Description and Aims

Screenshot from Metal Gear Solid V – The Phantom Pain

The aim of this project is to analyse the manner in which popular mainstream video games remediate colonial discourse.  By employing postcolonial theory, this project sets out to reveal how colonial discourse shapes not only the aural and visual representation of the games’ storyworlds, but also the game mechanics that afford gameplay. One of the main assumptions of this project is that colonial discourse is at work not only in games that explicitly simulate historical colonization, but also in games that do not seem to be related to the subject. Consequently, the project analyses video games spanning across multiple genres, going beyond existing research which focuses on overtly colonial strategy games. Secondly, the project is concerned not only with Western colonialism, but non-Western forms of colonialism, as well. As a result, besides Western video games, this project also investigates games produced in other parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe, and their relation to local forms of imperialism, such as communism. Finally, the project seeks to highlight the ways in which video games can offer a platform for criticizing colonialism. This project shows that video games that contest colonialism feature a game design whose aesthetics pays tribute to postcolonial theory and postmodernsim.