The Counterfactual Nostalgia of Indie Games

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review

Resumé

Presentation at the Nonlinear histories of independent games panel.

***

The second case concerns contemporary games labeled as “independent”, which can seem to embody a fundamentally nostalgic logic, where earlier times in video game history are invoked and emulated:

1. In an economic sense; as a longing for a time before big-budget productions when video games were commonly made by teams of 1-2 people.
2. In a game design sense, as a longing for simplicity, and for a level of personal expression made possible by small teams.
3. In terms of graphical style, as a common visual “independent style” which can be described as a representation of a representation (Juul 2014), Here contemporary technology is used to represent earlier and cheaper representational styles, such as large pixels, crayons, or low-polygon 3D.

Seeing independent game history through the lens of visual style, it is apparent that while early modern independent games such as Cave Story deliberately used a pixel style to emulate 1980’s video games, visual style in independent games has since become a type of counterfactual nostalgia, where visual styles refer to styles that were not actually part of video game history. For example, recent independent games refer to older visual styles outside video games (painting, drawing) and to counter-factual “retro” styles such as the blocky 3D of MineCraft or the low-poly 3D models rendered at a quality not found in earlier video games.

Independent games are therefore not simply a longing for an earlier, simpler time, but also involve a nostalgia for a time that never actually happened, hence a counterfactual nostalgia. Independent games therefore oscillate between earnestly employing signifiers of authenticity (simple graphics, small teams) and employing these signifiers in a strategic fashion, sometimes cynically, sometimes playfully.


OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato15 maj 2015
StatusUdgivet - 15 maj 2015
BegivenhedDiGRA 2015: Diversity of Play - Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Tyskland
Varighed: 14 maj 201517 maj 2015

Konference

KonferenceDiGRA 2015
LokationLeuphana University of Lüneburg
LandTyskland
ByLüneburg
Periode14/05/201517/05/2015

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

  • Nej

Citer dette

Juul, J. (2015). The Counterfactual Nostalgia of Indie Games. Abstract fra DiGRA 2015, Lüneburg, Tyskland.
Juul, Jesper . / The Counterfactual Nostalgia of Indie Games. Abstract fra DiGRA 2015, Lüneburg, Tyskland.
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Juul, J 2015, 'The Counterfactual Nostalgia of Indie Games' DiGRA 2015, Lüneburg, Tyskland, 14/05/2015 - 17/05/2015, .

The Counterfactual Nostalgia of Indie Games. / Juul, Jesper .

2015. Abstract fra DiGRA 2015, Lüneburg, Tyskland.

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review

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M3 - Conference abstract for conference

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Juul J. The Counterfactual Nostalgia of Indie Games. 2015. Abstract fra DiGRA 2015, Lüneburg, Tyskland.