Thursday, July 2, 2015

Kawaii Japan: Defining JRPGs through the Cultural Media Mix

This video is a presentation I gave to the Games Studies Division at the International Communications Association in May, 2015.

It is a shorter version of a paper that is currently in press for the online journal Kinephanos.

Despite frequent reference in academic and fan work to the video game genre known as JRPG (Japanese role-playing game), little critical scholarship has been dedicated to understanding what, exactly, comprises the genre. Often, JRPGs are conceptualized as a cultural phenomenon, with the “J” operating as a cultural appendix to established and well-defined genre of RPGs. The fact that the term JRPG emerged in Western fan communities to differentiate the genre, however, suggests something else may contribute to how the genre is conceptualized. Drawing from representations of and discourse about gender in the MEXT’s Cool Japan campaign, this paper argues that instead of treating JRPGs as an independent object we should treat them as part of a larger creative ecology which comes to define Japan and its culture overseas. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Social Justice Series

While one of my classes continues its work on memes, I thought I would keep making a few based on themes surrounding Gamergate.  Doing so actually serves a pretty good rhetorical purpose in how to read the structure of memes and the importance of content in understanding them, as contrary to implications about its universal appeal GG is not a global phenomenon. 

In fact, it hasn't been mentioned or discussed in any significant way in Japan.  Mainstream mass media hasn't covered it,  and the few gamers and developers I know have expressed their ignorance over it.  My students have no idea what the whole fiasco is about. 

As a vast oversimplification, there's a lot ideologically going on in the movement and reactions to it. I find the denigration of games critics, captured in the short hand SJW (Social Justice Warrior), as somewhat amusing considering the relationship between the purpose of criticism (see Matthew Arnold's The Function of Criticism at the Present Time or a summary of it) and the moral overtones of many games.

With that in mind, I've created a few more memes for my class.  I call this the "Social Justice" series: