Videogames and Global Power Inequalities

Videogames and Global Power Inequalities

May 23, 2021

Video games are a global phenomenon. As discussed on this website before, many Western made video games propagate certain tropes and prejudices about non-Western cultures and histories. Even though there is a large world of non-Western developers, they seem unable to challenge the Western-dominated field. Marcel Keurentjes analysed this inequality of power in video game development in his Master Thesis at Leiden University. This piece is a summarized version of his work.

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Understanding Alternative Histories: The Ethiopian Japaniser Movement

Understanding Alternative Histories: The Ethiopian Japaniser Movement

February 25, 2021

This fourth article in a series of deep dives into alternative historical depictions of Africa and Colonialism in video games focuses on Ethiopia. In its quest for modernisation, Ethiopia looked east to Japan and the Meiji movement. The Historical Flavour mod for Victoria II simulates Ethiopia’s development throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. How is the legacy of the Japaniser Movement represented?

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The Alternative History of Neocolonialism

The Alternative History of Neocolonialism

February 18, 2021

This third article in a series of deep dives into alternative historical depictions of Africa and colonialism in video games focuses on post-colonialism. The end of formal colonialism marked the beginning of neocolonialism. A Victoria 2 mod set in the Cold War simulates this with a system of economic spheres of influence. How does it affect Africa?

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Understanding Alternative Histories: Katanga

Understanding Alternative Histories: Katanga

February 11, 2021

This second article in a series of deep dives into alternative historical depictions of Africa and Colonialism in video games focuses on Congo. Following the independence of Congo in 1960 its southernmost province of Katanga broke away as its own republic, receiving heavy Belgian and mercenary support. A popular Hearts of Iron IV mod set in the 1960s depicts an alternative Katanga. How does it fare?

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Understanding Alternative Histories: Mittelafrika

Understanding Alternative Histories: Mittelafrika

January 28, 2021

This article is the first in a series of deep dives into alternative historical depictions of Africa and Colonialism in video games, primarily games by Paradox Interactive. In many popular Hearts of Iron IV mods, Germany controls large swathes of Africa as colonies. How would this colonial entity operate, and could it even exist the way it does in those mods?

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: A (mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: A (mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

January 25, 2021

We asked Liam McLeod to write a review of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for us. He’s one of our beacons when it comes to medieval England, so he’s bound to have some good opinions on the game. Liam mainly discusses the landscape and the larger narrative, so no worries about (big) spoilers!

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The Value of Alternative History

The Value of Alternative History

January 21, 2021

“What-if” history tends to get a bad reputation in the world of academia for being imprecise and subjective, yet the process behind making alternative history models for video game scenarios can be as complex as any proper research. How does alternative history benefit the gaming experience and how are these scenarios made?

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Recreating two of my 1994 homebrew games

Recreating two of my 1994 homebrew games

November 18, 2020

Martine Mussies presented at TIPCO2, where she told us a lot about Alfred the Great in video games. Martine also wrote a piece on the video games creations she made in her childhood, reflecting on how these are different than in adulthood.

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The advance of new idols: VTubers

The advance of new idols: VTubers

September 30, 2020

We will be taking a look at the interesting new world of VTubers; online entertainers in YouTube videos or streams, usually portrayed by anime-inspired characters. Where do they come from, what do they do and what can we expect from them?

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Unpacking an Age

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Unpacking an Age

July 3, 2020

With Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla just around the corner, Liam McLeod talks about historical accuracy in the game. But aside from pointing out what Valhalla got right and wrong, there is a lot more to unpack. How does Valhalla repeat nationalistic narratives? And should developers take more care with their histories? Liam touches upon all that below!

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Streaming the Past: Hamurabi

Streaming the Past: Hamurabi

February 28, 2020

On 28-2-2020 we will be or have been (Hellooooo, future people!) streaming the oldest video game set in the past. Like any cool piece of history it goes under many names: The Sumerian Game, King of Sumer, The Sumer Game, Hamurabi, HMRBI, HAMURABI, and Hammurabi. This game feels almost as old and foundational as the … Read More

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Exploring contemporary archaeology with The Last of Us

Exploring contemporary archaeology with The Last of Us

November 7, 2019

(Warning: This article is about the Naughty Dog The Last of Us, it contains narrative and ending spoilers) The Last of Us shows human society severely decimated by the  Cordyceps infection, a fungal pathogen that attacks insects but manages to jump onto human hosts. Metaphorical in nature the infected represent “the dying remnants of a … Read More

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An In-Depth Discussion on the Death of A Tree

An In-Depth Discussion on the Death of A Tree

August 6, 2018 It's summer, the season when gaming life can seem to go on uneventfully for days or weeks. However, sometimes things happen to shake-up these doldrums. Sometimes, it's a thing that ripples out from the game and makes its way to the news pages of the world wild web. If it has anything to do with [...] Read More