My doctoral thesis looks at what I call “Anthropocene temporalities” in video games in order to understand a new structure of feeling particular to these times, characterized by a sense of protracted crisis, anxiety over the future, apocalypticism as well as techno-futuristic hope. This structure of feeling emerges from the realization that human history is tangled up with earth history, which anthropogenic climate change makes abundantly clear.
My thesis moves through a range of different game genres from god games and civilization simulators to experimental art games. In my analyses I look for the construction of temporal affects, for instance anxiety, petro-melancholia, a preoccupation with death, failure and extinction, as well as techno-futuristic hope. My research then grounds these affects in larger cultural contexts, asking what kind of experiences video games generate that are tapping into the cultural and political insecurities of the Anthropocene. This research is part of a larger interdisciplinary project called Lifetimes: a Natural History of the Present.