Lecture / Reading

The Potential of the Past as Playground: Archaeology and Video Games

Sponsored by Archaeology Center


Wednesday, September 23, 2020
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
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Event Details:

Video games are one of the most popular forms of contemporary entertainment. At the same time, video games have a strong connection with the past, as our history is a popular theme for settings of their virtual stories. In this lecture I will be exploring the use of history, archaeology, and the past in general in video games. I will do so by taking an extensive look into the Sid Meier’s Civilization series, presenting the research I have done together with dr. Angus Mol, and discuss the approach the series have on the past. I will also explore the Assassin’s Creed series and explore various themes related to the past and violence. Ultimately I will be focusing on the pros and cons of interactive virtual entertainment and discuss the following question: do we play with the past or does our past also play with us?

Aris Politopoulos is a lecturer at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University and a post-doctoral researcher at the Leiden University Center for Arts in Society. He studied History and Archaeology at the University of Athens and completed his Master’s degree at Leiden University specializing in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East. He conducted his PhD research at Leiden University on the topic of creation of imperial capital cities in Assyria. His research also focuses on the study of video games and the past. He is co-founder of the VALUE foundation, a foundation working on the intersection of academia and video games. He has published several papers on various games with archaeological themes and together with VALUE has organized a number of conferences on the topic. Finally, he is working on the study of play in the past, studying ancient board games with the Past at Play Lab in Leiden.

For Zoom details, please contact Jessica Lopez at jeslopez@stanford.edu