My research started off with a simple question: Why video games? What followed were several brain-storming sessions to determine which titles would be studied. My adviser and I would go back and forth discussing relevant Japanese-developed video games that showcased many aspects of Japanese culture, society, and history. From there, the project developed naturally to argue for inclusion of video games in a liberal arts curriculum alongside more traditional texts.
As to “Why video games?” I ask “Why not?” I love video games and firmly believe they are long overdue to be respected in academics alongside film, comics, cartoons, and other such media forms. There are several examples discussed (and many more that could be discussed) in my thesis surrounding video games that can be applied to other media fields and vice versa. I have seen firsthand the true emotional and thoughtful impact playing games has had on players. The significance of this project for my area of study is the same significance it has for the college in that video games inherently convey different worldviews onto their players. Whether colorful or cynical, pastiche or parody, video games ask players to reflect on the same values present in Ursinus’s own Core questions.
I have learned it is possible to fight the stigma that video games are a “waste of time.” We are always learning when we game—always reflecting, thinking, participating with what is on our screens. There have been several instances of Ursinus faculty and fellow students commenting on their excitement and support for this project. This research matters just as much as I aim for it to inspire. I am hopeful this project will serve as a starting point for many similar projects to come, and that video games will finally claim their deserved seat as a serious platform for academic engagement.