“Smile If You Love Lemmings”. This is one of my favourite and most nostalgia-inducing songs from the video game Lemmings. Not to be confused with the small rodent called a Lemming, but we are talking about the 90s video game Lemmings.
As someone brought up in the world of video games and even games before my time, I remember playing games like Monkey Shines, Donkey Kong Country, Prince of Persia 2, and my personal favourite, Lemmings. While Monkey Shines scarred me for life, Lemmings was a video game that I look back on fondly.
If you don’t know anything about this game (which I assume most of you wouldn’t, unless you were alive in the 90s or had a cool parent who brought you up with it), the player must guide multiple characters called “Lemmings” through each level to the finish checkpoint with the smallest amount possible of them dying (you can’t save them all, unfortunately). The player can also assign individual Lemmings powers to aid in this quest; the climber, the floater, the bomber, the blocker, the builder, the miner, the digger, and the basher. The exploration and analysis of this gameplay are one of the ways Lemmings can be explored in the analytical framework of Ludology and Nostalgia.
Other aspects of the gameplay that could be examined could include the exploration of difficulty in Lemmings’ four difficulty modes, as well as looking at the nostalgia of the game’s music (this can be called Ludomusicology).
As the popularity of video games began to rise in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it would also be appropriate to look at the technology and hardware involved with Lemmings, which originally came out in 1991. The game was first released on Amiga by Psygnosis and later on other platforms such as PC (I played the game on a red iMac G3). It would be interesting to look at the various aspects of technology in my analysis of Lemmings.
The concept of nostalgia itself could also be explored in the analysis of Lemmings. While many individuals who grew up playing games such as Lemmings feel nostalgic when hearing about or playing these games again, a new fandom of gamers called “retro-gamers” is seeking out old games. It would be interesting to examine these different gamer groups in relation to Lemmings.
For this analysis of Lemmings to be relevant to the public, it would be interesting to conduct qualitative interviews or surveys about the game Lemmings from those who enjoy “retro gaming” and individuals who originally played the game back when it first came out. This data together with my own analysis of the game could be turned into a short video essay about retro games and nostalgia.
I found a website that would let me play Lemmings, so here’s a little compilation video of me reliving my childhood:
- Viglietta, G. 2012, Lemmings is PSACE-complete, Research Gate, viewed 6 August 2021, <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221667729_Lemmings_is_PSPACE-complete>
- History. 2019, Video Game History, History, viewed 7 August 2021, <https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-video-games>
- Madigen, J.2013, The Psychology of video Game Nostalgia, The Psychology of Video Games, viewed 7 August 2021, <https://www.psychologyofgames.com/2013/11/the-psychology-of-video-game-nostalgia/>
- Moore, C.2021, BCM215 Game Media Industries – Blog Assessment Guide, video, viewed 4 August 2021, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tHh_usVEB8>
- Illustration by Kyle Fewell, <https://readonlymemory.vg/the-making-of-lemmings/>
Blog Post Updated: 27th August 2021