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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by transcript Verlag November 29, 2019

The Political Economy of Cultural Memory in the Videogames Industry

Emil Lundedal Hammar
From the journal Digital Culture & Society


Following the materialist approaches to contemporary digital memory- making, this article explores how unequal access to memory production in videogames is determined along economic and cultural lines. Based on semi-structured qualitative interviews with different European, Asian and North American historical game developers, I make the case for how materialist and cultural aspects of videogame development reinforce existing mnemonic hegemony and in turn how this mnemonic hegemony determines access to the production of memory- making potentials that players of videogames activate and negotiate. My interview findings illustrate how individual workers do not necessarily intend to reproduce received systems of power and hegemony, and instead how certain cultural and material relations tacitly motivate and/or marginalise workers in the videogame industries to reproduce hegemonic power relations in cultural memory across race, class and gender. Finally, I develop the argument that access to cultural production networks such as the games industry constitutes important factors that need to be taken seriously in research on cultural memory and game studies. Thus, my article investigates global power relationships, political economy, colonial legacies and cultural hegemony within the videogame industry, and how these are instantiated in individual instances of game developers.

Published Online: 2019-11-29
Published in Print: 2019-12-01

© 2019 by transcript Verlag