Our favorites back in the day were rarely better but they were often the best.
In our youth, we lacked the experience to distinguish exceptional work from drivel. So did the world. That classic book or movie or show was new. That cook had innovated with that dish. No one had played such a game before. We experienced the originals before we experienced the rest because we had no “rest” to experience first.
Our juniors, at the age of our youth, experienced iterations. Sequel after sequel. Riffs upon riffs upon riffs. Commercialized, optimized, and parodized. To them, the originals look like knock-offs. Their contemporaneous experiences are frequently better and objectively the best, or at least the best yet. Who could fault them for having more refined tastes?
And the process will repeat, with their juniors wondering what their seniors saw in version one when they grew up on version one hundred, ad libitum.
We see the past through rose-colored glasses. Those after us will see today through rose-colored contacts. We must accept that we’re all myopic.