History Respawned
February 28, 2015 12:26 PM   Subscribe

History Respawned is a show where historians consider historical video games - like Papers Please, Diablo III, Assassin's Creed Unity and Wolfenstein: The New Order - with host Bob Whitaker, a history PhD and professor from Dallas, Texas.
posted by Foci for Analysis (11 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Diablo III?

I am excited to hear about the historiosity of angelic swords falling from the sky and upsetting the native goat-men.
posted by rifflesby at 12:40 PM on February 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


Yeah I was a little surprised by the Diablo entry but they use it as a springboard to discuss the actual history and evolution of pagan and Christian cultural views on demons and angels. Pretty interesting!
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:47 PM on February 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the alien invasion in the X-Com video.
posted by Splunge at 1:21 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


It might sound silly to discuss the historical context of fictional Arstotzka, but it is actually an excellent jumping off point for a discussion of the myths and realities of life in the later years of the eastern bloc.
posted by Winnemac at 1:22 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ooh, this sounds really neat.

And yeah, as silly as it may seem to talk about the historical context of made-up video game settings, it's worth remembering that they're written by humans and human writers tend to work from a context of what they know or have studied. We're accustomed to looking at both fantastical lit and genre fiction as drawing on analogues to and metaphors about historical events; it shouldn't be surprising that that still pertains when the medium changes.
posted by cortex at 1:42 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


We're accustomed to looking at both fantastical lit and genre fiction as drawing on analogues to and metaphors about historical events; it shouldn't be surprising that that still pertains when the medium changes.

Indeed. Fantasy andScience Fiction, in almost all cases, need to be firmly rooted in the real world -- people need to behave more or less like people, societies need to behave more or less like societies, and so on. Even in a more or less context-free shooter, you expect the game physics to work more or less like the real world except where they are obviously suspended. Otherwise you get to a point where, if anything can happen, it doesn't really matter what happens.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:53 PM on February 28, 2015


I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the alien invasion in the X-Com video.

Where's that video? I don't see it on the youtube channel.
posted by ersatz at 3:14 PM on February 28, 2015


I went to the channel looking for the same thing, ersatz. Then after not finding it, I thought, ah, a roundabout joke on the Diablo III video. You got me, Splunge. Good one! :D
posted by snwod at 5:33 PM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


This must be the antidote to the 'Let's Play' genre.
posted by Evstar at 8:14 PM on February 28, 2015


I listened to about half of the Wolfenstein one and I'm not sure what to make of it. On the one hand the "experts" acknowledge that the real life Nazis didn't use the resources they had as effectively as they might have, and that the game sort of pre-supposes both that the Nazis did a better job of picking their battles and that the US stayed out of the war long enough to give them a chance to consolidate their gains. But on the other they sort of shrug and wonder if the Nazis would have bothered with concentration camps if the war had gone differently, as if both the Moon bases and concentration camps weren't inevitable conclusions of Hitler's grandiose narcissistic vision.

They also give only the most perfunctory mention of The Man in the High Castle, which is kind of like doing a review of Kingsman that blows off the whole James Bond thing.
posted by localroger at 8:01 AM on March 1, 2015


I've watched these all now and I enjoyed them a lot - thanks!
posted by Drexen at 1:57 PM on March 2, 2015


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