On June 10, 2013, I registered the Archaeogaming domain and wrote my first post. Five years and nearly 200 posts later, the Archaeogaming book will be published by Berghahn Books, the Twitter account is now over 1,750 followers, and the community of Archaeogaming practice has become truly an international phenomenon with my colleagues at the University of York and the Centre for Digital Heritage in the UK, the VALUE Foundation (née Project) at the University of Leiden, the Centro Revolucionario de Arqueología Social (C.R.A.S.) in Spain, and Germany’s archaeogames.net. I’m most proud of the fact that this subdiscipline of archaeology has been inclusive and diverse right from the start. All are welcome here.
Reading back over five years of posts, it’s been entertaining to see how my own thinking has evolved regarding video game archaeology. At first I was curious about archaeological representation in games or about things that looked ancient in games. Later I came to realize that video games are themselves archaeological landscapes, sites, and artifacts, and I have pursued the tack of practical archaeogaming ever since, attempting to conduct archaeological investigations into games, which I call “digital built environments.” My hope is to find examples of “machine-created culture” in future games as artificial intelligence and procedural generation merge to interpret cultural rules into new digital citizens, economies, and more, but in ways we could not have conceived on our own.
I was curious about five years of stats for site visits, etc., so here are a few:
Total Words: 228,413(!) with 2017 being the most verbose at nearly 90,000 words. I blame my PhD enrollment for that.
Most Popular Day/Time to Read: Apparently you all enjoy reading the blog at 2:00 pm on Mondays. Go figure….
Most Popular Stories: Two posts topped 21,000 unique readers. The first was in November 2014 when the Atari games excavated in Alamogordo began to be auctioned by the city on eBay. The second was actually a lot of content in August 2015 with numismatics in the Elder Scrolls, also when Peter Dinklage’s voice was replaced in Destiny, and the introduction of the No Man’s Sky Archaeological Survey.
Total Visitors and Views: Over the past five years there have been 96,173 unique visitors and 202,796 views. 2017 was the most popular year (lots of content), closely followed by 2014 (thanks to the Atari excavation).
Countries: Some days the US readership leads the pack, but on other days it’s the UK or Germany or Spain. I’m always surprised when a country such as Switzerland tops the reader-leader-boards, and I wonder why there was a spike in traffic from that area of the world. All-time, the most page-views have come from the US, then the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Sweden, Greece, India, Poland, Russia, Austria, Denmark, New Zealand, Mexico, and Ireland (for the top-20). Total number of countries who have visited at least once: 178. For the places that only visited once (I’m looking at YOU, St. Martin), was it something I said?
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a reward. If you haven’t yet ordered the Archaeogaming book yet, please use this 25% coupon code (good through August 31, 2018)—REI731—at the Berghahn Books publisher website.
Thanks to you all for reading and indulging what has been a very weird, very wonderful obsession, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the study of games and archaeology will take us in the next five years. I honestly have no idea, and not knowing is absolutely thrilling.
—Andrew Reinhard, Archaeogaming