«Mops blocking the way» Walking simulators, playful nostalgia, and the aesthetics of unresolved authoritarian pasts in online gaming communities

Diego A Mejía-Alandia, Luis Navarrete-Cardero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper considers the two short indie video games It’s Winter (2019) and ROJO: A Spanish Horror Experience (2020) as a comparative case study suggesting that the walking simulator genre is an exceptional vehicle for a playful communal exploration of authoritarian pasts, inasmuch as the nostalgic aesthetics and historical backdrops of these games—post-Soviet and post-Francoist nostalgia, respectively— made them go viral in their home countries when released, stirring up controversy in the local press as well as in various digital forums. Following a qualitative method design, our study aims to answer the question: do these games have the desire to become a representation of the past or are they just examples of how new generations of gamers relate to it? With this in mind, we analyzed nostalgic discourses found in the comment sections of online streaming parties, press coverage, and official websites of both games. After analyzing 711 interactions on It’s Winter and 599 on ROJO, we found marked social differences in the discursive approach to the games’ nostalgic aesthetics as well as differences across platforms, particularly in the case of ROJO. Our analysis shows that these games do not talk about the past in a historical or narrative sense, rather the aesthetic legacy of the spaces represented relates them to historical processes of unresolved national pasts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51
Number of pages76
JournalAdComunica
Issue number26
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Post-Communist Nostalgia
  • Post-Francoist Nostalgia
  • Player Experience
  • Reflective Nostalgia
  • Walking Simulator
  • Online Parties

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 0

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '«Mops blocking the way» Walking simulators, playful nostalgia, and the aesthetics of unresolved authoritarian pasts in online gaming communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this