So I Guess VHS Nostalgia is a Thing Now

Posted 7 years ago by Tech

VHS Nostalgia

I was wandering through my local Goodwill yesterday and after finding a sweet toy from my childhood I ventured into the VHS section. Now it’s important to note that I don’t have a CRT TV or a VCR and haven’t for like six years. But, I’ve been wanting to get a little TV/VCR combo to put in my office so I can play old-school video games and watch random VHS tapes, so me getting all nostalgic isn’t totally unwarranted.

Anyway, I’m standing at this wall of VHS tapes reading the ends of the boxes upside down and trying to spot anything good, and I realize that I’m going to bring home a stack of VHS tapes that I’ll only be able to look at. I started to put them back, but my moment of sanity was sadly temporary.

VHS Nostalgia

Oh well, with box art like that, how can you blame me? Also, getting nostalgic about VHS tapes is as much about the previews, commercials, inserts, and art as much as it is about whatever’s on the tape.

I spammed Instagram all day yesterday with the VHS tapes I got, and I realized that I needed to spread the love to the site. Usually I prefer my VHS box art to be more painterly like the back of The Muppet Movie tape on the right, but there was something about that Power Rangers tape that caught my eye. The rainbow background combined with the fact that I loved the Green Ranger so much as a kid was made me snatch this up as if it was some highly valuable collectible.

Even though I haven’t written about it much here (yet), The Muppet Movie is literally one of my top 2 or 3 favorite movies ever, and I about wore out this VHS tape as a kid. Somewhere down the line it got lost or borrowed, I moved on to DVD, and I forgot how awesome the art on this VHS Clamshell case was. With The Muppet Movie coming to Blu-ray soon (thank the gods), I figured I’d better get the VHS again because reasons.

VHS Nostalgia

I also snagged a Day of the Dumpster Power Rangers tape, which is cool because of the painterly box art and the fact that it’s the first episode of the show. I obviously couldn’t pass up the only compilation of TMNT cartoon episodes in the whole matrix of tapes, but when I saw they had two copies of the Coming Out of Their Shells tour tape I about went into nostalgic shock. I loved that as a kid, and I even think I knew how horrible it was at the time. I can’t wait to find a VCR now to rewatch it.

I have a feeling I’ll be getting more tapes at thrift shops in the months to come. Also, someday when my (future) kids are used to having movies beamed directly into their brains I’m going to force them to sit down and watch some random Disney shorts compilation on a grainy, glorious VHS tape.

  • SpaceMonkeyX

    As a parent, it’s not so much nostalgia for me as it is a cheap way to own a nice library of movies that our daughter can watch. We have just about the entire Disney feature film canon (that we didn’t already own on DVD/BR) and I’ll bet we’re out $15. Still, I’m happy to know that my daughter knows how to operate a VCR (and a DVD player, and the Roku, and an iPad) at 5 years old. When she’s a little older I’ll get her started on the record player I got for Christmas.

    • I think that’s awesome, because then when she grows up she’ll have this weird “nostalgia for something even older than me” thing going on, just like I did for watching movies on my family’s old RCA VideoDisc player.

  • VHS nostalgia is something we’re pretty big on over at the Cult Film Club. For me personally, some of my fondest movie-watching experiences are more memorable BECAUSE of how linear the format of VHS is, and how it forced you to sit through extra crap. A viewing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for example, somehow just doesn’t feel complete without those trailers for Suburban Commando and Step Kids, as well as the Pizza Hut baseball commercial and animated F.H.E. logo.

    Also, this might be of interest to you if you’re looking for a way to play old school console games without having to buy a tube TV:

    • Oh man, I’d totally forgotten about Suburban Commando. Wow.

      And awesome, I’ll look into that.

      Have you ever used one of these clone-type systems? I’m starting to consider giving this one a shot, just to save space (and not have to buy 3 consoles on ebay):

      • Back in the day I dated a guy who had a JVC X’EYE ( which is like a generic Sega Genesis/CD combo. That’s about the extent of my experience.

        I’m more of a purist when it comes to old consoles. I like to play games on their original systems and hold those familiar controllers in my hands. I’ve never gotten rid of any of my systems, so it’s also awesome that when I play Nintendo, I’m doing it on the same unit I got for Christmas back in 1986. It will be a sad, sad day if that thing ever stops working.

        Shit. I guess none of this really helps your desire to save space, does it? Well, let’s see if I can be more helpful.

        I am kind of an organizational ninja and obsessive neat freak. As much as I’d love to have ALL my game systems hooked up simultaneously, it just isn’t practical, attracts dust, and ain’t nobody got time for that. So what I do is store my consoles in one of those stackable plastic bins with pull-out translucent drawers–1 console per each drawer, with the exception of the side-by-side Sega Genesis + CD. Inside each drawer I keep the cords, controllers, any necessary accessories, and 3 or 4 of my favorite games for each system. When I want to play a specific console, I’ll just remove the entire drawer from the stack and carry it over to my desk & hook it up to that device I showed you earlier. Everything stays inside the drawer neat & tidy, and when I’m done, I can just unhook it and put it back in the stack.

        The Anal Retentive Gamer could totally be my next blog project.

        • Hah yeah you should totally blog about that setup.

          I’ve always been horrible about selling things. I think I’ve had like 3 or 5 NES’s, 2 or 3 SNES’s, and a couple Genesis’s. At one time I bought one of those old school input switchers for my TV so I could have multiple consoles plugged in at once. I thought I wanted to get all purist about old-school games, but I can’t make up my mind. The cool thing about that Retron is that it can use the original controllers for all three systems, and even the NES Zapper. Since I have to start from scratch again I may just give that a try. At least if it craps out I can use the games I have with the original systems.

          My dream is to someday buy complete, mint-in-box consoles just so I can be the first person ever to open one. That, or find some old lady who has one that’s only been played a couple times. That’d probably be easier.

  • Best part is they practically give away VHS tapes! Now you have me getting nostalgic, I bet there is an old, dusty VHS player at the parents house somewhere…

    • We used to have one of those top-loading VCRs and my parents used to yell at me for pressing the eject button over and over again to make the tape deck pop up and down. I was easily amused.

  • As much as I miss the rental stores and time I spent with VHS, I think I’d have to draw the line at collection it these days (just a personal thing.) As much as I prefer the boxart on VHS, they look terrible on the shelf and take up so much room. That being said, give me 10 more years and I’m sure I’ll be pining for the two 24-tape season sets of Highlander: the Series I managed to amass and the complete 3-series set of Robotech tapes (like 40-50 tapes in that set), and the entire bookshelf it took to house them… 😉

    • Yeah I don’t think I’ll go crazy with VHS tapes, but I can see myself stealing all the Disney clamshells from my Mom’s house and getting a few here and there.

      • God, I HATED those DIsney clamshell cases. They were so prone to getting plastic wrinkles and weird indents. It’s enough to drive an OCD collector crazy.

        • I thought they were awesome for some reason. Also, I remember having an issue of Cracked Magazine that had tear-out replacements for the slipcovers that would slide down in the plastic on those clamshell cases, and I thought that was hilarious.