The Day “Retro” Became Cool or R.I.P. MCA

By Steve Fulton

In 1994, about a week after I moved out of my parents house and into an apartment with my brother, our cable TV was installed.   For the first time in my entire life, I could watch MTV any time I wanted.    When I turned on MTV for the first time, this is the video that was playing:

I was 24 years old, and all of sudden I felt something I had never felt before: Nostalgia.   Seeing this landmark Sabotage video by the Beastie Boys did what it was supposed to do: it  made me recall all the cheesy cop shows from the 70’s we watched because there was nothing else on TV. Shows like like Starsky And Hutch, The Steets Of San Francisco, Hawaii Five-0 and SWAT.    The Beastie Boys made a song that was sounded completely new and modern, but the video took inspiration from the past: looking back while looking forward.  The song still sounds as good and relevant today as it did almost 20 years ago, and the video still works amazingly well.

As I watched the video that day, I recall my thoughts turned to one of the great, amazing things that came from the 70’s that made me forget all those terrible  TV shows: the Atari 2600.  I had forgotten my Atari for many years.  In a stream of 16-bit computers, Japanese  consoles, and 386 DX computers, the glory of the old VCS was left behind.   However, seeing that video made me think of it again.   There were no video games in the video for Sabotage, but that was not the point.  It was the fact that this video made seem okay to dig into the past again.  I had spent so much time rushing through the old War 80’s and and embracing the promise of the  90’s, that I had forgotten how cool my childhood of the 70’s had been for me.  Atari was a huge part of that.

Now, I can’t say the video for Sabotage was the only thing start started me down this road of nostalgia, but it was certainly part of it.  This was still a couple years before video game nostalgia went mainstream, so  prices  of old equipment were still very low.  I checked the back of some magazines an saw that you could could buy a brand new Atari 7800 with 100 new games from a mail order place in Florida for about $125. Inspired,   I bought it as wedding gift for my wife and stored it until our big day a year later.

After that, I was hooked, and I’ve never stopped looking back as I looked forward either.

In a very big way, the Beastie Boys made nostalgia cool in the 90’s, and it helped form the spark  I needed to find my roots again.

R.I.P. MCA, you will be missed.


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