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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Rhythm Heaven, a Nintendo video game released in Japan in 2006 for the Game Boy Advance handheld portable video game console. An analysis of the physical, visual, and sonic properties of the game and the Game Boy console suggests how the game, on the one hand, abstracts and streamlines the physical act of dancing while, on the other hand, claims to reunite the millennial Japanese consumer with a fleshy, ideal body through disciplined rhythmic training. However, by juxtaposing the discourse surrounding the marketing of the game with individual users’ personal accounts of their experience that focus on the notion of play and domestic space, the chapter shows that video game play is hardly limited to an abstracted a “virtual” realm committed to producing homogenized bodies. Rather, the social interactions around Rhythm Heaven show how video game play is firmly rooted in physical space and direct and intimate or familial encounters for many of its users.

Keywords: Rhythm Heaven, Nintendo video game, Game Boy Advance, racialized ideology, Japanese bodies, moving onscreen objects

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