What one does in Dwarf Fortress is create a colony of an existing dwarven fortress – you’re always sent out as a team from a much larger existing stronghold elsewhere, and your foreign relations with other dwarves are limited to that particular fortress, on the whole. Even though your settlement is independent and self-governing, and the relations with the mother fortress mostly those of trade, the purpose of the game in all its open-endedness can be nothing other than to create oneself in the image of the previous fortress. In other words, fundamentally in Dwarf Fortress you reproduce the existing structure of dwarven society on a merely quantitatively expanded scale.
"The player in Dwarf Fortress fulfills the Durkheimian role of the collective mental structure and representation of society and its division of labor, whether religious or in some other ideological form, that makes possible the society itself as a totality and structures it."
"In fact, a sufficiently large fortress will obtain the right from the mother fortress to appoint a baron, who is purely parasitical and has correspondingly greater consumption demands still – and in fact, refusing to make this step towards the deepening of feudal relations (essentially corresponding to moving from the early to the high Middle Ages) on the part of a colony is offensive to the home fort!"
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