Playing with the Past: Digital Games and the Simulation of History

Playing with the Past: Digital Games and the Simulation of History

by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell, Andrew B.R. Elliott

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Overview

Game Studies is a rapidly growing area of contemporary scholarship, yet volumes in the area have tended to focus on more general issues. With Playing with the Past, game studies is taken to the next level by offering a specific and detailed analysis of one area of digital game play -- the representation of history. The collection focuses on the ways in which gamers engage with, play with, recreate, subvert, reverse and direct the historical past, and what effect this has on the ways in which we go about constructing the present or imagining a future.

What can World War Two strategy games teach us about the reality of this complex and multifaceted period? Do the possibilities of playing with the past change the way we understand history? If we embody a colonialist's perspective to conquer 'primitive' tribes in Colonization, does this privilege a distinct way of viewing history as benevolent intervention over imperialist expansion? The fusion of these two fields allows the editors to pose new questions about the ways in which gamers interact with their game worlds. Drawing these threads together, the collection concludes by asking whether digital games - which represent history or historical change - alter the way we, today, understand history itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623568245
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date: 10/24/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Matthew Wilhelm Kapell has graduate degrees in biological anthropology and history as well as a Ph.D. in American Studies. He has published on genetics, urban history, African colonial history, as well as four books in film and television studies and has taught extensively in the United States and Great Britain.

Andrew B.R. Elliott is a Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lincoln, UK, where he teaches cultural studies, media studies, history, film, and television. He is the author of Remaking the Middle Ages (2010) which concerns itself with authenticity, violence, and a semiotic reconstruction of the medieval period.
Matthew Wilhelm Kapell teaches American Studies and Humanities at San Jose State University, USA. He has graduate degrees in biological anthropology and history as well as a Ph.D. in American Studies. He has published on genetics, urban history, African colonial history, as well as four books in film and television studies and has taught extensively in the United States and Great Britain.
Andrew B.R. Elliott is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lincoln, UK, where he works on the representation of history in film, television and video games. He has published a range of articles and essays on historical film, television and video games from the classical world to the present. He is the author of Remaking the Middle Ages (2010), which analyses medieval cinema, and he is the editor of Playing with the Past (2013; co-edited with Matthew Wilhelm Kapell), which examines the depiction of the past in video games, and The Return of the Epic Film (2014), which examines the return of the sword and sandals epic in the cinema. His latest book, Medievalism, Politics, and Mass Media (2017), explores the uses of the past in social media and mainstream news reporting.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1. Introduction: To Build a Past that Will “Stand the Test of Time”: Discovering Historical Facts, Assembling Historical Narratives, Andrew B.R. Elliott and Matthew Wilhelm Kapell

Part I: History as a Process: Teleology, Causation and Technological Determinism
2. The Same River Twice: Historical Representation and the Value of Exploring Societal Concepts in the Total War, Civilization, and Age of Empires Franchises, Rolfe Daus Peterson, Andrew Miller and Sean Joseph Fedorko
3. What is “Old” in Videogames? Dan Reynolds
4. “Affording History”: Applying the Ecological Approach to Historical Videogames, Adam Chapman

Part II: History written by the West: Self, Other and Non-Western History
5. Phantasms of Rome: Video Games and Cultural Identity, Emily Joy Bembeneck
6. Modeling Indigenous Peoples: Unpacking Ideology in Sid Meier's Colonization, Rebecca Mir and Trevor Owens
7. Dominance and The Aztec Empire: Representations in Age of Empires II and Medieval Total War II, Joshua D. Holdenried with Nicolas Trépanier
8. From History to Literature to Game: Three Kingdoms and the Cultural Significance of Asian History, Hyuk-chan Kwon
9. Falling in Love with History: Japanese Girls and Otome Games, Kazumi Hasegawa

Part III: User-Generated History: Realism, Authenticity and the Playable Past
10. Selective Authenticity and the Playable Past, Andrew J. Salvati and Jonathan M. Bullinger
11. The Promise of Simulation: Realism, Authenticity, Virtuality, Josef Köstlbauer
12. Modding the Historians' Code: Historical Verisimilitude and the Counterfactual Imagination, Tom Apperley
13. Modding as Historical Reenactment: A Case Study of the Battlefield Series, Gareth Crabtree

Part IV: The Politics of Representation: Authenticity and Realism
14. Historical Veneers: Anachronism, Simulation and History in Assassin's Creed II, Douglas N. Dow
15. Air Power vs. Processing Power: Technology and Narrative Possibilities in WWI Video Gaming, Andrew Wackerfuss
16. Videogames in the popular Culture of Remembrance of the Cold War: A Case Study of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Clemens Reisner
17. Refighting the Cold War: Video Games and Speculative History, Marcus Schulzke

Part V: Looking Back on the End of the World: History as Utopian Possibility
18. Strategic Digital Defense: Video Games and Reagan's 'Star Wars' Program, 1980-1987, William M. Knoblauch
19. Fallout and the History of Yesterday's Impossible Tomorrow, Joseph A. November
20. History Out of Time: Fallout's Ironic America, Tom Cutterham
21. The Historical Conception of Biohazard in Biohazard, Robert Mejia and Ryuta Komaki
22. The Struggle with Gnosis: Ancient Religion and Future Technology in the Xenosaga Series, Erin Evans
23. Conclusion: Playing at True Myths, Engaging with Authentic Histories, Matthew Wilhelm Kapell and Andrew B.R. Elliott

Index

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