In this week’s bulletin, we discuss the Gaming Industry’s stance on Palestine, Empire of Sin mods, three (historical) tabletops, Lies of P, Valhalla Mohawk Language translated, Valheim hitting 6.8 million sales and the Streaming the Past launch!

The Gaming Industry and Palestine

I wanted to start this bulletin off with a piece on the humanitarian crisis in Palestine and the response of the gaming world. After the recent increase of violence by the Israeli government on the population of Gaza, many voices have sounded condemnation of the actions and shared ways to aid the Palestinan people. These voices were also heard throught the gaming community, for example from Kotaku, who vehemently oppose Israeli ‘borderline genocidal treatment’ of the Palestinian people. Less expected was the support by major gaming outlets IGN and Game Informer, who are not known for necessarily taking stances on humanitarian issues (in contrast to Kotaku for example). Both shared articles linking to different Palestinian charities and aid organisations, calling for help for the Palestinian. However, after a while, both posts were taken down (Kotaku).

It became clear that in both instances, the corporate businesses behind both sites intervened. Apparently, money is more important than aiding people in need. IGN’s editorial team, who were responsible for the post in the first instance posted an open leter in response to the takedown. The team was not informed of the takedown, which they call ‘highly disrespectful to much of its content team and broader staff.’ As well as being disrespectful of the editorial process at IGN, the editors stated that the takedown and the ensuing statements by IGN’s corporate made the humanitarian crisis ‘into a harmful case of “both sides”-ism.’ The posts mainly pointed towards organisations who provide aid to people in need, but seemingly that was too much for some corporate bozos. If you want to contribute to aiding the people of Palestine, check out the list Kotaku compiled. Also check out the video below by Tamoor Hussain, who brilliantly explains why and how we should help.

Video: Tamoor Hussain

Empire of Sin adding Mod Support

We like Empire of Sin, at least when we played it a while back. Even though some reviews were mixed (mostly because of the bugs at launch), it is a pretty good game. Well, it is getting better, because mod support is on it’s way! Coming in a free update called ‘The Precinct’ it will greatly increase the abilities to play. The update will also bring a new management feature. The devs have also released a big update patch (‘the Gangster Update’) mostly aimed at smooting out many bugs. Read more on Empire of Sin and it’s new upcoming content on Rock Paper Shotgun!

Video: VALUE playing Empire of Sin

Tabletop mega-piece

This is a bundle of pieces on tabletops and other cool board games. First of all: Gloomhaven sequel Frosthaven. Gloomhaven is a very popular RPG-in-a-box released in 2017, and is according to Polygon: ‘a game of Dungeons & Dragons that a group could play together for a year or more, where all the game pieces fit inside a giant 20-pound box.’ It’s sequel Frosthaven was funded through Kickstarter, with the $13 million raised making it the third most-funded project on the platform. The sequel itself will mainly narritively change, and remove colonial and racial undertones which were present in the first game (which is mainly applauded by players). However, developer Isaac Childres has stated that anyone who disagrees with these changes can get a refund (to quote Doc Random: ‘As the third largest Kickstarter ever, I am sure Childres has a significant ‘jar of f-off money”). Read more on Frosthaven on Polygon!

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/iO8AMMxTOdznOKhUqRmqJYzBNIA=/0x0:3000x2000/920x613/filters:focal(1056x567:1536x1047):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/69299324/chall_210405_ecl1083_0023.0.jpg
Image: Charlie Hall / Polygon

The second tabletop is Mosaic – A Story of Civilization, developed by Forbidden Games, the company behind the tabletops of Rollercoaster Tycoon and Age of Empires III. Currently in Kickstarter (but already funded), it allows players to be at the helm of an ancient civilization, and guiding them through the development of civilization (very 4X-like). It will feature many cards and figurines. Check out more at the Kickstarter or in this piece on Dicebreaker!

Video: Forbidden Games

The last tabletop is more about the idea, than about it’s actual link to the past. Called Life After Dungeons, it is centered around being able to play with characters from other RPG’s you’ve played, as they have died. Basically, you play a RPG with the characters who have died in other RPG’s (or at least, that’s one of the possibilities). Doesn’t that sound awesome? Also, it’s a pretty cool concept in itself. To quote Doc Random: ‘As it gives RPGs its own afterlife, a core feature of most human cultures since we started culturing’ Read more on Life After Dungeons on Dicebreaker!

Image: Rose Gauntlet Entertainment

Lies of P

This isn’t a gamified version of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, but a Souls-like game based on the story of Pinocchio! Like many Disneyfied stories, the actual story is way grimmer than the child-friendly version we all know. And Pinocchio’s original story is actually a good theme and topic for a Souls-like. It is set in the fictional city of Krat, in a Belle Époque (pre-WW1) setting. The city itself of course is a hellhole, it’s a Souls-like after all. The game will let the players customize Pinocchio’s body (how topical), with various uses for different parts. We’ll keep our eyes on this! Read more on Kotaku.

Video: IGN

Valhalla – Mohawk Dialogues translated

So BIG SPOILER WARNING, but the video below shows all the Mohawk (Kanien’kehá:ka) dialogues from Valhalla with the translations. In another awesome video by Access the Animus (who also decoded the Isu/Those Who Came Before-language), it shows all the translations for the dialogues, with some more additional information on the language and the games it appears in! A must watch.

Video: Access the Animus

Valheim sells 6,8 million, 1m more expected by July

More Viking stuff, and finally some more Valheim! This year’s (very) big hit conquered Steam. It sold 5 million copies in 5 weeks from it’s release into Early Access. At one point, it saw 500.000 concurrent players, making it one of the most played games on Steam. Even though the numbers have dropped drastically (to around 100k), Valheim keeps on selling, with an additional 1.8 million being sold until now, so that’s 6.8 in total (Eurogamer). The devs expect another 1 million copies to be sold by July, and of course are hoping for another massive influx of players when the first update, Hearth and Home will drop. When that will drop we don’t know, but we can’t wait to go back to VALUEheim!

Image: while we wait for more content, we must look in awe at this bust of David made by user Britzerland

Streaming the Past Launch!

You probably already saw it pass through one of the VALUE Channels, but yesterdaw was the launch of the Streaming the Past project! From Wednesday 26 May, we’ll have three very lovely students from Leiden University streaming some very awesome games live from our (amazing) studio with many fancy equipments! For the time being, they’ll stream evert Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 14:00 CEST until 17:00 (and we’ll also keep on streaming in the evenings of course)! We will also make a bi-weekly vodcast called ‘This week’s Past’, where Doc Random, Ymir and guests talk all about (historical) research. Check out more on www.streamingthepast.com!

Omar ‘oomzer’ Bugter is a recently graduated Cultural Historian from Utrecht University. Since interning at VALUE, he’s stuck around, mainly working on the Interactive Pasts website and the weekly streams. He wrote a thesis on Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and mods, so knows this game very well. He likes many other games, including F1 2020, Hearts of Iron, Mount & Blade and Crusader Kings III. He’s also still looking for a job, so tweet to him at @oomzer if you want to know anything about Civ or have a job for him.