Michael Craig

Dissertation Fellow
2013-2014
Michael Craig

Much current academic video game theory begins from the assumption that games are designed to engage players in states of constant, fluid activity. Michael Craig (East Asian Languages and Cultures) argues in his dissertation, "Beauty in / and / vs. Action: The Question of Aesthetics in 1990s Japanese Role-Playing Games," that Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPGs) of the late 1990s, contrary to scholarly assumptions, value extended periods of inaction. Craig views the emphasis on emotion and visually evocative environments as a fundamental element of gameplay experience. He explores how this focus on creating aesthetically beautiful worlds for a player to inhabit resonates within the sociocultural context of the 1990s in Japan, a decade in which a crippling recession stifled the possibility of types of civic activity and spurred the proliferation of media genres dramatizing the withdrawal from political sociality into private affects.