Modding, History, Replay, Revision
PAPER by Adam Chapman (UoG) at WARGAME Workshop 4: Player Perspectives


Due to increasing recognition of games as a popular contemporary vehicles for the construction and dissemination of historical representations, academic attention on historical games has seen a significant increase in the past decade. However, whilst historical game studies has paid a significant amount of attention to historical games themselves, less time has been spent considering the ways in which history is also constituted by game cultures and player communities. This paper argues that discussions of concepts such as historical accuracy or authenticity must also be partly grounded in the communities of practice and the (often unspoken) discourses of games culture. This idea is explored by examining the phenomena of players 'modding' historical games. By examining the notes and promotional work surrounding mods and the mods themselves, this paper outlines the differing concerns and discussions surrounding concepts such as 'accuracy' and 'authenticity' that frequently motivate these mods. In doing so, the paper hopes to point to both the benefits of expanding the conventional focus of historical game studies and to highlight some of the ways in which, though a relatively new form of history, games have already become weaved into complex networks of historical exchange.

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