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.