An impression of home: player nostalgia and the impulse to explore game worlds

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In this paper I argue that there is a need for game studies to look beyond nostalgia as a period style or form of remediation, and to more carefully consider the role of nostalgia as an affective state experienced by players. Specifically, I argue that nostalgia is a positive emotional response that can be elicited in players without the need to embed period or historical referents in games. Extending this, I argue that the experience of nostalgia might enhance player motivation to explore game spaces, which has repercussions for game design. This paper makes use of existing literature on the psychology and aesthetic qualities of nostalgia to develop an initial theoretical basis for the study. To explore the implications of affective nostalgia, a case study analysis of two recent games is presented. Both of these games are dependent upon player motivation to explore their game worlds.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 1st International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG
EditorsStaffan Björk, Casey O'Donnell, Rafael Bidarra
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2016
Event1st joint international Conference of DIGRA and FDG - Abertay University, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Aug 20166 Aug 2016

Publication series

ISSN (Electronic)2342-9666


Conference1st joint international Conference of DIGRA and FDG
Abbreviated titleDiGRA/FDG 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Nostalgia
  • Memory
  • Exploration
  • Visual design
  • Music
  • Game
  • Game design
  • Video game


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