Down the Rabbit Hole We Go

FPS Fall 2023 Issue

There is something particularly unique about the experience of playing, then writing, then reading about the games we play. When I get to read the articles submitted to FPS for publication, it feels like I’m gaining access into a piece of the game’s, or even the gaming industry’s, intangible puzzle – whether it’s due to the deep-dive analysis an author does for a particular game, or a commentary on larger, broader issues or concepts surrounding the materiality of the games and their subsequent “extras” (i.e. manuals, strategy guides, spin-off series), or an observation about the state of games and Game Studies as an area of academic discipline or critical thought, in all cases, reading these articles and gaining new insights in these areas is an absolute privilege. But with this privilege comes the responsibility to share it with others. As such, I am absolutely delighted to share this latest issue of FPS with you all. This issue is filled with discussions of nostalgia, coming of age, and materiality of games and their “extras”, as well as pontifications of tension, horror, violence, and capitalism. The authors of this issue bring to light the multifaceted realms of video games, dissecting their narratives, mechanics, and cultural impact. In this issue, we present a collection of thought-provoking articles that delve into the intricate tapestry of gaming, offering insights into violence, horror, nostalgia, preservation, and enchantment:


“The Image Stares Back: Spectacular Violence In Danganronpa” (Zain Zahran) kicks off our exploration, inviting readers to contemplate the intersection of philosophy, media, and violence within the captivating world of Danganronpa. A spectacle in its own right, this game serves as a canvas for a unique blend of narrative and player experience.


Next, we plunge into the depths of horror with “Water, Survival-Horror’s Most Untapped Potential” (Michael Stamper). The article dives into the uncharted waters of fear, arguing that water is a potent yet underutilized element in the horror genre. Drawing on games like Subnautica and Narcosis, it explores how water can heighten tension and redefine the horror gaming experience.


“EverQuest and the Progressive Nostalgia of Project 1999” (Alexander Hurezeanu) takes us on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, exploring the world of fan servers and the progressive nostalgia embodied by Project 1999. Through an autoethnographic lens, the article examines how the past continues to influence the present in the realm of massively multiplayer online role-playing games.


Shifting gears, “Nostalgia in Play: How Video Games Shape a Player’s Coming of Age” (Serafina Paladino) explores the profound impact of video games on personal growth and identity. Focused on titles like Paper Mario, the article examines the intersection of RPGs, nostalgia, and the coming-of-age experience, demonstrating how virtual landscapes shape the memories and identities of players.


Finally, “Please Save the Booklet for Future Reference: The Meaning and Value of Manual Archives” (Nathan Schmidt) calls attention to the disappearing artifacts of physical game manuals. The article advocates for the preservation of these tangible pieces of gaming history, emphasizing their role in understanding the evolution of gaming culture and design.


As you immerse yourself in these articles, we hope you find new perspectives and insights that enhance your appreciation for the vast and ever-evolving landscape of video games. Happy reading!