Archaeogaming: Past, Present, and Future

Presented by: Dr. Andrew Reinhard

Although the term "archaeogaming" was not coined until 2013, research at the intersection of archaeology and digital/video games has been published since 1997. This lecture will trace 25 years of archaeogaming's evolution from its earliest ethnographic and pedagogical roots to its current foci of reception studies and practical applications, with a look towards a possible future of digital archaeology using games and game engines as tools for investigation not only of human antiquity, but also of the present and recent past.

Cleopatra and Assassin’s Creed

Presented by: Dr. Kara Cooney

Join Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptology, for a look at how one of the most infamous women to rule the ancient world is portrayed in the popular video game Assassin’s Creed. The historical Cleopatra used her sexuality—and her money—to build alliances with warlords of the Roman Empire. Ancient Roman propaganda aggrandized her ultimate failure and death, painting her as a selfish woman who lived a life of luxury and seduced powerful men, ultimately abandoning her people by committing suicide. This Roman portrait of Cleopatra endures today in popular culture, including in video games like Assassin’s Creed. 

Roll for Initiative! D&D, Creative Writing, and History 

Presented by: Michael Granado

Dungeons and Dragons is a role-playing game that utilizes a creative narrative which evolves with player choices and decisions. As a game, I believe that D&D is a critically under-utilized tool in developing student writing as well as teaching the subjects of philosophy and history. In this presentation I will cover how I use D&D to teach history/philosophy and will highlight various tools and resources available to students/teachers. For my campaigns I have stripped D&D of its traditional “lore,” while at the same time preserving the games mechanics, and set the plot of the game in the ancient world. For example, I’ve had my students unknowingly play through the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and have had other campaigns set in ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica. Pedagogically, a variety of writing assignments are available to instructors including, but not limited to, creative writing on about a character, historical research on an aspect of ancient culture, or philosophical reflections on ethical choices made in game.    

Integration of History and Culture in Narrative Design

Presented by: Betty Robertson

This session discusses the ways academics can contribute to narrative design, respectful ways narrative design can reach out to experts on sensitive or specific subjects, and how to network these connections.

Gaming Garbology: Lessons for Archaeology from Video Game Trash

Presented by: Cecelia Chisdock, Keri Porter & David Grogan

Garbology, or the scientific study of trash, has a long history in archaeology, with both modern and ancient trash helping us interpret the lives of human populations. It is unsurprising then that it has found its way into archaeogaming. In 2015, the excavation of an Alamogordo landfill revealed a cache of over $100,000 worth of Atari games, highlighting games as trash (turned treasure). That same year, a blog post on the Archaeogaming website by Andrew Reinhard explored trash in games by considering the potential and limitation of an archaeological exploration of unwanted or useless items in video games. This session builds from Reinhard’s observations to investigate the ways in which digital trash constructs digital landscapes and lifeways. We will also consider how the garbology of video games can benefit archaeology more broadly as an experimental analog to the ancient past. We approach this topic with a wide definition of what qualifies as video game “trash” to include any object which is discarded or no longer useful to the gamer or which the game itself deems useless. We welcome explorations of how objects become trash, how trash is discarded (or stored), and occasions where trash is “recycled” and put to a new use.

Ancient Worlds in Indie Video Games: An Analysis of the Godot Wild Jam #42

Presented by: Alexander Vandewalle & Kate Minniti

Current scholarship on the reception of the ancient world in video games has generally focused on highly commercial, triple-A games or franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Total War, God of War, and more. Save for a couple exceptions (such as Apotheon, Hades or The Forgotten City), the realm of indie gaming has thus far largely been left unexplored. This presentation, which is imagined as a live gameplay stream on Twitch, will examine a series of indie video games with various ancient themes (e.g., historical, mythological, archaeological) and settings (e.g., Egypt, Mesoamerica, Scandinavia, Greece) by investigating the game submissions for the 42nd Godot Wild Jam competition. This game jam took place from 11 to 20 February 2022, and had game designers create and submit video games from scratch around the theme ‘Ancient’. The results of this competition reveal which elements of antiquity game designers resort to in order to communicate 'antiquity' when pressed for time and which could, by extension, be seen as representative of ‘antiquity’ in the popular contemporary. After a brief discussion of the game jam and its 60+ submissions, this presentation will play several of these games with live commentary. 

Women Rights in the Ancient World

Presented by: Princess O'Nika Auguste

They say history is written by the victors and that is the case for women. The ancient world was a patriarchal world but in different ancient cultures women  had various of degrees of rights and position. Women in some ancient societies had power and influence. Thus their stories need to be told and reclaimed

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