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War/Game: Studying Relations Between Violent Conflict, Games, and Play
by Holger Pötzsch, Philip Hammond
War and games are intrinsically connected. The present editorial maps the war/game nexus, locates the issue in academic discourse, and briefly introduces each contribution included in this special issue of Game Studies.
Contested Memories of War in Czechoslovakia 38-89: Assassination: Designing a Serious Game on Contemporary History
by Vít Šisler
This article investigates the possibilities and limitations of videogames in dealing with contentious issues from contemporary history; particularly the civilian perspective of war. It presents a serious game we developed, Czechoslovakia 38-“89: Assassination, and critically discusses the design challenges of adapting real people’s testimonies.
This Uprising of Mine: Game Conventions, Cultural Memory and Civilian Experience of War in Polish Games
by Piotr Sterczewski
The article analyses the representations of civilian experience of war in three Polish games depicting the Warsaw Uprising, focusing on relations between discourses of Polish cultural memory and dominant game medium conventions.
It’s Hard to Play in the Trenches: World War I, Collective Memory and Videogames
by Adam Chapman
This article explores the relation of WWI popular collective memory to videogames and thus their nature as a form for historical representation. Providing an overview of WWI videogames, it suggests that their lack of engagement with WWI popular memory is partly shaped by the pressures that the videogame form and its perceived cultural role entail.
“eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate”: Affective Writing of Postcolonial History and Education in Civilization V
by Dom Ford
This article considers Civilization V through a postcolonial lens. It problematizes the homogenous historical narrative the game creates, and analyses the player’s relationship with that history, while questioning the use of the series in education.
“Honestly, I Would Stick with the Books”: Young Adults’ Ideas About a Videogame as a Source of Historical Knowledge
by Kevin O’Neill, Bill Feenstra
Twelve Canadian university students played Medal of Honor: Frontline and were interviewed about how “realistic” they thought the game was. Our paper details the strategies players used to make this judgment, and attempts to explain why they thought of commercial videogames as less useful sources of knowledge about the past than any other media.
The Positive Discomfort of Spec Ops: The Line
by Kristine Jørgensen
The article is a study of how focus-group participants describe their experiences with playing the third- person military shooter Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment, 2012), and identifies three techniques used by the game to create a positive sense of discomfort.
Proving Grounds: Performing Masculine Identities in Call of Duty: Black Ops
by Gareth Healey
This article focuses on the ways in which adolescent boys use sexualized language and bragging to construct their masculine identities when playing Call of Duty: Black Ops (Treyarch, 2010).
Diversion Drives and Superlative Soldiers: Gaming as Coping Practice among Military Personnel and Veterans
by Jaime Banks, John G. Cole
This multi-method study explores military and veteran gamers’ self-directed coping through video games and avatars. Results suggest coping practices are associated with more general motivations for play, avatars support identity-related coping, and fantasy and skill motivations are uniquely tied to coping for those with chronic mental/physical conditions.
War, Games, and the Ethics of Fiction
by Lykke Guanio-Uluru
Drawing on Espen Aarseth’s discussions of cybertext and ludo-narratives, on rhetorical narrative theory and on Miguel Sicart’s conception of the ethics of computer games, this article analyzes the portrayal of war technology, the nature games and ethical responsibility in three popular fictions.