Recent Posts

MOBA meta and the Muses: professionalism, performance, and meta-game discourse

Dec 03, 14 MOBA meta and the Muses: professionalism, performance, and meta-game discourse

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In a post in August, I opened a discussion of how analyzing the meta-discourse surrounding MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas) may help us describe the relationship between player-performance in these games and bardic performance in ancient epic in a more interesting way. The point of such an analysis is not merely be to...

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Beyond Trees: Tech Webs, ANTs, and Black Boxes

Nov 26, 14 Beyond Trees:  Tech Webs, ANTs, and Black Boxes

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Videogames have an amazing potential for modeling societal processes.  At the same time, videogames also embody the worldview of their creators on a procedural level.  As such, it is a rare thing when a game is able to move beyond popular understandings of the world and approach it from a new and interesting direction.  As...

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Commemoration, Video Games, and Remembrance Day

Nov 11, 14 Commemoration, Video Games, and Remembrance Day

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The last time I wrote for Play the Past (unfortunately, far too long ago), I examined Valiant Hearts: The Great War as an object of remembrance and commemoration and an excellent way to understand the First World War without glorifying the conflict or understanding the war in a “top-down” view. It understood the people...

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#GamerGate, The Great Cat Massacre, and Future Special Collections

Nov 05, 14 #GamerGate, The Great Cat Massacre, and Future Special Collections

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In a famous study of The Great Cat Massacre, historian Robert Darnton tries to figure out why a group of apprentice printers living and working on Rue Saint-Séverin in Paris “massacred” cats in the late 1730s. Read the following quote from his writing on the subject, but think about #gamergate in the back of your mind while you...

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Excavating Code: An Archaeological Record of Software Development

Oct 22, 14 Excavating Code: An Archaeological Record of Software Development

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been in the process of relearning C++.  Of course, saying that I am “relearning” is perhaps giving me too much credit, as it has been almost fifteen years since my first attempt at mastering the language.  While it shares a good deal of syntax with other languages I’m more...

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The Medium of Historical Simulation Games – Revisited

Oct 20, 14 The Medium of Historical Simulation Games – Revisited

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It’s a fine line between submitting useful information and indulging in shameless self-promotion, I know, but I hope the following will be of interest. I was catching up with PtP-er Rob MacDougall the other day and realized that very few people are aware I published an article in the History Teacher a couple of years ago on...

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Being Historical: How Strategy Games are Changing Popular History

Sep 24, 14 Being Historical: How Strategy Games are Changing Popular History

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« Those who study history are concerned with the occurrences of passed times; those who conceive time as history are tuned to what will happen in the future. » — George Grant, Time as History   When we play at History, are we playing the past, or the future? As players of history-themed games, we are often called to be...

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