History, biography and empathy in Inkle’s ‘80 Days’

Răzvan Rughiniș Matei Ștefania
2016 DiGRA/FDG ’16 – Proceedings of the 2016 Playing With History Workshop

Inkle’s ‘80 Days’ offers players the chance of an unusual experience of history. The game combines a layer of historical events and characters with a layer of steampunk science-fiction, using the later as a magnifying glass to highlight minority perspectives and experiences. At the same time, 80 Days merges two views on the relation between biography and history: the player remains a witness, while non-player characters are deeply immersed in making and remaking histories. These dual structures make ‘80 Days’ into a strong resource for discussing the interplay between history and biography, and appealing to history as a resource for empathy.