Meaningful Play 2022 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitleArt, Play, and Winsor McCay The Critical Art of Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends
Presenter(s)Christopher Totten
SessionMeaningful Analyses of Meaningful Games 1
TimeFriday, October 14, 10:15a-11:15a
LocationMSU Room
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionNumerous games, such as Dragon's Lair (1983) and Cuphead (2017) adopt an art style from other, frequently older, media to distinguish themselves. Beyond standing out in a crowded marketplace, however, these processes have the potential to exist more meaningfully than as mere homage.

Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends is an independent game created within the established art practice of remixing a public domain work as a means of critical reinterpretation. Based on the works of animation pioneer Winsor McCay (c. 1869 - 1934), the art production of Nightmare Fiends repurposes the process of game animation to explore game art's role in the process of scholarly inquiry. The article presents a framework for how designers might include game art and asset production as part of a "critical network" of game elements, of which traditional interactivity design is a part, that contribute to games' use as tools for social critique.

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