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.


Three Shadowed Dimensions of Feminine Presence in Video Games

Cosima Rughiniș Răzvan Rughiniș Toma Elisabeta
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Representations of femininity in video games and other media are often discussed with reference to the most popular games, their protagonists and their sexist predicament. This framing leaves in shadow other dimensions. We aim to identify some of them and to open a broader horizon for examining and designing femininity and gender in games. To this end we look into games with creative portrayals of feminine characters, diverging from the action-woman trope: The Walking Dead, The Path, and 80 Days. We talk in dialogue with scholars, but also with a digital crowd-critique movement for films and games, loosely centered on instruments such as the Bechdel-Wallace test and the TV Tropes.org wiki. We argue that the central analytical dimension of female character strength should be accompanied by three new axes, in order to examine feminine presence across ages, in the background fictive world created by the game, and in network edges of interaction.


Time to Reminisce and Die: Representing Old Age in Art Games

Cosima Rughiniș Elisabeta Toma Răzvan Rughiniș
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Gender has recently increased in relevance as a game analysis topic. Representations of masculinity and femininity in games have become a growing interest for scholars. Still, little has been written about representations of aging and older persons. Starting from this status-quo, we propose an analysis of age displays in a subtype of video games, namely casual art games. These are designed to encourage reflexivity and perspective-taking on a given topic, examining the human condition and offering a critical view of society. We examine several casual art games and we discuss how they depict and model older characters and the process of aging: What are the game-based narratives of aging? How are elderly characters portrayed and what place do they take in the emerging game story? How do game mechanics model the situation of ‘old age’ and the process of ‘aging’?