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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Plundering the Past: Historical Tech in the Science Fantasy RPG Numenera

Oct 23, 13 Plundering the Past: Historical Tech in the Science Fantasy RPG Numenera

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The cat’s meow in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) for the last several months has been Monte Cook’s Numerera. Set one billion years in Earth’s future during a time known as the Ninth World, Numenera is a Kickstarter-funded science fantasy RPG that embraces as its core concern one of the fundamental dynamics of most tabletop...

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Operation LAPIS: the CODEX

Apr 07, 11 Operation LAPIS: the CODEX

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In past posts, I’ve taken Play the Past’s readers through an overview of Operation LAPIS, a look at the collaborative immersion element, and an extensive explanation of the collection mechanic. This week I’m going to walk you through another key component of Operation LAPIS: the CODEX.   The superlatively engaging RPG’s...

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Science Grows On Trees: The History of Science and Technology Acording to Video Games

Oct 13, 10 Science Grows On Trees: The History of Science and Technology Acording to Video Games

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I think historians and sociologists of science might be surprised to learn that video game designers spend a considerable amount of time and energy building playable models of the history of science and technology. In game design circles these systems are commonly referred to as “Technology Trees“. Below is an example of...

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