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APOTHEON: The Action Hero at the Heart of Greek Myth

Feb 18, 15 APOTHEON: The Action Hero at the Heart of Greek Myth

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 The hero is he who is immovably centred – Ralph Waldo Emerson     If I had to explain Apotheon to someone who doesn’t play video games, I’d say this: “imagine the figures of ancient Greek vase art, come to life…” This pithy description seems to best fit the game’s concept, and the childlike sense of...

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HullCraft: Using Minecraft and Archives for Learning about the Past

Dec 18, 14 HullCraft: Using Minecraft and Archives for Learning about the Past

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The following is a guest post from Hannah Rice, a digital heritage specialist with an architectural history and computer games background. Hannah’s MSc dissertation was on computer games and architectural history engagement. Hannah is currently working in the archives at the Hull History Centre, in Kingston upon Hull, UK....

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Valiant Hearts, The Great War, and The Shaping of Historical Memory

Dec 10, 14 Valiant Hearts, The Great War, and The Shaping of Historical Memory

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The following is a guest post from Christopher Sawula an Early American Historian of Class, Society, and Culture. CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alabama. You can find him @CGSaw on twitter. Valiant Hearts is the only war game I would ever teach students as a historical text. Focusing on the emotion and personal...

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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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