Public History, Game Communities and Historical Knowledge

Webber Nick
2016 DiGRA/FDG ’16 – Proceedings of the 2016 Playing With History Workshop

In considering history and video games, great emphasis is placed on the ways in which historical information can be encoded in game content as a route to fostering an engagement with the past, and with historical narratives. This paper proposes that more attention should be paid to the communities which form around games, and to the historical activity which arises organically within those communities, particularly those which form around persistent massively multiplayer online games. The ideas of public history can be drawn upon to understand how this historical activity functions, and how it might be valued as a form of engagement not only with the past of those playing, but with the practices of history more generally, and with historical concepts such as truth, bias and authenticity.


Selling the Imperium: Changing Organisational Culture and History in EVE Online

Webber Nick Milik Oskar
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This paper uses two different methodologies to look at the culture and identity of different organisations in the digital game EVE Online. First, it uses a critical historical perspective to look at how powerful individuals and groups in Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games attempt to construct active identities. Secondly, through ethnography and ethnomethodology, it looks at how the player base responds to modifications to this identity and how conflicts between leadership and membership are formed, perceived, and resolved. Looking specifically at two different events in EVE Online’s history, this paper finds that line members in the game have a lot of power in determining how the group identity forms, and if pushed sufficiently by leaders against their will, they will be able to stop changes from occurring. The lack of resistance, then, can be taken as implicit legitimacy for the actions from the leaders, in particular in the case of naming The Imperium.


EVE is Real

Carter Marcus Bergstrom Kelly Webber Nick Milik Oskar
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Used in a wide variety of contexts, a common colloquialism among EVE Online players is the phrase ‘EVE is real’. In this paper, we examine the various ways in which EVE is considered ‘real’ by its players, identifying a nuanced and powerful concept that goes significantly beyond real/virtual distinctions that have already been critiqued in game studies literature. We argue that, as a form of paratext, colloquialisms like this play an enormous role in shaping EVE Online’s informal rules (in particular towards treachery), constructing the identity of EVE Online players, communicating the seriousness of EVE Online play while in other cases, emphasizing the gameness of the MMOG.