In this weeks bulletin, we discuss the Anno History Collection, how an AI is learning Diplomacy, Eurogamer’s Pride Week, the name Turok, Ghost of Tsushima, The Bryn Celli Ddu Minecraft Experience, the Flare Path Steam recommendations and of course a rundown of the Stratigraphs!
Anno History Collection Review
Last month, Ubisoft released the Anno History Collection. For €40 you’ll get four (already older) games: Anno 1404, Anno 1503, Anno 1602 and Anno 1701. Next to the base games you will also get all the extra content released for the games. Chris Wray of wccftech had a look at the games and explains if you should buy it. the conclusion: even though not much has been changed for the games apart from the resolution, they are parts of gaming history you don’t want to miss out on. The only real downside is the price, with €40 still being a hefty price for four older games. Read the whole review here!
DeepMind hopes to learn AI to cooperate in Diplomacy
While we have managed to learn AI how to win games, they often are of two player zero-sum games: two players enter, one wins and one loses. However, researchers of DeepMind, a company with a longre history of teaching AI to play games hopes to teach AI to cooperate by playing Diplomacy. the 7-player board game consists of more cooperation than conflict. With some very difficult stuff which I don’t understand, the company managed to learn the AI how to cooperate, with it’s win ratios improving over time. Read more on this amazing feat over at Venture Beat or read the original paper by DeepMind!
Eurogamer Pride Week
Last week, Eurogamer dedicated an entire week to celebrating Pride and the power of positive representations in games. It is important that we keep working on providing everyone with the tools to make video games inclusive for all. What lessons can we learn? Alayna Cole of Eurogamer wrote down seven, which you can read here! Short rundown: representation is improving, but we need larger numbers of representation and devs need to work diversifying their games early on. Furthermore, marginalised people do not exist to educate us (especially not for free): there is a lot you can learn yourself, or pay for when you ask diversity consultants questions. It is important to keep on learning so that we can make video games for everyone!
Hunting down the people who changed their names to Turok
If I say Acclaim Entertainment, you’ll probably think about Mortal Kombat and Burnout. The company indeed made those games, but also made a huge pile of not so famous games. To promote one of those not so famous games, Turok: Evolution, back in 2002, the company promised 500 GBP and a free Xbox for five members of the public who (legally) changed their names to Turok. Not surprisingly, there were indeed five people who changed their name. Connor Maker of VG247 wondered if those people could still be tracked down. Read this (quite amusing) feature on how the ludicrous PR-campaign worked, and how they might have altered the reality a tiny bit.
Ghost of Tsushima trailer
We are being hyped for Ghost of Tsushima, the action-adventure game which will be released on the 17th of July. The swansong of the PS4, it looks very promising and very cool. Watch the trailer below (even though it is not a gameplay trailer, it is too cool not to share)! If you’re lucky, you might even catch us playing the game in the future!
Archaeology and Gaming: The Bryn Celli Ddu Minecraft Experience
I don’t need to explain that Minecraft is an amazing place to play with history. You only have to watch one of our Minecraft streams (see below)! You can also sign up for an online talk by Dr. Ben Edwards of the Manchester Metropolian University on the recreation of the Stone Age site Bryn Celli Ddu in the game! Sign up here, and check out more by the Manchester Game Studies Network.
The Flare Path Steam Sale recommendations
You might have seen our Stratigraph with a rundown on the ongoing Steam Summer Sale. Whilst we focussed on the more expensive games, The Flare Path (by Tim Stone) on Rock Paper Shotgun has compiled a list of amazing games you can buy for less than 1.10 GBP (I’m not sure if it’ll translate to Euro’s, but it will be cheap nonetheless). The list contains jewels such as Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood. Check out the whole list here!
This week we posted two Stratigraphs! The first was about the now finished Middle Ages in Modern Games Conference. Over the course of four days, 33 papers were presented on Twitter. So if you’ve missed anything, you can still read the tweets! Our second Stratigraph was a rundown of our favorite games you could buy in the Steam Summer Sale. I’ve bought Civ IV and have gone down memory lane! Read our recommendations here. We also posted an in-depth article by Liam McLeod on historical accuracy and nationalist narratives in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Liam unpacks everything there is to unpack, it is surely a piece worth to read! If you, like Liam, have written an interesting article which you want to share? Please contact us so we can see if we can publish it on this website!