Eastern Michigan University to host Journal of Narrative Theory’s 2023 Dialogue “Video Games and Narrative: How Virtual Worlds Move Us” - March 16

An image from "The Last of Us" video game showing the backs of two people moving through a grungy, futuristic urban scene.
(The Last of Us image provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC)

YPSILANTI – Video games have long been a part of mainstream culture, entertaining consumers on various consoles with popular games like Pac-Man and Mario Brothers to the virtual reality experience Lone Echo. To better understand how these modern-day video games impact society, Eastern Michigan University will host a panel discussion titled “Video Games and Narrative: How Virtual Worlds Move Us” to examine the cultural and political meanings of video games on Thursday, March 16, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the EMU Student Center Auditorium, located at 900 Oakwood St., in Ypsilanti.

“Playing video games is one of the most widespread daily cultural practices,” said Nataša Kovačević, English language and literature professor at EMU. “Yet, we rarely pause to think about what they do for us and to us. Video games often respond to whatever is happening in our world.” 

Game scholars and associate professors Aubrey Anable from Carleton University and Soraya Murray from the University of California, Santa Cruz, will demonstrate how video games should be approached as cultural narratives exploring real-world fears, conflicts, and dreams in imaginary landscapes. Additionally, they will address how various player personas enable new relationships, structures of feeling, and political meanings. The speakers will use visual images from video games and TV shows during their presentation, including the popular show The Last of Us and its relationship to the original video game.

The event, which appeals to literature lovers and video game players, will help attendees better understand the inner workings of video games.

“Attendees will learn about the messages that contemporary video games convey by considering a range of questions, including which characters get to speak and make decisions, how games reinforce or change people's understanding of race, gender, and sexuality and how we can reclaim video games—and gaming cultures—for feminist and queer futures,” Kovačević added.

The event is co-sponsored by the Journal of Narrative Theory, English Language and Literature, and Women’s and Gender Studies at EMU. Community members can view details about the event on the JNT Dialogue Facebook page. This event is free and open to the public and LBC-approved. 

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

March 08, 2023

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher