On the surface, I despise everything about nostalgia. It irks me to no end when the people I interact with loudly proclaims that music was better in the 90s, or any other decade they wish to name really, even though there’s plenty of great new music to listen to as long as you know where to look. Deep beneath though, I do understand just comforting familiarity can be. Right now, I have the video game Final Fantasy XV and the remastered version of Final Fantasy X installed in my computer but even though I’ve invested dozens of hours into the latter almost two decades ago, it’s the older game that I ended up spending more time with.
It’s because of this exact reason that we’re seeing more and more old products being retooled, repainted or reworked and then being brought out to the public as new again. Reboots and remakes are very common in films and television for example even though practically no one wanted to see Will Smith as the Aladdin’s genie. This nostalgia can work inside the creative space but in the world of web development, I think it’s quite fair to say that some things are best left in the past.
Trying to evoke the past
For me personally, my decision on preferring to play Final Fantasy X over the newer and much shinier Final Fantasy XV has less to do about the quality of the game but more about how they make me feel. From what I’ve played so far, which is about 10 hours in or so, Final Fantasy XV is a pretty exciting game. The combat is really fun and the game’s world has as much of eye candy as the National Gallery of Victoria. But playing Final Fantasy XV is like getting to know a stranger while playing Final Fantasy X feels like reconnecting with someone you love that you haven’t met in almost 20 years.
While playing through the game again brought back a lot of great memories for me, it does highlight just how much I and the world of video game have changed in the past 20 years and no amount of makeup is going to change the fact that I’m essentially playing a relic from the past. Character animations look stiff, the lip-syncing is awfully bad and the script and voice work is a remnant of that era where a fully-voiced game was still relatively new. Some aspects of the game do hold up, the rearranged music is actually great and the game’s world is well-realized, if a little bit too restrictive.
Video games, like web development, is after all a technical beast and there’s no denying just how much improvement in computing that you’re going to have to ignore if you want to play a game that was first released in 2001. Imagine if you’re forced to use the original iPhone as your daily device for example and the iPhone is merely 12 years old by comparison. Just as how you probably wouldn’t want to do that, there are also certain thing in web development & design that we’re actually better off without.
Comic sans font
Comic sans was a typeface that was originally made for kids and it’s normal for designers or any adult with a working common sense to despise the font but inexplicably, the font proved to be so popular that corporations and businesses began using the font in formal and official documents, including on websites. Thankfully, the fad didn’t last and while there are still unruly members of the public that insist on using this font, most notably Australian Craig Rozynski, who came with a modern interpretation of the font called Comic Neue, it has mostly receded from public view.
Website hit counters
There was a time when visiting every single blog on the internet means that you’re going to subject yourself to seeing that you’re the 196,764th visitor to that particular website. I’ve never really understood the point of these hit counters, I know that this data might be of some importance when you’re trying to gather information on the popularity of your website or pages but what exactly is the point of making this information public? What am I supposed to do with the information that I’m the 196,764th person to visit your website?
To me, it has always felt like hit counters and an unnecessary competitive nature to the internet of that era, where bloggers and website owners try to one-up each other by using these hit counters as bragging rights. Sadly though, the 21st century is hardly any better in this regard as follower and subscriber counts and the amount of likes and retweets are being used for the exact same reason. This latest wave of ‘subscribe to PewDiePie’ campaign is just simply baffling to me.
Best viewed with <insert name of browser> here
Is there anything more arrogant than a web administrator telling users what browser they should be using to open a particular website instead of said administrator actually making the extra effort to optimize said website for every browser? I was a bit hesitant at first to include this point because Google, that multi-billion dollar company that is worth more than the majority of countries in this planet, apparently isn’t capable of making Google Earth accessible to any browser other than Google’s own Chrome.
It’s not just with the type of browser, you also have to make sure that your website meets common standards and that your users shouldn’t have to jump through additional hoops just to see your website in all its glory. Despite using a lot of Google’s services, I’m not fond of giving the search giant more power than the one it already has, which is why I use Firefox as my default browser and DuckDuckGo as my default search engine. Don’t do what Google did by making a web app just for one type of browser and expect your users to follow suit.