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Demaking: Manipulating Nostalgia Martin van de Weyer.

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1 Demaking: Manipulating Nostalgia Martin van de Weyer



4 Demaking The practice wherein creative game fans take recent game titles and produce creations which reimagine them as part of a previous generation, existing on older, less sophisticated hardware Through analysing a range of examples it is possible to see how nostalgia is a manipulable sentiment, but also one which illustrates player current desires and longings Firstly, it is useful to look at the wider scope of videogame nostalgia to see where demaking fits

5 Rapid Obsolescence Several iterations Large difference in quality Short time period

6 Accelerated Nostalgia Extreme rate of change Experience of time compressed Nostalgia occurs more rapidly

7 Demaking takes this increased acceleration to its logical conclusion, such that the factor of time is reduced to zero Instead, time is only suggested through the stylistic and aesthetic elements that are used to reimagine them Thus a sense of instant nostalgia can be created for currently existing titles

8 Memory Anchors Ephemeral Digital Experience Tangible Memory Anchors

9 As discussed by Campbell in relation to the concept of the ‘craft consumer’, the act of crafting allows an individual to assimilate an object into their own world of meaning (Campbell, 2005) Through this act of creation, a person can take ownership of these mass produced experiences, inflecting them with their own personal significance so that they can become more specifically meaningful memory anchors

10 While demade creations could similarly be perceived as memory anchors, their true purpose comes out when they are shared between numerous individuals rather than being in the possession of one These artefacts enable a communication of ideas directly between individuals but also provide a means for sharing particular forms of longing Before looking at this in more detail it is useful to outline the three main types of demade works Each format can be seen possess a distinctive characteristic that grants it with a particular nostalgic weight 08329cf1115.1920x1080.jpg?t=1338226617 egablast-d4qpqgm.png

11 9/Green_Greens_Intro_Fase_2_SSBM.png Playable Creations Playable games created which mimic a previous time both visually and in gameplay Their nostalgic potency lies in the fact that they do not only suggest a visual style, but also gameplay mechanics, sound, animation-all the stimulus of a game experience Recreates directly the feeling of playing a game from that age, through the act of gameplay

12 7-vii-nes-famicom-title-screen.jpg 7-vii-nes-maco-train-1.jpg midgar/FFVII%20-%20Title%20Screen-620x.jpg

13 Screenshot Mock-Ups An image which seemingly captures a frozen moment of a particular game All the standard elements (characters, backgrounds, HUD) are rendered in place

14 Can be used to make entirely fictitious games without basis any previously existing titles Possible to see it as fitting into the wider scope of sprite/pixel art

15 The nostalgic weight of such images lies in their closeness to being real, owing to the player’s learned fluency at interpreting screenshots Screenshots are often used to communicate the art style and the range of interactions which are possible within a game When looking these static images, players eagerly imagine the entire world of the game, readily assuming a background of mechanics and interactions that, in demade creations, do not exist Such an interaction recreates the childhood experience of extrapolating what possible adventures lie in store from viewing the screenshots pictured on the box for the game or in a magazine Nintendo Power Magazine, Issue 77, pg. 14

16 Box Art and Para-Textual Mock-Ups Images or artefacts which reflect the visual style of the print media created for earlier games Such creations commonly mimic a selection of standard formats and templates common to past products

17 themes-batman-the-dark-knight.jpg with-modern-themes-james-camerons-avatar- 434x600.jpg content/uploads/2011/03/retro-games-with-modern- themes-the-fast-and-the-furious-tokyo-drift-434x600.jpg Their key nostalgic quality lies in their tactile and possible real world presence Through signs of external wear they are able to suggest a natural cycle of use

18 As a Form of Cultural Capital/Gaming Capital Jenkins drew from Bourdieu in his discussion of the place that game knowledge holds in youth suggesting that ‘Games form the basis of playground discussions, and detailed background knowledge of the various universes constitutes an important source of cultural capital’ (Jenkins, 1993) Mia Consalvo reworks Bourdieu, suggesting the phrase ‘gaming capital’, a concept which she believes is ‘a key way to understand how individuals interact with games, information about games and the game industry, and other game players’(Consalvo, 2007) q3tPNVLih4I/T_r18iXI1zI/AAAAAAAABmk/vl1CTDXB5kk/s1600/shado w+of+the+colosus+demake.png eo/colossus01_07.jpg

