little fun again.
I’d hate to tell my wife this, but the baby might just have to hang in there a little longer until I can get the nursery ready. I’ve got goals to score and baskets to make.
Now does anyone know where I can find a can of Crystal Pepsi or a pair of Reebok pumps?
Grant Parpan is the executive editor of Times Review Media Group. He can be reached at [email protected].