Platforming the past: Nostalgia, video games, and A Hat in Time


  • Matt Griffin University of Iowa
  • Greg Loring-Albright Harrisburg University



1990s, Convergence culture, Mods, Nintendo, Steam


Research on nostalgia has shown how media texts can promote ideological visions of the past. The 2017 3D platformer video game A Hat in Time (AHIT) is a case study in this nostalgic construction of values in a contemporary, postmodern, convergence-culture context. The game's marketing and text discursively and materially construct AHIT as a continuation of video games from the 1990s and early 2000s in a way that creates a communal nostalgia. Fans have also used the game itself as a platform by creating a library of more than five thousand modifications, or mods, many of which are based on 1990s and 2000s texts; these mods allow the game to serve as a platform for postmodern remixes of nostalgic texts. AHIT shows how contemporary convergence culture and media platforms allow for communal, customizable nostalgia.