Banished: Towards a Playable Human Ecology

Feb 07, 17 Banished: Towards a Playable Human Ecology

Posted by in Articles

At first glance, Banished feels pretty familiar for gamers who grew up playing things like Age of Empires. You start with a small stock of supplies and a few workers standing around in the wilderness. Your task is to efficiently convert that wilderness into a late-medieval settlement. I was initially excited about Banished because...

read more

Colonialism, Privilege, and Meaningful Play in Dog Eat Dog

Apr 24, 13 Colonialism, Privilege, and Meaningful Play in Dog Eat Dog

Posted by in Articles

Game designer Liam Liwanag Burke describes Dog Eat Dog as a “fun, compelling game about colonialism and assimilation in the Pacific Islands.” That’s right – Burke created a fun roleplaying game about the inequality inherent to colonialism and its consequences. One player acts as the Occupation (all of it...

read more

Playing at Slavery: Modding Colonization for Authenticity

May 24, 12 Playing at Slavery: Modding Colonization for Authenticity

Posted by in Articles

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...

read more

if (!isNative()){return false;}: De-People-ing Native Peoples in Sid Meier’s Colonization

Mar 01, 12 if (!isNative()){return false;}: De-People-ing Native Peoples in Sid Meier’s Colonization

Posted by in Articles

In a previous post I asked if the game Colonization was offensive enough. That post explored my own experience playing the game as a way to think through what the game means and what it says. As a result of that post, Rebecca Mir, an M.A. candidate at Bard Graduate Center, worked up a rather extensive paper exploring some of those...

read more

Seeing Like SimCity

Jan 26, 11 Seeing Like SimCity

Posted by in Articles

Mark Sample recently posted a short talk he gave at the 2011 MLA, called “Criminal Code: The Procedural Logic of Crime in Videogames.” There is a lot in this little talk that’s worth reading. (I applaud Mark’s call for humanists to do close readings of code,  something we tried to do in my Digital History class last...

read more