Deus Vult

Deus Vult

I found this article in Polygon fascinating, discussing the odd conflation between an alt-right adoption of the term “Deus Vult” and the growing online community around the game For Honor. I find it fascinating in no small part because I gave my students Robert the Monk’s version of the famous Pope Urban II speech that gave life to this particular term, and did so with no knowledge about the online alt-right connotations. Allegra Frank describes the historical nature of the...

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The Holocaust and the Edges of Denial

The Holocaust and the Edges of Denial

This past Friday the Whitehouse shared a public statement to commemorate the international day for remembrance dedicated to the Holocaust, as they do every year. This year, however, had a notable difference from previous ones, in that the statement did not mention Jewish victims of the Holocaust. When asked about this, Whitehouse spokesperson Hope Hicks asserted that the Trump administration is inclusive, so inclusive in fact that they feel it is important to recognize the millions of non-Jewish victims of...

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Apocalypse Now, Again

Apocalypse Now, Again

A lot of information is hitting me at the same time right now. People are making an Apocalypse Now game, Francis Ford Coppola is involved, and there is a lot of talk about how video games are ready as a medium to add something of genuine meaning to Coppola's initial artistic offering. Says the auteur genius behind Apocalypse Now, The Godfather (Parts I and II) and Jack: Forty years ago, I set out to make a personal art picture that...

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Game of the Year (Not this year, last year)

Game of the Year (Not this year, last year)

‘Tis the season of GOTYs, or rather it ’twas before I spent Christmas having fun and not writing and then dove into an intensive January of teaching (more of that soon) and I come to share my own. As has been the case in recent years, my enjoyment of video games is nowhere near as closely tied to the annual release calendar as it once was. I have no regrets from not being up to date, but it does make...

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The Curious Expedition and plans to come…

The Curious Expedition and plans to come…

I missed this on Tuesday, but Rock Paper Shotgun named The Curious Expedition as best "roguelike" game of 2016 as part of their consistently excellent annual Advent Calendar. Congratulations to The Curious Expedition and its developers, Riad Djemili and Johannes Kristmann! I'm quite taken with the game myself and must write about it soon. I am planning to give it to my world history students this coming spring as the assigned text for a short assignment. I'm not sure just...

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Thinking about the dissertation

Thinking about the dissertation

This is a post I began to write in early August, but let fall through the cracks. I have decided to share it today, and I have resisted the urge to edit too much of my thoughts from the heady days of August 2016. I  want to write a little bit about my work this summer in a future post, but in planning out that particular post I started thinking more and more about my PhD dissertation. I defended it...

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Death Stranding teases more historical allusions

Death Stranding teases more historical allusions

He has, as they say, gone full Kojima. That can mean a lot of things, of course. Hideo Kojima’s status in the video game community has only improved since his recent falling out with Konami, giving strength to an running online in-joke/slogan/act of defiance. Even Kojima’s famous new friends like to get in on it. That status was vaunted already; as the mastermind of the Metal Gear Solid series Kojima can do no wrong in the eyes of many, a...

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Trump in my classroom

Trump in my classroom

This started as a post, on November 9th, titled “the day after the night before.” Since then, I have only written one post for the blog. That is not particularly odd, given this blog’s previous record, but it does interrupt what had been a slow burn into regular updates. I am disappointed by the interruption, and surprised: I usually write about things that upset and worry me. This time, my writing has suffered. There are many reasons I am concerned,...

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NPCs and little bits of history in Mafia III

NPCs and little bits of history in Mafia III

Bob Whitaker has a nice piece on Zam today on NPCs in Mafia III and how their unexpected role in sharing the fruit of historical research that went into the game affected the way he played it. To quote Bob: I’m not campaigning to turn open world games into history textbooks, but there’s something special about a game in this genre that can cause me to reconsider my open world mayhem and enjoy the experience more without random violence. Little...

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Mad Archivists, Doing More, and Space (#dlfLAC)

Mad Archivists, Doing More, and Space (#dlfLAC)

This past weekend I attended the Digital Library Federation Liberal Arts Colleges Pre-Conference (dlfLAC) and spent a lot of time reflecting on how I am approaching concepts of project-based learning. In particular, I quite enjoyed a talk given by Patrick Wallace, Digital Projects & Archives Librarian at Middlebury. Patrick built his talk around the concept of the “mad archivist,” a member of the campus community with a specific responsibility but who is asked to do many, many things and who...

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