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Assassin’s Creed III

…entertainment products. As Ian Brown noted: “As game-makers use history to reach a wider audience, they undermine conventional history’s authority. This makes a lot of people very nervous.” Which raises the question: who gets to define how we “make” history, especially when works of historical fiction employ the services of professional historians?

Vincent Boutonnet, Marc-André Éthier and David Lefrançois (link to PowerPoint presentation) argued that Ubisoft marketing positioned AC games as a historical panorama to be experienced, as opposed to a history lesson learned from books. Erik Sofge at Slate also thought that history in AC3 should be understood as…

Kill Screen archive

…alone ever

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  • February-March Roundup: History

    Rest at ease friends of BoRT, the day of April Foolishness is another note in history. And like so much of the history that makes us we can (re)examine, (re)consider, and (re)interpret the story it tells us about who we are. Over the last two months, we had a great many reflections (without the brackets) on how games envision history and how games are a part of history. Settle in, and leave some notes for future generations looking over another edition of Blogs of the Round Table!


    Can Video Games Rewrite History?

    Although this video by the

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    Episode 38 – The Spawn of History

    …to a wider audience, beyond the confines of the academy. We talk about the insular nature of academia, the challenges of getting guests to come on to the show, as well as looking to the future of history-based games.


    History Respawned YouTube Channel

    History Respawned: Assassin’s Creed IV

    History Respawned: Diablo III

    History Respawned: Valiant Hearts

    History Respawned: Bioshock Infinite and the Boxer Uprising

    History Respawned: Uncharted 4

    Backwards Compatible: Gamers as a Public History Audience

    The History Respawned Podcast

    Hisotry Respawned Patreon

    Opening Theme: ‘Close’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

    Closing Theme: ‘Wishing Never’ by The Alpha Conspiracy

    This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2019

    …has started to become about selling ourselves as the product. We’re defining a new history by what we mean to videogames, not what they mean to us.

    History and Who Writes It

    Here’s a thing: What was the Great Videogame Crash of 1983? It’s usually posed as an important moment in (commercial) games history, but LeeRoy Lewin argued: important for whom?

    Here’s another thing: Where did the term “gamer” come from and who defined it? As Kate Willaert observed at A Critical Hit, our modern conception of “gamer” is mainly the product of advertising.

    The question of what is game…

    May 15th

    …a historical moment for games writing, with critics going beyond the rote reiteration of events of the past, instead approaching history as a way of complicating simplistic ideas about games as cultural objects. First, these pieces consider the history of games as spatial experiences.

    • Japanese Environmentalism, Shinto, & The Legend of Zelda | FemHype Kathryn of FemHype complicates the simplistic East vs. West juxtaposition that is used to discuss JRPGs, in an extremely valuable primer on Japanese religious history.
    • Controllers Control Everything | Game Maker’s Toolkit (video) The latest Game Maker’s Toolkit is a highly polished review of the

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2016

    …characters Clarissa and Alex as two people coping with the loss of a loved one.

  • Oxenfree, Memory and Public History | Play the Past – Christopher Sawula Christopher Sawula sees Oxenfree’s island as an example of how history is represented by our preservation of the past and how the errors can creep in.
  • The Witness

    • One Hand Clapping | LudoNarratology – Michael Clarkson Michael Clarkson says that art is not about that “One True Meaning™” and it would be a mistake to try find it for The Witness. He offers “a” possible meaning.
    • The Unbearable Now: An Interpretation…
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    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2018

    …Thomsen Michael Thomsen does some in-depth reporting on the unseen labor done on nearly every AAA game nowadays, done by supporting developers that are effectively doing the same type of work as the credited creative studio.

  • How bad crediting hurts the game industry and muddles history | Gamasutra – Richard Moss Richard Moss explains how the crediting of workers is inconsistent at best, arguing that the “flawed record of authorship” has a massive historical precedent, but also hurts our understanding of the medium’s history.
  • Company Abuses

    • 2018 will go down as the Year of the Bad Employer |…

    July 7th

    …what constitutes a history of games is a perpetually urgent one. The seven authors included this week each occupy different spaces in that question, but all of them, I think, share a desire to broaden our scope and attention to consider more overlooked and underappreciated voices, experiences, and methodologies.

    • The History of Games Could Be a History of What Play Felt Like | ROMchip Austin Walker describes, via Morrowind, why a comprehensive history of games must include experiential histories as well.
    • Outside of the Folder, the Box, the Archive | ROMchip Whitney Pow proposes a shift in curating games

    September 25th

    “Indie Play feels like the Chinese IGF, where game makers meet each other and the people interested in their craft. This event also helps game makers ask for guidance and help, in a country where laws and procedures can change at any moment.”

    The Iron Curtain

    Turning to the past, we look at games that portray the post-WWII era, each on different sides of the iron curtain.

    • L.A. Noire – History Respawned A new episode of History Respawned looks at LA Noire and the history of policing and racism in California.
    • The Tomorrow Children would fail a