1. The gray center panel is the simpler time, everything else is more complicated (and interesting).

  2. I think dvandom has this correct, but what’s confusing about this is all the boxes in color are things that I think of as “simpler times” activities. i.e back in simpler times, kids played by climbing trees, and flying kits, not like now with all their devices, Intertubes, and fancy-shmancy emoticons.

  3. The fact that you think of these things as “simpler times” shows that you are old. At least, according to Mr. Mallett’s presentation here.
    Kids still play by climbing trees and other things, and swinging on swings, and whatnot, even with the existence of devices and intertubes, because younger kids don’t play with devices and intertubes. They don’t have the discretionary budget to buy in. Older kids aren’t lost so much to devices as to organized-by-adults activities such as sports leagues. It isn’t until you get the teens that the devices become all-consuming. YMMV.

  4. As a youth, he’s looking forward to all the fun video games he can play. In the meantime, he occupies his time with outdoor activities. Sure they’re fun, but they’re not what he’s looking forward to.

    Or looking back to. When he looks back, all he sees is himself bored in class, daydreaming about playing that latest video game.

    But eventually, he *will* look back to those fun outdoor activities. The older he is, and the less able he is, the more fondly he’ll look back to spending time outside.

    And the technology and video games he looked forward to when he was a kid? Like most technology, it will be (within a few years) replaced by something newer, better, and more forgettable.

    To summarize:

    To a child: Video games = fun. Not video game = not fun.

    To grown-ups (especially the elderly): Time spent outside = fun. Video games = Why did I waste so much time on them?

  5. That’s sort of ironic – he is yearning for exactly the same things the old people are!

  6. If you ignore the calendar, the strip makes me think he’s trying to write a “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay.

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