The Title Screen from the game Stardew Valley

This is a guest post by Alvina Lai. Alvina holds an MS in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute, and a BFA in Photography and BA in Creative Writing from The New School. Their writing appears in The Mary Sue, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the NYT’s “Metropolitan Diary”; allContinue Reading

Since its founding in 2010, Play the Past has had the good fortune of hosting many enriching and far-ranging discussions on the intersection of history, cultural heritage, and games. In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we published this last November a brief account of the origins of Play the Past.Continue Reading

We discussed Ethan Watrall’s foundational role in The Story of Play the Past, with regards to the Play the Past website, and community. Because of the demands and responsibilities incumbent to his role as Play the Past founder and manager—not to mention his academic career—Watrall’s writerly contributions on the blogContinue Reading

Ten years ago to this day, on November 17, 2010, Ethan Watrall officially launched a new blog, “Play the Past“, dedicated to a small community of scholars and enthusiasts, seeking an on-line venue to discuss ideas about the new culture of “gaming history”. Hosted by Watrall at Michigan State University’sContinue Reading

LUNA Library Book

This article compares LUNA’s in-game library to real-world libraries and examines the influences of real-world library design in the game. I also discuss the puzzle and how it turns the player and characters into various library roles and librarian models, such as patron, reference desk librarian, and roaming librarian. Finally, Lai discuss the trope of the magical library, and how this trope allows audiences to appreciate the library as a place of mystery, as well as place of knowledge.Continue Reading

Cards from the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

The analogy is imperfect, but if we compare that difference in progression style between the epics to the different kinds of scenario deck(s) in the LCGs, and the difference among books (really, more properly, oimai [‘threads’]) within the epics to the different mechanics in each game among differing scenarios, the broad shape of a comparison begins to appear. Continue Reading

Cards from the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

The LCG’s unique way of doing epic — that is, of allowing its player to perform their own recomposed elaborations of the storyworlds’ narrative materials — stems from the nexus of the ludic and the narrative to be found in these scenario-making cards. There’s a deceptively simple comparison to be made with what we know as the books of the Iliad and the Odyssey, which almost certainly originate in individual songs that a bard might have sung on a given occasion.Continue Reading

Distorted takes on indigenous culture and experience abound in games – some egregious, others more subtle. As we will see, some developers even strive to challenge colonialist assumptions; yet, many of the design and narrative choices they make remain problematic. Challenging these blinders will require a new set of game development practices, based on direct collaboration with indigenous developers.Continue Reading