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Hacking the Past, Sheffield Hallam University
Transcript of Hacking the Past, Sheffield Hallam University
Dr. Eve Stirling Sheffield Hallam University
Dr. Jamie Wood University of Lincoln
Original Survey Responses
References to medieval/ ancient games:
Assassins Creed series - 21
Rome: Total War series - 6
Dynasty Warriors series - 2
Crusader Kings 2 - 2
Medieval 2 Total War - 1
Europa Universalis IV - 1
Pharaoh - 1
Shogun Total War - 1
Stronghold Crusader - 1
Where in time is Carmen Sandiego - 1
? - 1
From your experience of playing that game did you? [total = 37]
How important is it that the environment of the game is authentic?
Overall average (54 responses): 5.83/10
For medieval/ ancient games (37): 6.78
Assassins Creed (20): 7.30
Why do you consider this game historical?
[limited to ancient/medieval responses]
From your experience of playing that game did you? [total = 37]
How does playing video games affect individuals’ engagement with and understanding(s) of the past?
How, in particular, does playing video games help to develop an appreciation of place and space in the past?
Gaming Past and Place: Understanding History Through Video Games
To examine how understanding of and engagement with past and place is structured digitally, especially through the playing of video games.
1. digital survey of historic video games users;
2. pilot study using the software tool Nativeye in order to chart the users’ experience;
3. ‘play day’ networking event.
More information: http://bit.ly/1zLW0D4
March-April 2015: Anonymous online survey emailed to around 500 participants at the two institutions involved - Lincoln and Sheffield Hallam (SHU)
Autumn 2015: Survey extended to Huddersfield, Winchester and further afield
Lincoln (39) / SHU (12) / Lancaster (1) / not specified (2)
Have you ever played a historical game?
Accuracy and authenticity ~
Game is or isn't historically accurate; user defines (for themselves, individually and as a group) whether it is or isn't authentic
General recognition that these are games - gameplay is central; but 'more accurate' = more authentic/ "better" play?
Student gamers perceive that it is important that the game "accurately" portrays the past - this makes their experience more authentic
E.g. gameplay in Assasins Creed is seen as a factual representation of a specific time period and/or space
Is this because of how the game is marketed or experienced?
What is relationship between this perception of and experience of gameplay?
Examine the link between gaming and what happens next within an overall process...
What do students mean by 'learning'? What are intentions of designers?
'Because it is set in a reconstructed past, where you play through events at the time of the third crusade'
Codes and responses
1 - historical period 25
2 - historical place 11
3 - historical character 8
'It shows different time of different countries and tells the background of different roles they played in history'
'You go back in time and play as one of your ancestors and live life as they did'
'The scenery shows the type of architecture that was used during the time, the clothing of characters also reflects the period of history they are in. Some of the events that happened in history are reflected within the the first and second game'
'The Game is a take on a historical point of view, during the 16th century exploring Rome, apparent during the time when the Borgia were around, as the people who created it (Ubisoft) made the game depicted on historically accurate information'
'Settings are historically accurate initially, but as soon as the game is played, one can use familiar frameworks of history and mechanics built into the game to understand how historical figures, institutions and kingdoms interacted'
'Though they are naturally incorrect regarding historical accuracy, the worlds that they portray provide a glimpse into the past.'
'Assassins Creed tries to have certain naturalism and
and therefore people who play the game may look the environment as a factual representation of the time period'
'Even in a fictional location, if the world and its inhabitants
behave in a true-to-life fashion
it makes the game feel much more engaging. For games centred around real locations (such as Assassins Creed) this becomes much more noticeable'
'The authenticity of environment, not in terms of place (as many places are fictional in games), but in terms of realism,
is important for the experience of the game
. Authenticity of the environment is not important, but in a game like Assassins Creed Unity, it does create a good atmosphere for the game, as it recreates a bygone era and gives the audience a sense of what it is like to be there'
try to find out more
play another game
change the way you
play the game
talk to someone
visit a place
visit a forum
Thinking about the relationship between historical games and place. Is it important that the gameplay environment is historically accurate?
Assassins Creed responses only
Experiences of method
digital and physical spaces of HE
Connective Ethnographic approach (Hine, 2005) exploring both the digital and face-to-face expereinces of Facebook use.
Why waste your time on Facebook? (Stirling, 2014)
'hyper-layered’ nature of social interactions (Hodkinson, 2016)
Taking a user centered research approach (design methodology), (Chamberlain et al., 2006).
Native eye as a research tool
A mobile research platform
People take part in research using their smartphones
Capturing real-life moments
It gives you a window into their world
Chamberlain, P. M., & Bowen, S. J. (2006). Designers’ use of the artefact in human-centred design. In
Designing accessible technology
(pp. 65-74). Springer London.
Hine, C. (2005).
. Berg Publishers.
Hodkinson, P. (2016). Bedrooms and beyond: Youth, identity and privacy on social network sites.
New Media & Society
, [in press]
Stirling, E. (2014).
Why waste your time on Facebook?: a temporal analysis of first-year undergraduate students and transition in UK Higher Education
(Doctoral dissertation, University of Sheffield).
We are interested in your experiences
Co-creation of methods to understand how you play computer games.
Other systems - Xbox, PS - share buttons - what else?