cover image of Playing the Past

Playing the Past

History and Nostalgia in Video Games

by Zach Whalen Editor · Laurie N. Taylor Editor


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Playing the Past brings together a group of interdisciplinary scholars to examine the complementary notions of history and nostalgia as they are expressed through video games and in gaming culture. The scope of these related concepts moves from the personal to the cultural, and essays in this collection address video game nostalgia as both an individual and societal phenomenon, connecting the fond memories many of us have of classic gaming to contemporary representations of historical periods and events in video games. From Ms. Pac-Man and Space Invaders to Call of Duty and JFK: Reloaded, the games many of us have played since childhood inform how we see the world today, and the games we make and play today help us communicate ideas about real world history. By focusing on specific games, historical periods and media ecologies, these essays collectively take an in depth look at the related topics of nostalgia for classic gaming, gaming and histories of other media, and representations of real history in video games.

Publication Details

Vanderbilt University Press
Publication Date:


  • Adobe PDF eBook 3 MB

Zach Whalen (Editor)

Zach Whalen, a PhD Fellow at the University of Florida, edits the game studies blog and is Production Editor for ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies.

More about Zach Whalen
Playing the Past
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