Tag: Vol. 4 No. 2 (2021)

I Passed Away, but I Can Live Again: The Narrative Contextualization of Death in Dead Cells and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

ABSTRACT: In digital games, the player’s activity often includes a necessary repetition to achieve an
appropriate knowledge of the game’s mechanics and dynamics. This process can involve various failures of the player. Even if a digital game can be theoretically completed without failures, the player must practically learn from every mistake, which often corresponds to the death of the main character. Every avatar constantly lives in a vulnerable existence that includes its death during the gameplay. If a character can be vulnerable, the player can be inadequate, but digital games always provide a chance of redemption, and a failure becomes a necessary step on the path to further growth. On the basis of various Italian and other international scientific contributions on the themes of failure and death in digital games, the following essay will analyse two different case studies: Dead Cells and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. In these titles, death is not only a necessary part of the gameplay, but it also becomes a focal concept of the storytelling thanks to two different principles which will underline specific modes to emphasize the narrative importance of death and failure in the digital game medium.

KEY WORDS: death, death in Dead Cells, digital games, emerging elements, environmental storytelling, failure, hidden fragments, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

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Restoration, Reflection, and Nostalgia for the New in Yakuza Kiwami and Final Fantasy VII Remake

ABSTRACT: This study applies concepts of restorative and reflective nostalgia to ‘remake’ titles for
eighth-generation consoles (here, PlayStation and PlayStation 2 titles remade for the PlayStation 4). Retro-game scholarship has considered 8 and 16-bit titles and fan practices through the concept of nostalgia since the mid-2000s. However, increasingly AAA game publishers have begun to remake and remaster more recent games. Given the potential for nostalgia to be either an oppressive or resistive set of interactions between object-game and subject-player, this paper analyses how restorative and reflective nostalgia is manifested throughout the narrative and gameplay mechanics of Yakuza Kiwami and Final Fantasy VII Remake, alongside players’ and digital game journalists reactions to the titles. This study utilizes a qualitative analysis of the remade titles, user comments from the E3 trailers posted to YouTube for each game, and digital game popular press articles to approach nostalgic reactions. Ultimately, the potential for both modes of nostalgia coexist as each of these titles are consumed and exist alongside other consumer goods.

KEY WORDS: digital games, Final Fantasy VII Remake, nostalgia, remade games, remastered games, retro games, Yakuza Kiwami.

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“Table Talk”: Defining Metadiscourse of Analog Games

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the communication in tabletop role-playing games that we call metadiscourse. Prior study of gaming and the act of play prove that the space is inherently social. However, we speculate that, through metadiscourse, the social aspect of the tabletop role-playing game is central to group cohesion and perpetuation of the gaming subculture. Metadiscourse involves conversation not linked to the current game but could be cordial and relational, critical, or completely unrelated to the game. However, it is an informal conversation that would not occur if there was no game. In metadiscourse there are determinations of gaming capital, or elements of value. Participation in metadiscourse allows an individual to feel included in the game and gaming subculture. However, metadiscourse demonstrates a level of gaming capital through situatedness and affordances that can act as a gatekeeping function for individuals.

KEY WORDS: discourse, game capital, popular culture, sociology, tabletop role-playing games.

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Stereotypical Negative Female Gender Roles in Digital Games

ABSTRACT: Digital games represent a new media form dominated by men, either as characters or as players. The perception of digital games as ‘Boys’ Fun’ has been denied by the latest research that points to the fact that women are increasingly accessing this medium. But the analysis of digital games shows that gender roles appear in this media as real-world stereotypes. It means that there is discrimination against women who often have a passive role, whether they appear as victims or as sexual objects. When they are not damsels in distress helplessly awaiting their saviour or playing heroines, then, they are most often portrayed as rebellious beauties with oversized dimensions. The subject of this paper is female representation in digital games. Authors used content analysis of 30 digital games with female protagonists, published at J Station, to examine the female gender roles in such digital games. The aim of the empirical study is to demonstrate that the elements of gender discrimination are present in digital games and that they can lead to the creation of harmful stereotypes against women.

KEY WORDS: digital games, discrimination, female, gender roles, stereotype.

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Marketing Semiotics in Digital Games: Myth´s Analysis in The Walking Dead and Heavy Rain

ABSTRACT: The paper analyses the significance of the role of parenting and guardianship in the digital games The Walking Dead and Heavy Rain. The aim is to present, analyse and explain the phenomenon of myth, mythical structures in digital games, culture, and brand identity. R. Barthes’ semiotic theory was used, which analyses constructs through denotation, connotation, and myth. The units of research analysis are scenes from the games that will be presented, described, interpreted, and understood by deconstruction analysis. In the first part, the phenomenon of myth is theoretically elaborated, and then the mythic structure in digital games is analysed. The focus is on myth as a phenomenon, which from a pedagogical point of view, shows the role of parenting and guardianship. Also, the analysis of the connotative sign shows the influence of the media on digital culture, but also on the creation of elements of brand identity of digital games. We will confirm these theses by analysing the content of the mythical structure. The unit of analysis is the mise-en-scène and refers to everything that interacts with the digital game and the player. The central concept is a semiotic analysis of the psychological concept of fidelity that is connected to the model of brand identity through the model of attachment. Finally, through a semiotic analysis of the attachment construct, the attachment construct from the aspect of brand identity is also presented. The brand was observed according to J. N. Kapferer’s theory and analysed at the message and sign level. The contribution of this study is manifested in an interdisciplinary approach to work through marketing, psychology, pedagogy, media theory and semiotics.

KEY WORDS: brand, digital game, Heavy Rain, marketing, myth, semiotic, sign, The Walking Dead.

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