Video Games, History and High Culture



 History, games, and technology


Languages, writing, informatics, databases, artificial intelligence—how does technology influence and connect the development of historical studies with game design, and viceversa? Do science and technology shape historical movements, or is it the playful nature of humans that drives research and techno-scientific transformation, stemming from an inherent desire to be protagonist in the flow of time?



 Mechanics and mechanisms of history and games


What mechanics and mechanisms unite History and Ludus, and what sets them apart? Is it possible to employ games to teach history? Is it possible to interpret history through game design theories? Can we establish a video ludic methodology? And what are our thoughts on the Ludic History manifesto?



 Historia Ludens’s stories


In the captivating introduction to Marc Bloch’s The Historian’s Craft, Jacques Le Goff emphasizes how historical research, particularly within its vast and vivid narratives, is engaging, poetic, and rich in inspiration for both the researcher and the ‘spectator’ who is willing and able to grasp them. This narrative power, which has created and continues to create significant opportunities for expanding and deepening our knowledge, is now facing the challenges of the formation of individual and collective identity and memory. Precisely at the intersection between history and ludus, within the multifaceted realm of video games, such narrative power is evolving into a fragmented, emotional ‘post-truth eternal present’, where it seems almost mandatory to erase every historical intricacy from the perception and interpretation of past, present and future realities. In an era in which we are overwhelmed by countless infowars and socio-economic-political narratives, all strategically constructed to win in a massive ‘attention economy’, how can historians and game designers navigate this systemic chaos and collaborate in crafting ludonarrative pathways that allow to understand the significance of historicizing human phenomena?



 Aesthetic, history, and games

Games and video games have long been reconstructing historical settings, more or less accurately, or have been drawing inspiration from those to create imaginary civilizations. The Art Game operates on multiple levels, representing, analyzing, depicting, creating, setting apart, and blending perspectives and perceptions of life, death, and material reality, spiritual and oneiric realms, rationality, and irrationality. Within an ever-shallower cultural framework of human history, the aesthetic of games, video games, and ludic narratives in serial entertainment run the risk of merging and mutually erasing each other, partly due to the limited space in users’ memory. Do games, video games, and art, besides coexisting and intertwining, naturally contribute to this inevitable process of chaotic deconstruction of our perception of time? Can historians and game designers influence the development of these trends?




“Videogames History and High Culture” is created as part of APULIA DIGITAL EXPERIENCE 2023 - Digital Productive Hub intervention using resources from the 2018 Special Culture Fund of the Puglia Region.