Florence Smith-Nicholls | Keywords in Play, Episode 25

“Keywords in Play” is an interview series about game research supported by Critical Distance and the Digital Games Research Association.
This epsiode we speak with Florence Smith-Nicholls about the paper “The Dark Souls of Archaeology: Recording Elden Ring” (https://arxiv.org/abs/2204.10949). Florence is a game AI PhD researcher based in London. They also work as a Story Tech, a member of the writers’ room at the indie studio Die Gute Fabrik. Building on their background as an archaeologist, they have contributed to the field of archaeogaming through experimenting with archaeological approaches to titles such as Elden Ring and Nier: Automata.

As a joint venture, “Keywords in Play” expands Critical Distance’s commitment to innovative writing and research about games while using a conversational style to bring new and diverse scholarship to a wider audience.

Our goal is to highlight the work of graduate students, early career researchers and scholars from under-represented groups, backgrounds and regions. The primary inspiration comes from sociologist and critic Raymond Williams. In the Preface to his book Keywords: a vocabulary of culture and society, Williams envisaged not a static dictionary but an interactive document, encouraging readers to populate blank pages with their own keywords, notes and amendments. “Keywords in Play” follows Williams in affirming that “The significance is in the selection”, and works towards diversifying the critical terms with which we describe games and game culture.

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Production Team: Darshana Jayemanne, Zoyander Street, Emilie Reed, Bettina Bodi.

Audio Direction and Engineering: Damian Stewart

Double Bass: Aaron Stewart

Transcription: Charly Harbord