Welcome to Play the Past

Nov 17, 10 Welcome to Play the Past

I’m very happy to welcome everyone to the official launch of Play the Past – a project that has been brewing under the radar for longer than I care to admit.  At its core, Play the Past is a collaboratively edited and authored blog dedicated to thoughtfully exploring and discussing the intersection of cultural heritage (very broadly defined) and games/meaningful play (equally broadly defined). Play the Past contributors come from a wide variety of backgrounds, domains, perspectives, and motivations (for being interested in both games and cultural heritage) – a fact which is evident in the variety of topics we tackle in our posts.

It is very important to note that Play the Past isn’t just about digital games, its also about non-digital games (boardgames, tabletop games, collectible card games, etc.), alternate reality games (ARGs), barely games (a term originally coined by Russel Davies – no, not the Doctor Who Russel Davies – and built upon by our very own Rob MacDougall), and playful mechanics (or “gamifying” as its been recently called).

We are also very interested in exploring the spectrum of approaches to games – from the more “philosophical” (as some might call it) games studies side of things, to the more practically applied serious games/meaningful play side of things (and just about everything betwixt and between).

Play the Past will be publishing content regularly 2-3 times/week.  One of the best way to keep up with posts and news is to follow us on Twitter (@playthepast).

Its also super important that we give credit where credit is due right off the bat.  One of the greatest inspirations for Play the Past comes directly from  ProfHacker.  You can see the fingerprints of ProfHacker all over Play the Past.  From the way we do business behind the scenes to our commenting and community policy (which is pretty much shamelessly lifted verbatim from ProfHacker).  This is no great surprise as I (Ethan Watrall – Play the Past’s editor) was in the first batch of ProfHacker writers (and was incredibly inspired by ProfHacker’s runaway success).  In this regard, we are extremely grateful to ProfHacker – and particularly ProfHacker’s two Editors: George H. Williams (@georgeonline on Twitter) and Jason B. Jones (@jbj on Twitter).

Its also worth staying at this stage of the game that we’re always looking for new contributors (either on a regular basis or as a “one shot” guest author).  If you think you have something to contribute, we’d love to hear from you.  Drop us a line here and tell us a little bit about yourself and how you might contribute.

In the meantime, have a look around at the site’s existing articles.  Its also worth checking out our Authors and reading up on our Commenting Policy.

You should also consider this post an open thread – introduce yourself and tell is why you are interested in games & cultural heritage.  This thread is also a great opportunity to tell us what would you like to see on Play the Past?


  1. Congrats on the launch! Bonus to see so many Canadians and people working in Canada involved! 🙂

  2. Ethan Watrall /

    Thanks Marty, appreciate it

  3. Congratulations on the launch and on deciding to tackle gaming history from such a truly unique perspective. Best of luck!

  4. Congrats on the launch. I’m interested in the growth and adaptation of cultural heritage across many fields and this project looks like a great way to engage diverse audiences with broad interests. I wonder if you consider many of the recently developed webapps to fit into the games/play category (lookbackmaps.net for instance). Will be following your progress!

    • Ethan Watrall /

      many thanks for your kind words re: the launch. As to your thought about web apps – yes! We are just as interested in playful mechanics (or game mechanics) used in “traditional” cultural heritage apps as we are in “traditional” games.

  5. Congrats on the launch, always good to see well informed spaces for talk about games/play/etc. Looking forward to reading, commenting and maybe dropping a contribution in if the time is right.


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