Abstract Suominen Second Lives Of Digital Game Products


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Abstract Suominen Second Lives Of Digital Game Products

  1. 1. Second lives of digital game products Jaakko Suominen (University of Turku) The Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle, published news about “the Stingy-week” on their website last summer. According to the news, only 10 percent of old Finnish mobile phones are recycled. If all of two million recalled phones 1 were recycled, one could recover plastic, 30 kilos of gold, 600 kilos of silver and 20 tons of copper from them . The piece of news shows that aged mobile phones – as well as computers, game consoles etc. – have certain importance after their instant use value has been decreased. The phones themselves are not valuable as such, but they consist of materials that can be /recycled /and can be used to make novel products. The lack of interest for recycling that has been noted can also refer to other kind of revaluation. Even though large amount of rejected phones are just left in bins and cupboards, one could argue that for some people, those mobiles have “remembrance value”. This value, linked to the phones as the artefacts or container of important software such as games or personal data (SMS messages, digital photos and videos etc.), has had an effect on the decision to keep them. There is some sort of romantic or nostalgic valuation, which also can be observed from the perspective of personal histories of technology usage (so-called technobiographies, autobiographical texts written by users and collected by researchers). Valuing “old technologies” and some kind of digital cultural nostalgia are both generic and specific at the same time (see e.g. Ackland 2007). For instance, those user groups and actors, who re-use old videogames and collect hardware and software, emphasize reminiscence and digital nostalgia. In a wider sense, this phenomenon is part of a digital retro-culture, called retro-gaming, and has been studied and considered as an emerging mega-trend in digital game cultures (Newman 2005; Suominen 2008; Whalen & Taylor 2008). But how do people recollect their relationship with digital technology, particularly digital games? How do they describe this relationship? The presentation introduces forthcoming research project (2010–2012) called “Second lives of a Computer”, especially in the context of retrogaming and digital game nostalgia. The project examines values and cultural meanings of information technology (both hardware and software) in processes in which IT becomes outdated and obsolete. What types of individuals, groups, organizations and institutions create, shape, and use these meanings? The project combines research theories and methodologies from different perspectives: from cultural heritage studies and cultural history, STS field as well as from media archaeology and media studies. Diverse research material will be utilized as well: thematic interviews, online surveys (targeting primarily retrogamers, event producers, museum staff, computer professionals and IT-journalists), participatory observation, recycled ICT-products (including games and other software, computers and consoles, accessories etc.) and online material. References Ackland, Charles R. (edit.) (2007): /Residual Media. /University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London. Newman, James (2005): /Videogames/. Routledge, London and New York. Suominen, Jaakko (2008): “The Past as the Future? Nostalgia and Retrogaming in Digital Culture.” Fibreculture, issue 2 11 (digital arts and culture conference (perth) issue), 2008. Whalen, Zach & Laurie N. Taylor (toim.) (2008). /Playing the past. History and nostalgia in video games. /Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville. 1 http://yle.fi/uutiset/alueelliset_uutiset/varsinais-suomi/2009/04/_elektroniikkajate_paremmin_talteen_690169.html 2 http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue11/issue11_suominen.html