Creating A City

The Game that I analyzed in class today was the original Sim City. The historical narrative of this game involved the creation and growth of a early modern city within a new and undeveloped land. This narrative accounts for the issues that a developing city might have such as funding government programs such as road maintenance and funding fire departments and guards. The main protagonist within the game is the player, otherwise known as the mayor. However, the mayor can also be seen as an antagonist depending on how well the player does at developing the game. The history of this game is confusing and attempts to blend modernity and the past. Some aspects of this involve having a castle, jousting, and guards while also having a sense of modernity by having a mayor as the towns leader, having commercial blocks, and having a fire department. Throughout these conflicting periodic traits, the historical time period is blended and mixed, not fitting within a specific time period. However, the problems that some cities face in developing and growing is represented. One issue that came up involved too many people moving into the town, but not having enough money to expand on commercial and industry blocks for the growing population to use.

Games, as a digital media, are precarious bridges between academics and entertainment. Games can present a narrative in history that is both illuminating of the past and entertaining such as with games like Assassin’s Creed which blends aspects of the historical past with an entertaining storyline. However, some games simply place their stories within a historically adjacent environment. These games attempt to have historical backgrounds, but bend and shift the histories to mold to their own needs, which causes the histories to be exaggerated and inaccurate. The games that succeed as hosts of academic history often take place within historical time periods or within historical processes. These games do not necessarily focus on the specificity of a historical event, but a broader historical concept. These games can give people a foundation or introduction to the historical aspect having players act within the historical process rather than act on the historical process. This can take the shape of living within a time period or war, rather than being a major figure of the war. Overall, historical games can be extremely beneficial as introductions or foundations to history, but can easily bend the past to fit the shape that game companies want.

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