Remember the ’80s? Boy, what a great decade. We had all those family-friendly action movies, an intensified war on drugs destroying entire communities for generations to come, some wonderful John Carpenter soundtracks, the long-term destabilization of Latin America and the Middle East leading into present-day global crises, and the introduction of 8-bit video games.
True to form, a recently released recap of the first season’s events models itself after an early Nintendo game. The nostalgia of revisiting favorite moments from last year are now deepened with period-appropriate blips and bleeps, chunky fonts popping up in text boxes reminiscent of old game menus, and an inventory with waffles. It’s dumb, but it’s the kind of dumb that’s Stranger Things’ bread and butter.
While it’s a natural approach for the show’s marketing, layering footage meant to refresh memories of Stranger Things’ best aspects—its charming cast and pulpy supernatural mystery—with bland references to ‘80s junk kind of cheapens what makes the whole thing worthwhile. The series may be premised on nostalgia, but centering in on that aspect isn’t what makes it work. Let us remember Stranger Things’ debut season for what it was rather than beat us over the head with references from the era it’s set in.
Besides, if this recap was an actual video game, it looks like it would suck. The point system doesn’t make any sense at all.