In this weeks bulletin, we discuss new games The Procession to Calvary and Radio General, a book about the early days of home computing, the sad death of John Conway, the new Keywords in Play podcast, free D&D content, the new Old World 4X game and an interesting article on game developers as public historians!
The Procession to Calvary out now
The point-and-click adventure game The Procession to Calvary is out now! The Monty Python-esque is built upon cut outs of Renaissance paintings, and lets you click through an adventure and solve puzzles. The game is filled to the brim with (dark) humor and satire, most often effective. However, not every joke can land, says Alice Bell of Rock Paper Shotgun. Bell wrote a review on the game, which you can read here!
Radio General review
Radio General was released last week. The strategy game takes us back to WW2, contrary to its counterpart from a different studio Radio Commander which was set during the Vietnam War. Radio Commander was released last year, but Radio General has been in development for a longer time (so they did not rip each other off). But as its counterpart, Radio General does not show you your units. As a general, tucked away in a cozy tent somewhere far away from the battlefield, you order your troops around using the radio. As well as the lack of information due to the radio communications, your units on your map will only move if you move them physically. This means constantly calling back and forth, asking for locations and giving orders. Tim Stone of Rock Paper Shotgun posted an extensive review of the game, and how it compares to its counterpart. Read it here!
Early home computing in images
Nowadays, we all own a computer. You might have a desktop PC or a laptop, and most definitively have a smartphone. And even though they have their differences, there is a general style to them: they all kind of look the same. In the early days of home computing, this was absolutely not the case. The book Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation by Alex Wiltshire and John Shorts dives deeper into the quirky designs of the early home computers. The Guardian also has some more cool pictures, which you can see here!
John Conway dies
Some sad news: John Conway, the inventor of the Game of Life, has died at the age of 82. The mathematician, known in the mathematical field for his classification of finite groups, had a broad interest and also worked on game theory. His most celebrated example is the Game of Life an early example of a cellular automaton: a simulation of cellular life. If you have no clue what any of this means, watch this video of Numberphile about the Game of Life (and more on John Conway).
Keywords in Play podcast
In a new podcast, called Keywords in Play, Critical Distance and the Digital Games Research Association deliver interviews with writers, thinkers, makers, and critics working with games in an approachable and conversational format, suitable for fans, players, and critical thinkers alike. The goal is to highlight research and work by graduate students, early career researchers and scholars from under-represented groups, backgrounds and religions. In the first episdode, they talk to Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. Elizabeth is an award-winning designer, writer, artist, and researcher who creates and studies Indigenous-led media such as games and comics. Listen to the podcast here!
Free D&D material!
The official D&D page is sharing free downloadable content every day, from Monday until Friday! In times where we all sit at home, the D&D team wanted to offer help, resources and advice for remote play. The daily content varies from new adventures for experienced players to coloring pages for children! Check more here!
Old World, an ambitious new 4X from Civ IV designer
Old World is a new 4X game, developed by Mohawk Games with Civ IV designer Soren Johnson. It visually draws from the Civilization Series, but definitely goes its own way. It adds a new narrative style, hundreds of events, personal stories of leaders and much more. The game will go into early access this summer. It will be an exciting time for those who like the Civilization Series, with Old World and Humankind being thrown into the mix! Read a more extensive overview of Old World on PC Gamer!
Are game developers public historians?
That there is an interesting combination between history and video games should come as no surprise; it is probably one of the reasons you are reading this bulletin. But to what extent are the creators of video games historians? Joanna Wojdon asks this question on the Public History Weekly Blogjournal. Most developers have little to no (academic) historical background, so how do they compare to the academics? Wojdon concludes her interesting article with the statement that developers do not have a professional identity as public historians, but do play the role of public historians. As a cultural historian myself, this conclusion leaves me with some intersting questions and thoughts: what does it mean to be a public historian? And, if developers are public historians, does this mean that people who play video games are this as well? The article provides some interesting perspectives, some food for thought, and is a good read as well. Read the whole article over here!