Gone Home is a videogame that uses storytelling specific to the ‘affective materiality’ of its medium to produce a sense of responsibility for the player, reinforcing their affective investment in the storyworld. The game employs this affective materiality for political ends – to create empathy for the queer sister of its protagonist – by placing it within a recent but unsympathetic historical moment. Gone Home understands nostalgia as a way to recognise the positive and negative elements of the past, and then reflect on them in order to take action for a better future. It uses nostalgia in this mode to highlight the differences in how progressive the western world is in treating LGBTQIA+ youth: through their own decisions, the player gets to know two young women as they come to terms with their sexuality and identities against a backdrop that is even less welcoming to difference than today. The historical and political engagement of the videogame resonates with attempts by museums ‘to educate or otherwise influence how people understand and use the past to understand themselves and others’, through embracing the links between recollection, affect, emotion and empathy.
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 2016, pp. ? - ? (13)