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
The premise behind Colonization has been controversial since the game’s inception. For those who are unfamiliar with it, Colonization puts players in the shoes of a European power and sets them loose to colonize the Americas. Originally released in 1994 an updated version of the game was released in 2008.
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.
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 blog
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’s
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.
Michelle Low is an educator with an interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Science background who spends her time outside of lecture rooms, tweeting and blogging about gaming and pedagogy, watching gameplay, and researching and writing about Ancient Egypt Reception Studies and archaeogaming. Imagine an alternate universe where Soviet Union, instead of