Use of Nostalgia to Make Evoland “Cool”

As I have already talked about in a previous posts, Evoland provokes many nostalgic feelings towards past adventure games and movies. Here, I hope to expand on this thought, discussing different ways that Evoland uses nostalgia. Zach Whalen edited a book on nostalgia in video games in 2008, and within it there is a chapter … Continue reading “Use of Nostalgia to Make Evoland “Cool””

As I have already talked about in a previous posts, Evoland provokes many nostalgic feelings towards past adventure games and movies. Here, I hope to expand on this thought, discussing different ways that Evoland uses nostalgia. Zach Whalen edited a book on nostalgia in video games in 2008, and within it there is a chapter by Sean Fenty entitled “Why Old School is ‘Cool’: A Brief Analysis of Classic Video Game Nostalgia. When talking about what motivates a nostalgia in games, he proclaims “Designers must motivate players to put forth the effort involved in playing. They need to set goals and give rewards; they need to set up a situation that will make players want to succeed at the game and want to learn the rhythm of things”(25). He takes it a step further by saying if this is not accomplished, then the game will not foster nostalgia, but will be forgotten.

With this in mind, it is worth looking at some games/ movies mentioned in Evoland: The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Skyrim, Lord of the Rings, Mario, Diablo, and League of Legends. All of these games are popular titles with significant name value. All the games mentioned successfully achieve what Fenty sets down. Thus, Evoland, not in a manipulative sense, uses the success of other games to drive its own success. It plays off nostalgic feelings established by prior games and implements them in a way to make its own game more playable.

In addition, Henty uses the term “playing the past” in his chapter. This also applies to Evoland as further in the game, the player must go back in time in order to advance the gameplay. This takes the game back to the older graphics, again promoting thoughts of older games with 2d graphics. This, to paraphrase Henty, causes players to yearn for the game, as they represent the past while also giving the players a chance to play in the past. As such, Evoland, despite being a new game, invokes the same feelings as the classics, thus putting it in the same nostalgic category of “cool”.

 

Whalen, Zach, Laurie N. Taylor, and Sean Fenty. Playing the Past: History and Nostalgia in Video Games. Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 2008. Web.

Evoland: A Salute to the Trailblazers of the Adventure Genre

2As previously mentioned, Evoland is filled with nods in the direction of old adventure games. It seems impossible to progress more than a couple minutes without getting another reference to a past game or film. And while Evoland’s story is independant of the past games and it is presented as a game that tracks histories … Continue reading “Evoland: A Salute to the Trailblazers of the Adventure Genre”

2As previously mentioned, Evoland is filled with nods in the direction of old adventure games. It seems impossible to progress more than a couple minutes without getting another reference to a past game or film. And while Evoland’s story is independant of the past games and it is presented as a game that tracks histories of role playing games, it’s character development as well as other elements of the gameplay are built on a foundation of reverence to past successful titles. Ian Bogost talks about reverence in his book “How to do Things With Videogames”, and while he mainly addresses this issue in regards to cities and monuments, it acts the same way with other videogames.

Bogost spends a lot of time within the chapter talking about the inclusion of the Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man. A large part of his argument is centered around how its inclusion as a key level in the game appreciates the cathedral’s relevance more than it depreciates it (27). I agree with Bogost here, as in my personal experience the inclusion of monuments or cities tends to add relevance to a certain area, rather than detract from it. Evoland acts the same way, as it adds to the lore and significance of the games mentioned, almost explicitly pointing out that Zelda or Final Fantasy set the bar for future adventure games. Another point of this is that Evoland’s narrative does not require any aspects from past games; rather they act as a compliment, calling upon the success and recognition value to supplement the story at various points.

Furthermore, this use of reverence allows Evoland to be elevated from any general adventure narrative and becomes one filled with acknowledgements of its predecessors successes in order to generate excitement within the game. For example, as someone who has played Skyrim, Evoland’s use of an otherwise stagnant character to tell Clink how he once took an arrow to the knee turned a dull moment of interaction with an NPC into a rather humorous moment, while paying homage to another successful game of the same genre. Evoland uses reverence very frequently, and to good effect. I have never come across such a game, and it a rather fitting example of just one of many things to do with video games.

Nostalgia in Evoland

Evoland is a mobile game that is centered around one member of the Order of Dragon Knights, with a default name of Clink, as he attempts to save Evolandia from evil. This is a very unique game in many aspects. As it probably can’t be called a “casual” game, it falls more into the adventure … Continue reading “Nostalgia in Evoland”

Evoland is a mobile game that is centered around one member of the Order of Dragon Knights, with a default name of Clink, as he attempts to save Evolandia from evil. This is a very unique game in many aspects. As it probably can’t be called a “casual” game, it falls more into the adventure or role playing game category, similar to playing a Legend of Zelda game. However, it lacks the seriousness of a true adventure game, and spends a lot of time commenting on similar, familiar titles. But what it lacks in intensity it makes up for in nostalgia, as it references numerous games and movies of a similar genre.

Evoland was designed to plot the history of RPG’s, and change as the player gets further along. The game experience starts with 8-bit color on a 2d side scroller resembling the game “Passage” that was played earlier in the semester. However, soon into playing the game many upgrades are found, unlocking graphics and mechanics upgrades in chests around the map. These give you weapons, add in more colors, increase resolution, allow you to save, and add meaning to the game. For example, there is no back story to start the game- but when the “Storyline” milestone is unlocked, Clink’s mission is revealed.

As previously mentioned, one thing that I noticed in Evoland is the references to other games. This, along with with its old school graphics at the beginning, foster a strong sense of nostalgia as Clink wanders through the map. Within Evoland, there are numerous references to older games, most notably Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy games. The names Klink and Kaeris, Clink’s companion, are references to Link in the Zelda games and Aeris in the Final Fantasy series. To name a few more, Klink’s adventure takes him to the “Noria Mines” (very similar to the Mines of Moria in The Lord of The Rings), his items, including bombs, a bow and a sword, bear a strong resemblance to those of Link (including a legendary sword opposed to a master sword), and the currency is a gli, compared to the gils of Final Fantasy.

In doing this, Evoland morphs into more of a meta-game, commenting on generic adventure themes and tropes throughout, while also serving as an ode to the classics. And while it is unique in its presentation and format are the main feature of the game, its storyline and allusions contribute in a way to elevate it beyond a simple mobile game.