In the late 1980s I was making paintings about computer games. In January 1991 I bought an Amiga computer and made a series of fictional videogame stills using Deluxe Paint II. I photographed them straight from the screen as there was no other way to output them that I knew of apart from through a very primitive daisy wheel printer where they appeared as washed out dots.
The effect of the photographs perfectly reproduced the highly pixellated, raised needlepoint effect of the Amiga screen image. Conceptually this means of presentation was also appropriate in that it made it seem like I had gone into a videogame arcade and photographed the games there, lending authenticity to the fiction.
Snapdragon is a puzzle adventure game about recreating photos on an abandoned island. Use the old photos to determine where they were taken and recreate them with your camera. The island has experienced many changes, so figuring out where the photo was taken will be a challenge.
The histories of videogames are so often contained with nostalgia for the screen, for the arcade, console, computer or game box design, and for the experience of playing itself. Various amateur photographs now archived on Flickr allow us to remember beyond the stereotypical, albeit iconic, imagery of Pac–Man and Space Invaders. The essence of play becomes captured in the photograph as a “collective memory” and “reflective nostalgia” for the places, times and actions inherent in the histories of the early 1970s and 1980s videogame era. It is through debating the so-often implied “reconstructed nostalgias” offered by videogame companies to consumers in their remakes of classic game titles that this paper explores “reflective nostalgia” of videogames by examining the role of photographs taken during the act of playing these games. In doing so it reframes 1980s videogame nostalgias beyond the “mediated space” of the screen, and moves instead towards the “play space” as another way of keeping these histories alive.