From Cultural Sustainability to Culture of Sustainability: Preservation of Games in the Context of Digital Materiality

Garda Maria B. Nylund Niklas Sivula Anna Suominen Jaakko
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

In this paper, we set out to explore some of the most prevalent questions regarding cultural sustainability in the context of preservation of digital games. Since the 1980s, the concept of sustainable development has been successively expanded to incorporate not only environmental and economic aspects but also the social and cultural, as well as relating to values such as human rights and broadly understood equality (Stylianou- Lambert et al. 2014). We would like to examine what kind of issues and considerations should be taken into account while developing a holistic approach to game preservation that also supports a culture of sustainability focused on broadly understood game heritage. What kind of unique challenges do game cultures and ludic artefacts present in this context? In our paper, we will look at a national case study of Finland where innovative and progressive approaches are currently being developed.


Popular History: Historical Awareness of Digital Gaming in Finland from the 1980s to the 2010s

Suominen Jaakko
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

This paper studies the popular historiography of digital gaming. By using the Finnish context as a case example and analyzing hundreds of popular game-history-related articles, mostly from computer and game hobbyist magazines and newspapers, the paper presents a categorization of four different waves of historical awareness. All the waves emphasized different ways of writing and presenting game history, some focusing more on global issues and some on national and local phenomena. Some of the material was more oriented to personal or individual experiences and some merely toward the collective or general characteristics of gaming. The four-wave categorization and presented topics can be applied to other game historiographical studies to create a richer picture of how the academic and popular histories of games and game cultures have been written.


The Long Decade of Game Studies: Case of Finland

Sotamaa Olli Suominen Jaakko
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Given the young age of game studies, the recent history and development of the field remains largely unstudied. This paper takes a closer look at 34 games-related Finnish doctoral dissertations published between 1998 and 2012. The metareview explores the diverse starting points scholars have taken to study games during the years. The results show that instead of any particular national focus, the studies rather connect to topical international discussions and debates. While a trend towards acknowledging an autonomous discipline can be identified over the studied period, the studies also contribute to a variety of other fields.


Game reviews as tools in the construction of game historical awareness in Finland, 1984-2010: Case MikroBitti Magazine

Suominen Jaakko
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

The paper introduces a case study on game journalistic practices and on the construction of historical self-understanding of game cultures. It presents results of the study of Finnish digital game reviews, retrieved from a major computer hobbyist magazine, MikroBitti. The results are based on a qualitative content analysis of 640 reviews from two magazine issues per year (1984–2010). The aim is to examine changes in the production of game reviews, in the work of individual reviewers, and then to focus on particular stylistic characteristics: to study how game journalists refer, on the one hand to other popular media cultural forms and products such as television series, cinema, comics, literature, sports, news, board games, and on the other hand, to other digital games, game genres, genre-hybrids, game producers, national game product styles as well as game designer auteurs. The paper argues that by using these references and allusions game journalists construct historical understanding of digital gaming as a particular popular media cultural form. The preliminary research hypothesis was that digital game cultural references increase and other media cultural references decline in reviews. This has proven to be partially incorrect. The content analysis of reviews hints that historical self-understanding of game cultural actors as well as the press and gaming industry has grown and been enriched since the 1980s.


Mario’s legacy and Sonic’s heritage: Replays and refunds of console gaming history

Suominen Jaakko
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

In this paper, I study how three major videogame device manufacturers, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo use gaming history within their popular console products, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PS 3 and Nintendo Wii. These enterprises do not only market new game applications and devices but also recycle classic game themes, game characters as well as classic games themselves. Therefore, these corporations are a part of the phenomenon which can be called retrogaming culture or digital retro economy. The paper introduces the different ways in which the corporations began to use history and how they constructed their digital game market strategies to be compatible with the current retrogaming trend. In addition, the paper introduces a model for different phases of uses of history. The paper is empirically based on literary reviews, recreational computing magazine articles, company websites and other online sources and participatory observation of retrogaming applications and product analyses. Sociological and cultural studies on nostalgia as well as history culture form the theoretical framework of the study.