Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 8: Gaming and Nostalgia

          A friend of mine for her MA thesis last year proposed the idea of nostalgia and its relationship to a national memory that is potentially gendered. Although her project mostly examined Canadian legal documents on immigration policies etc, I think her idea of nostalgia correlates particularly well with Jaakko Suominen’s “The Past as the Future? Nostalgia and Retrogaming in Digital Culture”. Suominen makes the connection between digital cultural production to nostalgic sensibility, which made me think of the cultural implications of retrofitting classic (video) games in our day in age. To clarify, I think that the reappropriation and redistribution of games like Space invaders, Super Mario etc invokes national sentiments, particularly of Japan’s emergence on the global stage, which was achieved partially through the game industry market. The repackaging of retrogames (speaking specifically of Japanese games here) may be seen as a gesture to appease cultural anxieties about the declining interest and investment in Japanese game products as discussed in last week’s reading? Moreover, in what ways can we consider retrogames, or even contemporary games as promoting or invoking a nostalgia that is gendered? Say in sengoku jidai games, for example? Or perhaps questions of gender and nostalgia are superfluous?

        In relation to Newman’s readings on narrative and space, I am intrigued by his idea of gaming as a bodily experience. He writes, “videogame spaces are experienced viscerally with the whole body. The exploration of videogame space is a kinaesthetic pleasure” (122). Video games as he describes, or so I have interpreted, are extensions of our own living space and reality. That in embodying technology we are able to transcend from one reality to another…kind of like cyborgs. This idea of blurring "real" and virtual space needs further interrogation, I realise, and perhaps I may  return to it...


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