Introduction to the Special Issue on Postcolonial Perspectives in Game Studies
The treatment of colonialism in video games, barring a few notable exceptions, is marked by a Western and, specifically, late 19th-century imperialist bias. Simultaneously, in the past two decades of multifaceted research and the development of robust theoretical frameworks in the still fledgling discipline of game studies, postcolonial discourses, whether they comprise critiques of imperialism or neocolonialism, have not been prominently highlighted until very recently. A coherent effort to bring together the current research on postcolonialism in video games was also urgently required. Further, the past years has seen a rather persistent, albeit unexpected, emergence of a pro-colonial or pro-imperialist discourse in mainstream academia that even justifies the continuance of empire as an ameliorating influence on the people of the so-called developing countries, most of which had formerly been colonized by European powers. Thus, it is the aim of this issue to address this epistemic omission and counter such bias where it exists by also bridging video games research with larger discussions of postcolonialism in other humanities contexts and disciplines. The various articles in this special issue offer a range of perspectives from epistemological power to theory and praxis in critical academia, to contexts of production and practices of play, to close readings of postcolonial traces in video games. These varying approaches to the analysis of video games and their societal and historical contexts open up the debates further to a diverse set of topics ranging from board games to phone games or from mainstream high-budget console games to indie titles that question colonialism. As video games address issues relating to orientalism, subalternity, and hybridity as well as the current ambiguities in conceiving nationhood and the postcolony, the articles in this issue will also likely adumbrate further serious commentary that will develop both game studies research and current conceptions of the postcolonial.
Source at https://doi.org/10.16995/olh.309