Home > Uncategorized > When Games about the Past Trouble the Present: Games and History, Accuracy, Equity, Representation, and Reality

When Games about the Past Trouble the Present: Games and History, Accuracy, Equity, Representation, and Reality

Over the past few months I have been mulling over some ideas for a set of talks I’m giving in the winter and spring for students, teachers, and parents on historical video games and gameplay as historying, the ways they represent the past, and the importance of a critical perspective.

As part of this, I’ve just started gathering, for my own research, articles written online about historical video games with interpretations and assumptions about the past that cause controversies and issues for present day gamers.

Disclaimer: I have not read most of these articles yet, but my criterion was basically longer form analytical essays (as opposed to news reports)of historical games that portray the past in controversial ways for the present. The current batch ranges from the diversity of people in past societies, to the portrayal of certain political, social groups, and/or cultural groups to the representation of nuclear weapons. I’m barely scratching the surface here and would love to update this with more articles and links (send me anything you think would fit the bill)

Bias Disclaimer: I stand for equity, inclusion, compassion, respect, and decency. My selections hopefully reflect that.

Analytical Essays

Amr Al-Asser, Waypoint, What Games Get So Wrong About Egypt, ‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Gets Right

Colin Campbell, Polygon, Why gaming’s latest take on war is so offensive to Russians

Kabir Chibber and Quartz, The Atlantic, Let Them Play Assassin’s Creed?

Justin Clark, Paste, Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos: Assassin’s Creed and the Power of Representation

Tom Dawson, Ontological Geek, Human Resources

Matthew Gault, Motherboard, Nuclear War Experts Are Horrified by ‘Fallout 76’

Jordyn Lukomski, NYMG “Accuracy” vs Inclusivity: Women in Historical Games

Alec Meer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Yes All Men: Assassin’s Creed Bro-op Controversy Escalates

Reid McCarter, Unwinnable, Kingdom Come: Deliverance – Myth-making and Historical Accuracy

Kirk McKeand, PCGamesN, Videogames’ portrayal of the Holocaust does a disservice to both players and victims

Miguel Penabella, Haywire,  Opened World: On the Margins of History

Miguel Penabella, Haywire,  Opened World: The Horror of History 

Eugen Pfister, Public History Weekly, “Of Monsters and Men” – Shoah in Digital Games

Robert Whitaker, Eurogamer, Rockstar’s history of America

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, The Daily Dot, Is a medieval video game historically accurate without people of color?  (warning: this article quotes a number of pretty hateful and disturbing tweets).

Rob Zacny, Waypoint, Watching History Fade Away in ‘Call of Duty: WWII’

Felix Zimmerman, Ontological Geek,  Wandering between worlds – Disguise as an act of liberation in Assassin’s Creed: Liberation 


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