Kingdom Hearts as Digital Disneyland (with Anh-Thu Nguyen)

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Join With a Terrible Fate for a special podcast episode fully dedicated to explorations into the Kingdom Hearts series.

To many, Kingdom Hearts might initially appear to be a curious amalgamation. Its infamously complicated plot aside, the series stands out for its integration of original characters and Final Fantasy characters with the worlds and characters of Disney. In this episode, we discuss the work of our guest, media and video-game studies graduate student Anh-Thu Nguyen, who argues that Kingdom Hearts employs a tourist gaze by letting players explore a digital Disneyland.

We also join Dan Hughes in a discussion of his latest article on With a Terrible Fate, Understanding Xemnas in Kingdom Hearts II: a study in one of the most puzzling lines from the game's finale, which Dan believes sheds light on the game's themes of player agency and the plight of NPCs. We discuss the article itself, his philosophy of Kingdom Hearts, his analytical method, questions from his readership, and his plans for follow-up articles in the future.

(Spoiler warning for the Kingdom Hearts series.)

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