Playing at Slavery: Modding Colonization for Authenticity

May 24, 12

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When Trevor and I started writing a series based on the 2008 version of Sid Meier’s Colonization, we knew that the issues we wanted to discuss were already controversial. Trevor’s initial post discussed the fervor with which bloggers reacted to the game’s release, and he argued that games about colonization should be offensive...

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Playing the Powerless in Videogames about the Powerless

Apr 17, 12 Playing the Powerless in Videogames about the Powerless

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In the 1993 afterward to The Bluest Eye (1970), Toni Morrison explains the origins of her devastating debut novel. It began in 1962 with an examination of racial self-loathing. “I focused,” Morrison writes, “on how something as grotesque as the demonization of an entire race could take hold inside the most delicate...

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The Limits of Playing the Powerless and the Doomed in Videogames

Apr 10, 12 The Limits of Playing the Powerless and the Doomed in Videogames

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In an unusually redemptive reading of the widely disparaged Atari VCS game E.T. (1982), Ian Bogost observes that the game perfectly (though perhaps not intentionally) captured the essence of Spielberg’s hit movie. “It was a film about alienation, not about aliens,” Bogost writes in How to Do Things with Videogames....

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The rules of song and the rules of myth: playing with dragons and other mythohistorical archetypes (rules of the text 2)

Feb 23, 12 The rules of song and the rules of myth: playing with dragons and other mythohistorical archetypes (rules of the text 2)

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George RR Martin titled A Song of Ice and Fire advisedly, I think, with reference to the bardic traditions of European culture that gave us also the Iliad, the Odyssey, Beowulf, and the Song of Roland among many others. As I’ve demonstrated, those bardic traditions worked like games. That we call them “oral improvisatory...

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Playing with World Religion: What Religion Means in Civ IV

Feb 16, 12

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Civ IV was the first, and at the moment, also the last of the Civilization games to include religion as a component in the games model of history. I imagine that the developers have always found themselves in a tricky spot. Clearly Religions have played a critical role in world history. With that said, how on earth could anyone come...

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