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Written by: Aaron Hess Presented by Tomas Rincon You Dont Play, You Volunteer: Narrative Public Memory Construction In Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun.

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Presentation on theme: "Written by: Aaron Hess Presented by Tomas Rincon You Dont Play, You Volunteer: Narrative Public Memory Construction In Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun."— Presentation transcript:

1 Written by: Aaron Hess Presented by Tomas Rincon You Dont Play, You Volunteer: Narrative Public Memory Construction In Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun

2 In 2003 Medal of Honor: Rising Sun released allowing gamers to relive moments of World War II The memory of World War II, however, is tainted with a selective retelling of events that not only glamorizes the war, but constructs an Orientalist image of the Japanese Empire, as narrative and ludologic analyses of the game will show (339). Other games also glamorize war, but in addition, MOH: Rising Sun provides a more realistic portrayal that is seemingly more educational Background

3 Public Memory is the way society views an historical event. – Wikipedia Policy directions are derived from popular expression concerning recent or historical events, and the use of public memory assists in the process (340). Hess argues, that the use of narrative memorializing in interactive space creates an experience of public memory, giving video game players an active but private (in the home) role in memory-making (341). Public Memory

4 The use of digital interactive media, then, highlights an exceptional location of public memory, whereby the creation of memory via a public artifact is experienced in private spaces (341). What happens to public memory when it is experienced away from public spaces and in private homes (341)? How do uses of digital memory draw from traditional uses of memory (341)? What medium-specific strategies do users of digital technologies employ (341)? Digital Interactive Media

5 History narrated through commemoration Narratives constructed selectively draw upon interpretations of past events (341) Scholars who investigate historical narration pay attention to the ideological function of historicizing and memorializing; they question claims of truth in official stories (341). Fictional depictions can be taken as historically fact Construction of public memory in fictional historicized forms affects the vernacular sense-making of grand historic events (342). Narratives

6 Hess cites Biesecker In exposing us to countless trembling, perspiring, gagging, punctured, drowning and bleeding bodies […] before informing us of their individual histories, Spielbergs Omaha Beach scene effectively promotes our patriotic identification with all of them while blocking our subjective identification with any one of them (Biesecker as cited in Hess, 342). Hess extends this argument into video games, players not only see the images of history but also play them out, I highlight how interactive memory in the private sphere entices players to begin their privatized patriotism (342). Arguments

7 Protagonist U.S. MarineJoseph Griffin (Player Character) Starts in Pearl Harbor Others missions take him through jungles, riverboats, and enemy aircraft carriers as he searches for his MIA brother and battles the Japanese Empire Commended for being realistic and educational Treatment of the game as educational and accurate give credence to the public acceptance as a documentary of public history and memory regarding the events of World War II (343). MOH: Rising Sun


9 Immersion the player is persuaded by the graphics and presentation to feel that they are taken to the historical event. Uses both a meta-narrative and personal narrative meta-narrative sets up the larger scope of the personal narrative and its interaction with history (345) News reels of WWII footage Interviews with veterans Ludological Analysis

10 Blurring of historical images and gameplay enables gamers to, enact a type of personal historic retribution. Gamers can help end slave-labor working conditions and capture the fortune stolen by a tyrannical government (345). Veteran interviews, utilizing a vernacular perspective on the war, narrate the official story of the war with the games images and the newsreel footage is used to support their stories Uses of historically accurate weapons adds to realism and connection to veterans who refer to it Analysis Cont.

11 Personal letters used to elucidate personal connection to player character Mary, Griffins sister discusses domestic events but leaves out events that might seem negative (Japanese internment camps, effects of rationing on the poor and discrimination) Meta-narrative constructs a them of nationalistic courage Personal narrative constructs a them of family pride Nuclear weapons omitted Sense of pride without problems (347) Analysis Cont.

12 Constructed as self and other Orientalism (other)- Japanese constructed as ruthless despots who torture willingly Self constructed in three forms: Self as Player character Victim of surprise attack Hero who saves trapped and injured soldiers War is personal and political to you Constructed as direct opposition to Japanese Character

13 Self as a Soldier Constructed as a Marine with all corresponding responsibilities and duties Personal responsibility outweighs personal commitment Marine training to remain silent and never give up information Duty is more important than family CO directs appropriate behavior for Marines Self as a Soldier

14 Nation is constructed as a victim (newsreel footage and veteran interviews) Sense that America was forced into war and were initially neutral Naval blockades of Japan left out USA as a savior to the Pacific rim Identified through technological superiority Self as Nation

15 Constructed as crafty enemy and as Oriental Only 3 or 4 personas used as enemies Despotic and Barbaric Technologically inferior use of samurai swords and bayonets Japanese language Use of Japs –racial slur; accurate but reifies superiority Japanese-American soldier is killed by Japan sacrificing his life for American war effort (dichotomy to Japanese internment camps) Other

16 Gamers are directed to seek revenge for both the destruction of Pearl Harbor and the disappearance of the central characters brother (353). Gamers become involved on a personal, role-specific, and national level Gamers led to believe it is historically accurate Participatory function personalizes and privatizes the public memory Immersion helps to authenticate gamers come for entertainment, and walk away with selective memory of past conflicts (354). Implications

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