Hauntological Videogame Form: Nostalgia and a "High Technology" Medium
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This thesis introduces the term Hauntological Form as a means of examining the contemporary form of mainstream videogames. The increasing presence of nostalgia is deemed paradoxical to a forward-facing high technology medium such as videogames. Yet, this is only a symptom of an underlying problem with the medium. By expanding upon hauntology, as used by Mark Fisher and Simon Reynolds to examine the state of popular music, the thesis will use this to identify what is happening to the current form of videogames and why.
The scope of the thesis is concerned with the current state of the mainstream videogames medium and investigates the increasingly troubled perspective the medium has with the future. It is argued that the medium to compensate for this looks to its past and treats it as a resource to sustain itself.
Aiding this investigation the thesis provides focuses on the contemporary state of the medium as of writing, which is 2023, and is supported by examples across the history of the medium but no earlier than 1983 when the North American videogame market crash occurred. Thus, allowing the thesis to consider the previous time the medium faced a turning point.
Influencing this thesis is that it is not primarily targeting an academic audience. Instead, it aims to also be of benefit to videogame developers, videogame students, and others actively engaged with the videogames medium.
The contribution to knowledge that this thesis is providing is a new understanding of the changing form of contemporary mainstream videogames. One that instead of providing novel experiences is looking to its past to provide resources for remediated experiences so that “new” products can enter the market. Thus, changing the way that the medium presents itself, gradually dropping the pretence that it is a forward-facing medium and instead relying on its past to sustain the medium long term.