19 Such works allow the creator to illustrate their gaming capital Through choosing specific references, and crafting artful connections between them, the creator is able to demonstrate their knowledge and command of the original texts

20 540x303.png The manner in which different styles and references are tied together, and the contrast which often results, are commonly used to create a ‘joke’ Through ‘getting the joke’ the viewer is reassured of their own gaming capital


22 Additionally, such stylistic elements can also be used to hint at the game culture of a previous time Those who are able to make the connection become engaged in a nostalgic recollection Therefore, interaction with a demade image does not just stabilise gaming capital, but also stimulates a nostalgic reaction

23 Demaking can also be seen as a medium which illustrates players’ current desires The nostalgic creators of demade artefacts and images, through the games they chose to reimagine and the stylistic characteristics they select to highlight particular elements, illustrate what qualities they perceived to be key to old games, and what they most long for, and appreciate, in new games

24 What games are chosen to be demade is telling, often being recent indie games or slightly removed cult classics This focus can be seen to exist because there are key fans of these games, positioned to both create and consume these demade works, but also because these games tend to do things outside the current mainstream and thus are able to contain a selection of uncommon, valorised qualities By looking at a range of demade examples it is possible to see which qualities are desirable in more modern times

25 1.Difficulty 2.Accessibility 3.Existing within a Golden Age 4.Need for Imagination/Filling in the Gaps 5.Centrality of Game Mechanics 6.Economy of Means

26 1.Difficulty Early home console games were still built on the mechanics used in the arcade wherein the aim was to take the players coins With time difficulty has become reduced, but nostalgia has softened its negative character and made it desirable Through good design Super Meat Boy makes difficulty an enjoyable aspect rather than detracting from the experience, and thus is worthy of demade appreciation Boy_White_GLAM.jpg

27 amari_damacy_009.jpg 2.Accessibility Like difficulty, accessibility was a key factor of early game design, with players needing to be able to quickly develop an understanding in order to be able to play With the growing complexity of controllers and creation of a wide range of videogame conventions, games have become less accessible to newcomers Katamari Damacy is granted a demade reimagining as the game’s simple gameplay, utilising only two thumb sticks to direct a ball, connects to an earlier form of accessibility

28 Created by matt0, 3.As Part of a Golden Age Fans of scrolling shooters recognise the 16-32 bit era as the key age of the genre, in which there were a large selection of innovations and masterpieces of the style

29 While the style of game continues to be created there are far fewer examples and thus the genre is seen as a dying breed. Hence Ikaruga, a recent and critically acclaimed shooter is reimagined as existing amongst its valued peers within the key 16-32 Bit era,

30 4.Need for Imagination/Filling in the Gaps d802584109c0/1033/screenlg1.jpg Early games, with their highly pixelated visuals were primarily representational; hence it was the responsibility of the player to use their imagination to define what was really happening Current photorealistic games take away the need to use one’s imagination as the world is rendered in its entirety

31 038-mega_man2_nes_us.jpg This characteristic was utilised by producers to advertise games differently, depending on the varying desires of separate markets

32 px-Fez_cover.png Demade art for FEZ portrays the game as about a real human being in a t-shirt and jeans rather than the cartoon character that appears in the official art Such imagery borrows from the idea that a pixelated image can suggest far more than what is visible

33 5.Centrality of the Game Mechanics With limited visual detail games had to appeal through the engaging nature of the interaction rather than purely their presentation With a demade version of Treasure’s title Ikaruga, despite a reduction in graphical complexity the game mechanics still work, and remain entertaining

34 6.Economy of Means Early games with their minimal storage space, processing power and visual capabilities presented creators with a narrow set of constraints to work within Such boundaries are seen as forcing designers to be more creative, rather than current games which are perceived to be limited only by budget The valorisation of this quality can be seen through the examples which further minimise already minimal games,

35 Feeding Back Into Games Super Meat Boy demake’s itself, providing levels within the game that mimic previous console platforms Through careful manipulation of nostalgia Super Meat Boy presents a game which aligns with player’s nostalgic desires but in a form that utilises a more current understanding of game design http://static.msxbox- 20091014015543680.jpg

36 In conclusion, demaking can be seen as a practice which deals with cultural or gaming capital but also, through the methods chosen and the games selected it also illustrates the qualities that players nostalgically desire Ultimately the mixing of elements and qualities results in a situation where the new is old and the old is new

37 Thankyou for your attention. Are there any questions?


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