Big Data: Endgame of Virtual History

Jun 01, 16 Big Data: Endgame of Virtual History

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This article is part one of a four-part series on the future of quantification in history. For the thematic introduction to the series, please click here.   At face value, it might appear to the casual reader of Play the Past, that the main focus of this blog is the treatment of historical experience in the medium of...

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Systems of Science: Games Shaping Cultural Perceptions

May 03, 16 Systems of Science: Games Shaping Cultural Perceptions

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Science and media have a complicated relationship.  Film and television crews regularly hire science consultants both to improve the realism of their productions and to give themselves an air of authority and respectability.  Scientists also have a vested interest in being involved in such productions.  Since most people invest...

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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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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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Social Construction of Technology in Games

Jun 11, 14 Social Construction of Technology in Games

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Technological development influences the way we live and interact with the world on a deep level.  Technological artifacts like computers and cars dictate how our society functions and how we relate to one another.  These influences are so pervasive throughout our everyday lives that it’s sometimes difficult to imagine...

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