Abstract: Video Games as Archaeological Sites, and the Artifacts they Contain

minecraft-animated-tools

“Anachronistic Digging Machine, Minecraft” Image: Wordpuncher

On April 4, 2016, I am privileged to speak at the world’s first archaeogaming conference, Interactive Pasts, hosted by the VALUE Project (Videogames and Archaeology at Leiden University) in the Netherlands. Here’s my abstract (I’m building the lecture now):

A video game is an archaeological site. In meatspace an archaeological site is a place in which evidence of past activity is preserved, which may be investigated using the discipline of archaeology, and represents part of the archaeological record (the body of physical evidence about the past). This definition applies to video games. A video game is a discrete entity where the place can be defined as the space in which the game in installed (not necessarily its installation media). The past activity is the coding that created the game. Its elements can be directly observed and manipulated, part of the record of the game. This presentation will demonstrate how video games are archaeological sites, and will identify artifacts, typologies, and context using examples from old and new games, moving from human-created culture within games to machine-created material culture in procedurally generated environments.

It is my hope that the lectures of all of the speakers will be live-streamed/recorded. If that’s the case, I will post the link(s) here and on Twitter (@archaeogaming).

-Andrew Reinhard, Archaeogaming

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