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


DiGRA/FDG ’16 – Proceedings of the 2016 Playing With History Workshop
Dundee, Scotland: Digital Games Research Association and Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games, August, 2016
Number: 3
Volume: 13
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666

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.