A new intern has arrived at VALUE! You can expect articles from me, as well as appearances on Streaming The Past. I will also be holding a survey. But who am I even?
My name is Jurre Adelmund, although some of you might have interacted with me over at the Streaming The Past Discord server, where I am known as Tranurz. I am currently busy with a Master in English Language and Culture at Leiden University, and as a part of that I will do an internship at VALUE. While my major might not imply a direct link with VALUE, I wrote my Bachelor thesis on unreliable narrators in video games, and my Master thesis on historicism in games such as Nioh and Skyrim. I also did a minor in game studies and cultural analysis. It is safe to say games and their relation to our culture are a large part of my academic interests and passion.
Throughout my life I have played most types of games, from shooters, to racing games, platformers, visual novels, and sports games. As long as the game has something interesting to offer, I can probably be persuaded to play it. My interest in games started when I was relatively young, as my father got Star Wars Episode 1: Racer on our old Windows ’98. After playing the first two Diablo titles, I found my first historical games in Rise of Nations and Stronghold: Crusader.
Historically inspired games kept my interest throughout my life, as I found myself playing fantasy games with historical imagery, such as Skyrim, but also the Civilization, Age of Empires, and Assassin’s Creed games. But there was something else that took my interest too: how games tell stories. When I first played The Last of Us, I was awestruck with how far storytelling and realism in video games had come, while games such as Bloodborne show that video games can produce stories in ways other forms of media cannot. After coming across games such as Spec Ops: The Line and The Stanley Parable – and What Remains of Edith Finch, featured as the banner to this article – I became focused on what makes games unique as a storytelling medium. This led to my aforementioned Bachelor thesis, in which I argued that games offer a new form of unreliable narration, one where a player is in control of the narration.
This interest in games as a storytelling medium means that while VALUE largely focuses on how video games portray the past, I will also be focusing on how they handle stories. The worlds of narrative and history overlap, as histories, in a way, are interpretations and stories we tell one another of the past. I want to explore how video games tell stories, how realism is portrayed, and what sets games apart from other media.
In the coming months, I will be writing posts here on The Interactive Pasts about these topics, exploring how games tell stories and how this might impact us as players. The latter topic will be a focus of a survey I will be preparing and holding amongst a video game playing audience, as I want to know how gamers experience games that focus on narratives and/or realism, does such a focus worsen gameplay at times?
You will also find me as a co-host of Streaming The Past every now and then. I hope to chat with some of you there!