Manufacturing Consent in Video Games

The Hegemonic Memory Politics of «Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain» (2015)




cultural memory, political economy, video games, postcolonialism


In this article I argue that the structural conditions of global capitalism and postcolonialism encourage game developers to rearticulate hegemonic memory politics and suppress subaltern identities. This claim is corroborated via an application of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s propaganda model to the Japanese-developed video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This case study highlights that the hegemonic articulations of colonial histories are not exclusive to Western entertainment products where instead modes of production matter in the ‘manufacturing of mnemonic hegemony’. I also propose that the propaganda model, while instructive, can be improved further by acknowledging a technological filter and the role of the subaltern. Thus, the article furthers the understanding of the relation between production and form in contemporary technological phenomena like video games and how this relation motivates hegemonic articulations of the past in contemporary mass culture.

Author Biography

Emil Lundedal Hammar, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

is a PhD candidate in Game and Memory Studies at the Department of Language and Culture at UiT The Arctic University of Norway under the supervision of Dr. Holger Pötzsch. He holds a in Games Analysis from the IT University of Copenhagen and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen. In 2016 he won first prize with a personal essay on the relation between being a citizen of a former slave nation of Denmark and playing contemporary digital games dealing with the 18th-century Caribbean slave system in the essay contest ‘Digital Lives’ organized by the Norwegian cultural organization Fritt Ord. He currently coordinates the international ENCODE research network at UiT and is part of the WAR/GAME research group. Together with Dr. Souvik Mukherjee, Emil also co-edited a special issue on postcolonial perspectives in game studies for the Open Library of Humanities. His research interests include game studies, memory studies, critical race theory, the political economy of communication, critical and materialist approaches to media, and postcolonialism.

Acknowledgements: Emil Lundedal Hammar would like to thank the reviewers and editors for excellent feedback and guidance.


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How to Cite

Hammar, Emil Lundedal. 2019. “Manufacturing Consent in Video Games: The Hegemonic Memory Politics of «Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain» (2015)”. Nordlit, no. 42 (November):279–300.

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