The ‘80s nostalgia trend, which started way back in 1999 with Freaks and Geeks, is still going strong. Twenty-year nostalgia trends in entertainment aren’t unusual—‘50s nostalgia in the ‘70s with things like Happy Days and Grease, ‘60s flashbacks in the ‘80s with The Wonder Years and Dirty Dancing. Writers and directors who spent their formative years in those decades draw on (often sanitized) memories of their childhood to use in their work. What is unusual is that this 80’s nostalgia has lasted twice as long now as the actual decade. And with upcoming releases such as Ghostbusters Afterlife and Wonder Woman 1984, it doesn’t look like the ‘80s nostalgia wave is ending any time soon. This may be due to several factors. The Internet makes storing and sharing nostalgia easier than ever; all it takes now is a quick Youtube search, as opposed to having to dig around for a VHS tape or 8-millimeter reel. And Hollywood may be more willing to throw money at existing franchises for blockbuster fodder—Mad Max, Bladerunner, It—rather than risk something new.
Whatever the reason, it was only a matter of time before ‘80s nostalgia was combined with an entertainment trend from this decade—escape rooms. Last Thursday NBC aired the premier of Celebrity Escape Room to raise money for Red Nose Day. In the episode Jack Black runs Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Adam Scott and Ben Stiller—all 80s kids themselves—through a series of sound-stage-size sets themed around being a teenager in the 1980s. (Spoiler: The Beastie Boys even make an appearance). You can still watch the episode at NBC.com here and can still donate to Red Nose Day any day of the year here.
And if 80’s and escape rooms sounds like a winning combination to you, an experience is available online through Red Lantern’s The Harden House Mystery. This is a hosted virtual escape room where players take on the role of Nancy-Drew-style high school detectives in the summer of 1988. You can learn more about the game here.