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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Big History: or the Curse of Storytelling in Human Knowledge

Apr 08, 15 Big History: or the Curse of Storytelling in Human Knowledge

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This article is the thematic introduction to a series on the future of quantification in history. To read the articles in the series click on the following links for part one, part two, part three, or part four.   Big Data is upon us, and it looks like it’s here to stay. Has Plato’s old dream of bias-free...

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Prison Tycoon: the Broken Promise of Simulation

Apr 23, 14 Prison Tycoon: the Broken Promise of Simulation

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This article is part 1 of a 2-part series on prison management games, and the controversies surrounding them. You can read the introductory remarks for the series here.   Apparently, Prison Tycoon isn’t much fun to play. “Apparently”, because even though I’ve played it myself, I wasn’t seeking entertainment. In fact,...

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Prison Sims: Birth of a Controversy

Apr 16, 14 Prison Sims: Birth of a Controversy

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N.B. This post is an introduction to an upcoming two-part series on prison management games, and the controversies surrounding them.      It’s a fair question to ask: are prison management games any less controversial than your average violent video game? Or any opus from the Grand Theft Auto family, for that...

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Playing at Slavery: Modding Colonization for Authenticity

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

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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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