Video Gaming History/Women in DH-Totianna Steptoe

All in all, video gaming in history, like anything done by humans, presents its pros and cons. The benefits of include include in some way shape or form, that the user is able to come into contact with history without having being quizzed or bombarded with the accuracy it may or may not provide. In the example given by Assassin’s Creed, although it is simple for a character to run through the game without paying much attention to the significance of the history it lies in, the gamer is still being introduced to the historical content that the game provides subconsciously. “…Assassin’s Creed has integrated the content into the game play.” As the gamer completes missions, they are being introduced to various events and persons in history that help guide them towards the success of completion, providing historical biases or perspectives of that given history by historical figures. “If the educational objectives are blended with the game play, the player will be more likely to actively engage in them and less likely to ignore them in favor of the mechanics alone… it is the historical background and plot which create an engaging and, quite frankly, awesome experience.” Even if video games cannot be used as historical references, that does not mean that they cannot reference historical events, and provide accurate timelines, and data for people who want a mini breakdown of what happened in the past.

Rebooting Counterfactual History with JFK: Reloaded, is a tricky one though. Although the game does allow the gamer to become and active participant within history, it can take away from the Truth, and simply become a truth. Games like this do allow the gamer to create the -what if- scenario, in history. “‘…it’s what MacDougall calls “playful historical thinking’.”What happens if the event does not go according to plan, does it then become a parallel to the actual history? This can be great because the gamer now explores the significance of what did happen and how that effects the world, as well as what could have happened if there were even slight changes. ” What’s important about JFK Reloaded is not what happens when you play the game, but what you imagine happens after the events you have simulated have unfolded.” In both avenues, the games has accessed history. One path allows them to become a part of history, while the other allows them to explore the what could have happened. In doing so the gamer captures the significance of the period and how it may or may not effect the future. That is the aim of our work as historians in the first place, to learn from the past and determine whether or not we should alter the future.

I did mention that there were cons to this historical gaming world. A Revisionist History of  JFK: Reloaded, exposes the detachment of gaming from everyday life. “In just three lines of code commentary, the developers at Traffic absolutely undermine the entire stated pedagogical project of their docu-game. Their outwardly respectful “interactive reconstruction of John F. Kennedy’s assassination” is undone by inaccuracies and misspellings (Nelly for Nellie, “desparate”) but even more so by the explicitly sexual re-framing of this traumatic event. It’s difficult to take JFK Reloaded as a serious exploration of history when under the hood it resembles an adolescent joke, preoccupied with sex and making light of death (“before he croaks”).” In other words, if you were to try and use video games as source, you would be shunned from the historical community for these exact reasons. In this sense, people lose humanity, where history is a humanities course, and have no real connection to the material they are presenting. The aim of the game is simply to “take out” the guy waving. That is where most historical themed video games run into trouble. They are unable to connect the events to real people, and realize that these things did actually happen, and altered the world as those people new it. By exposing the coding involved with the game, you can examine the representation of digital historians in cultural history. It leaves the world to wonder whether or not this is a respectable field of work or study, if people are not going to make this program into a serious avenue…


First, I thought that this was just going to be a class discussion…that never happened. Either way it was an interesting couple of reads. Similar to everything else in history, women have it hard. But in the gaming world, or online period, where everyone is under the assumed impression that they are gods to pass judgement on the mass, women are the most frequently bullied in the cyber space. It is as if this is just another boys only experience. I even remember when we were talking about video games in class, and granted all 3-4 girls that were present in class that day had no idea what games guys were talking about, it still felt as if it was something we should not have access to in the first place.

Now that my rant is over…I will discuss the websites. I like the hard look into coding. Yes while it is an amazing tool that will eventually earn you higher wages while it explodes into academia, still the main people that know how to code are men. I also grew up with an older brother, who got every type of game or computer device that was being offered. The only thing that saved me from barbie was that I was a nerdy little tom boy. So I loved Legos. Other than that, I had no real experience or background with technology until the 7th grade when I finally took a typing class. In fact when I asked my mom if I should learn more in depth computer skills she said that most women should just be good at typing since most women are secretaries in the business world. Did not think much of it then, until I found myself in a computer course learning Microsoft office in the 10th grade. I struggled so hard, as did most of the girls, because we never had that formal background or even initial introduction to technology as our male counterparts. To go further I agree that it isn’t about what women should do, but simply that it isn’t happening. Throwing in people of color brings up another argument of who was not exposed, and therefore still aren’t. All could be attributed to the fact that this field has not changed. There is no diversity within the content, and therefore lacks diversity withing the application or those participating. It’s like there is only way to learn coding, if you cannot get it, then it is not for you.

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