Pastoral Videogames: Industry, Entropy, Elegy




Videogames, Farm Games, Elegy, Pastoral, Temporality


Pastoral videogames are popular and numerous. While existing scholarship on pastoral videogames tends to emphasise their complicity in the misrepresentation of agricultural labour and ecological processes, this article explores a range of more ambiguous, critical pastoralisms in videogames, including the counter-pastoral, the complex pastoral and pastoral elegy. In particular, this article is interested in analysing the progressivist temporal paradigm prevalent in the genre, a paradigm that incorporates an industrious, capitalist ethos glorifying work, expansion, and wealth accumulation. Through brief analyses of the videogames Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper, The Stillness of the Wind and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, this paper thus concludes that the most critically interesting engagement with the pastoral genre in videogames rests in pastoral elegy, especially the dark ecological kind elaborated by Timothy Morton, which overturns the progressivist paradigm by dwelling melancholically in decline, death, and dissolution.




How to Cite

op de Beke, L. (2021). Pastoral Videogames: Industry, Entropy, Elegy. Ecocene: Cappadocia Journal of Environmental Humanities, 2(2), 177–191.



Thematic Articles