Historical Contextual Gaming

(The reblog attempt from didn’t work so I thought I’d just re-post it here.)
The playing with history series is made up of two videos, posted on YouTube, looking at history-based video games. I love these kinds of games and was playing CivVI when first thinking about this project. I got to thinking… why are these games so great and how do they fit into so many genres? Soon the idea for a video about history games emerged and as I was encouraged to step out of my comfort zone I chose to do an animation.

When it comes to background research I found that there was an enormous amount of content on the topic. I was able to find academics and websites talking about these games, their structure and their utility. I utilised my own research (references in DA post) and articles, videos and stories provided by people who commented on my pitch. When deciding how to structure the two videos I read thesquaad comment on my Pitch. It said, “I’d encourage you to first adopt a structuralist approach when investigating the history of historical video games and then shift your focus to the implications of such games.” From this, I decided to do two videos.

The first video focuses on a structuralist approach to historical video games. The first video was when I first noticed I wasn’t going to reach my originally planned “15-20 minutes per video”. With the first script only going for about 7 minutes, I realised that this would actually be ideal as the videos will not be too laborious to make or watch. Despite this, animating the videos took longer than expected. The first video looks at what makes historical video games different from the rest. I found that it had everything to do with the setting. This resulted in a structuralist discussion of the importance of setting in video games.

The second video adopts a post-structuralist approach and looks at the implications of these games. I do this through a discussion of their utility. I discuss how these games help us remember the past, educate people about history and entertain people. Each of these points were supported by my background research. This research support also came from feedback in my pitch. Maihdang informed me about Mehmet Sükrü Kuran at Abdullah Gul University in Turkey which I was able to integrate into this second video as a tangible example of the games’ utility.

The DA’s utility is easy to define. I am seeking to inform people about this topic in an engaging and interesting way.

The project’s success is harder to assess. Youtube is a deep hole filled with content that may or may not even surface. As “the top 3 percent of YouTube channels get 90 percent of the traffic” time will tell if my animations emerge at all. This is a major limitation of using youtube. Another limitation is my amateur animation ability. As this is only my second ever attempt at making an animated video my skill (or lack of) may bring down the overall quality of my DA.

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