James Sweeting

PhD Student and Programme Leader/Lecturer

University of Plymouth

Transtechnology Research,
Portland Square Room B312
Drake Circus,
Plymouth, Devon,

Email: james.sweeting(at)plymouth.ac.uk




Short Bio

James Sweeting is a PhD student with Transtechnology Research investigating the hauntological form of videogames. This is supported via an understanding of nostalgia present across the medium itself and the relationship the industry has with the past.

He is the Programme Leader for MA Game Design in i-DAT and a lecturer in Game Studies. Also teaches on BA Game Arts and Design and BA Digital Media Design (Games Design) in partnership with Nanjing University of the Arts.

In addition, he is an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy, having attained recognition for meeting the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education.

Furthermore, he was previously deputy reviews editor and reviewer for Switch Player Magazine. As well as having written column pieces for Thumbsticks focusing on a range of aspects affecting the medium.

Also provides long-form book reviews for Leonardo Reviews.

Project Overview

The Impact of Nostalgia on Videogame Form (working title) 


Videogames are a rapidly advancing medium, yet one that is still misunderstood and under-explored. Videogames have progressed as a result of innovations in technology, but it is only recently that people have started to consider what they should do next.

Videogames for most of its existence been a technologically driven medium, but during the past decade (2005-2015) it was no longer the key motivator it once was. The impact of technological innovations still play an important role in the medium, but the extent of this impact is unclear. The disruption that I have identified and am unpacking with my research is the role that nostalgia is having upon the videogames medium and wider industry; and the subsequent influence upon the evolution of videogame form.

The aim of this project is to highlight the impact of nostalgia (positive and negative) as a strategic response to its ongoing development. Identifying why this response has come about and the cultural elements from different sides of the world that have contributed to the changing form that is now present. The intended benefit of this project is to provide justification of looking back towards the mediums past, but also outlining the benefits of utilising the medium to reflect upon the past and use it as a tool to inform future generations.

Selected Bibliography:

Sweeting, J. (2020) ‘How to Play Video Games edited by Matthew Thomas Payne and Nina B. Huntemann’, Leonardo. MIT Press – Journals, 53(3), pp. 347–348. doi: 10.1162/leon_r_01900.

Sweeting, J. (2020) ‘Vicarious Nostalgia and Authentic Depictions of the Past in Historical Videogames.’, The Present and Future of History and Games. University of Warwick.

Sweeting, J. (2020) ‘Star Wars after Lucas: A Critical Guide to the Future of the Galaxy by Dan Golding’, Leonardo. MIT Press – Journals, 53(2), pp. 233–235. doi: 10.1162/leon_r_01874.

Sweeting, J. (2019) ‘Authenticity: Depicting the Past in Historical Videogames’, in Transtechnology Research Reader 2018. Plymouth: University of Plymouth, pp. 62–83.

Morcom, J. and Sweeting, J. (2019) ‘Video Game Nostalgia’, Think: Digital Futures – 2ser, 17 September. Available at: https://2ser.com/thinkdigitalfutures/.

Sweeting, J. (2019) Relative Nostalgia and the Revival of Past Aesthetics in Videogames – The Arts Institute, Arts Institute. Available at: http://blogs.plymouth.ac.uk/artsinstitute/2019/08/28/relative-nostalgia-and-the-revival-of-past-aesthetics-in-videogames/ (Accessed: 26 September 2019).

Sweeting, J. (2019) ‘Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware by Dominic Arsenault’, Leonardo, 52(2), pp. 199–201. doi: 10.1162/leon_r_01727.

Sweeting, J. (2018) ‘Playback: A Genealogy of 1980s British Videogames Playback: A Genealogy of 1980s British Videogames by Alex Wade’, Leonardo. MIT Press – Journals, 51(2), pp. 201–203. doi: 10.1162/leon_r_01587.

Sweeting, J. (2017) ‘Atari to Zelda: Japan’s Videogames in Global Contexts by Mia Consalvo.’, Leonardo. MIT Press, pp. 213–215. doi: 10.1162/LEON_r_01390.