The Infinite Frontier: Imperialism, Frontierism and Nostalgia in World of Warcraft
Fukumoto, Beth Keiko
Arthurian legends, Westerns and science fiction have always had their place in the American imagination. Yet, Americans seem to cling most to the mythic hero in times of national crisis. Many scholars have observed that when America is in distress, Americans resort to a kind of nostalgia, dwelling on the imperial successes of the past when the present empire is waning. Today, amidst new fears and uncertainties, Americans are employing an entirely new medium as an outlet for nostalgia. Through Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), such as World of Warcraft, Americans can participate in colonization and empire building in online worlds. These games uniquely combine medieval legends, science fiction and Western motifs to produce ideal frontiers for exploration.Through online worlds, Americans can perform the imperialist activities they can no longer find an outlet for in the real world. In this paper, I combine previous scholarship on the role of the mythic hero in America, a close analysis of World of Warcraft and the culture it created shows how Americans use these spaces to cope with fears of displacement and decline.
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