Historical Accuracy & Video Games: The Actual Facts


Assassin's Creed

One of the recent issues in the gaming industry that has been at the forefront of arguments is representation, especially in terms of gender, sexuality, and race. Some developers, when asked about why there are not more women, people of color, or LGBTQIA+ characters, offer the same excuse: there were no people like that at that time and place, so it wouldn’t make sense to put them there. This shows up in games like Assassin’s Creed, The Witcher, and many others. Hearing this always sends a shiver of irritation up my spine as someone who was working on a Masters in History, focused on the Middle Ages. I can say that those developers are categorically wrong.

I think the problem lies in a few areas. One of the largest stumbling blocks in this is the white man-centric nature of the historical narrative that gets taught. When history becomes simply…

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What Is a Woman?! ‘Bloodstained’ & Koji Igarashi’s Female Characters


Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Before I jump into my feelings on this Kickstarter and how it fares for women in games, I have to make a confession: I am a certified massive Castlevania fan. By massive, I mean that I own over 50 games in the series between re-releases and U.S./Japan copies. It’s also no coincidence that my last name starts with a ‘B,’ but I’ll leave that one aside. So when I heard that famed Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi, also known as IGA, had left Konami to make his own game … actually, I was a little worried. Konami had clearly lost interest in his games, and rumors of Igarashi’s inability to garner interest in his project were floating around the internet.

This week, however, my worry subsided as rumors were squashed by his Sword or Whip teaser website and Kickstarter announcement for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Joined by development studio Inti…

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Permission to Rez: Agency, Avatars, & Gaming With Anorexia


Alone in the Dark

One of my earliest memories was being told I shouldn’t be excited about snack time. This was news to my bright, unmarred concept of identity. What self-respecting kid wasn’t thrilled by the very hint that snack time loomed? Who among our tiny, nomadic clans clawing for a turn on the sole motorized plastic car didn’t swiftly abandon their prize several minutes shy of the lunch bell? But ‘didn’t’ and ‘shouldn’t’ were two very different things, and my first lesson in Freud’s psychic apparatus was swiftly remedied. I was told I “didn’t really need” snack time like the other kids did.

That was in preschool.

While I didn’t understand the sentiment back then (I was always recklessly obstinate when it came to school authority—fuck you, I’m eating string cheese), I was well-versed in the concept by first grade. I was the dreaded monster all those old bedtime stories told you about: a…

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‘No Pineapple Left Behind’: Oh, The Humanity of Ed Reform


No Pineapple Left Behind

No Pineapple Left Behind is a simple management game painted with the timely imagery of the education reform movement. It’s a “school simulator,” to be precise, where instead of keeping track of tax rates or the number of cows, you keep a close eye on things like teacher’s salaries, grade averages, and how many students have given up on their humanity today. It’s designed by a small team, Subaltern Games, and strongly influenced by its “Captain of Industry’s” experiences as a part-time teacher. 

If you’ve played management games in the past, you’ll find the controls and mechanics to be easy and familiar. What lore exists in the game is straightforward as well, setting up and explaining only what it needs to in order to get you playing and thinking about its subject matter. You are the principle of the school, with a staff of teachers that you…

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