The Burden on Our Back

Conveying Nahua Survivance through Games

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Even now, it seems a novel idea that the game would feature a drastically different approach to gameplay than other games of the time. Even other Disney tie-ins of the same generation featured hordes of enemies requiring defeat; though the film Aladdin (1992) featured a protagonist who relied on wits to solve problems, the game adaptation (Disney Interactive, 1993) gave Aladdin a sword for most of its levels. Scratching beneath the surface of Pocahontas’s mechanics, however, reveals not a nuanced look at game design based on indigenous ways of knowing but rather an essentialized representation based on the related film’s already troubled representation of a generic, somewhat stereotypical version of Native American ways of being. Continue Reading

(Re)Coding Survivance: Sovereign Video Games Special Issue

First Person Podcast Episode 37

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Welcome to a special edition of First Person Scholar. Today, we’re introducing a special issue on Indigenous and Sovereign Games, called “(Re)coding Survivance,” edited by Michelle Lee Brown. Our podcast this month features a conversation between four amazing Indigenous game designers, developers, and scholars. Michelle Lee Brown, Beth LaPensée, Maru Nihoniho, and Meagan Byrne discuss game design, Indigenous futurisms, survivance, and so much more. Continue Reading

(Re)coding Survivance and the Regenerative Narrative

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The theme of this special issue is “(Re)coding Survivance” and is, as I understand it, supposed to be about how we might envision Indigenous futurisms via video game worlds. One of my Indigenous nations, the Washazhe or “Osage,” call ourselves “Children of the Middle Waters” and have special relationships with rivers. Thus, I turn to the source of much of our story to think about how to envision futures in a decolonial, “(re)coded,” or regenerative way. Continue Reading