Mike Craig

Japanese Program

Mike tends to position his work at the intersections of visual culture, narratology, aesthetics, and video game theory. His dissertation examines Japanese Role-Playing Games of the late 1990s, exploring how the game industry’s shift towards a three-dimensional standard of game environment design resonates with the increasing complexity of human-world interactions depicted in popular media of the same period, most notably in the genre of sekai-kei. He is interested, in particular, in how the fractured narrative structures of such games—in which the private psychological struggles of tormented protagonists often force all other narrative considerations (ecological, ethical, social) completely out of frame—may complicate the prevailing tendency of academic video game theory to read 3D as facilitating the player’s seamless immersion in the ostensibly continuous optic depths 3D gaming “opened” to him/her in the 90s. Other interests include postwar fiction, the histories of psychology and modern philosophy, theories of the comic, and the portrayal of consciousness in the late novels of Natsume Sōseki.